What Chronic Disease Do You Have? Take A Blood Test

Closeup on hands of medical doctor holding blood sample and making notes

Want to find out what chronic disease you have? It could be as simple as taking a blood test.

The results from a comprehensive metabolic blood panel, which includes tests for complete blood count, liver function and blood glucose, may help people gauge their risk of developing a chronic disease within three years of taking it. NPR reported that the Intermountain Chronic Disease Risk Score (ICHRON), based on the results of the comprehensive metabolic blood panel, was 77-78% accurate in determining whether someone would be diagnosed with diabetes, kidney failure, coronary artery disease and dementia, among other illnesses.

Heidi May, principal investigator of the study and a cardiovascular epidemiologist with the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, said the score could help physicians better utilize their time. For example, a patient whose score puts her in the high-risk group might get more intense patient education about lifestyle or other prevention measures, and a follow-up visit in six months rather than a year.

Among women, those with a high ICHRON score were 11 times more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic disease than those with a low score. Women with a moderate score were three times more likely to be diagnosed. Men with a high score were 14 times more likely to be diagnosed than those with a low score, and those with a moderate score more than five times more likely to be diagnosed.

The research was presented earlier this month at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology and hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal.