8 Biomarkers you should test for at least once a yearApr 11, 2023
As we get older, prioritizing our health and wellbeing becomes increasingly crucial. One effective approach is to regularly monitor our health through various blood tests, which I have now incorporated into my annual check-up. Unfortunately, these tests must be paid for out of pocket, but I believe that in the long run, the investment is worthwhile.
Here's how I see it: at some point in my life, whether it's in 5 or 20 years, I'll likely face some health issues. By providing my doctor with ten years' worth of data on my body's functioning, they can more quickly identify and diagnose any problems, rather than me going to them saying that something feels off without any data to back it up. It's similar to having maintenance records when purchasing a used car. Wouldn't you like to know when the brakes were last changed and how frequently it was serviced? Without these records, you have no idea what has occurred in the past.
Here are eight tests that you should consider having done at least once a year, along with why they are important:
C-reactive protein (CRP): This blood test measures inflammation in your body. Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can lead to a range of health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. By measuring your CRP levels, your doctor can help you identify and address any underlying inflammatory issues.
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c): This test measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months. High levels of HbA1c can indicate that you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it. Managing your blood sugar levels is critical for preventing or managing diabetes, which can lead to a range of health complications.
Lipid profile: This test measures your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease, while high levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol can protect your heart. By monitoring your lipid profile, your doctor can help you identify any issues with your cholesterol levels and recommend lifestyle changes or medications to address them.
Vitamin D: This nutrient is important for bone health, immune function, and overall health. Low levels of vitamin D can increase your risk of osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, and other health problems. By measuring your vitamin D levels, your doctor can help you determine if you need to supplement your diet or increase your sun exposure to maintain healthy levels.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH): This hormone is produced by your pituitary gland and stimulates your thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Abnormal levels of TSH can indicate an underactive or overactive thyroid gland, which can cause a variety of symptoms and health problems. By monitoring your TSH levels, your doctor can help you identify any issues with your thyroid function and recommend appropriate treatment.
Cystatin C: This blood test measures your kidney function. Cystatin C is a protein produced by all cells in the body at a constant rate and is not affected by age, muscle mass, or diet. This means that the cystatin C test can provide a more accurate assessment of kidney function, particularly in people with decreased muscle mass or those with very high or very low levels of creatinine. Additionally, the cystatin C test may be more sensitive in detecting early changes in kidney function.
Ferritin: This test measures the amount of iron stored in your body. High levels of ferritin can indicate that you have too much iron, which can lead to liver damage, joint pain, and other health problems. Low levels of ferritin can indicate that you have anemia, which can cause fatigue and other symptoms. By monitoring your ferritin levels, your doctor can help you identify any issues with your iron levels and recommend appropriate treatment.
Homocysteine: This test measures the level of an amino acid called homocysteine in your blood. High levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. By monitoring your homocysteine levels, your doctor can help you identify any issues and recommend appropriate lifestyle changes or supplements to address them.
To summarise, it's really important for me to regularly test for biomarkers of health to stay on top of my health and detect any potential issues early on. These biomarkers can provide insight into my body's physiological and biochemical processes, such as my blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and hormone levels, which can indicate potential health problems. I can identify any potential health issues early and take steps to prevent or manage them before they become more severe. This allows me to maintain optimal health and prevent the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. We really need to start taking control of our own health and wellness before we get sick, this is a concept called preventative medicine where the idea is to try nip everything in the bud before it becomes an issue. The only reason at this point in my life that I want to go to the Dr is to get preventative tests done, I don't want to be going in to say something is wrong.
(NOTE: I'm not a Dr, these are just my opinions so please go speak to a Dr or Naturopath before taking any of these tests)
Jay Quarmby (Certified Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Specialist)
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