Your blood is a precious tissue. It says a lot about you. It tells your story, your history, and maybe even a glimpse into your future. Blood contains important components that help your body function every day. On a more figurative level, endless stories in literature and modern culture describe blood as that which ties us to our brethren and family. Our blood is our lineage. From stories in The Bible to classic Shakespeare speaks of blood as that which carries much more than just physical properties. Of course, as a primary care center, we are mostly concerned with what blood says about your health and the many indications it can give about significant changes. This is why part of a complete annual exam often includes your primary doctor conducting a full blood panel.
Blood Will Have Blood — A Key To Your Health
Not in the Macbeth sense, of course. Although that might be just another one of those wisdom-filled truisms found throughout Shakespeare, let’s talk about what blood will literally have. There are 8 different blood types, though they fall under the two major categories. These are the ABO blood group and the other is the RH blood group. Your blood contains plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, lymphocytes, monocytes, Eosinophils, Basophils, neutrophils, and platelets.
Each one of these components serves a very specific function for overall homeostasis. Let’s look at just red blood cells and white blood cells.
Erythrocytes: These are the red blood cells and are created within your bone marrow. These cells serve several special functions but are there mostly to carry oxygen throughout your body and remove wastes as well. Hemoglobin is an important protein that carries this oxygen.
Leukocytes: These are the white blood cells and these play an important role in your body’s ability to fight infection. They also help with wound healing, protect you from foreign bodies such as allergens, and also protect against pathogens like cancer.
The Yearly Blood Count and Why It Is Important
As part of your yearly physical, your physician might encourage you to do some routine blood work. This is considered pretty standard maintenance. Some of the blood work your doctor might recommend includes:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Chemistry (basic metabolic) panel
- Thyroid panel
- Nutrient tests
The Complete Blood Count Test
Out of these tests, the most common one is the CBC. This test measures several components of your blood including:
- Red blood cells (which carry oxygen to your body)
- White blood cells (for your ability to fight infection)
- Hemoglobin (the protein in charge of carrying oxygen to your blood cells)
- Hematocrit (the amount of plasma in your blood)
- Platelets (these help with clotting and wound recovery)
This particular blood panel is done for a couple of reasons:
- As a review and a good indicator of your overall health.
- As a first diagnosis of a medical condition.
- It can be used to monitor a health condition
- It can also be used to monitor your treatment
Your physician will then review the results with you and compare with any previous years. As routine maintenance and checkup, it is an effective way to monitor any changes over time and part of the role of primary medicine in every community. Having a physician that works with you for a prolonged period means they are privy to your history and can make better diagnosis and prognosis.
Four Blood Tests For Women and Why They are Important
As a primary care clinic, we also deal with a lot of women’s health issues. Here are a couple of tests that might be beneficial for women.
- Blood Sugar Test. This test will measure the amount of glucose in your blood. Elevated levels might indicate that your body isn’t producing enough insulin or isn’t using insulin efficiently.
- Lipid Panel. The lipid panel will measure the healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides to assess your heart disease risk.
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone. The thyroid is a gland that regulates hormone production. Thyroid issues are more common in women than in men, particularly after menopause. The TSH and T4 tests make sure that your thyroid is working correctly. If you are over sixty, this might be a good test to have or if you experience symptoms related to hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. These include fatigue, fast heartbeat, increased appetite, greater sensitivity to cold, and more, weight gain or loss. Speak to your physician if you have questions about some of these symptoms.
- Vitamin D Test. Measuring levels of Vitamin D in your blood is important. Vitamin D is important for various functions of the body, as well as bone health.
Know Your Blood and Get the Annual Check-Up
Here at Transmountain Primary Care, we believe that having regular and annual checkups is the first step to taking care of your health. This provides your physician with an important backdrop of information with which to assess your overall health. Over time, it forms an important history that can show meaningful changes in your health that can be addressed and remedied before they further advance or develop. If you’re looking for trusted family care and primary care clinic, call Transmountain Primary today. We are accepting new patients and we want to be part of your journey to better health.