I’ve always felt that certain blood test snapshots could be “out of focus”. The results could vary, dependent upon what you ate, how much/little you exercised, the type of rest/sleep you had and the stress you were undergoing.
When I go for a blood test, I want to control as many variables as possible. I prepare, just as I would for an exam. I don’t pig out (who me?) in the preceding days and I do as much as I can to manage my emotions.
Someone else agrees with me. I recently read this on page 66 in Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris: “It’s important to get blood tests often enough to trend, and to repeat/confirm scary results before taking dramatic action.”
He included an anecdote from Dr. Peter Attia, who explained what happened to his platelet and white blood count after he swam from Catalina Island to Los Angeles. (Yes, you read that right!) They changed from his normal to 6 times normal and 5 times normal, respectively.
‘I’ve always been hesitant to treat a patient for any snapshot, no matter how bad it looks. For example, I saw a guy recently whose morning cortisol level was something like 5 times the normal level. So, you might think, wow, this guys got an adrenal tumor, right? But a little follow-up question and I realized that at 3 a.m. that morning, a few hours before this blood draw, the water heater blew up in his house.’
There’s one particular phrase in Dr. Attia’s comment that should become a mantra for healthcare professionals: “follow-up questions”.
As a patient, be proactive. Question. Listen. Double-check. Follow up. The latter one is especially important, as you’ll read on Owner Operator.
Does this image turn your stomach?
If you have had enough of getting stressed by the thought of needles, or by blood tests, I can help. Email me to free yourself from this anxiety.