Bloodwork is a common requirement for many new patients, as well as a main part of routine yearly checkups. The normal panel of blood tests is like a snapshot that your doctor can use to get a general picture of your overall health.
A question many patients ask, however, is how often you should get blood work done, especially if they’re between insurances or worried about the results of certain tests. The answer to that question is highly dependent on the needs of the individual patient. Continue reading to learn more about timing bloodwork and how often you should get bloodwork done or book your appointment here.
What are Blood Tests For?
The results of blood tests show many factors according to the test conducted. A glucose panel, for example, shows the amount of glucose in your blood after fasting. Other blood tests may identify the presence of a foreign body on a spectrum based on how much is considered “normal” to determine whether someone is positive or negative for a disease, a pregnancy, or even cancer.
Each blood test produces different results, and each should be interpreted by your doctor in the context of the norm as well as your past test results. Some commonly tested conditions in routine blood work include:
- Coronary heart disease
- Liver function
- Kidney function
Remember that since the results are displayed numerically (not just “positive” or “negative”), your doctor will be able to tell not only if you have a disease but if you are at risk for one. Prediabetes, for example, accepted as a reading of 100-124 mg/dl in a glucose panel (or “blood sugar test”) is not yet a diagnosis of diabetes but indicates that the patient is at risk for it. They may develop diabetes without medication or lifestyle changes, such as increasing activity and decreasing excess weight.
In other words, blood tests do not only tell patients about the illnesses they have. They are also important as regular check-ins with your body’s health to see if any might develop in the future.
Types of blood tests
Complete Blood Count – this test is a routine panel that tests your blood’s cell counts, including red and white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin
Metabolic panel – a metabolic panel tests your blood for different compounds, including potassium, sodium, calcium, and glucose
Thyroid panel – thyroid panels test thyroid function by looking for certain hormones such as T3, T4, and TSH
Lipid panel – a lipid panel tests your blood for cholesterol levels
Cardiac test – a cardiac test checks for biomarkers that indicate heart damage and functioning
STI test – an STI test examines your blood for the presence of a sexually transmitted infection
Why Should I Get Bloodwork Done?
Testing for the markers of diseases is not the only reason to get bloodwork done. A blood test evaluates far more than your illness status.
In the CBC alone, doctors can see your white blood cell count, which is a clue to immune functioning, platelet count, which tells them if you might have a clotting problem, hemoglobin, which says a lot about your circulation, and more.
Every test in the battery of blood work performed on your sample contains valuable insight into your overall health, insight that your doctor can use to recommend further testing and treatment.
How Long Should I Wait?
The question of how long you should wait to get your bloodwork done varies depending on your condition and age. For example, if you have a history of thyroid or blood sugar problems, your doctor will recommend more frequent tests. Those who are young adults to middle age who have no history of these illnesses are usually recommended for bloodwork 1-2 times per year, regardless of any symptoms.
However, this changes as we get older as well. For example, a yearly glucose panel may be fine for a young adult, but for adults over 60, doctors may recommend them to be conducted more frequently to closely monitor their numbers.
Speak with your doctor about how often you should get your bloodwork done.
Speedy Sticks is a mobile concierge phlebotomy service that provides at-home blood draws and on-site diagnostic/health screenings for businesses and individuals. One of these tests is a blood test which can be performed by one of our specialists. Book an appointment today.
*This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace consulting with a healthcare professional. Please consult with your primary care physician or healthcare provider before engaging in any services offered by Speedy Sticks.
**These are approximations, and experts disagree on some values. Consult your healthcare provider for recommendations suitable for you. It is also important to ensure the levels are given in the same measurements, such as mg/dL, etc.