How Often Should You Have a Blood Test Done?
Did you know that over 7 billion blood tests are performed annually in the US? A blood test saves money, time, and lives by detecting illnesses early.
It’s essential to understand more about the different blood tests and how often you need them. This will allow you to schedule your blood tests on time to stay on top of your healthcare needs.
Keep reading this guide to learn everything you need to know.
What Do Blood Tests Detect?
Blood tests show how well organs work, like your kidneys, liver, or thyroid. They also can diagnose health conditions by detecting specific blood or hormone markers that indicate disease.
Blood tests are commonly ordered to detect health conditions like:
- Low blood levels (anemia)
- Coronary artery disease
- Kidney infections or kidney failure
- Thyroid disease
- Blood clotting disorders
Blood tests are also helpful in monitoring you when taking certain medications. Specific blood tests will show if you have the proper medication levels in your body.
How Often Should You Have a Blood Test?
There are different types of blood tests you’ll need at an annual checkup. These tests give your doctor a closer look at how well your body is functioning. It also gives them the opportunity to catch medical conditions earlier.
However, your doctor may order specific tests more frequently to:
Monitor Current Medical Conditions
If you have a history of chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease, your doctor will need to monitor you more closely.
You’ll typically need blood tests every 3 to 6 months.
Check Sudden Symptoms
If you suddenly develop symptoms like fatigue, breathlessness, swelling of the legs, or frequent urination, your doctor will likely order blood tests.
Blood tests can help pinpoint the cause of your symptoms, leading to a diagnosis.
Common Blood Tests
It’s essential to be aware of the common blood tests your doctor might order. Understanding what the test results mean can help you improve your health.
These blood tests include:
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A complete blood count (CBC) checks the significant components of your blood. These components include:
- White blood cells are a part of the immune system
- Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body
- Platelets help your blood to clot during an injury
- Hemoglobin is in red blood cells and carries oxygen to your organs
- Hematocrit is also a part of your red blood cells and carries oxygen
A CBC blood test can detect various conditions like blood cancer, infections, or immune system disorders. It can also diagnose iron deficiency anemia or other deficiencies like vitamin B6 or B12.
A doctor will order a CBC during your yearly medical check or to address symptoms like constant fatigue or infections.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
A CMP measures 14 substances in your blood that relate to your metabolism, liver, kidneys, fluids, and electrolytes. It also measures blood sugar and protein levels.
The tests in a CMP include:
- Albumin or a protein made by your liver
- Total protein levels
- Bilirubin is waste that your liver filters
- Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is a liver enzyme found in the bones
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is a liver enzyme
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is also a liver enzyme
- Calcium levels
- Sodium and chloride levels
- Potassium levels
- Glucose levels
- Creatinine and BUN for kidney function
A CMP can diagnose problems like gallstones, hepatitis, kidney damage, and high blood sugar. It’s often ordered as part of a yearly checkup. Healthcare providers will also order this test every three to six months if you have kidney or liver disease.
A lipid panel will detect two types of cholesterol levels. High-density (HDL) is the good cholesterol in your body. This is because it carries harmful fats, triglycerides, and bad cholesterol to your liver. Your liver then breaks down the bad cholesterol to remove it from your body.
Low-density (LDL) cholesterol is bad cholesterol since it causes plaque to form in the arteries. As a result, it increases your risk for heart disease.
A doctor will order lipid panels at least once a year for older adults since it’s an important screening test for coronary artery disease.
Thyroid Function Test
A thyroid function test evaluates how well the thyroid is functioning overall. Usually, you’ll have a thyroid panel done that consists of three different tests.
Triiodothyronine (T3) is one of the two hormones your thyroid produces. If this level is abnormal, it can indicate thyroid disease.
A thyroxine (T4) test detects the amount of T4 in the blood. T4 works with T3 to regulate how your body uses energy. They also control your body temperature, weight, muscles, and nervous system.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test will test the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone in your body. Your pituitary gland will make more of this hormone if your thyroid levels are low.
Measuring TSH levels allows you to determine if the body is producing enough hormones.
You’ll typically have a thyroid panel yearly or every 3 to 6 months if you have thyroid disease.
Enzymes are a type of protein that helps the body with specific chemical processes like clotting blood. They also perform many other vital functions throughout your body.
Abnormal enzymes can indicate conditions like muscle damage, cancer, or damage to the heart from a heart attack.
Standard enzyme tests include creatine kinase (CK), which tests enzymes in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscles. Creatinine kinase-MB (CK-MB) are enzymes in your heart muscle and typically increase after a heart attack.
Troponin is a heart enzyme that will appear in your blood if you’ve had a heart attack or heart injury.
A doctor will order these enzyme tests to help form a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Blood Tests and Better Health
Accurate blood test results are vital to managing your healthcare practice and the health and well-being of your patients.
If you’re looking for reliable blood testing for your healthcare practice or facility, you can turn to Precision Labs for all your testing needs. We offer blood testing services for home health agencies, assisted living facilities, and physician offices.
Make sure you contact us today to get started!