Happy New Year! As our weekly readers will know, Healed by Bacon is dedicated to helping you overhaul your health and optimise how you feel – and January is the perfect time to start!
This week’s article is a repost of one we wrote at the start of last year – 5 health tests to start the new year. We’ve chosen to repost this article as we think it’s important to create a baseline for your health by providing you with the necessary health checks you need to do.
Ok, put your hand up if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your health or lose weight? And put your hand up if you know how you are going to do this?
Well done for taking the time to set a health goal, but let’s take a step back. Obviously you have made this resolution because you’re not happy with something, in particular, the way you feel. But how do we really measure how we ‘feel’? Is it by the number on the scales? Is it by the number of times we laughed today? Below are the top 5 health checks to help you create a baseline for your health.
- Tests for thyroid dysfunction
Are you struggling to lose weight? Feeling low or depressed? Struggling with everyday functions – like thinking clearly? If yes, then your thyroid might not be functioning efficiently.
If you have read our Initial Tests page, you will know that the most important thyroid function tests are:
- Free T4 and Free T3,
- Reverse T3,
- Thyroid Antibodies,
- Adrenal Cortisol Levels,
- Sex Hormones and a number of other blood tests.
These blood tests will help you gain a full picture of your endocrine health. However it is important that the doctor who completes these tests for you has a deep understanding of the thyroid. If we had a dollar for every time a doctor said our bloods were ‘in the healthy range’….
- Tests for Adrenal Fatigue
Autoimmune diseases, like hypothyroidism, go hand in hand with Adrenal Fatigue (AF). AF is becoming increasingly common as a result of the stressful western lifestyle; we are constantly stressed from study, work, family, money and never take the time to de-stress, relax and heal our bodies. So if you are struggling to even get up in the morning, your adrenal health might be compromised.
In the early stages of AF the blood tests you should be having include:
- Cortisol (although a Saliva test is much better than serum),
- Sex hormones, and
- Blood sugar levels.
In order to interpret your bloods and understand what stage of AF you are suffering from, read our 4 Stages of Adrenal Fatigue post.
- Tests for sufficient stomach acid
Stomach acid – let’s face it, it’s not really something you give much thought to. Yet stomach acid is actually one of the most important aspects of our digestive system. Low levels of stomach acid means the body can’t protect itself against bad forms of bacteria which can cause inflammation in our stomach.
A quick and easy test you can do at home to test your stomach acid levels is the baking soda test.
- Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance
Without sounding too extreme – wheat and other gluten containing grains really should be avoided at all costs for us suffering from autoimmune diseases. However if you have previously been able to tolerate them and only recently developed gluten sensitivity symptoms you can have a doctor run a number of blood tests, including:
- IgA anti-gliadin antibodies,
- IgG anti-gliadin antibodies,
- IgA anti-endomysial antibodies,
- Tissue transglutaminase antibody (IgA and IgG in questionable cases),
- Total IgA antibodies, and
- HLA DQ2 and DQ8 genotyping for celiac disease (used occasionally to detect genetic susceptibility).
- Triglyceride levels
We all know how the story goes – eating foods high in that horribly bad saturated fat leads to high cholesterol which leads to atherosclerotic plaques that causes a clot which then results in a heart attack or stroke. And that’s why most doctors like to test our LDL/HDL cholesterol levels to make sure they are sufficiently low.
BUT we really shouldn’t be worrying about our high cholesterol, instead, we should be focusing on lowering our triglyceride levels. High triglycerides are a good predictor of a very high risk for cardiovascular disease and the more processed, high-carb foods we eat, the higher our triglyceride levels go.
Therefore, in order to gain a good picture of your heart health, you should have your doctor test your triglyceride levels – a healthy range is below 1 according to your doctor, however below 0.6 is the goal.
Good luck on your path to optimising your health!!