“I’m heading to a physical, and I want blood work done. Dr. Livingood, give me some guidance. What should I be looking for?“
Glad you asked!
Here’s a laundry list of what to look for in your blood work:
- A Complete Blood Panel – Ok this one isn’t uncommon but I wanted to be sure you don’t stop here, this is the basic.
- Vitamin D – This is a must. High Vitamin D levels are tied to the prevention of many diseases like cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, heart disease, and more.
- Fasting Insulin Levels – Going deeper than blood sugar and A1C levels will help give more understanding of insulin resistance and the prevention of diabetes and heart disease.
- Ferritin Levels – This is a powerful stroke risk predictor as it helps to measure the “weight” of your blood and how much iron it is carrying.
- Uric Acid – is going to measure how your body is breaking down fructose. This is important for autoimmune and toxicity issues.
- C-Reactive Protein (CRP) – A helpful inflammation measurement to predict heart and autoimmune problems.
- Hormone Numbers – TSH, T4, T3, all of your Free Thyroid Hormones, Progesterone, Testosterone, Estrogen–any of those that you can get measured will tell you more information about how your hormones are working for you or against you.
- B Vitamins – All B Vitamins including B12 and B6 will give insight into any actual deficiencies.
- Complete Cholesterol Panels – Total cholesterol is not a very good predictor of an actual problem. The size and makeup of the cholesterol are what matters. Get the particle sizes measured as well.
- Leptin Levels – This can give you insight into losing weight. High leptin levels correlate with leptin resistance which can lead to obesity, heart disease, infertility, and more.
TESTS: What to look out for?
I try to avoid invasive tests like colonoscopies and mammograms. Not that there is not a place for them but there are simple, less expensive ways to get good data for any risks.
- Body Fat Percentage and/or BMI – A strong predictor and risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It’s not a fun reality but it must be addressed.
- Blood Pressure on Both Arms – Be sure to check it on both arms to see the difference and don’t get nervous and create a false reading!
- Fit Test – This is a fecal test that can identify if there’s anything going on in the colon or the digestive system before a colonoscopy would be needed. It has high accuracy, has a higher utilization rate compared to a colonoscopy, and costs thousands less!
- Thermography – A good alternative for mammograms that involves no radiation and a very strong early detection rate.
On your next physical take the graphic above to your doctor and dig a little deeper into your health. This will help you get to the cause of the issues and not just settle for general blood work.