Six out of 10 adults in the United States have a chronic condition such as kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Comprehensive health testing looks for signs of these and other illnesses.
Why should you get tested
A comprehensive health test gives you and your doctor a picture of your overall health by looking at how organs such as your kidneys, liver, and heart are working. It can help diagnose illnesses and see if you’re at a higher risk of certain conditions so you can make lifestyle changes before your health worsens.
Who should get tested
Any adult who wants more information about their well-being can ask their physician if a comprehensive health test is recommended.
When to get tested
Your doctor may order this test to gather more information about your health if you’re feeling unwell or as part of a wellness check.
You may be asked to fast before your comprehensive health test because eating and drinking anything other than water can cause elevated levels of certain substances in your bloodstream. The fasting period is anywhere from eight to 12 hours prior to the test. Check with your physician for details.
Some prescription drugs can also affect test results, so let your health care provider know of any medications and supplements you take to ensure the most accurate results.
You can either obtain a lab order for a comprehensive health test from your doctor or purchase one directly on some websites. After following any instructions regarding fasting, take the order to a lab.
The scope of your comprehensive health testing may vary depending on the individual lab performing the test or the specific conditions your doctor wants to screen for. You can typically expect some combination of the following blood tests:
The tests are performed using a sample of blood. Once you arrive at the lab, a technician draws the blood from a vein, usually on the inside of your forearm. A blood draw is a simple procedure that takes only a few minutes. The sample is then sent for testing.
Most blood test results are available within a week. Your doctor can let you know when your results have been received. In some cases, you may also download your results online.
Your test results are given as a set of measurements of various substances in your blood, such as glucose or triglycerides. Your results are compared to typical normal results for healthy people. To best understand your results, review them with a physician, as there may be personal health factors affecting whether your levels are higher or lower than normal ranges.
Based on your test results, your physician may advise you to make lifestyle changes for optimum health — for example, if your cholesterol levels are high, you may need to adjust your diet. You may also be given orders for additional tests to give your doctor more detailed information.
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