As women, we often put family, careers, household duties, our pets and everyone under the sun before ourselves, don’t we? Well, we want to emphasize to you how important YOU are and how your HEALTH needs to take priority. We know you know this, but just as a gentle reminder… Here are a few things to help you maintain your health or help you achieve the optimum health you deserve:

  • Mammograms
  • DEXA Screenings
  • Routine Bloodwork
  • Nutritional Analysis
  • Cancer Screenings
  • Fitness Routine

Routine Blood Tests

Here is a brief description of some of the testing we may do. It is upon the discretion of the healthcare provider which tests may be needed:

CBC (Complete Blood Count):

  • RBC (Red blood cell count): red blood cells are the major blood component that are made in the bone marrow and released into the circulation. This count is a very good indicator of the body’s ability to transport oxygenated blood to tissues.
  • WBC (White blood cell count): White blood cells are the body’s defense system against infections. Elevated counts may indicate infection or inflammation.
  • WBC Differential: There are five types of white blood cells- neutrophils, lymphocytes, mnonocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. The differential counts give you the percentage of each type. Each increase or decrease may indicate a certain medical condition.
  • RDW: Red cell distribution is an analysis of the variation of size of all red blood cells which is helpful in diagnosis anemias.
  • Platelets: Platelets are important in the blood clotting process. They stick together and form a “plug.” High or low counts may indicate blood disorders.

Thyroid testing

  • TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormones is secreted in the pituitary gland that acts on the thyroid gland to stimulate production and the release of T4 (thyroxine). When the thyroid gland is underactive, the TSH is high. When the thyroid gland is overactive, the TSH is low.
  • Free T3: T3 test helps to determine whether the thyroid is functioning properly. It is ordered primarily to help diagnose hyperthyroidism and may be ordered to help monitor the progress of a patient with a known thyroid disorder. The T3 test is usually ordered following an abnormal TSH and free T4 test.
  • Free T4: Thyroxine is the primary hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which regulates the body’s rate of metabolism and is needed for normal growth and development. Low values indicate too little T4 is being produced by the thyroid gland- hypothyroidism. High values indicate too much T4 produced by the thyroid gland- hyperthyroidism.
  • Thyroid Antibodies: Thyroid antibody testing is primarily ordered to help diagnose an autoimmune thyroid disease and to separate it from other forms of thyroiditis. It may be ordered to help investigate the cause of a goiter and/or performed as a follow-up when other thyroid test results (such as T3, T4, and/or TSH ) show signs of thyroid dysfunction.

Cholesterol Testing

Cholesterol is needed for proper body cell function. Lipoproteins serve as packages to transport cholesterol in the blood. The forms are HDL (high density lipoproteins) which is the “good” cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoproteins) which is the “bad” cholesterol.

  • HDL (Good) Cholesterol seems to show that high levels of HDL are linked to lower risk of heart and arterial disease. Low levels of HDL (less than 40 mg/dL) increase the risk of heart disease. Medical experts believe that HDL tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is processed and passed from the body. Normal levels for women are 50-60 mg/dL.
  • LDL (Bad) Cholesterol is a fat and protein combination and contains more fat than HDL. LDL builds up as fatty deposits in the arterial walls which hinders the flow of oxygen to the heart. Together with other substances, it can form plaque and make the arteries very narrow and less flexible (atherosclerosis ). Very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) contains large amounts of triglycerides and provides its transport. Optimal levels would be less than 100 mg/dL.
  • Triglycerides are fatty molecules formed in the liver and make of 95% of fat stored in tissue. Their major function is for energy and are often elevated after a meal. This level must be done fasting- at least 12 hours for a accurate result. When both serum triglycerides and cholesterol levels are elevated, the risk increases for coronary heart disease. Normal levels are less than 150 mg/dL.

Glucose

Blood tests

Glucose is the primary source of energy for all body functions. Blood glucose levels are regulated by several hormones such as insulin and glucagon. High levels may indicate hyperglycemia and low levels may indicate hypoglycemia.

  • Fasting glucose is done when you have not eaten after midnight (usually about 8 hours of not eating). American Diabetes Association guidelines are:
    • § 70-99 mg/dL => Normal
    • § 100-125 mg/dL => Impaired fasting glucose (pre- diabete)
    • § 126 mg/dL and above on more than one testing occasion Diabetes
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) : Sample drawn 2 hours after a 75-gram glucose drink
    • § Less than 140 mg/dL => Normal
    • § 140-200 mg/dL => Pre-Diabetes
    • § Over 200 mg/dL => Diabetes

    Glucose Test

Additional tests

  • Hematocrit (Hct): The hematocrit is the comparison of the cellular portion of the blood to the serum (fluid) portion and is reported as a percentage. This is often used with hemoglobin values to diagnose anemias.
  • Hemoglobin (Hbg): Approximately 1/3 of each red blood cell is made of hemoglobin, which carries iron. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to the tissues of the body.
  • MCV, MCH, and MCHC: The MCV measures the actual size of the red blood cell; the MCH measures the weight of hemoglobin; and the MCHC uses the MCV and the MCH to compare the size of the red blood cell to the amount of hemoglobin present. All are useful in diagnosing anemias.
  • LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase): LDH is an enzyme found in red blood cells as well as in the heart, kidneys, liver and muscle. Elevated LDH levels may be associated with certain anemias, myocardial infarction ( damage to the heart), liver disease and cancer.
  • Sodium: sodium is a major electrolyte that is present in body fluids and maintaining salt and water balance. Low levels can be found in a variety of conditions such as diarrhea and kidney diseases.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus is a mineral distributed throughout the body that works with calcium in bones. It also contributes to carbohydrate metabolism and acid-base balance.
  • Potassium: Potassium is one of the major electrolytes found primarily in the cells of the body. It has many important roles in maintaining cellular water balance, nervous tissue function, heart and muscle function.
  • BUN: Blood Urea Nitrogen: BUN is a waste product produced by the liver during protein breakdown and excreted by the kidneys. Elevated BUN level may be caused by kidney disease, urinary tract obstruction or a high-protein diet.
  • Uric Acid: Uric acid is a waste product of cell metabolism and is excreted by the kidneys. Elevated values are associated with diseases such as gout, arthritis and kidney problems.
  • Creatinine: Creatinine is a waste product of the muscles and is constantly released into the blood and excreted by the kidneys. Elevated levels may indicate kidney disease.

System Function Tests

Bone & Cellular Calcium & Phosphorus
Liver Alkaline Phosphatase, Bilirubin, GGTP, SGOT, SGPT
Heart LDH
Lipids & Coronary Risk Total Cholesterol, HDL, LDL & VDRL; Triglycerides, Cardiac Risk Ratios
Thyroid TSH, T4, T3 Uptake
Kidney BUN, Creatinine, Electrolytes, Protein, Uric Acid
Pancreas Glucose

Cancer Screening Tests

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommend the following screening tests:

Breast Cancer

Cancer Screening Tests

  • Women aged 40-49 years should have mammography done every 1-2 years.
  • Women aged 50 years and older should have it done every year.
  • If you have an increased risk of breast cancer in the family, this screening may be done sooner. Discuss this with your healthcare provider.
  • Women at a high risk should get an MRI and a mammogram every year.

Colon and Rectal Cancer

  • Beginning at age 50, the following should be done:
    • Fecal Occult Blood Test (Yearly)
    • Colonoscopy (Every 5-6 years)
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy (Every 5 years)
    • Double contrast barium Enema (Every 5 years)
  • If you have the following risk factors, testing may need to be done more often:
    • Personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps
    • Personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease
    • Strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
    • Family history of colorectal cancer syndromes

Cervical Cancer

  • Pap Test: It is recommended that the first Pap test be initiated three years after the onset ofsexual intercourse or by age 21, whichever comes first. This recommendation is based on the fact that cervical cancer screening in adolescents within the first three years after initiation of sexual intercourse is not likely to result in the identification of severe precancerous changes or cancer.
  • Women younger than age 30, annual Pap testing is recommended. Women who have had 3 normal Pap tests in a row may be screened every 2-3 years.
  • Women over 70 years of age who have had 3 or more normal Pap tests in a row and no abnormal Pap test results in the last 10 years may opt to not have Pap tests. Please discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Endometrial Cancer

It is recommended that women during the time of menopause should be informed about the risks and symptoms of endometrial cancer. It is strongly recommended for women to report any unexpected bleeding or spotting to their healthcare provider. If women have or at high risk for hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer, (HNPCC), annual screening should be offered for endometrial cancer with endometrial biopsy at 35 years of age.

 

Additional resources

www.acog.org/acog_districts
www.acog.org/from_home/publications