Blood Panel Testing for Healthspan - Top 5 Companies to Consider
Just like almost everyone, you’ve likely received a blood panel test and reviewed your lab results with your doctor.
In addition to a doctor’s orders, blood panel testing is an option many individuals explore in order to learn unique information about themselves and make decisions to positively impact their health.
That said, even the most diehard of longevity enthusiasts and biohackers find themselves wondering how exactly to go about getting a blood panel test done.
Fortunately, modern medicine provides us with some simple guidelines to follow as well as a range of blood testing options that enable us to get a clearer picture of our health.
The unique health information we get through blood panel testing allows us to make lifestyle changes and healthcare decisions that can help combat potential medical issues indicated either for the present or the future.
In the following article, we discuss the best way to get blood panel testing done, which blood tests you should get, and which companies you can trust in delivering the right information so you can make actionable health decisions.
What is blood panel testing?
Blood panel testing is a series of blood tests that gather information about a person’s health. This information can point to certain medical conditions, such as anemia, diabetes, and even cancer. Similar to epigenetic age tests, blood panel testing can allow all people, whether you’re healthy or struggling with medical issues, to track significant changes in your body over time.
If you want to promote life extension and live a healthier life, you’ll want to consider incorporating blood panel testing regularly to help prevent disease and make the right lifestyle choices for you.
How to do a blood test properly?
When scheduling your blood tests, the staff at the testing lab may or may not communicate the proper protocol you should follow to adequately prepare for a blood test. We’ll cover the best practices below, to include what the blood test will actually be like, so you can mentally prepare (especially if the idea of a blood draw makes you nervous).
- Schedule: Schedule your blood tests in a lab that follows CLIA regulations.
- Hydrate: Hydrate leading up to the test to make vein location easier.
- Fast: To get the most accurate reading, you may need to fast for a certain period of time. Scheduling a test first thing in the morning can ensure you’ll be properly fasted.
- Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine: To avoid skewing your lab results, you’ll want to avoid stimulants and depressants such as alcohol and caffeine 24 hours before the test.
- Pause Medication: If necessary, you may need to temporarily stop taking prescribed medications that can affect results. This will need to be approved by your healthcare provider.
- Loose Clothing: Wear clothing that allows easy access to the inner elbow for when the phlebotomist draws your blood.
- Minimize Stress: Avoid stress leading up to the blood test, as this can potentially skew results as well.
- Bring ID: Bring proper identification like a drivers license to your lab appointment. The staff will want to ensure that you are the same person who is registered to get a blood panel, and identification will help verify that for them.
- Communicate with Staff: Inform the phlebotomist of any allergies or fears around blood tests.
- Stay Still: While you’re getting your blood drawn, it probably goes without saying, but you want to make sure you stay as still and relaxed as possible. Don’t flex your muscles while the phlebotomist is drawing your blood.
- Apply Pressure: The phlebotomist will likely put gauze in the area and have you apply pressure to the bandaged area for a few minutes following the blood draw.
- Monitor the Area: Over the next few days, monitor the area where you had your blood drawn for any signs of infection or excessive bruising. If you see anything unusual, inform a medical professional.
- Post-test Instructions: Follow any post-test instructions from your healthcare provider, such as resuming prescribed medications.
What should I avoid after a blood draw?
Similarly, there are some things you want to avoid doing after getting your blood drawn:
- Don’t remove your bandage too soon
- Avoid heavy lifting or cardio
- Minimize alcohol
- Avoid taking blood thinners
- Don’t fast
- Don’t forget to hydrate
- Don’t ignore uncommon symptoms like dizziness or severe pain at puncture site
When is the best time to do a blood test?
The best time to do a blood test is in the morning, between 7:00am to 10:00am. Blood tests should be performed at this time of day because of the variability of testing parameters that can occur throughout the course of the day, such as elevated hormone levels. Additionally, if you need to take a blood panel fasted, you’ll likely be the most fasted first thing in the morning.
Routine blood panel screening: How often and what’s included?
According to Dr. Peter Attia, you should get routine blood panel screening once a year, which includes a basic metabolic panel and complete blood count (CBC).
The following are what’s normally included in a routine blood panel test:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC): Measures the quantity and quality of red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelets. Also known as a full blood count, this common blood test is used to detect a variety of health conditions, like infections, immune system diseases, and blood cancers.
- Basic Metabolic panel (BMP): This group of blood tests measures 8 substances in the blood, including: calcium, carbon dioxide, chloride, creatinine, glucose, potassium, sodium, urea nitrogen (BUN). The purpose is to provide information on your metabolism, kidney function, and electrolyte balance to raise awareness of health conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Basic Lipid panel: Measures the level of fat molecules in the blood, including total cholesterol level, HDL-C, LDL-C, Cholesterol/HDL-C ratio, Non-HDL-C, and triglycerides. This lipid test is typically used to evaluate someone's risk of cardiovascular disease like heart disease or myocardial infarction (heart attack).
- Thyroid panel: Blood test that analyzes how well the thyroid gland is functioning by measuring levels of thyroid hormones and hormones that stimulate thyroid function. It’s used to help diagnose thyroid related conditions like hyperthyroidism, thyroiditis, and Graves disease for those that are experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and unexplained weight change.
If you’d like to take it a step further, here are additional tests you may want to get:
- HbA1c (A1C) test: Measures average blood sugar over the last 3 months to help diagnose diabetes.
- Comprehensive Metabolic panel: Measures 14 different substances in your blood to provide broad insights about your health.
- Coagulation panel: Blood tests that test for potential blood clotting disorders by assessing how proteins function in the blood.
- 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D blood test: Most accurate test of vitamin D in the body, which is essential for the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus and maintain healthy bones.
- DHEA-sulfate serum test: Measures the male sex hormone DHEA, which is found in both men and women, to help diagnose issues with the pituitary gland and diseases of testes and ovaries.
- C-reactive protein (CRP) test: CRP is released into the bloodstream by the liver in response to inflammation, so this test helps to monitor inflammation in acute and chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
- C-peptide test: Measures the amount of C-peptide in a blood sample to analyze how efficiently the pancreas is making insulin to help determine what type of diabetes a person has and how well they are responding to treatment.
Attia recommends these five preventative biomarker tests, specifically:
- Lipoprotein (a) (Lp(a)-P): This only needs to be taken one time, and it will help to uncover your genotype. This test can reveal your risk for blood vessel diseases, stroke, and heart attack.
- APOE Gene: This only needs to be taken one time and can check your risk for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- ApoB: This test can help you determine your risk for heart disease, as ApoB is the main protein in the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
- OGTT with insulin measurements: The Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) can test for impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and pre-diabetes. It is more specific than a regular A1C glucose test when testing for pre-diabetes.
- ALT: The ALT test tests your levels of alanine transaminase, an enzyme that’s released when your liver is injured or damaged. Specifically, it can indicate if your liver isn’t working well or potentially point to fatty liver disease risk.
If you’re struggling with existing underlying medical conditions, you may benefit from more frequent bloodwork to better track changes in your body.
Top 5 Companies For Blood Panel Testing
It’s important to get blood panel testing from reputable labs. Here are five below:
Quest Diagnostics is a multinational Fortune 500 company and the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services. Quest operates over 2,200 patient locations and dozens of clinical labs across the US. You can order blood tests directly through Quest and choose from over 75 different tests without requiring a physician visit.
LabCorp is an American healthcare company that operates one of the largest clinical laboratory networks in the world. The company boasts over 2,000 lab locations across the United States where patients can go for blood work. You can choose from over 40 on-demand health tests and purchase directly through the LabCorp OnDemand portal.
Ulta Lab Tests is a company that offers affordable lab testing while providing patients with a platform to order and review their test results. The company provides over 2,000 lab tests and panels through Quest Diagnostics.
4. Marek Health
Marek Health is a telehealth platform that offers health coaching and lab services. Marek serves customers with a limited range of comprehensive health screening packages that include blood panel testing at a competitive rate. The company leverages LabCorp for its phlebotomy services.
Everylwell is an internet health company that provides at-home test kits. You take your blood samples at home with a finger prick and send the results to the lab for analysis, after which you can review your results on their secure online platform. Everlywell uses CLIA-certified laboratories, including its own flagship lab, Everlywell Diagnostics, based in Dallas, Texas.
Blood panel testing for longevity
Blood panel testing is a useful tool for enhancing longevity and overall health, as it allows you to detect potential medical conditions early on. That said, you might be a little nervous or unsure of what to expect, and that’s completely normal. Follow the steps listed in this article to prepare for your blood panel test and choose your lab wisely from the options above for a reliable experience and accurate results.
Blood panel testing is just one facet of a comprehensive approach to extended longevity. There are many other aspects, such as getting sufficient sleep and avoiding extensive exposure to harmful pollutants, which may help improve your results the next time you get an annual blood test.
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