Posts

The Importance of Blood Tests

You probably know how often you can go between haircuts, bikini waxes, manicures and pedicures. Unfortunately, very little, if any, seem to remember when they’re due for certain health screenings.

Regular blood testing is part of maintaining optimal health. More often than not, people fall victim to a disease that could have been prevented had the proper blood test been done on a regular basis.

In the past, doctors used blood tests just to ascertain cardiovascular risk factors for their patients. Later on, they have realized that regular blood testing not only helps them identify the risk factors, it can also aid in the detection of numerous health problems that are fairly easy to correct provided that they are caught on time.

Calcium overload, a condition that is caused by the removal of too much calcium in the bone, is one good example of those conditions that could easily be prevented. Unless discovered by a blood exam, patients are unaware that they have a calcium imbalance. Worse, they’ll only find out about the condition after they have a heart valve failure, a painful kidney stone (renal calculi) or a crippling bone fracture, which are often manifested a few years after the calcium imbalance first began.

A simple and inexpensive blood chemistry could have detected this problem. Thus, allowing the doctor to prevent the disease from progressing and causing irreversible damage.

Important blood tests to remember

Need a refresher course on your recommended screenings? No problem. We have put together a list of the most important blood tests to help you remember what needs to be checked.

Complete blood count

CBC is one of the most common blood tests and is usually a part of a routine checkup. Testing all blood components, this test can help detect blood diseases like immune system disorders, blood cancers, clotting problems, infections and anemia.

Blood chemistry/blood metabolic panel

This test measures the different chemicals in the body. Plus, it can give the doctor some information about your organs (liver and kidney), bones and muscles, including the heart.

Blood tests to asses heart diseases

A type of blood test that can determine whether or not you’re at risk of coronary heart disease is lipoprotein panel. Here, they look at substances that in your blood that carry cholesterol.

 

Should I Really Take Calcium Supplements to Prevent Osteoporosis?

You have probably heard that calcium plays an important role for bone health and how vital it is in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. However, bone health is more than just having sufficient amount of calcium. It also involves a number of factors like exercise, sticking to a balanced diet, and a sufficient amount of vitamin D.

Fruits and vegetables: best food for the bones

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to take calcium supplements regularly in order to get enough calcium. When you stick to a healthy diet and consume more fruits and vegetables, it is impossible not to obtain the recommended amount of calcium. In fact, one study revealed that the addition of more fruits and vegetables to the diet has shown to be effective in increasing bone health and bone density.

Nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables are not only good sources of calcium. They also contain magnesium, vitamin K, potassium and other nutrients that are essential for bone health. Additionally, these foods are alkaline. Meaning, they do not induce urinary calcium loss.

Calcium may be an important ingredient in keeping our bone healthy, but we really don’t need much of it. The only reason why dairy products and calcium supplements are considered as the main source of calcium is due to the fact that American diet is mostly centered on refined grains, sugar and animal fat. Unfortunately, all of which are void of calcium.

Vitamin D deficiency

Most women are taking an excessive amount of calcium as recommended by their doctors. However, most people are still not getting enough calcium. For it to be absorbed, we also need to have sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. You may be consuming milk by the gallons or taking calcium supplements regularly, but with the absence of Vitamin D, the calcium you take in won’t do you any good.

Since most people work indoors, they have sub-optimal levels of Vitamin D. In fact, one study showed that most Americans are vitamin D deficient. Today, more and more health professionals are recommending that we take an additional 800 to 1200 IUs of vitamin D on top of the 400 IUs, which are typically present in most multi-vitamins.

The solution

As mentioned earlier, calcium supplements are not the way to go if you want to prevent osteoporosis. Rather, exercise regularly to strengthen your bones and muscles, eat a high nutrient diet and take the right supplements.