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The Numbers That Most Impact Your Health

Numbers That Have the Most Impact on Your Health

Periodically, articles appear in print with lists of tests that can help you avoid serious illnesses and premature death. The idea of preventive medicine has been in the air for a long time, and now it is much easier to implement than before. Necessary basic tests are not expensive, and many of them are even available for free to many people.

For example, in Canada, preventive tests are done for free every two years. All you need to do for this is to call your doctor and schedule a routine examination. Such a visit lasts an hour, you will be examined, and the necessary tests will be ordered. However, many people do not go to the doctor until they have health problems.

Most often, when you already have symptoms, it means that the problem has gone deep enough. But not all problems arise in a day; many of them have a cumulative effect, and the diagnosis is made only when the quantity turns into quality. For example, chronic heartburn can lead to esophageal cancer, although it takes several years. But in the case of heartburn, you can feel it and take action. However, chronically high blood pressure, which can lead to a range of cardiovascular diseases, is hardly felt by anyone. Chronically elevated blood sugar is also not felt, but it damages blood vessels. In combination with high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar further increases the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

Now, some information about types of tests. There are, roughly speaking, two groups of tests. One group includes tests that are not diagnostic but help predict many problems – sensitive tests. The other group includes tests that are diagnostic for certain issues. They are ordered only when it is necessary to confirm a diagnosis – specific tests. Some tests are both specific and sensitive. We will now talk specifically about sensitive tests, as they can help us predict and prevent many problems.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A complete blood count (CBC) is a group of tests that evaluate the cells circulating in your blood, such as red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), and platelets (PLT). A complete blood count can assess the condition of the body and help detect various diseases and conditions, such as infections, anemia, and leukemia.

Glycated Hemoglobin (HbA1c)

The hemoglobin A1c test is a blood test that measures the amount of sugar (glucose) bound to hemoglobin in red blood cells (RBC). People with diabetes or other conditions that raise blood glucose levels have more sugar bound to hemoglobin than usual.

This test is diagnostic for diabetes. Regardless of whether you ate something sweet before the test or not, this test will show your average blood sugar level over the past three months.


Ferritin is our iron reserve in the body. It is from ferritin that the body makes new hemoglobin. Too little ferritin is bad because the body cannot produce the necessary hemoglobin. Hemoglobin deficiency causes iron-deficiency anemia. Due to this anemia, cells will lack oxygen, and they will start to die quickly. When there is too much ferritin in the body, it is also bad. It accumulates in various organs, causing serious problems, such as liver and heart issues. Controlling the ferritin level is a very important preventive test. It is unsafe to add iron to your diet without monitoring this parameter.

Vitamin B12

The vitamin B12 test measures the amount of vitamin B12 in the blood. This B vitamin is necessary for the formation of new blood and the maintenance of a healthy nervous system. Very often, chronic fatigue is caused by a lack of vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is found in animal products. Most often, it is low in vegans, but even people who regularly consume animal products may have low levels of vitamin B12. This happens for various reasons. The thing is that this vitamin has a complex two-step absorption system. If there are problems with its absorption in the stomach or intestines, the vitamin simply does not get absorbed. Of course, you can always take a B12 injection and raise your B12 level, but for this, you need to regularly test it.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is practically common in everyone who has never checked their levels. In countries far from the equator, the average vitamin D level at the end of winter is usually very low.

Vitamin D affects about 10% of all the genes in our body. This is why its deficiency is critical in many diseases, including various types of cancer, autism, cardiovascular diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis. We need vitamin D to fight various viral diseases as well, such as the common cold and the flu.

It is impossible to understand how your body absorbs vitamin D and what dose you need without testing. There are two tests for vitamin D: 1,25 (OH) D and 25 (OH) D. We are interested in 25 (OH) D; it is the best indicator of your vitamin D levels. Some doctors say that you can just take vitamin D without testing, claiming that your levels will never get too high no matter how much you use. I experimented on myself, and my vitamin D levels exceeded the maximum limit in just 40 days! However, excess vitamin D is also dangerous; it can lead to kidney stones and vascular calcification.


Homocysteine is an amino acid that is usually present in small amounts in all cells of our body. The body usually rapidly converts homocysteine into methionine, which in turn becomes glutathione. Since this conversion requires vitamins B6, B12, and folate, an elevated level of homocysteine can be a sign of a deficiency in these vitamins. To date, there are no studies confirming that adding these vitamins increases lifespan. However, we are not just talking about longevity but also about the quality of life. Elevated homocysteine levels have been proven to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, ischemic heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, and blood vessel thrombosis.

Cholesterol and Lipid Panel

For many years, cholesterol was blamed for all cases of cardiovascular diseases. Now we know that cholesterol is necessary for the body to produce vitamin D, synthesize sex hormones, and maintain proper brain function. It’s important not just to check your cholesterol level but also to assess the ratios of different types of lipids.

The ratio of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) to total cholesterol below 10% indicates a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. The second ratio is between triglyceride levels and high-density lipoproteins, and it should be below 2.

Both of these ratios are excellent predictors of the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and Thyroid Panel

To diagnose thyroid diseases, hypothyroidism, or hyperthyroidism, it is often enough to perform only the TSH hormone test. However, there is currently no consensus on this worldwide. The thing is, there are situations where the TSH hormone shows a normal value, but impending problems can already be seen from the complete thyroid panel. And since we are talking here not about treatment but about preventing serious health problems, we will be interested in the complete thyroid panel. It should include not only hormones produced by the thyroid gland but also antibodies to the thyroid gland.

What are antibodies? Usually, the immune system protects us from foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. Destruction of these invaders occurs with the help of antibodies produced by blood cells (lymphocytes). Problems begin when the body begins to confuse its own with foreign substances. Antibodies can appear even before the hormone that stimulates the production of thyroid hormones – TSH – shows any deviation from the norm.

Thyroid dysfunction can cause very serious problems. For example, thyroid storm, a potentially life-threatening condition for people with hyperthyroidism. In this case, a large amount of thyroid hormone is released.


D-Dimer is a blood test that measures the presence of a substance called D-dimer in your blood. When blood clots break down in your body, they produce fragments, including D-dimer. Elevated levels of D-dimer in your blood may indicate increased formation and breakdown of blood clots in your body.

This test is used to aid in the diagnosis of conditions related to blood clotting and is often associated with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE), and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Elevated D-dimer levels can also be observed in various other medical situations such as inflammation, infection, recent surgery, pregnancy, or certain types of cancer.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became known that some patients with severe COVID-19 may develop hypercoagulability, meaning their blood is prone to forming excess clots. This can lead to the formation of thrombi (clots) in various parts of the body, including the lungs, heart, and other organs. These clots can cause serious complications such as pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Due to this association between COVID-19 and an increased risk of thrombosis, D-dimer became widely used in medical practice to assess the degree of hypercoagulability in COVID-19 patients.

In British Columbia, Canada, a study showed that ≥90 days after COVID-19, many patients still have elevated D-dimer levels, and there is a continued association between D-dimer and VTE (venous thromboembolism). However, during this period, VTE is rarely detected radiographically (in 1.1% of cases). Therefore, the medical system in this province does not conduct regular D-dimer testing in the post-COVID-19 monitoring system. You can check this parameter with a naturopathic doctor if you suspect it has a high value.


How often should you get tested? I do it once a year, but if you do preventive tests at least once every 2 years, as is customary in Canada, that’s also good. It’s much worse to go for years without any checks, relying solely on how you feel. After all, many parameters, when deviated, do not show any symptoms, or the symptoms are very nonspecific. For example, low ferritin, low vitamin D, and low B12 levels can manifest as increased fatigue without obvious reasons. A short time interval between tests allows you to address the problem in time and correct the necessary parameters.

I also want to emphasize that tests cannot overlook the importance of monitoring other parameters, such as blood pressure measurement, body fat percentage, and waist size to avoid fat accumulation in the abdomen. All of this can also be done by your doctor during routine preventive check-ups.

Consult with your doctor, find out from them which tests may be needed in your situation. Because here, I have listed only the tests that allow for preventing the most critical problems in the most general case, and we are all different.