Tips

How Often You Should Get Blood Work

Spencer Lee22 Apr 2021

Many doctors recommend that you get blood work once per year, during the time of your annual physical. However, the exact frequency at which you undergo blood work depends on the type of test, your specific risk factors, and any unusual symptoms you may be experiencing. Outlined below are the specific requirements for the major types of blood work tests.

For many, it’s either been more than a year since your last lab work or you’re ready to get it done. Why not get it done faster and easier than scheduling a PCP appointment? With Mira, you can sign up, get tested today, and have your results within the week. Sign up for Mira in as quick as a few minutes and start saving on your health care bills immediately!

Guidelines for Getting Blood Work

There are several different types of blood tests, and not all of them are required at the same frequency. It’s important for you to understand your risk factors, so you can clearly communicate them to your physician, who will determine which tests are best suited for your health concerns.

Risk Factors

The risk factors that will determine which type of blood work you undergo include:

  • Age and Sex
  • Medications
  • Sexual Activity
  • Family History of Disease
  • Obesity
  • Drinking, Smoking, and Drug-use Habits

Prior to seeking care from your physician, you should consider if you fall into any risk factor zone that your doctor recommends for the criteria above.

Complete Blood Count

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) checks red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This type of blood work is most often used to identify conditions such as anemia, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, leukemia, and other cancers. Everybody, regardless of risk factors, should receive a complete blood count annually. This is most often conducted at an annual physical with your primary care provider. 

Basic Metabolic Panel

A Basic Metabolic Panel checks blood sugar levels, blood filtration, and electrolyte levels. This type of blood work is most often used to analyze kidney function, lung function, blood sugar. Accordingly, a Basic Metabolic Panel can identify kidney problems, lung problems, diabetes, and pre-diabetes. Everybody, regardless of risk factors, should receive a complete blood count annually. This is most often conducted at an annual physical with your primary care provider. 

Complete Metabolic Panel

A Complete Metabolic Panel covers all tests in a Basic Metabolic Panel and also has additional tests that analyze liver function. This type of blood work can be used to identify all the illnesses in a Basic Metabolic Panel as well as other ailments. Although anybody can undergo a Complete Metabolic Panel, it is most often used for individuals with chronic diseases, such as diabetic or hypertensive patients. If you meet these criteria or your doctor determines that you should get this type of blood work, you should seek a Complete Metabolic Panel annually. Note that 10-12 hours of fasting are required prior to this blood test. 

Lipid Panel

A Lipid Panel checks cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood and can detect the buildup of plaque in arteries. This type of blood work is an important test for early screening of coronary artery disease. Older adults should seek this test annually, or at the discretion of their physician. Younger adults should seek this test approximately every 5 years, or at the discretion of their physician. 

Vitamin Level Tests

Vitamin Level Tests check for levels of certain minerals and vitamins that are low in many adults. This type of test can help inform you of dietary shortcomings and other underlying ailments. In general, this test is recommended only for older adults according to a physician’s discretion. Of course, younger adults can still undergo this type of blood work if their physician deems it necessary. 

Thyroid Panel

Thyroid Panels analyze thyroid function, which is responsible for regulating hormones, mood, energy levels, and metabolism. Everybody should receive this type of blood work, regardless of risk factors; however, the frequency of testing differs between older and younger adults. Whereas older adults should seek this test approximately annually at the time of an annual physical, younger adults should seek this test less frequently depending on the discretion of their physician.

A1C Tests

The A1C test measures your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. It is one of the most commonly used tests to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. In addition, it is the main test that can help you and your healthcare providers manage your diabetes. If you are over 45, the CDC recommends a baseline test for all individuals. Overweight individuals under the age of 45 and are at high risk for diabetes, should also seek testing. If you have diabetes, you should get an A1C test at least twice a year — more often if you have medicine changes or if you have other health changes. Your physician will determine the exact frequency at which you undergo A1C blood tests.

STI Tests

STI Tests check to see if individuals are infected with common sexually transmitted infections (also known as sexually transmitted diseases). While not all STI Tests involve blood work, several tests for major STIs do. If you are sexually active and at a high risk of acquiring an STI, you should get tested at least once per year. Depending on your risk factors, your physician may recommend that you get tested more frequently. Not all individuals are the same, so it is important to understand your risk factors to determine how often you should get tested for STIs.

The frequency of any of the above blood tests is going to depend on what your personal needs are and what you’re trying to look for. 

Normal Ranges for the Major Blood Work Tests

The results of blood work tests can be confusing. The acceptable range is not the same for each test and depends on what each test measures. In addition, acceptable ranges often differ between men and women.

If the results of your blood test(s) fall outside these ranges, consult your doctor about the next steps you should take.

Complete Blood Count

ComponentAcceptable Range for WomenAcceptable Range for Men
Red blood cells3.90-5.03 million cells/mcL 

4.32-5.72 million cells/mcL


 

White blood cells3500 - 10,500 cells/mcL3500 - 10,500 cells/mcL
Platelets150,000 - 450,000 /mcL150,000 - 450,000 /mcL
Hemoglobin12.0-15.5g/dL13.5-17.5 g/dL
Hematocrit34.9-44.5%

38.8-50%


 

Complete Metabolic Panel & Basic Metabolic Panel

ComponentAcceptable Range for WomenAcceptable Range for Men
Albumin3.90-5.0g/dL3.90-5.0g/dL
Alkaline phosphatase44 - 147IU/L44 - 147IU/L
ALT (alanine aminotransferase)8 - 37IU/L8 - 37IU/L
AST (aspartate aminotransferase)10 - 34IU/L10 - 34IU/L
BUN (blood urea nitrogen)10 - 34IU/L10 - 34IU/L
Calcium8.5 - 10.9mg/dL8.5 - 10.9mg/dL
Chloride8.5 - 10.9mg/dL8.5 - 10.9mg/dL
CO2 (carbon dioxide)20 - 29mmol/L20 - 29mmol/L
Creatinine0.6 - 1.1mg/dL0.7 - 1.3mg/dL
Glucose70 - 100mg/dL70 - 100mg/dL
Potassium3.7 - 5.2mEq/L3.7 - 5.2mEq/L
Sodium136 - 144mEq/L136 - 144mEq/L
Total bilirubin0.2 - 1.9mg/dL0.2 - 1.9mg/dL
Total protein6.3 - 7.9g/dL6.3 - 7.9g/dL

Lipid Panel

CategoryAcceptable Range for Adults
Total CholesterolLess than 200mg/dL
LDL CholesterolLess than 100mg/dL
TriglyceridesLess than 150mg/dL
HDL CholesterolAbove 40mg/dL

Vitamin Tests

CategoryAcceptable Range for Adults
Vitamin A15-60mcg/dL
B12190-950pg/mL

Thyroid Panel

CategoryAcceptable Range for Adults
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)0.40 - 4.50 mIU/mL
T4: thyroxine5.0 – 11.0 ug/dL
FT4: Free T4 or free thyroxin0.9 - 1.7 ng/dL
T3: triiodothyronine100 - 200 ng/dL
FT3: Free T3 or free triiodothyronine2.3 - 4.1 pg/mL 

A1C Test

CategoryAcceptable Range for Adults
A1C (hemoglobin A1C)Below 5.7%

STI Tests

CategoryAcceptable Range for Adults
All Sexually Transmitted InfectionsNegative or Not Detected

Covering the Costs of Blood Work Tests

Blood work with and without insurance is expensive. In fact, Mira’s research indicates that some blood work can exceed $1000 without some type of coverage to help. However, with a Mira membership, you can receive most major blood tests for only $49. Mira’s same-day lab tests include screenings for Comprehensive Blood Counts, Metabolic Panels, Thyroid Function, STD Panels, Lipids Panel, A1c Test, and Vitamin D Test. 

Outlined below are some of the major blood tests and their prices with and without Mira. 

Costs of Blood Tests by Type

Type of Blood TestCost Without MiraCost With Mira
Complete Blood Count (CBC)$140 - $622$49
Lipid Panel$303 - $843$49
Metabolic Panel$330 - $1,309$49
A1c$129 - $643$49
Vitamin D$108 - $350$99
STD Testing$108 - $350$99
COVID-19 Antibody Test$50-$100$0

Affordability should never be a barrier to blood work. Mira is paving a new way for American health care, and we’re here to help. Become a member today and get affordable testing with results as quickly as tomorrow.

Bottom Line

Getting regular blood work done is a great preventative measure to make sure that you don’t have a hidden health issue. Aligning it with the same time of year you get a physical is a great decision so that you know to get it done. Most people are past due on getting their blood drawn and tested. If that’s you then you should check out how Mira can help you get the same results for a fraction of the cost. 

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