Designing for Health

Why you should get your blood tested regularly

Regular blood tests can offer essential insights into our health and our overall well-being.

In this day and age, we are pretty much used to managing all aspects of our lives in the form of data, from counting steps to measuring our sleep quality with specialized apps or wearable devices. However, there is still a significant blind spot in this approach when it comes to our health and blood levels. Filling this blind spot is crucial, since blood tests can deliver valuable insights that can help detect certain conditions before any symptoms set in.

Here are 5 key reasons to get your blood checked regularly, so you can stay healthy and avoid getting sick in the first place.

1. Provide your body with the right nutrients

Even on a balanced diet, you can still develop deficiencies in certain nutrients. Be it vitamins, iron or calcium – lacking nutrition can have a profound negative impact on your overall health. It can lead to symptoms such as fatigue or trouble concentrating. With regular blood tests you can detect potential deficiencies before they turn into a problem, allowing you to take countermeasures and monitor your progress over time.

For example: Ferritin is a mineral that is crucial in transporting oxygen through the body. It can also help ward off germs. The levels of ferritin in your blood can indicate whether your body's iron storage is depleting. This in turn gives you insights into how well your body is absorbing iron. 

2. Optimize your exercise regimen

There is a close correlation between your blood levels, your physical performance and the way your body recuperates. By analysing certain biomarkers in your blood you can measure and track your progress over time and – based on your health data – make informed decisions regarding your exercise regimen. 

For example: Haemoglobin and haematocrit levels offer insights on your blood's capacity to transport oxygen. They are important for your physical endurance and can be affected by physical activity, nutrition, and even the altitude that you reside in.

3. Discover causes for fatigue or frequent colds

Sometimes we feel tired, weak, irritated, forgetful or moody for no apparent reason. The answer to that conundrum can often be found in our blood. Hormonal imbalances and inflammatory markers found through blood tests might tell you what is happening inside your body. Equipped with that knowledge, you can find strategies to avoid serious health problems.

For example: The so-called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) takes part in – as the name implies – the regulation of your thyroid. This in turn impacts your body's metabolism. An over- or underactive thyroid can lead to issues like fatigue, hair loss, weight gain or depression.

4. Detect medical conditions early

For many illnesses early detection is the key to successful treatment. Regular blood tests can help reveal potential risk factors or the onset of certain conditions. In some cases, early detection means that minor changes in lifestyle can go a long way in keeping you healthy.

For example: HbA1c (also called glycated haemoglobin) gives insights on your average blood sugar levels during the past 2 to 3 months. Hence, it can be an early warning sign of prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition marked by increased blood sugar levels that are, however, still too low for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. It is indeed possible to adjust your blood sugar levels and revert prediabetes with the appropriate changes in lifestyle.

5. Track changes over time

If you monitor your blood levels over longer stretches of time, you can learn more about how your blood make-up compares to average metrics for other people of your sex and age group. While singular blood tests mostly offer a snapshot of your current levels, biannual blood tests allow you to detect patterns which might be indicators of long-term changes in your health.

By combining innovative technologies with proven medical methods in blood testing, you can take care of your health in a new, more accessible way. The healthtech company Aware developed a network of health labs across Germany where anyone can easily get their blood tested. This network is linked to an app that gives tailored advice based on the users’ blood levels. Anyone, anytime, anywhere can check their smartphone to get an overview of their health. You can make informed decisions on your lifestyle and take an active role in your health management. The goal is to stay healthy rather than having to become healthy again. Aware wants to make their services as affordable as possible and membership costs about as much as a Netflix subscription. Furthermore, Aware is looking into collaborations with private health care providers so they can prospectively reimburse up to 70–90% of the cost of their blood tests (i.e., around €15/month). Currently, potential arrangements with statutory health insurance providers are being discussed.

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