Time to check your levels
It’s that time of year when your trusty steed is gettin’ some preventative end-of-season maintenance! Part of your bike care is identifying general issues to watch for or that require repair. This is a great time of year to check your body too.
After several friends thinking I’m crazy for never having had one, I recently got a full blood panel to analyze my health. The results were fascinating, and not unlike your bike…if you’re never checking, there could be something way out of whack.
Why you should get a blood panel
Blood tests are not just for those with existing medical problems. Athletes, fitness enthusiasts and regular folks can use blood testing to ensure they have what they need for optimal performance in sport and life. Blood testing can be used to tweak small imbalances or catch potentially larger problems before it’s too late. Your blood test can uncover things like anemia, infection, cancer of the blood, cortisol level as well as your heart, kidney and liver function.
It’s so easy!
After you drop your bike off at the shop for its tune-up, cruise over to your doctor and get a referral for a blood panel. It’s worth it to check more than the basics so make sure you ask for a blood count, metabolic panel, blood enzyme, Hepatitis and HIV test. With this work order, you can now pop into your local hospital for a quick and easy blood draw—it takes no time at all.
Within a week you’ll have your bike and blood results back. In most cases you’ll have nothing more than the added advantage of getting to know your body better.
You’re a passionate athlete
If you want to be on top of your game, than checking your levels can keep you there. If you’re vegetarian, paleo or gluten free or have a specific nutrition plan, you want to make sure that plan is working for you and helping you improve your performance.
You want to be proactive
How many times have you heard of a person suddenly becoming ill and wish they caught it sooner? If you track your basic blood biomarkers from year to year, you’ll be better able to see shifts and make changes in diet and lifestyle to address any red flags.
You’ll know what to top up on
A full understanding of your blood test results can help you make good decisions about your diet and lifestyle.
If your glucose is high: Limit your intake of refined sugars, carbs and junkfood. Maybe think about losing that spare tire too…
If your cholesterol is high: Consider upping your heart healthy, whole foods and eliminating starches, breads, pasta and junk foods. Switch to healthy fats such as; raw nuts, lean meats, omega-3’s. Get more exercise!
If your sodium or potassium is high or low: Adjust your salt and potassium-rich foods intake accordingly.
It doesn’t have to be overly complicated… you can Balance your levels by eating more healthy, whole foods and limiting or eliminating processed foods, sugars, chips and fried foods, pastries and alcohol.
You might be anemic
The good news is my results said I have superhuman blood…the bad news is I don’t have enough of it—I’m anemic
Anemia is a condition that affects approximately 25% of the population and develops when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells, meaning, your body isn’t getting enough oxygen.
My iron levels came back extremely low and the doctor said I’m anemic—Jeez that must be why I’m so fatigued sometimes. Symptoms of anemia can include shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, feeling cold all the time, a rapid pulse, heart palpitations and headaches.
I was a little upset wondering how long I’ve been anemic, but then I thought OOOoooohh imagine how much biking energy I will have once I top up my iron levels! Yeeha! …My smile faded a little when the doctor suggested my anemia could mean Celiac Disease. Since I eat a fair amount of iron-rich foods, am not a vegetarian and Celiac is in my family, she wanted to look closer at the cause of my anemia and get a secondary Celiac blood exam. (Stay tuned, I am still waiting for the results.)
Blood, the body’s truth serum
You can’t assess your health simply by how you look and feel. There’s an endless amount of information and trends suggesting what’s best for your health, from superfoods and diets to exercise and everything in between, but how do you know what’s really working?
Yer blood don’t lie. Blood testing provides a reliable way to measure your health and wellness. If you think you don’t drink too much alcohol, eat too much junk food or if you think you get plenty of nutrients and exercise, your blood can tell the full story.
Blood and Mental Health
Although we often think of mental health as separate from the body, they’re very much linked. Research shows your blood health has been linked to a variety of psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, hyperactivity and schizophrenia.
Should, would, could, DID!
Don’t wait till it’s broke to fix it. If you’re regularly maintaining your precious bike… you might wanna think about taking the same care for your body.