Blood is an essential part of how our body works, and it snakes its way through our circulatory system providing nourishment, electrolytes, hormones, vitamins, antibodies, oxygen, and heat wherever it's needed. It is made in our bone marrow and is composed of plasma, red and white blood cells, and platelets. In addition to all of its other functions, it also helps us fight off infection, heal wounds faster, and protect against mutated cells that cause cancer.
Blood is also an important way to monitor our health when we see the doctor in the form of blood testing, or blood work. We can learn a lot about our current health and risk of other illnesses with this form of screening, so to explore its benefits, let’s examine how these tests work, how it helps, and the common types of tests you’re likely to get.
Residents of the Little River, South Carolina area looking for blood work or other screenings for diagnosing conditions can find help with Dr. Rogers Walker and his skilled medical team at Walker Urgent & Family Care.
How blood tests work
You’ve no doubt been to a medical appointment where you’ve had blood drawn, with the familiar syringe in the arm, hand going into a vial. Once the vial is filled (in some cases multiple bottles depending on the number of screenings they’re doing), it goes to a laboratory where it’s examined under a microscope or tested with other chemicals to test for various issues.
Different things are measured in blood tests as they relate to their function, but often hemoglobin, calcium, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose are checked, as well as white and red blood cells. When you see the results some days after the blood is drawn, these are common things to look for as your doctor determines what the levels mean to our health.
Benefits of blood tests
Here are the benefits of routine blood tests
Useful in monitoring health
Blood work is useful in monitoring your health both when you're taking your annual physical and when you aren’t feeling well. Having your blood screened can be helpful in determining any underlying illnesses and getting treatment.
2. A quick method for achieving a diagnosis
Blood work doesn’t take long to do, and you often get results in just a few days. This means being able to get a solid diagnosis and treatment options quickly or confirming if there’s nothing wrong in a short time.
3. Can detect a variety of conditions
Blood does a lot of things for us, and a lot of different enzymes, chemicals, and hormones pass through it. Because your circulatory system runs through most every part of your body, your blood can be used to test for a wide variety of illnesses.
4. Useful in preventing diseases
Seeing changes in your blood work that increase the risks of specific conditions means being able to jump on it before it becomes a problem.
Important for treating diseases
Confirming a diagnosis through blood work can also get you started on a regimen to treat the condition, while also using blood tests to confirm if the treatment is working.
Common types of blood tests
Here are the blood tests you’re likely to get to check for diseases:
- Metabolic panel: checks the the levels of different compounds in your blood to help determine the chances of kidney disease, hormone imbalances, and diabetes
- Complete blood count (CBC): checks components of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets to find deficiencies, infection, anemia, clotting problems, or cancer
- Lipid panel: used to check cholesterol levels to determine risk of related conditions like cardiovascular disease, stroke, and hypertension
- Thyroid panel: checks for proper thyroid function and hormone production and screens for problems like low protein levels, thyroid disorders, and abnormal hormone levels
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests: many STIs can be detected in blood tests, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, and syphilis
- Coagulation panel: this screens for problems with blood clotting, and is used to screen for leukemia, hemophilia, liver problems and vitamin K deficiencies
Blood tests are a vital way to help you stay healthy, and if you need blood work done, you can make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care today.