Most medical experts agree that blood tests provide valuable insights into a person’s health that can’t be measured otherwise. But in the past getting bloodwork done required scheduling an appointment with your doctor, going in for an exam, ordering the bloodwork, going in to have blood drawn at a separate location and then waiting weeks for your results that you could only get from your doctor.
The inconvenience kept many people from taking advantage of getting invaluable insights into how the lifestyle choices you make today can have a long-term effect on your health. Today, Choose Health is helping people everywhere access this information without having to jump through any medical system hoops.
Now that at-home blood testing is readily available, the real question isn’t whether they provide value, but rather which markers should be tested? If you’re interested in taking an at-home blood test, keep reading for a breakdown of which markers are beneficial for everyone to know.
What is a Blood Test Marker?
First, let’s define what a blood test marker is so that you have a better idea of what they can tell you. A marker simply refers to a metric or a measurement that can be extracted by analyzing blood samples.
Blood test markers can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your body. For instance, you can do blood tests to look for markers that tell you definitively if you’re pregnant. Or you could take a complete blood count test to figure out if you have certain types of cancer. What’s possible to test for is expanding by the day.
6 Blood Test Markers Everyone Should Consider Checking
There are dozens of markers that can be identified in a blood test. But which markers tell you the most important information? The answer is going to vary from one person to the next, but if you want to get a better gauge of your general health here are some key markers to test.
Inflammation is one of the traditional markers on blood tests. Although short bouts of inflammation are a natural part of the immune system, chronic inflammation can indicate both short-term and long-term health issues. In the short term, it could affect sleep, which can create a whole other set of health problems. In the long term, inflammation can scar internal tissue causing damage.
Anyone who has difficulty sleeping or is chronically sleep-deprived should take a look at the hs-CRP inflammation marker because subpar sleep can increase inflammation.
Cholesterol lipids are an indicator of heart and liver health, and today all types of cholesterol can be tested. This is a great thing if you’re concerned about heart disease, the #1 cause of death in the U.S. A complete lipid profile should include:
- Total Cholesterol
- LDL Cholesterol
- HDL Cholesterol
Knowing these markers is key to understanding how at-risk you are for cardiovascular problems.
Hormones go well beyond testosterone and estradiol, and they indicate much more than fertility. There’s thyroid stimulating hormone, cortisol and other markers that influence immunity, insulin and much more. It’s a good idea for women to get their hormones tested ideally before the perimenopausal period to get a baseline measurement that can possibly be used for hormone therapy during menopause. Men may want to consider getting their hormones checked since testosterone declines with age.
When cells start to disregard signals from insulin to remove glucose from the blood that’s when insulin resistance can develop. Many people have heard about the connection between insulin resistance and diabetes, but it can be a warning sign for many other serious conditions like heart disease and Alzheimer’s as well. Measuring your insulin levels now can give you a better idea of your risk for a number of diseases in the future.
The GGT marker is used to measure oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is related to liver function. Testing your liver health involves figuring out if GGT levels are high because that suggests the liver may not be functioning properly. Oxidative stress is also believed to speed up biological aging.
This is another marker to test if you don’t get quality sleep most nights. Improper liver function can have a negative impact on sleep quality.
Visceral fat markers provide insight into your risk for long-term health conditions like fatty liver disease and heart disease. This type of fat is in and around your organs in the abdominal area. It can impair the function of the pancreas, kidneys and liver. People who tend to carry weight around the abdomen can benefit most from knowing their visceral fat levels.
Choose Health allows you to personalize your at-home blood test kit to look for specific markers. Get started with a quick questionnaire to get recommendations on what to test for at home.