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Why is it important to have diagnostic blood tests prior to self-diagnosing a vitamin deficiency?

It is important to have diagnostic blood tests before self-diagnosing a vitamin deficiency because solely relying on self-diagnosis and the dreaded google diagnosis without proper medical evaluation can lead to inaccurate conclusions and potentially harmful consequences. Below are a few reasons as to why diagnostic blood tests are crucial in assessing and diagnosing;

1. Confirmation: Confirmation is key! Blood tests provided objective and accurate measurements of vitamin levels in the body. This allows health care professionals (HCPs) to accurately identify and confirm deficiencies. Self-diagnosis based on symptoms alone can be misleading, symptoms can vary and overlap with other conditions causing you to come to an incorrect conclusion.

2. Underlying conditions/overall health: Medical conditions, medications or even your diet can influence your vitamin levels. Diagnostic bloods can help identify and provide additional information as to the potential underlying causes of the deficiency such as malabsorption issues, chronic diseases or even drug interactions. Comprehensive blood tests can not only evaluate various aspects of your vitamin profile but also go beyond this and test for organ function, blood cell counts, inflammation/infection markers - all of which could be causes of your symptoms.

3. Differentiation: As previously mentioned above symptoms can overlap with various health conditions, by undertaking diagnostic blood tests you can rule out any other potential causes, and determine if a vitamin deficiency is actually the root cause of the symptoms and ensure the correct treatment is being pursued. It is important to differentiate as different vitamins play unique roles in the body and each vitamin deficiency may require different interventions, it allows for targeted treatment and supplementation to address the deficiency effectively.

4. Monitoring progress and avoiding excess supplementation: If you suspect you have a vitamin deficiency, and have been supplementing, you will not have a baseline count for these deficiencies. This can be harmful in a number of ways as certain vitamins such as fat-soluble vitamins can accumulate in the body and lead to toxicity. Furthermore, there are many vitamins on the market that are advertised towards self-diagnosing, however some of these doses are too low to actually treat a deficiency that may be present.

Regular blood tests can help monitor your vitamin profile for deficiencies and your response to treatment. Self-diagnosis should never be a substitute for professional medical advice. Consulting with a HCP who can assess your full medical history and perform the necessary diagnostic profile is crucial for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

If you're currently self treating or worried you may have a vitamin deficiency get in contact with us today! We can run your bloods and get your treatment plan sorted!

I hope this has helped you to consider having diagnostic bloods done, I look forward to seeing you all in clinic!

All the best,

Nurse Ellie, x

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