Why Your Doctor Recommends Lab Work

Why Your Doctor Recommends Lab Work

Ever wonder why your primary care physician suggests annual blood work, or lab testing around the time of your annual physical exam? Lab work helps doctors better understand their patients’ state of health. The results from testing can help inform a personal action plan, or assist your doctor with making a diagnosis. At Hoag, we’ve recently expanded the list of tests doctors may order as part of your annual lab work.

Apolipoprotein B

We have always included a comprehensive lipid panel with our Executive Physicals. The panel is even more complete now with the addition of Apo B, a protein in the blood that transports “bad cholesterol” throughout the body and has been found to reflect cardiovascular risk with even greater accuracy.  Apo B is a direct measurement of the LDL particles as there is a 1:1 ratio of LDL particles to Apo B in the blood.

Vitamin B12

This vitamin is important in helping your body make red blood cells and DNA.  Since your body does not make vitamin B12, you need to consume enough to avoid a deficiency. Aside from supplements, Vitamin B12 is found in high quantities in meat, dairy, and eggs. A deficiency can potentially cause physical, neurologic, or even psychological problems if not treated.


This B vitamin (B-9) is important in red blood cell formation and healthy cell growth and function. It is found in fortified cereals and dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and nuts. A nutritional supplement can also assure you of getting sufficient Folate in your diet. In some cases, a genetic variant can require a special form of Folate in people for whom a low level is not corrected with diet or routine supplementation.


This is an important amino acid in your blood that is involved in the conversion to Methionine, critical to amino acid creation including Cysteine, which is responsible for reducing inflammation, as well as the immune system and liver health. Excessive homocysteine may be associated with damage to the lining of your arteries, blood clot formation and an increased risk of heart attack.

Free Testosterone

Most testosterone is bound tightly to protein in the blood.  A minor amount circulates freely as free testosterone which is the most metabolically active fraction. Its measurement is important in the diagnosis of testosterone deficiency in men.


This mineral in the body is present in many foods, added to food products, and included in many nutritional supplements. It is a cofactor in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and is required for energy production and blood pressure regulation. Diets low in magnesium can lead to a deficiency resulting in a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. It can also result in abnormal heart rhythms, cramps, and coronary artery spasms.


This is a blood protein that contains iron and when low can reveal low body iron stores and deficiency. It can lead to anemia. When elevated it may reflect an iron overload state which can lead to liver disease. It is also an inflammatory marker and when elevated may reveal inflammation in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

To schedule your annual executive physical exam and lab work call: 949-999-9300

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Understanding the Components of an Executive Health Physical