Judson Haims: Unnoticed health concerns can be revealed with bloods tests
Special to The Aspen Times
When you leave your doctor’s office after a check-up and are told that “all looks good,” what does that really mean?
Odds are that the purpose of most medical office visits is to address a known concern like an ache/pain, cold, flu, respiratory concern or anxiety. However, even when the purpose of an office is more specific and evaluates blood pressure, infection, cholesterol or a neurologic concern, are you leaving the office knowing that there are no other health concerns that could (or should) be addressed?
If our medical providers informed us that there was a very sophisticated and accurate diagnostic tool that could reveal ailments that may be affecting our current and even future health, wouldn’t we want to know? Wouldn’t it be great if our medical providers had the ability to run diagnostics that could inform us that there may be a possible concern?
While Star Trek’s Dr. Leonard McCoy’s handheld tri-recorder diagnostic device does not currently exist to analyze our overall health, great technological strides are being made in at home monitoring tests and devices.
At home tests may not be as detailing as those performed within a medical office; however, many provide important information about our overall health. If you have ever felt that “something isn’t feeling right” and wondered why, there are at home tests available that may provide health information that may be quite revealing. Such consumer-based tests can collect data about our vital signs, body chemistry and biological functions.
The diagnostic tests I am alluding to — blood testing. Some at home blood tests have the ability to provide more information than just a standard complete blood count (CBC), which typically covers red and white blood cell counts, hemoglobin and platelets. Some tests offer comprehensive blood testing. Such tests can provide valuable insight as to how our body is functioning by offering information about conditions like anemia, coronary heart disease, hepatitis, as well as how organs such as liver, kidney and thyroid are working.
If at home testing is not something you are comfortable with, make an appointment with your medical provider and get detailed blood tests. Not only will you gain valuable information about your health today, but more importantly, you may able to establish a benchmark to monitor your health status looking forward. Explain that you want to be proactive in your health management and want to know if you may have developing health concerns.
You can’t assess your health simply by how you look and feel.
Even if you live a relatively healthy lifestyle by eating well and exercising, your body changes as you age. Having a thorough understanding of your blood work is empowering and will enable you to make choices that may help stop preventable chronic diseases before they cause you serious concerns.
Don’t wait for symptoms to present themselves to learn that you have, or are developing, health concerns. Stopping preventable chronic diseases can happen if you are proactive. While diet, exercise, supplements and good lifestyle choices will lead to better health, you may not know exactly how well you are doing unless you understand your bloodwork.
You need to know your numbers. Ask your medical provider to go over anything in your blood work that is outside of the normal range. An early detection of developing concerns and complications is the definition of being proactive. Know how your blood results are trending overtime, and you will have a better understanding your overall health.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale. He is an advocate for our elderly and is available to answer questions. His contact information is VisitingAngels.com/comtns or 970-328-5526.
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