Do you have "routine" labs drawn at your yearly physical?
Have you been told, "It all looks fine!"
But you still don't feel great.
You don't feel horrible, but you do feel fat, tired, achy, foggy-headed, and bloated. You can feel your heart skip more beats than it should, and sleep is elusive. Getting out of bed in the morning has become a struggle.
Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes run in your family, so you're a bit concerned about the future, but your doctor says, "You're fine." (At least for now!)
But did you know...
For many, a heart attack is their VERY FIRST SYMPTOM of a problem--a problem that had been brewing for decades!
Diabetes has very few symptoms initially. Maybe you're just tired more than usual and urinate more frequently. (Easy to dismiss as "just getting older.")
Cancers can be entirely symptom-free for a long time before ultimately being diagnosed.
These conditions are just a few examples of how difficult it is to use SYMPTOMS to measure whether you are "healthy" or not. So many times, you can't FEEL a problem until it is too late. These conditions often develop over YEARS before their eventual discovery. We all know someone diagnosed with a terminal illness who had very few warning symptoms.
Labs can give us insight into physiology that is going awry at much earlier stages--but the proper labs must be ordered to get a glimpse of future health issues.
Wouldn't that be a really great idea? To know sooner than later? Then you're in the driver's seat to alter the course of your health for a LIFETIME! Exciting!
After almost 25 years in practice and looking at lab work extensively, I'm here to tell you there are incredibly valuable labs that could be done, would give invaluable information, and allow you to change the course of your health over a lifetime drastically!
Here's the list of the 6 most valuable labs to run yearly.
Your doctor will most likely run the "basics."
These next 6 are additional tests, not typically done, but a wealth of information regarding heart disease, dementia, obesity, premature aging, and loss of health.
#2: Fasting Insulin
#4: Uric Acid
#5: Inflammatory Markers (hs-CRP, Sed Rate)
#6: Iron Panel with Ferritin
The A1C test—also known as the hemoglobin A1C or HbA1c test—is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. It's one of the most commonly used tests to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. The A1C test measures the percentage of your red blood cells that have sugar-coated hemoglobin--in other words, what percentage of your red blood cells are starting to look like glazed donuts. Not a good thing!
Although I (almost) never see this test run as a screening test, the CDC recommends that all people over 45 years old have this test done as a baseline.
Furthermore, The CDC says 88 Million Americans...Can Change Their Outcome! (If they only knew, that is!)
Insulin is the hormone that enables cells to take in glucose. Without insulin, glucose can't get into the cells; instead, it gets stuck in the bloodstream. With too little insulin, blood sugar remains higher than normal (a condition leading to diabetes), and cells can't get the energy they need. With too much insulin, blood sugar decreases (hypoglycemia), causing symptoms such as sweating, trembling, lightheadedness, and in extreme cases, shock.
Homocysteine is an amino acid that destroys the lining of your artery walls, promotes the formation of blood clots, and accelerates the buildup of scar tissue.
Elevated homocysteine levels have been associated with increased cardiovascular disease, stroke, hip fracture, cognitive decline, osteoporosis, chronic kidney disease, hypothyroidism, Alzheimer's disease, and schizophrenia.
The amazing thing about elevated levels of homocysteine--it's related to deficiencies of specific B Vitamins.
#4 Uric Acid
Typically, this marker is only run for suspected gout patients; however, it is very commonly elevated over optimal levels in patients without the typical gout symptoms.
Recently, Dr. Perlmutter, famed neurologist and author, came out with his newest book Drop Acid. The entire book is about the significant health issues associated with Uric Acid, including obesity, depression, arthritis, heart disease, and dementia.
He also relates how easy it is to modify this marker through diet and nutrition.
#5 Inflammatory Markers (hs-CRP, Sed mate)
Hs-CRP is a critical component of the immune system. It can be predictive of the future risk of heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac death, and the development of peripheral arterial disease.
Sed Rate is an indirect measure of the degree of inflammation present in the body. It is also used to screen for cancer and infection.
#6 Iron Panel with Ferritin
It's a common complaint--fatigue. So the first thing people think is that they need more iron. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially if you are a male or a post-menopausal female. Iron deficiency is uncommon in these groups. And taking additional iron can be very, very harmful.
Low Ferritin is a sign of iron deficiency; however, high Ferritin can be found with inflammation, infection, liver disease, iron overload, and certain cancers (leukemia and lymphoma). (I regularly find it elevated on labs.)
So, the next time you go in for a yearly exam, ask your doctor to run these labs.
Yes, it is possible that insurance may not pay for them--but they can still be run. (Insurance isn't designed to pay for prevention and wellness.)
Yes, your doctor may refuse to run them.
However, they are extremely valuable. (Your grandkids will be glad you did!)
If you're interested in running these tests, let me know, and I will order them now. (Provided you are a current patient of our office.)
Are you interested in becoming a patient? Click here.
Don't wait to have these labs run--your health is far too important!
Call, text, or email today!
Be Well for a Lifetime!
Dr. Julie Schleusner