Understanding and managing your health doesn’t require a medical degree. Consider yourself the CEO of your body. You can play the vital role of your own health advocate. With medical care being a little (!) hit-and-miss right now, it’s a good idea to take some matters into your own hands and we can do this via some simple blood tests. These come with a GP report attached. Let’s look at key tests in midlife health management: thyroid function, including vitamin D levels, ferritin, and Hba1c.
The Mighty Thyroid Gland
Firstly, let’s talk about the thyroid – a small but mighty gland nestled in your neck. Responsible for regulating metabolism, energy levels, and mood, the thyroid is a key player in your endocrine system. Symptoms like fatigue, unexpected weight changes, or mood swings might be indicative of thyroid imbalances and the onset of problems often coincides with perimenopause. Additionally, symptoms are very similar to menopause so it can get missed when you visit the doctor. To unveil the mysteries, a blood test measuring thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4) levels plus thyroid antibodies is crucial. These tests offer valuable insights into the health of your thyroid, guiding you toward informed decisions.
The Sunshine Vitamin
Moving on to Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.” Despite its nickname, many of us fall short of optimal levels, especially in today’s indoor-centric lifestyles. Vitamin D is vital for bone health, immune function, and mood regulation. A simple blood test can determine your Vitamin D levels, shedding light on whether your body is receiving adequate sunshine or if supplementation is needed. Vitamin D is so critical to overall health that it’s one of the few supplements doctors recommend. Remember to buy a product like this one with added K2 to protect your bones.
Checking Iron Stores
Let’s shine a spotlight on ferritin, a lesser-known but equally important protein. Ferritin is responsible for storing iron in the body, ensuring a steady supply for vital functions like oxygen transportation. Low ferritin levels can lead to fatigue and hair loss, an all too frequent symptom of perimenopause. Heavy periods in perimenopause can be to blame for this.
A blood test measuring ferritin levels provides insights into your iron storage, helping identify if dietary adjustments or supplementation are necessary to optimize your iron levels. Always test before supplementing iron as iron levels rise post menopause and you don’t want too much.
Don’t Guess, Test
Having a good relationship with your GP sadly is potluck these days which makes being your health advocate even more important. Online testing companies can be great to fill in some of the gaps and provide simple tests with GP interpretation. I regularly use medichecks in my clinic and have listed the tests I find most useful for midlife health below.
In conclusion, self-advocacy in health is akin to having a roadmap for your well-being. By proactively managing your health through essential blood tests and engaging with a doctor if needed, you become the driving force behind your overall wellness.