Five health care tests for a healthy lifestyle

~Dr Shivali Ahlawat, Oncquest Laboratories Ltd, 

Head- National Reference Laboratory, Gurugram & Head- East & South Regional Labs~

While most tend to consult a medical practitioner and go for prescribed test after detecting symptoms of a disease or falling sick, health check-ups on a regular basis is more suggestible to identify early signs of any health issue, which will significantly increase the chances of effective treatment. Keeping track on the health, monitoring ongoing physical condition and checking symptoms become key to living a healthy lifestyle. Further, with the advancement of technology, monitoring personal health at home through online tests has been made possible and primary care can also be accessed virtually through a video interface.

One key benefit of regular tests is that before prescribing the tests the doctor will take note of the individual’s medical history, family’s history of disease, lifestyle including your diet, weight, physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking habit. This information can help the physician suggest simple lifestyle changes for a healthy living. 

Apart from that, basic tests that shall be done regularly to monitor physical conditions are as below:

  • Complete Blood Count

The complete blood count gives information about the blood cells of the individual, cell count and hemoglobin concentration. Cells circulating in body are divided into three types – Red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leucocytes) and platelets (thrombocytes). Deranged values whether low or high can be present physiologically or may indicate a disease state such as anemia, infection and others. Fasting is not required prior to collection.

  • Monitoring lipid profile
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The lipid profile measures the amount of cholesterol, its subfractions and triglycerides in the blood. The lipid profile should be done regularly to determine the risk of fat deposits buildup in the arteries, which can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout the body – also called as atherosclerosis. High cholesterol often has no signs or symptoms but is significant risk factor of coronary artery disease and can also lead to heart attacks and other cardio-vascular diseases. The test is done through a small amount of blood drawn from the body. 12-14 hour fasting is required prior to collecting the sample.

  • Blood sugar level

Abnormalities in the blood sugar level, the prime risk factor for diabetes, can lead to heart, kidney and dental disease, stroke and even blindness. Though the blood glucose level test can be checked at home, diabetes can be a more complicated condition and need clinical examinations. Some of the common signs of diabetes can be increased thirst and hunger, dry mouth, blurred vision and headaches. The pharmaceutical tests include two ways of testing – checking the blood sugar level during empty stomach and after eating. Better way to evaluate blood sugar is through the HbA1c test which reflects the average blood glucose levels for the last two to three months.

  • Kidney function test

Kidney function tests are conducted to measure how efficiently the kidneys are clearing wastes from the body. Risk factors for kidney dysfunction include hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, elevated cholesterol or a family history of kidney disease. This panel may also be done when a person has signs and symptoms of kidney disease, though in early stage no noticeable symptoms may be observed. Kidney function tests are useful for general health screening; screening patients at risk of developing kidney disease and management of patients with known kidney disease.

  • Liver function test
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Liver function test or liver panel is conducted to measure different enzymes, proteins and other substances made by the liver – to check the overall health of the liver. Commonly all substances can often be tested through a single blood sample. The test should regularly be done to stay safe from liver diseases like hepatitis, and other risks like damaged or scarred liver problems such as cirrhosis.