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Alphabet soup: What do all the labs mean?

Last Modified: 9/25/2019

The Parkview Center for Healthy Living Check Up Days are a perfect opportunity to get an assortment of screenings and discounted lab work. Just ahead a few upcoming events in the area she serves, Jennifer Weber, MD, PPG – Family Medicine, offered to walk us through the various offerings.

Deciphering common lab work

Routine blood work is very important to detect early abnormalities that can be dangerous to our bodies. Early detection gives us the best chance to combat chronic diseases and reverse the course to promote long-term health.


A1C is an average of blood sugar over the last 2-3 months. This is most useful for patients with known blood sugar concerns like diabetes or prediabetes.

Complete metabolic panel

This includes basic testing of liver enzymes, kidney function, blood glucose and electrolytes. This is usually recommended for any adult over the age of 40, or younger than 40 if they have high blood pressure or a BMI >30.


TSH is a screening of the thyroid level. This can be helpful if the patient is having symptoms of fatigue, hair loss, constipation, dry skin or weight gain.


This is a list of blood counts and will reveal anemia or tell us if tiny blood cells that help with clotting (platelets) are at the desired level.

Lipid panel

A lipid panel is complete cholesterol testing and it typically recommended for men 35 or older and women 45 or older. This can be considered in younger patients if they have a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure or a BMI >30.


PSA is a screening test for prostate cancer, so only men need this test. Men ages 55-69 should discuss this with their primary care provider, as there are a lot of risks and benefits to discuss.

Vitamin D level

This can reveal any deficiencies in vitamin D for which a supplement could be helpful. Patients at high risk of vitamin D deficiency include African Americans, patients with chronic kidney or liver disease, patients with osteoporosis or patients with a BMI >30.



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