Our bodies don’t lie.
The way we feel, move, and look can tell us so much about whether the choices we’re making are enhancing or hurting our overall well-being. Factors like energy level, skin quality, sleep quality, lean body mass, blood pressure, resting heart rate, and even sports-specific parameters like VO2 max (for those of us who love to geek out with a personal trainer) can be valuable tells alerting you to areas of your health you can adjust or improve.
Why pay attention to these types of markers? For one thing, they offer both objective and subjective data. This data can help you and your doctor modify your lifestyle to improve your health — as a way to improve your well-being now and prevent illness in the future.
Certain important biomarkers can also help you monitor your progress when you start a new nutrition and exercise program like the Whole Life Challenge. Are your new exercise sessions and better food choices making a difference? Are you moving toward your goals? How can you tell how your body is reacting on the inside?
In addition to the more standard indicators that are generally easy to see or feel, you may want to explore taking an at-home health test. These tests can provide you with a wealth of information from just a few drops of blood collected at home.
Here are four reasons we love (and recommend) home health tests:
1. Home Health Tests Help You Establish a “Baseline” Health Level
You may be saying to yourself yourself, “I’m healthy. I don’t take any medications. I only go to the doctor for routine check-ups. Why do I need a baseline health assessment?”
Think of a baseline assessment as lining up your arsenal of potentially healthy choices on the right target. It allows you to have a clearer picture of where you currently are in terms of your physical health and what specific things you can do to improve your health moving forward.
The mental and emotional aspects of your current health status also matter, which is something you can explore with your physician and/or mental health therapist. But baseline measurements from a blood test can offer important insights into your psychological well-being, too. Many deficiencies and imbalances can affect things like mood and stress management.
2. At-home Blood Tests Are Fast, Affordable, and Easy
Pricking your finger is not that bad, and it’s a lot easier to do in the convenience of your home rather than always having to schedule an appointment with your healthcare practitioner.
Plus, when you bring the results of your at-home blood test to your next doctor’s appointment, you’ll be creating an opportunity to have a specific and in-depth discussion with your doctor about your current and future health needs — something that may not have been possible or as detailed at your previous “typical” check-ups.
3. Tests Provide Data About Things That May Be Unknown to You
How can you improve something if you don’t even realize it’s deficient or impaired in the first place? Home health tests offer you insight about your health that you may never have known about otherwise.
For example, if you’re feeling worn down, there could be deficiencies in your blood sugar control or hidden inflammation due to elevated body fats. If these continue unaddressed, you’ll continue to feel less than optimal no matter how much sleep and exercise you try to get (more on this later).
4. Home Health Tests Can Be Tailored to Meet Specific Goals and Needs
Whether your goal is to enhance your athletic performance, reverse chronic disease, detect personal or family risk factors, or improve your overall understanding of your health, home health tests can be tailored to meet those needs.
Perhaps most importantly, an at-home blood test gives you the chance to establish a specific baseline that you can use along with other objective and subjective data to periodically assess the effectiveness of new healthy behaviors (like participating in the Whole Life Challenge).
This information is especially handy when you’re feeling like your energy levels or body weight do not seem to reflect the extent of the changes you’ve made in your lifestyle (these are, after all, a bit more susceptible to daily fluctuations and stressors).
Ideal Biomarkers to Assess on a Baseline Home Health Test
What type of data can you glean from an at-home blood test? Tons — but to avoid information overload, we recommend starting with the biomarkers outlined below since they’re applicable to everything from fitness to general wellness to disease management and reversal.
We explore this in a lot more detail in our eBook, but in general, the following biomarkers provide a good baseline for most people. These also (not coincidentally) overlap with the Whole Life Challenge’s Phase 3 Self-Assessment markers and are available in our Lipids with Cholesterol at-home test kit:
- Total cholesterol
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein): the so-called “lousy” cholesterol that can clog arteries and increase risk for cardiovascular disease if levels get too high
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein): the so-called “healthy” cholesterol that shuttles LDL particles back into your liver and clears your arteries, essentially protecting you from cardiovascular disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis (hardening and clogging of the arteries)
- Triglycerides: a type of fat molecule associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammation
- hsCRP: a type of protein that indicates how much inflammation is present in your body
- Blood glucose: how much glucose you have in your blood over time, too much of which is associated with inflammation, cell damage, and chronic diseases like diabetes
- HbA1C: how well-controlled your blood sugar has been on average over the past three months
Starting with a home test and then bringing this information to your doctor is a proactive and effective way to initiate important conversations about your well-being. The bottom line is that home health tests can be hugely valuable for establishing your healthy baseline — a starting point to compare back to as you set out on a healthy lifestyle and chase down your goals.
Interested in learning more about blood biomarkers of health? We’re proud to offer Whole Life Challenge participants 20% off at-home health test kits at Health Test Express with the offer code: WHOLELIFE
Our doctors have done all the research for you and made convenient and accurate health, wellness, and fitness testing options available. All of our lab partners are CLIA-certified and we only offer tests that have been validated to meet industry standards.