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 Post subject: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:13 pm 
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Loves Carrots (in the biblical sense)
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I had to get a basic health screening today for new insurance and it got me thinking about getting a blood work-up whenever I can get in with my PCP. I have never had anything tested by a doctor (my iron levels are checked when I give blood and they always are high enough to donate, but I don't know how accurate that test is). What do you suggest? I had my cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglyceride levels checked as part of the screening, and they were all good. I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

Thanks for any suggestions!


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 Post subject: Re: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:22 pm 
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Unless you have specific concerns (you're feeling bad, have reached a certain age, have a family history), there's not any other blood tests you need. If you have female body parts, you should get those checked out occasionally, and some PCPs do that. (Obligatory, Vegans, take a reliable source of b12, statement.)


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 Post subject: Re: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:33 pm 
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I'd say get your Vitamin D and B12 checked. Other than that, unless you have a specific malady that needs a blood test, you shouldn't need any others (like mollyjade said).


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 Post subject: Re: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:36 pm 
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My last primary care provider ran a STD panel as part of my annual exam, which I thought was helpful.

Apart from that, your PCP will generally meet with you and determine which tests you may need.

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 Post subject: Re: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:39 pm 
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I wouldnt rely on what your doctor suggests since they often don't know what deficiencies are common with a vegan diet. I'd get my b-12 and D checked like kibbles said.

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 Post subject: Re: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:44 pm 
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vegimator wrote:
I wouldnt rely on what your doctor suggests since they often don't know what deficiencies are common with a vegan diet. I'd get my b-12 and D checked like kibbles said.


Yup. My doc actually recommended the vitamin D test and I asked for B12. B12 level perfect, vitamin D was low. Good to know. Apparently a large part of the population as a whole is low on vitamin D.

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 Post subject: Re: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:45 pm 
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I don't see the point of getting b12 tested if you're eating a reliable source of b12. If you've been slacking, then maybe. And if you've gotten good iron tests at blood donations and don't feel run down, then your iron is probably fine. There's no more reason for vegans to have low iron or b12 (if they've been eating it) than for anyone else.

Edit. I guess one point would be peace of mind. So yeah, if you're unsure how you've been doing as far as b12 goes.


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 Post subject: Re: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:02 pm 
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Well honestly, some people absorb b12 poorly so I would recommend everyone (vegans and non-vegans alike) to get b12 tested.

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 Post subject: Re: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:05 pm 
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I was planning to ask about D and B-12. I do take a B-12 supplement, but I only started taking it recently and I've been vegan for a little over four years. I guess I just want to make sure it's doing its job. I'll probably ask about iron, too, because I don't know how accurate the test at Medic is.

Like mollyjade said, this is more for peace of mind. I don't feel sick or anything, I just want to make sure I'm doing well ...

If anyone has had these tests lately, what are good levels? If you don't mind sharing yours, that would be greatly appreciated as well.

My overall cholesterol is 161, which is below the threshold for safe, but high cholesterol runs in my family so I'm glad to have it checked. I had good levels of HDL and LDL, too. I think my blood pressure might be slightly high (which also runs in my family) so I need to start some kind of exercise to keep that from getting any worse. Any time I get any kind of health check, I start to think I'm about to fall apart (there maybe a tiny bit of hypochondriac in me ...), and it temporarily puts me on an "I need to be super healthy" kick. Thanks for your help (and thank you for no one being alarmist and telling me I need to get every single vitamin level in my blood checked lest I die from lack of potassium or something!).


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 Post subject: Re: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:11 pm 
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I think my D level was 42 when I had it tested when I was only getting D from a multivitamin. I'd like it a bit higher though so I dropped the multivitamin and now I take individual D, B12, calcium and iodine. My B-12 was out of range the first time I had it tested because I was taking like 10,000 mg a day. I stopped taking it regularly before my second test and it was at 1100 or something which is still unusually high.

If you search "normal level D" or whatever, you'll find answers for each vitamin. Apparently, "The normal range is 30.0 to 74.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL)" for D.

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 Post subject: Re: What blood tests do you suggest?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:05 am 
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Yeah, I agree with everyone else about the D and B12. For me, my D was exceptionally low - if it is, get a bone scan. I found out I had osteopenia at age 28! Now I am super careful about vitamin D and calcium supplementation.


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