|LE Magazine July 2000 |
Disease Prevention and Longevity
Through medical blood testing
Too often, people fall victim to a disease that could have been prevented if their blood was tested annually. A good example of a preventable disorder that can be detected by a yearly blood test is calcium overload. This condition is caused when too much calcium is removed from the bone and deposited into the vascular system. Unless discovered by a blood test, people don't find out about calcium imbalance until after they suffer a crippling bone fracture, a painful kidney stone (renal calculi) or heart valve failure (due to excess valvular calcification). These diseases often manifest years after the calcium imbalance first begins, yet an inexpensive blood chemistry test could detect this problem early and enable the person to take relatively simple steps to correct the calcium imbalance before it causes irreversible damage.
Another disorder people encounter as they grow older is elevated serum glucose that can contribute to the development of arterial and neurological disease and also accelerate aging through a process known as glycosylation. If high glucose is discovered, lifestyle changes and other safe therapies are available to bring sugar levels into normal ranges.
Excess amounts of serum iron generate massive free radicals throughout the body that increase the risk of cancer, atherosclerosis and probably neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. If a blood test shows high iron levels, there are many ways to bring it down. You should not wait for an iron-induced disease to manifest just because you don't want to "bother" getting an annual blood chemistry test.
The average person over age 60 takes several prescription drugs every day to treat or prevent chronic medical conditions. These drugs have toxic side effects that result in between 125,000 and 189,000 Americans dying each year. In fact, according to the American Medical Association, adverse reactions to prescription drugs are between the fourth and sixth leading causes of death in the United States. The American Medical Association emphasizes that these deaths are occurring even though the drugs are being prescribed by doctors who are supposed to monitor patients to prevent these drug-induced deaths. One reason for these adverse drug reactions is that HMOs are seeking to save money in the short-term and are not recommending blood chemistry tests that would detect drug-induced liver and kidney impairment in time to prevent disability and death. If you are taking certain prescription medications, regular blood testing is mandatory according to the drug labeling, yet doctors routinely fail to prescribe the recommended blood tests and their patients too often pay the "ultimate" price.
It's not just prescription drugs that can cause liver or kidney damage. There are many factors such as alcohol, OTC-drugs, excess niacin and viral hepatitis that can make a person susceptible to liver damage. For most people, these conditions smolder for years until a life-threatening medical crisis occurs. Because of a phenomenon known as "individual variability," some people are especially vulnerable to liver and kidney damage, yet a simple blood chemistry test can detect an underlying problem in time to take corrective actions.
The reason most people consider blood testing is to ascertain their cardiovascular disease risk factors. Published studies consistently show that various cholesterol fractions (HDL, LDL, VLDL) and triglycerides can contribute to heart attack and stroke. What most people fail to realize is that significant changes can occur in these blood fat levels over a year's time, meaning that previous tests may not accurately reflect your current serum lipid status.
Annual blood testing is the cornerstone of any scientific program designed to extend the healthy life span, but the high cost and inconvenience causes people to neglect having an annual blood chemistry test.
For those who cannot get their physician to cooperate, or lack adequate insurance reimbursement to pay for extensive blood testing, The Life Extension Foundation offers a program that enables members to conveniently have their blood tested at very low prices.
Mail-order blood testing
The Life Extension Foundation makes available an extensive blood chemistry test that provides a comprehensive profile of one's general state of health.
If you have insurance that covers blood tests, we urge you to request that your doctor order all of the tests in the box to the right. Do note, however, that many HMO blood chemistry screens only test for half of the individual panels contained in The Foundation's Complete Blood Chemistry Test.
If you reside in South Florida, you can come to the Life Extension Nutrition Center, where a trained staff technician will draw your blood and submit it to The Foundation's licensed laboratory. If you reside outside of South Florida, The Foundation can arrange to have your blood drawn at hundreds of drawing stations around the country and have the blood mailed to The Foundation's laboratory for analysis. If your blood test results indicate any abnormalities, you can take the results that are mailed back to you to your doctor for treatment considerations-before a serious illness strikes.
If you are going to achieve a healthy maximum life span, it is crucial that you take control over your body. The Life Extension Foundation has designed a program that enables you to choose your own blood tests without having to battle an HMO doctor whose primary concern may be the HMO's profits and not the health and well-being of the patient. Whether you have The Foundation's laboratory test your blood, or use your local insurance-paid facility, we urge you to have these blood tests done annually. The Foundation's goal is to keep you alive for an indefinite period of time, and this commitment is documented by the aggressive measures The Foundation takes to protect your health.
Remember: Do not eat anything twelve hours prior to taking these tests. That means skipping breakfast until your blood has been drawn.