6th June 2017
Some of the things to measure in regular (annual) blood tests
I’ve been a bit careless over the past few years in monitoring my declining levels of Vitamin D in the body. That’s something I woke up only yesterday after randomly chancing upon a report which showed a strong correlation between low Vit D levels and prostate cancer. I studied a bit more and found many more studies.
Regular (annual) blood tests are absolutely critical. It is only through such tests that my prostate cancer has been picked up. Hopefully it has not spread – fingers crossed. (Note: Although I’ve been fairly regular about these tests, I was a bit slack last year – too many things happening around me – and I did not immediately see the specialist despite a referral – A strong warning I’ve received to not neglect tests and specialist referrals at any cost.)
Better to take preventative steps than to suffer from consequences of ignorance.
I measure the following regularly.
A few years ago my Vit D levels had plummeted in to a severe deficiency stage. Most dark-skinned knowledge workers across the world (including in India) have an extremely indoor style. Even my exercise is largely indoor – in a gym. This problem of low Vitamin D among office workers, particularly with a darker skin, is by now long documented. Btw, I don’t take milk or yogurt, either! A recipe for disaster.
Unfortunately, I was a bit careless. After reverting back my Vit. D levels to some semblance of normalcy after they had dropped precipitously, I did not continue taking the supplements regularly, since around 2013. (Took once in a while, but not regularly.) Because of that my levels declined steeply from 98 mmol/L in 2013 to 79 in 2014 and 59 in 2015 – a one way decline to levels below 50, which are considered deficient. More problematically, I suspect, this yo-yo level of Vit D is not healthy. I did not take a Vit D test in 2016 or 2017 but I’m sure the levels continued to decline – during a critical period for the development of my prostate cancer.
I’ve started taking Vit D again a few days ago. I feel a bit stupid about not having continued regularly supplements through out the past few years.
Fasting glucose is the key level to be tracked.
This measures Iron and related matters.
This measures cholesterol.
The main general chemistry test measures around 15 different types of chemical markers, such as sodium, potassium, urea, etc. etc.
I’m particularly interested in this protein marker which has significant predictive relationship with inflammation across the body and can predict potential heart issues.
This measures Haemoglobin and platelets, etc. It provides around 10-12 different results. I’m afraid I’ve not understood these very well, but endeavour to track anything that’s outside the normal range.
This is mainly about the Thyroid gland and tests TSH. However, there is also a crucial test:
Tumour marker – PSA
This is a test for prostate cancer and is recommended in men over 40.