What Lab Tests Should I Be Getting?
An annual physical exam is recommended by multiple physician groups in order to help identify health issues before they become serious. A crucial part of the exam is obtaining a blood sample to check for problems – yet we have found that the lab tests ordered by physicians during a physical vary dramatically and usually are not very extensive.
Most physicians will order a complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia and red and white cell diseases. They also will usually order a Comprehensive Metabolic Profile (CMP) that checks calcium, basic liver tests, proteins, kidney function, and electrolytes. The two other tests usually performed are a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and a basic lipid profile that evaluates the total cholesterol, LDL (“bad cholesterol”), HDL (“good cholesterol”) and triglycerides. Men will also have their Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) checked if they are over 50.
The physicians at Synergy Longevity Centers feel that the limited number of tests ordered during a conventional medicine physical do not provide a true analysis of the multiple organ systems found in the body. Here are some of the additional tests that are performed for a Synergy Longevity Evaluation:
- Red Blood Cell Formation – B12 is closely involved in the process of red blood cell formation.
- Neurological Function – B12 helps in the production of myelin, an insulating substance around nerves. This promotes normal nerve function.
- DNA Synthesis – B12 plays a crucial role in DNA synthesis and repair, essential for developing healthy cells throughout the body.
- Energy Production – B12 helps convert food into glucose, which is used for energy production
- Metabolism: B12, in conjunction with vitamins B6 and folate, helps break down homocysteine, an amino acid that, when elevated, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- A homocysteine level is also checked as part of the Synergy Evaluation because if elevated, it can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. This Homocysteine elevation is a common finding especially if patients have a MTHFR genetic abnormality, which we also test for.
Folate – Vitamin B9
- Folate has a similar impact on the metabolic processes listed above for Vitamin B12, but it is also involved in the regulation of specific neurotransmitters that are critical for brain function.
- Emerging research is investigating the role of folate in cognitive function and mental health, including associations with Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
- Bone Health – Vitamin D plays a vital role in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, essential minerals for bone formation and remodeling.
- Immune System Function – Vitamin D modulates both types of immune responses found in the body.
- Muscle Function – Vitamin D deficiency can result in muscle weakness and pain, which can improve with supplementation.
- Cell Growth – Vitamin D also has a role in cell growth and differentiation, with some evidence indicating it might help prevent the development and progression of certain types of cancer.
- Neurological system – There’s emerging evidence suggesting a role for Vitamin D in maintaining neurological health, potentially influencing mood and protecting against neurodegenerative disease.
High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP)
- C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein produced by the liver, primarily in response to inflammation, infection, or tissue damage in the body.
- The measurement of CRP levels is a useful marker to:
- Detect Inflammation or Infection – The levels of CRP rise rapidly in inflammatory or infectious conditions, frequently before other signs and symptoms appear.
- Monitor Disease Activity – In diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus CRP levels can provide valuable insight into disease activity and the effectiveness of treatment.
- Assess Risk of Cardiovascular Disease – Growing evidence suggests that chronic inflammation plays a role in atherosclerosis and hs-CRP is helpful to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Lp(a)/ Lipoprotein (a)
- Lipoprotein (a) is made up of an LDL (“bad cholesterol”) molecule plus a protein (apoprotein a). Lp(a) is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease – yet few if any physicians screen for it!
- High levels of Lp(a) contribute to the buildup of plaques in arteries which can decrease the blood supply to important organs like the heart and brain.Several factors can influence Lp(a) levels- especially genetics.
Free T4 and Free T3
- Free T4 and Free T3 tests measure the levels of the unbound, active forms of the thyroid hormones (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) in the blood. These hormones are primarily produced and released by the thyroid gland and have a broad role in body metabolism.
- T4 is produced in greater amounts but is mostly inactive; a portion of T4 gets converted to the active hormone T3 in peripheral tissues. Most of the thyroid hormone circulating in the blood is bound to carrier proteins, and a very small fraction remains unbound or “free.” This free fraction is what’s biologically active and available to tissues, so measuring free T4 and T3 levels often gives a better indication of thyroid function than total T4 and T3 levels.
- Most physicians only order a TSH thyroid stimulating hormone test during a physical but it does not provide a complete analysis of the function of the thyroid gland.
Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) Antibody Test
- The TPO antibody test is a blood assay that measures the level of thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies in the body.
- Thyroid peroxidase is an enzyme that plays a vital role in the production of thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland.
- Normally, TPO is not recognized as a foreign substance by the immune system. However, in certain autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Grave’s disease, the immune system mistakenly targets and produces antibodies against TPO.
- These antibodies can then disrupt the normal function of the thyroid gland, leading to various clinical issues.
- We have diagnosed a significant number of patients in our practice at Synergy Longevity Centers with autoimmune issues using simple screening tests such as the TPO antibody test.
Stay tuned for the next blog where we will discuss more of the tests that are standard in our Longevity Evaluation including detailed lipid tests such as Myeloperoxidase, LpPLA2, fibrinogen, ApoB, ApoA1 and Fatty Acid levels.
Interested in obtaining this bloodwork? Visit SynergyLC.com or call us at 248-304-7624.