What is the Benefit of Regular Blood Testing?
If you check your car's oil more than you check your blood pressure, you have your priorities backwards.
This is a catchy soundbite often used by many leaders in the fitness & health industry, and with good reason. We often forget that we are comprised of flesh & blood, extremely susceptible to infection and disease, yet our miraculous bodies give monumental effort in warding off these invaders every minute of every day, and we [largely] remain blissfully unaware.
Some may see the physical manifestation of dis-ease (note the difference from disease; one precedes the other) more readily than others. The tragic symptoms of autoimmune disease are a prime example - unlucky individuals suffering the physical manifestation of symptoms of the body's immune system attacking self tissue. Others, or rather, the vast majority, never physically witness the impact that dis-ease states can have on bodily function(s); that is, until it goes wrong.
Granted, dis-ease is not present in everyone. Some are much more susceptible to others, bearing the brunt of sickness even when they live & breath perfect health-seeking practice every waking minute, yet others may live like slobs with an atrocious diet & lifestyle and seemingly be the picture of health.
Enter regular testing.
The beauty & benefit of regularly measuring health metrics, be it blood pressure/sugar, heart rate, heart rate variability or comprehensive blood work, is that you can create an image of trend instead of a snapshot in time.
Sporadic measures are never representative of health over the long term due to the dynamic fluidity and agility of physiological systems & processes. Yes, they may give you a reading that falls within reference ranges if you are relatively 'healthy,' for Doc to give you the thumbs up, but this does not mean that they are always within range.
An example here would be 'white coat syndrome,' or isolated office hypertension, whereby an individual experiences a sensory stress response from the visual information relayed to the brain that he/she is in danger, thus invoking an increase in blood pressure in combination with other stress responses. In actual fact, this is an artificial reading due to an induced fear state from the sight of a doctor or blood pressure cuff; not representative of that person's ambulatory/every day blood pressure.
'An increase in blood pressure in combination with a stress response'
The benefit of regular testing and creating a picture of average over a long-term time frame, is that you can view metrics as trends and pay attention to anomalies within those trends, not snapshot values. It's no wonder that we use regular data collection rigorously at Source Health to paint a broad term picture of the foundational health of our clients; it is just unimaginably more useful in understanding the complex interplay between lifestyle factors, behaviours, psychology and physiological health markers.
Try to take an interest in your own health markers or metrics, even if it is so simple as your resting heart rate at different points throughout the day. Track these over time and see how they change. Leave us a comment or get in touch to share how these have offered you insight.
Food for thought.
Yours in health,