Top 10 Most Common Lab Tests and What They Mean for Your Health

July 2, 2024
Minute Read


The purpose of the article is to educate readers on the top ten most common lab tests, explain what these tests measure, and discuss their significance in monitoring and maintaining good health.


Modern healthcare has come a long way in terms of diagnostic abilities. Today, there are several types of lab tests that can help diagnose, monitor, and prevent diseases. Functional medicine lab tests can help assess things like thyroid gland function or blood sugar. The most common types of lab tests can help you stay on track in terms of detecting health issues early and getting personalized treatment. 

Functional Medicine Lab Tests

A lab test is any type of test that determines evidence of diseases or lack thereof, as well as different levels of things like hemoglobin or blood sugar. common lab tests might extend to a blood test when you go to the doctor, or a lab test. These are meant to determine whether or not you have a certain condition whereas functional medicine lab tests are there to evaluate the function of different parts of your body.

These types of lab tests can also include blood tests, saliva tests, and even urine samples to help you determine things like your microbiome, stress levels, and hormone panel. There are several types of functional lab tests, and choosing to have them completed will give you information about preventative measures you can take to improve your overall health as well as things like vitamin deficiencies or inflammation that you might want to control with things such as lifestyle changes or dietary alterations.

Top 10 Common Lab Tests

So which lab test is right for you? There are several common lab tests that, when combined with one another, can provide a clearer picture of your overall health. 

#1. Complete Blood Count (CBC)

Purpose: Evaluate overall health and detect a variety of disorders.

A complete blood count lab test is used to monitor seven different types of red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for primarily carrying oxygen throughout the body, and a complete blood count test can identify a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Infections 
  • Anemia
  • Leukemia

Information from this type of lab test can help you make changes to things like diet and exercise to combat symptoms of things like anemia.

#2. Lipid Profile

Purpose: Assess cardiovascular health.

A lipid profile is a blood test that can help you identify abnormalities in things like cholesterol and fat. Getting a lipid profile is particularly important for preventative screening of things like:

  • Genetic conditions
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cardiovascular disease

Information from this type of lab test can help you make alterations to your diet or exercise if you have things like high bad cholesterol and need to reduce your chance of heart disease or if you have a genetic condition like hyperthyroidism and need subsequent treatment to manage your symptoms.

#3. Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

Purpose: Assess kidney function, blood sugar levels, and electrolyte and acid/base balance.

A basic metabolic panel is another blood test that measures the existence of eight substances in your body. Understanding the levels of these substances helps you to get an overall view of your health, looking at things like:

Information from this type of lab test can help you check things like how well your kidneys are functioning and as a direct result how well your body manages things like electrolytes and fluid balance which can help you improve athletic performance by increasing hydration. 

It can also help you look at things like levels of calcium which directly influences how well your cells function as well as levels of creatinine which you might want to raise if you are trying to improve athletic performance.

#4. Thyroid Function Tests

Purpose: Evaluate thyroid gland function.

A thyroid function test measures thyroid hormones in your body to determine if you have an underactive or overactive thyroid. This is another blood test that can help you identify early warnings of conditions like hyperthyroidism. This is particularly useful for people who are worried about hormone production because the thyroid is responsible for developing certain hormones, something that might help women who are going through menopause, for example. 

#5. Liver Panel

Purpose: Check for liver damage or liver disease.

A liver panel is a blood test that measures things like enzymes and proteins in your blood to determine whether your liver is functioning properly or not. By measuring things like total protein and liver enzymes, it can determine whether you have any liver damage and, from there, whether you are at risk for subsequent liver disease and need to make changes to your current lifestyle or exercise habits.

#6. Hemoglobin A1C

Purpose: Monitor and diagnose diabetes.

These tests measure the amount of blood sugar over the past several months, checking whether or not you have diabetes. You can also use these tests regularly to monitor the management of your blood sugar if you have already been diagnosed.

#7. Urinalysis

Purpose: General health assessment, detect kidney disease and diabetes.

A urinalysis is a urine test that is critical in understanding potential infections, abnormalities in your urine that might indicate kidney disease, a uti, or other metabolic conditions.

#8. Prothrombin Time (PT)

Purpose: Check how well blood clotting mechanisms work.

This is a common lab test that determines how long it takes your blood to clot. This type of test can determine whether you have bleeding problems and whether you are struggling with something like vitamin K deficiencies, liver damage, or blood disorders.

#9. Vitamin D Test

Purpose: Determine if you have a vitamin deficiency and ensure bone health.

A vitamin D test is particularly important for people who are worried about bone disorders or medical conditions related to bone damage. Hormonal changes like those brought about by menopause can cause subsequent damage to bone density and strength, and a vitamin D test can determine whether your body is getting enough vitamin D to combat these side effects.

#10. C-reactive Protein (CRP)

Purpose: Measure inflammation, which can indicate infections or chronic diseases.

This is a common lab test that checks for a specific protein produced in your liver. It's very important in determining whether you have:

  • IBD
  • Crohn’s diseases
  • Ulcerative colitis

The results of these tests can determine the presence of regular inflammation from bacterial or viral infections as well as the presence of inflammatory diseases of the gut.

Regular Screening: Why It Matters

So why are these different tests important? Traditional medicine relies on a lab test to determine whether or not you have a disease, after which you work with a doctor to treat that disease. Functional medicine lab tests help with the early detection and management of different health issues. 

Regular screenings provide an opportunity to undergo a lab test that might offer personalized Healthcare especially when you consult with healthcare providers for result interpretation and follow up. The sooner you can identify potential problems with things like your hormones or your gut health, the sooner you can make changes to monitor food sensitivity or inflammation in your body.

Working with a professional doctor to review different results can help you determine if you have things like vitamin deficiencies and if so, how you can improve that deficiency so that you have better daily function or reduced symptoms of a condition like menopause.

Summing Up 

The ten most common functional medicine lab tests include things like complete blood counts, lipid profiles, thyroid function tests, and vitamin D tests. All of these things serve to provide a better understanding of how your body is currently functioning and identify areas of opportunity for improvement. The results of these common lab tests can help you, with regular checkups and consultations from functional medicine doctors, live your healthiest life.

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