Types of Blood Tests Seniors Need to Take
Did you know that older people are more prone to infections and chronic health issues? With that in mind, being cautious and getting regular medical interventions, like blood work, is crucial for a high-quality life.
Blood lab testing is an essential part of an annual physical as it monitors health and screens for diseases and risk factors. What types of blood tests are necessary for seniors?
Keep reading to learn about standard blood tests for aging adults so you can be prepared for your next physical exam.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A complete blood count (CBC) evaluates the individual cells in a person’s blood. It determines wellness, monitors prescription medication side effects, and diagnoses specific conditions. It is a typical part of any yearly physical exam, and one of a few commonly recommended blood tests for seniors. It measures:
Red blood cells contain the protein hemoglobin that brings oxygen throughout the body. Abnormally low RBC counts may suggest anemia, malnutrition, hemolysis, and thyroid disorders. On the other hand, high RBC counts may indicate dehydration, heart issues, hypoxia, or exposure to carbon monoxide.
A white blood cell count with differential is a specific type of blood test. This test measures the numbers of WBCs in the five categories that make up the total count. These are neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, basophils.
Each WBC subtype has a different purpose, but they all defend the immune system. Thus, elevated WBC counts may indicate infection, cancer, autoimmune or inflammatory diseases, and allergic reactions.
Platelets are small blood cells that contribute to clotting and cessation of bleeding. Low platelet counts can indicate an elevated risk for internal bleeding. Infection, iron deficiency, inflammatory conditions, and surgery can increase platelet counts.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) measures 14 different levels to help your physician better understand your overall health. These routine blood tests for seniors are essential.
They can diagnose or narrow down diagnoses for many different conditions. It focuses on the liver, kidneys, blood glucose levels, and metabolic health.
Essential measurements include calcium, phosphorus, and alkaline phosphatase. They play a part in bone health. As the risk of conditions like osteoporosis increases with age, bone health is a priority.
Sodium, BUN, creatinine, albumin, ALT, ART, and bilirubin are also measured in a CMP. Regular checking and monitoring levels may be necessary for people with kidney or liver conditions.
Among the blood tests for older adults is often thyroid screenings. Widely used tests are the free thyroxine (free T4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). They can diagnose or watch abnormal levels of thyroid hormones and related conditions.
Disorders affecting the thyroid are prevalent in older women. Symptoms of thyroid diseases can hide as they are nonspecific or mimic signs of aging. They include brain fog, memory loss, changes in weight, difficulty sleeping, dry skin, constipation, and fatigue.
Hormone levels change with age. That means many screenings may be needed before a definitive diagnosis occurs.
Did you know that seniors are more likely to be deficient in vitamins B12, D and C? As you age, the ability to absorb nutrients from food declines.
Older adults are also more likely to eat fewer calories and take in fewer vitamins and minerals. Certain medications can also impact the body’s ability to absorb vitamins.
Vitamin B12 is necessary for red blood cell production, nerve function, and optimal health. An untreated B12 deficiency can lead to anemia or a low red blood cell count. It may also cause neuropathy, cognitive impairment, and mimic symptoms of dementia.
Vitamin D regulates, and Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and phosphorus. Both are necessary for good bone health. Research suggests a potential link between vitamin D deficiency and susceptibility to the flu virus.
Vitamin C has an impact on immune and cardiovascular function. A person’s immune system declines over time, leaving one at a higher risk for infections. Maintaining proper levels of vitamin C may help protect the body against oxidative damage and lower the risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cataracts.
A lipid panel also called a cholesterol panel, measures cholesterol and fats in the blood, including:
- Total cholesterol levels
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol
Blood tests for seniors like a lipid panel are often done when the patient is fasting. Food and drink can influence levels and give inaccurate results. Other factors include recent infection, strenuous exercise, weight loss or gain, and medication.
Prescription medication can help lower high LDL levels. Also, lifestyle changes like dietary adjustments and getting more exercise are helpful.
Liver Enzyme Markers
Some of the liver marker enzymes are included in the comprehensive metabolic panel. A doctor can order extra tests for those with a personal or family history of liver conditions.
These tests measure enzymes (proteins) that facilitate chemical reactions, produce bile, aid blood clotting, break down toxins, and defend against illness. Common liver enzymes include:
Liver injury or inflammation may lead to higher levels of enzymes. Lipid enzyme marker tests can identify various issues, from muscle strain to cirrhosis.
Essential Types of Blood Tests You Should Know About
Types of blood tests like a CBC, CMP, thyroid, lipid, and liver enzyme marker evaluation are all crucial for aging adults.
Each type gives physicians insight into symptoms and shows risk factors for chronic conditions. When you use Precision Labs’ blood testing services, you’ll get your patients’ results fast. You can access them quickly by fax or through our online portal.
Take a look at our services at Precision Labs to see why we are the best choice for you.