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What lab tests should I get?
December 4, 2013 8:02 AM   Subscribe

I'm changing from Kaiser to a PPO plan starting next year, so I'd like to take advantage of the lab tests that Kaiser offers before the end of the year.

I've recently had urinalysis, hemoglobin, glucose, TSH, and B12 tests, all of which turned up normal. I'm an Asian female, 25 years old, 5'1", 105 pounds. I don't have major health concerns, but I'm not as healthy as I should be, meaning at most I go for a half hour walk once a week and drink sugary drinks more often than I should. I don't smoke or drink alcohol, however, and have cut down a lot on junky snacks. It's a work in progress. I do have issues with fatigue sometimes, and I hardly ever feel rested upon waking. I have also had ongoing skin problems, starting with severe acne as a teenager. While my skin has smoothed out, I still have red patches on my cheeks, chin, and sides of the nose. I may just need to drink more water, though. Who knows.

I'm just wondering what other lab tests, if any, I should be considering.

posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
This seems like a great question to ask your doctor. Lining up lab tests based on either your own spitballing or the spitballing of the internet (even when the internet is AskMe) seems like not a worthwhile use of your time or the lab's.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:24 AM on December 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Doctors are pretty much geared towards assessing symptoms and treating significant problems with your health. They're not so good at micro-managing your wellbeing based on a lot of random tests.

So if you're young, basically asymptomatic, and doing your best to live healthily, there's not really any logic in having tests done. Of course, if you happen to be genetically predisposed to a particular condition, there may be sense in having very specific tests done every few years, but that's a quite different thing.

Also, if you're the sort of person who obsesses on the details of your health (a lot of people do), tests can cause a lot of unwarranted anxiety.
posted by pipeski at 8:35 AM on December 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

Refill any prescriptions you may have. Is your vision coverage also through Kaiser? If so, get your eyes checked. If your vision and dental plans are also changing wih the new year try and use all those benefits also.
posted by Rob Rockets at 9:27 AM on December 4, 2013

You are not unhealthy. You don't need to take a bunch of tests. All they will do is confirm that you are fine. At worst, they will make you worry about minor inconsistencies that aren't actually affecting your life.

The fact that you do not exercise a lot and drink too much soda is probably not *great* but it's not going to show up on a blood (or other) test and tell you something that you don't already know (like that you should get more exercise).
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:05 AM on December 4, 2013

I agree with pipeski, but I do think there are a few tests that your doctor might not volunteer that are worth taking initiative on:

- STI panel
- HIV test
- Pap smear (and a full pelvic exam if you haven't done that)
- Vitamin D levels
posted by telegraph at 12:03 PM on December 4, 2013

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