Posts tagged ‘blood tests’

April 18, 2017

#523 – Blood Test Snapshots

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Image courtesy of Billy W.

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.

He adds,

‘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.

Related posts:

November 27, 2013

#491 – Fear and Blood Tests

Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan /

Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan /

Going for blood work is a regular part of your disease management protocol when you have rheumatoid arthritis. If you are a afraid of needles, it would behoove you to overcome this fear.

On Overcome Your Fear and Get in the Swim I discuss how fear can take root and grow, persisting well into adulthood. The same holds true for a fear of needles.

Fear not, there are a couple of things you can do to help yourself get used to the weekly/monthly/bi-yearly pinch and prick, that occurs at a lab near you. The fact that you’ll have to go for blood work on a regular basis is, in itself, a type of exposure therapy. You do it so often that your fear degrades until it is no longer a fear. However, in the meantime, you have to deal with your current situation, so read on for some solutions.

When you understand the role the amygdala plays in your fear of needles, you are already a step ahead in overcoming your fear. Perhaps you’ve come by this fear, not by anything traumatic, but because you’ve inherited it at a young age from listening to a family member go on, at length, about their fear of needles. (Yes, fears can be passed around like salt and pepper at the dinner table.)

Now that you know that your fear may have expanded without your conscious awareness, you can begin to eliminate its effects. One recommendation is to do what my rheumatologist encourages me to do whenever he injects a joint with cortisone – talk. If you’re talking, your mind is on the talk, not on the needle.

If you don’t feel like talking, place your hand over your heart, breathe deeply and evenly and think about how your breath is helping your circulation. Now your focus is on breathing, plus you are not clenchingtighteninggripping, which makes the procedure go a lot easier.

The last tip is one that requires more time. Develop a regular stress undressing practice. This not only resets your nervous system; it also enhances your performance, and—great news for those of us with a propensity to flare!—reduces the inflammatory response.

I’ve found that due to this practice, some issues seemingly just melt away, including fears. It’s something I will do the rest of my life, because I feel and do better – much better, and I have the lab results to prove it! If you’d like to learn more, please contact me for a chat.

Finally, if you’re wondering about those blood tests, Kelly has explained them for you in this post, Blood Tests for Rheumatoid Arthritis: What Is Their Role?

Related post: A Squeeze and a Jab.

June 9, 2012

Technology and Lab Work

On my calendar each month is a visit to the lab for blood work.

In the past, you were able to receive a copy of your lab results in the mail. The lab I use now offers a service where you can register and view your results on-line.

It’s one more way for me to be an owner operator of the vehicle that is me.

Does the lab you visit offer this service? Do you use it?

Image courtesy of Griszka Niewiadomski.

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