COVID-19 lab tests: Essential blood tests for women, COVID-recovered patients and senior citizens; All you need to know

Health Tips


blood testAfter a certain age, the frequency of some tests should increase as we need to be proactive about our health and monitor changes in our body.Essential tests for women’s health and for those recovering from COVID-19 now take the spotlight! For over a year now, Indians are used to wearing face masks whenever a visitor rings the doorbell and in particular, when they step out of their homes. Many have still fallen sick in spite of taking all measures to stay safe in their homes. Not surprisingly, there is renewed interest in taking care of one’s health and tracking lab tests while at home itself. Women, in particular, have been the most affected by the pandemic as they have to balance their duties at home alongwith their work-from-home commitments.

For those still wondering ‘What blood tests should I get annually’ or ‘what tests should a woman have every year?’, here’s a ready reckoner to take note of!

COVID-19: What blood tests are most important?

Amidst this challenging scenario that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, Sameer Bhati, Director – Star Imaging & Path Lab highlights the importance of essential blood tests that women should take regularly, especially those who have a condition of thyroid and diabetes; periodical tests for monitoring COVID-19 and essential tests for the elderly.

According to Sameer Bhati, “People recovering from COVID-19 are at a risk of deep vein thrombosis, so it is recommended to get the D Dimer test done. If you have abnormal D dimer values,some radiological tests like MRI and CT scan may also be recommended. Due to the use of steroids during covid treatment, the sugar level may shoot up, so it is also important to regularly check the blood glucose level in the body.”

What are the essential blood tests that women should take regularly and why is it beneficial for women’s health?

A woman needs special care and time to time screenings. As a common behaviour, we see that women due to one reason or another ignore their health and hence regular blood check-ups become important to find potential health issues before they become a problem. Few blood tests which women should take regularly are:

Anaemia test: Iron deficiency is common in women as a woman loses blood during pregnancy and menstrual cycle, so it is important to check the status of iron in the body regularly and start supplements if necessary.

Blood Glucose test: In research it has been found that women are at higher risk of getting diabetes. It could be gestational diabetes as well. Blood glucose tests are important, especially for those who are planning for a child.

Thyroid test: Women are at a higher risk of thyroid. A woman may have serious complications if they have thyroid diabetes. It also increases the risk of heart disease in women.

Hormonal profile test: Blood tests to measure female hormone levels also can play a role in diagnosing medical conditions such as PCOD/PCOS. Hormonal profile tests may include Estrogen, Progesterone, Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), Testosterone/DHEA.

Vitamin D and Calcium: Bone disorders are common in women. Women usually have thinner and less dense bones than men, and it increases the risk of osteoporosis in women. Osteoporosis mostly affects older women, but prevention starts at the younger age.

Vitamin B12: Deficiency of vitamin B12 in women who are planning to get pregnant may have significant risk and serious consequences.

Lipid profile: Lipid profile is one of the baseline tests for detecting any heart related problems. Many women are at a risk of high cholesterol due to family history or other reasons, and they don’t realize it.

Are there periodical tests that you recommend for women with thyroid and diabetes?

For the women with thyroid and diabetes, regular monitoring is very important. Thyroid may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and can alter the level of glucose in the body. If you have thyroid with diabetes, it may become difficult to manage the level of blood sugar in your body, hence periodic testing becomes essential. TSH test for thyroid, Blood Sugar (fasting/PP) and HbA1C for diabetes can be repeated after every six (6) months to check the level of thyroid hormone and blood sugar. Women with diabetes and hyperthyroidism have increased risk of issues with heart, eyes and kidney as well.

What are the essential COVID related tests to take if you have family members who are infected but you remain uninfected?

If any of the family member is infected, they must be isolated first. Unless and unless you have any symptoms, you don’t need to get any tests done. But if you observe any covid related symptom, you must get the RT PCR test done. For regular monitoring related to COVID-19, some blood tests are also recommended like CBC, CRP etc.

Given the impact of COVID-19, can you highlight the benefits of lab testing and the frequency you recommend for taking tests?

During the second wave we have seen that people are getting severe within no time. So apart from RTPCR tests which are used to diagnose the infection, doctors recommend some blood tests like CBC, CRP, ferritin, LDH, D Dimer to regularly monitor and check the progress in the patients. These tests may be repeated after 3-4 days as per the recommendation of the treating physician.

Are there specific and essential tests that should be taken for elderly members of the family and what is its recommended frequency?

After a certain age, the frequency of some tests should increase as we need to be proactive about our health and monitor changes in our body. Some of the tests for older people which must be repeated after six (6) months are CBC, LFT, KFT, Lipid profile, Vitamin D, TSH, ECG and Blood Sugar.

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