What Lab Tests Should I Get Every Year?
Preventative care entails getting routine or annual lab tests to learn more about your health. For most adults, this includes a complete blood count (CBC), A1c test, and lipid panel. Your doctor may recommend additional lab tests based on your family history and current lifestyle.
Each of these lab tests costs over $100 without insurance which adds up quickly if you get several each year. If you are concerned about your healthcare costs, a membership with Mira may be a good option for you. Non-members can even get a same-day full health panel for $170. No doctor visit is required, and we'll send the results right to your phone. Sign up today.
Lab Tests To Get Every Year
Preventative care is the best way to stay healthy and prevent common health conditions. Lab tests can help you understand how your body is functioning and if you need to seek additional care. This article is not intended to replace medical care, so be sure to follow the instructions of your health provider.
Your family history, personal risk factors, and current symptoms may influence the frequency of recommended lab tests. At the bare minimum, getting lab tests every year can help you reduce your risk of disease and health complications later in life. Generally, there are 12 recommended screenings for adults, three of which are lab tests:
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
A CBC is commonly referred to as routine blood work. These tests are used to assess overall health and organ function. It measures your red and white blood cells, hemoglobin levels, and other blood components to look for signs of anemia, infection, and even cancer.
The A1C (blood glucose) test measures your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. It is used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. If you are overweight or otherwise at high risk for diabetes, you should get an A1c test every year regardless of age to monitor your health. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you might consider getting an A1C test more often as well.
A lipid panel measures cholesterol levels which include HDL, LDL, and triglycerides to determine your risk of heart disease. If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may want to monitor it and recommend you get a lipid panel more than once a year.
Annual Recommended Lab Tests by Age
|Age||Recommended Annual Screenings|
**Diabetes screening is typically done annually if there are known risk factors present or every other year if BMI is greater than 25
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Cost of Annual Lab Tests
The out-of-pocket costs for lab tests range between $104 and $521, depending on the test and where you get it done. However, with Mira, the costs are significantly less.
Cost of Lab Test With and Without Mira
|Type of Lab Test||Out of Pocket Cost||Cost With Mira|
|Routine Blood work (CBC test)||$212||$49|
How Risk Factors Influence Annual Lab Tests
Before ordering lab tests or seeking care from your physician, you should consider if you are at increased risk for disease. This can help you determine what types of tests you may need and what type of doctor you should see. The risk factors that will determine which type of blood work you undergo include:
- Age and Sex
- Sexual Activity
- Family History of Disease
- Drinking, Smoking, and Drug-use Habits
Annual Lab Test Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Annual lab testing can help you stay on track with your health and prompt you to change your habits if necessary. If your results indicate signs of disease, it is not too late to take action. In addition to learning about the three recommended yearly lab tests, you may have some of the questions below.
What additional lab tests should I consider?
In addition to routine blood work, A1C testing, and lipid panels, you may want to consider specific tests. Some other common routine tests are:
- Chemistry (basic metabolic) panel
- Thyroid panel
- Nutrient tests for levels of vital nutrients, such as iron or B vitamins
- Enzyme markers if you're at risk for cancer or other conditions like liver cirrhosis, stroke, or celiac disease
- Sexually transmitted disease (STD) tests if you have multiple sexual partners or a new partner
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How does a chronic condition affect lab testing?
If you have a chronic condition, you should work with your health care provider to decide how you can best monitor and manage your health. While yearly lab testing is never a bad idea, some conditions require you to seek testing more often.
For example, if you are at risk of developing heart disease, you may consider getting a lipid panel more often to keep track of your cholesterol. If you have diabetes, more frequent A1c tests can help determine if the diabetes is under control, in addition to daily blood glucose testing.
How do I read my lab test results?
Lab test results can be confusing. We have created a guide to knowing if your lab tests are in the normal range. Usually, your doctor will call you if there are any abnormalities, but it is helpful to know what to look for on the results. If you do have an abnormal result, this is not always indicative of a health problem. There can be other factors that play a part in why your lab results may be out of range.
Still, understanding the results of your lab tests is not easy. Now, with our new virtual care services, you can make an appointment with a provider for only $5 to go over your lab test results. A qualified doctor will be able to review your results in-depth and recommend next steps.
How long does it take to get lab test results?
Depending on the type of lab test, results can take anywhere from minutes to weeks to get back. The type of test, the method used, and where the lab test was performed all affect how long you have to wait to receive results. It is common to wait one to two days for lab tests that need to be sent out.
Complete blood count tests, basic metabolic panels, and lipid panel results are usually available to your doctor within 24 hours. Complete metabolic panel results are typically sent to your doctor in one to three days from the test date. Rapid testing is available for HIV tests which provide results in 10 to 20 minutes, but STD blood test results for conditions such as herpes, hepatitis, and syphilis may take up to two weeks.
Many doctors recommend that you get blood work once per year, during the time of your annual physical. The three essential lab tests are routine blood work, A1C testing, and a lipid panel. These tests can provide a comprehensive insight into your current health status.
If you sign up for Mira today, you can schedule your yearly lab tests in just a few clicks. Whether recommended by a doctor, or for your own peace of mind, yearly lab testing can help you take control of your health.
Alexis Bryan MPH, is a recent graduate of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She is passionate about increasing access to care to improve health outcomes. Outside of work, she loves to travel, read, and pay too much attention to her plants.