It’s not always the most comfortable part of your doctor’s visit, but Marissa Roberts, a nurse practitioner with Lee Health, says your blood can reveal a lot about your overall health. “Lab work is kind of part of a puzzle piece and we use that in order to determine what’s going on.”
Blood work typically checks for three things: CBC, metabolic panel, and a fasting lipid panel. “A CBC is a complete blood count, so that’s where we look at your red blood cells and white blood cells. We measure your hemoglobin and your hematocrit to make sure you don’t have any anemia,” said Roberts.
Patients with a low hemoglobin or anemia may experience fatigue, shortness of breath, or dizziness, which could be related to diet, age, or a medical condition that needs to be evaluated. “If somebody comes in and they’re complaining of fatigue and it’s been six months since they had their last lab work done then we’ll go ahead and draw those labs,” said Roberts.
They also look at the metabolic panels which checks for electrolytes, potassium, sodium, and calcium. “We also check liver function and kidney function to make sure you’re organs are working the way they are supposed to,” said Roberts.
Other times doctors may request patients do a fasting lab, where the patient can’t eat for 12 hours. “One of the biggest reasons that we do fasting labs is to get the baseline. We want to see how your body deals with glucose without any additional food,” said Roberts.
Depending on the results, patients may need to have more blood work to make sure they aren’t at risk for diabetes or other health conditions. “It is so important to come in for annual labs and it is so important for us to monitor these things,” said Roberts.
Patients are encouraged to get their blood work checked every year. If the patient is experiencing symptoms health experts may decide to do blood work more often to keep an eye on the patient’s overall health.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.