The Blood Test Controversy

Blood tests are a standard part of most trips to the doctor. But in a scaled-down national healthcare system that is working with limited financial resources to pay healthcare costs, doctors are rethinking ordering so many blood tests and blood work.

Are fewer blood tests the way to go in Las Vegas?

It used to be that doctors felt an obligation to order all blood work possible to rule out a specific diagnosis. Studies at hospitals have shown that blood testing of hospital patients causes anemia in approximately three-quarters of them. Phlebotomists in hospitals draw blood anywhere from 4 AM to 6 AM, disturbing patients’ rest, which is a crucial factor in healing. They always draw an extra vial of blood to keep from having to stick a patient again just in case a vial is bad.

Some hospitals in Vermont started changing that scenario, and found that by allowing fewer of the more common tests, especially tests they deemed unnecessary, they saved their patients 105 liters of blood during the study. They estimated that if this could be done across the country, that around $5 billion could be saved in healthcare costs on a yearly basis.

The argument is just as strong for using a wide variety of blood tests in Las Vegas

Proponents of blood testing argue that blood testing is the most critical step many peoplecan take in preventing life-threatening diseases, especially as they age. Blood tests can identify critical changes in the body before they morph into diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and others. Being able to catch diseases before they begin offers a person the opportunity to correct lifestyle and dietary things that may be contributing factors to prospective diseases.

Many annual medical checkups only include routine blood work, and some checkups include no blood testing at all. Many of the routine blood tests do not test for the important disease markers that could help prevent disability or premature death.

There are many other reasons blood tests are important. By monitoring sex hormones, both men and women can enhance their quality of life. These hormone levels have been implicated in depression, erectile dysfunction, obesity in the abdomen, failing memory, and low energy levels.

Proponents of blood testing recommend that adults over age 40 have the following blood tests once a year:

1. A Chemistry Panel and Complete Blood Count (CBC) assesses the status of blood cells, the vascular system, kidney, and liver. It offers good information for screening for hematological anomalies such as infections and anemias. This also offers cardiovascular system information, measures blood glucose, and assesses calcium, potassium and iron.
2. Fibrinogen levels to predict the possibility of heart disease or stroke
3. Hemoglobin A1C, a good way to assess glucose levels
4. DHEA, involving the adrenals
5. For men, Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), as increased levels may suggest enlarged prostate, or prostate cancer, or prostate inflammation.
6. Homocysteine levels, as homocysteine levels that are high may be precursors for poor cognitive function, increased risk of heart attack, and bone fracture
7. C-Reactive Protein, to determine the body’s level of inflammation that is part of many conditions
8. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, to detect hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
9. Free testosterone
10. Estradiol levels, which are an indicator of the function of the hypothalamus and the pituitary.

Doctors in Las Vegas assess each individual’s history and current status to determine what, if any, blood tests are necessary to help the person maintain optimal health.

Keywords: blood work, Las Vegas

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