￼Have you had your yearly blood work done?
ByMackenzie Prentice, DNP, APNP •September 15, 2022
Optimal Health. This is my goal for you as a provider. There are many factors that contribute to and move the needle toward optimal health. As a Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner, I recommend annual bloodwork to most of my patients. Annual blood work is one way to prevent chronic disease and get a general picture of your overall health. The following labs are top ones I recommend having done for a good comprehensive baseline and to then check annually as needed:
(These recommendations may change slightly depending on you as an individual and your health concerns.)
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP): Looks at how well our kidneys are filtering, how well the liver is functioning, and electrolyte levels. The health and function of the liver and kidneys are vital to removing toxins from the body and preventing acute or chronic conditions.
- Complete blood count (CBC): Looks at the white blood cells and red blood cells. It gives us information on possible acute infections, chronic infections, and anemia.
- Vitamin D: This is a nutrient that we obtain mostly from sun exposure. Vitamin D is used throughout the entire body, making it essential for our health. Unfortunately, most people do not get the recommended amount for their bodies (we don’t see the sun very often in Wisconsin!). Medical conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, diabetes, certain prescription medications, and sunscreen use can all affect our levels. The goal is between 60-80 for optimal health.
- Hgb A1c: This test gives an average blood glucose level over the past three months. This, along with insulin, can give insight on how the body is processing blood sugar levels. This is one marker used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. Optimal level for hemoglobin A1C is below 5.5.
- Insulin: Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to blood glucose levels rising in the blood like when we eat, for example. This can give us an early picture, even before your Hgb A1c or blood sugar levels rise, if your body is trending towards insulin resistance and eventually diabetes. Optimal level of insulin is less than 10.
- Lipid Panel: This test looks at your cholesterol levels and triglycerides. This can indicate whether further testing is needed to assess heart disease risk. Triglycerides can also indicate elevated blood sugar and insulin resistance.
- Lp(a): This is a type of LDL particle. The level is genetically determined. If this marker is elevated, the American Heart Association calls a this a risk enhancing factor for heart disease. *If this level is normal, it is not necessary to check annually*
- Homocysteine: This is an inflammatory marker that, when elevated, can increase risk of stroke, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. If this is high, it can indicate vitamin deficiencies (such as folate and B12 deficiencies) and also gives us an understanding of methylation. Optimal level is less than 10.
- HsCRP: This is an inflammatory marker. Although it is not specific, it can give a general idea of inflammation in the body, indicating an acute illness or a chronic infection.
- Full thyroid Panel: This test looks at the levels of your thyroid hormones and antibody levels to see if your thyroid is functioning properly and if it is autoimmune related. A full thyroid panel includes TSH, Free T3, Free T4, and thyroid antibodies.
- Micronutrients- In addition to vitamin D (listed above), I commonly order lab tests to assess B12, zinc, magnesium, and iron levels. If these nutrients are low, our energy levels, mood, and immune system can be impacted. If levels are low, I may suggest a supplement to boost your levels, and I will always suggest “food as medicine” tips to optimize nutrient status.
Your conventional medicine provider will most likely only order some of those tests listed above. I hope this encourages you to ask your provider to order these additional tests or schedule an appointment with your provider at Lakeside Natural Medicine.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.