How Regular Blood Testing Improves Elder Patient Care and Wellbeing
Most physicians recommend that you get blood work done yearly during your routine physical exam. Depending on pre-existing health conditions, they might recommend more frequent or additional blood tests. Blood tests give healthcare providers insight into various medical problems that they might not otherwise get.
Blood testing is an essential part of preventative healthcare. It becomes more important in patient care for elderly individuals. Many age-related health issues can occur that’ll be detected during blood tests.
This guide will discuss why it’s important for the elderly to stay on top of their blood tests. We’ll also talk about the benefits of getting routine bloodwork done for senior health.
Blood Tests Can Identify Diseases
There are many reasons why a healthcare provider might want blood work done. Some of them include:
- Reviewing the patient’s overall health
- Diagnosing a medical condition
- Monitoring of medical treatment or condition
Routine blood work can recognize diseases or illnesses and catch them before they progress. These medical conditions might include:
- Bone marrow problems
- Certain cancers
- Heart disease
Patients might be exhibiting symptoms that their healthcare provider might think signify they have a certain medical condition. A blood test will confirm whether or not that’s true.
A senior patient’s doctor can create a tailored treatment plan based on the information they discover from the blood test. Their illness might go untreated if they don’t get blood work done.
See How Your Organs Are Functioning
Our bodies will start to slow down as we age. Knowing how well our organs are functioning is important. You want to be aware of any internal issues before they become more serious problems.
Blood tests give you and your healthcare provider an accurate picture of your entire body. The concentration, size, and amount of your blood cells are correlated with numerical values. These values get compared to ideal or standard values.
Blood tests look at a wide range of things, including:
- Cholesterol and fat levels
- Genetic markers
- Inflammatory markers
- Types of cells
By evaluating these levels, your healthcare provider can see how your organs are performing. For example, looking at the amount of potassium in your blood can tell your doctor about your kidneys. High levels of potassium can indicate kidney disease.
Learn About Unexpected Weight Loss and Gain
Our bodies don’t metabolize food like they used to when we were younger. However, you shouldn’t experience an unexpected gain or loss of weight at any point. This could indicate that you have a problem with your thyroid.
Two common thyroid conditions can affect your weight:
- Hypothyroidism: Weight gain associated with high thyroid hormone levels
- Hyperthyroidism: Weight loss connected to low thyroid hormone levels
Your doctor will measure the amount of various hormones during a thyroid blood test. They’ll specifically look at your T4 and thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH). It can also look at whether you have any antibodies present, which could mean you’re dealing with an autoimmune thyroid disorder.
Identify Causes of Shortness of Breath and Fatigue
It’s normal to feel not as spry as you did when you were younger, but you shouldn’t regularly feel exhausted for no reason. Overwhelming fatigue is often common among those who are at risk for heart disease or have low iron.
A Full Blood Count (FBC) blood test can find out the cause of your fatigue. Your doctor will look at the iron levels in your blood, determining if you have anemia.
Blood tests are a component in figuring out why you might be suffering from shortness of breath. Many elderly patients suffer from dyspnea, which is shortness of breath. Your doctor will conduct several tests, including blood work, to determine the cause and what treatment course to take.
Hone Your Nutrition
Our nutritional needs change as we get older. You can become more prone to deficiencies in certain important nutrients, such as:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
You can start to exhibit unpleasant side effects if you’re dealing with a nutritional deficiency. These can include:
- Irregular bowel movements
A nutritional blood test will look at your levels of micro and macronutrients. It’ll also show if you’re dealing with any food allergy issues that might be causing these negative symptoms. You can discover what foods you should eat more of and which ones to avoid.
Monitor if You Have Diabetes
Your glucose levels indicate how much sugar you have in your blood. Higher than normal levels could mean that you have undiagnosed diabetes. You might know you have diabetes, but it’s not being controlled properly.
On the flip side, low blood sugar levels might show your doctor that you’re suffering from hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is sometimes caused by diabetes medications. Your doctor might need to alter your healthcare plan if this is the case.
Diabetes is more common in older adults because their bodies can’t produce enough insulin. Their body might not be able to use their insulin properly. Regular blood work enables doctors to identify what’s going on with their elderly patient’s blood sugar levels and treat them accordingly.
Stay on Top of Your Cholesterol Levels
Many elderly people encounter high cholesterol levels. Your cholesterol levels naturally increase as you age. People’s “bad” cholesterol levels get high because our body’s receptors aren’t as active as they used to be.
High cholesterol levels put people more at risk for heart disease or failure. That’s why staying on top of your levels is important. You can go on medication or make lifestyle changes to keep your levels normal or low.
Make Routine Blood Tests a Part of Elder Patient Care
Blood tests are a great way to improve patient care for the elderly. They can help diagnose health conditions that might not have been identified otherwise. Their doctors can implement treatments that address these medical concerns before they get too far along.
Precision Lab Testing works closely with doctor’s offices and assisted living facilities. We can come to your facility on an as-needed or scheduled basis. Contact us to learn more about our services.