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CBC blood test is present in most of the routine tests panels. It is usually ordered to calculate the number of red blood cells (RBC; these cells carry the oxygen), white blood cells (WBC; these blood cells fight infections), and platelets (responsible for blood clotting). However, there are many markers evaluated by these routine tests, in addition to the most commonly mentioned above.
Anemia is a disease commonly diagnosed with the help of a complete blood count test. A low RBC level means a body does not get enough oxygen to function. Low levels of platelets may cause long-time bleeding and blood loss.
Abnormal levels of blood cells may be caused not only by mild health conditions but also lead to serious health issues (like stomach ulcers).
A basic metabolic panel (BMP) checks for levels of 8 compounds in the blood:
This test may require you to fast for at least 8 hours before your blood is drawn, depending on your doctor's instructions and what the test is measuring.
Abnormal results may indicate:
Your doctor will perform follow-up tests to confirm a diagnosis.
A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a blood test with 14 different measurements. It is often used to assess liver and kidney function and nutrient levels.
Since it includes multiple measurements, the CMP offers a wide look at different functions of the body. As a result, it may be prescribed in a number of situations, including to help diagnose and keep track of conditions like diabetes and kidney and liver disease.
The lipid panel measures the level of specific fat molecules called lipids in the blood. As a panel test, it measures multiple substances, including several types of cholesterol-containing molecules.
The lipid panel is used in children and adults to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
A thyroid panel test uses a blood sample to assess the functioning of the thyroid gland and can also help diagnose and keep track of the treatment of thyroid disorders.
The thyroid test is a panel that includes several measurements so your doctor can understand how well your thyroid gland is working.
A cardiac enzyme marker test is a blood test to measure specific biological markers (biomarkers) in your blood. High levels of cardiac enzymes can be a symptom of a heart attack or another heart problem. Cardiac enzymes are also called cardiac biomarkers.
STD tests are used to determine if you have been infected with an STD. Testing can help you get the treatment you need and may help prevent the spread of disease.
There are many different tests for each of the different STIs. There is not one test that will screen for all STIs. Some STIs are hard to test if you have no symptoms. Some STIs can be tested through simple blood work or a urine test; some can only be tested for through culturing body fluid from the penis, vagina, or open sore on the body. When you go in for testing, it is important to ask your healthcare provider which tests will be done and which will not. Sometimes, weeks or months need to pass to give your body enough time to develop antibodies that will show up in a test, indicating you have a particular STI.
Coagulation tests measure your blood’s clotting ability and how long it takes to clot. Testing can help your doctor evaluate your risk of excessive bleeding or developing clots (thrombosis) in your blood vessels.
Coagulation tests are like most blood tests. Side effects and risks are minimal. A medical professional will take a blood sample and send it to a lab for testing and analysis.
If your doctor thinks you have a clotting problem, they may recommend one or more coagulation tests. These tests measure various proteins and their function.
Conditions that cause coagulation problems include:
Coagulation tests help monitor people who take medications that affect clotting ability. Coagulation tests are also sometimes recommended before surgery.
Healthcare providers use DHEAS tests to measure steroid hormone levels that your body converts into estrogen and androgens (testosterone). A high test result may indicate an adrenal tumor or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), while a low test result may indicate Addison’s disease. You’ll need additional tests for an accurate diagnosis.
A C-reactive protein (CRP) test measures the level of C-reactive protein in your blood. The liver releases CRP into your bloodstream in response to inflammation. Healthcare providers use this test to diagnose and monitor several causes of inflammation, such as infections and certain autoimmune conditions.
Want to monitor your health but aren’t sure where to start? Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or just not as healthy as you need to be? These basic blood tests will give you and your healthcare provider a good idea of where you stand with your overall health and where you can improve. Even if you feel you are healthy, these tests will let you see under the hood and ensure everything is running well.
A cholesterol test gives you and your healthcare provider important information about your risk of developing heart disease. If your test results show you have high cholesterol, you can take the necessary steps to lower it. This may lower your risk of developing heart problems. A cholesterol test measures:
LDL levels. Also called the "bad" cholesterol, LDL is the primary source of artery blockages.
HDL levels. Known as the "good" cholesterol, HDL helps get rid of "bad" cholesterol.
Total cholesterol. The combined amount of LDL and HDL cholesterol in the blood.
Triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a kind of fat found in the blood. Research shows that high levels of triglycerides may increase the risk of developing heart disease, especially in women.
VLDL levels. Very low-density lipoprotein is another type of "bad" cholesterol. High VLDL levels have been related to plaque buildup in the arteries. VLDL isn't usually included in a routine cholesterol test because it's hard to measure. About half of VLDL is triglycerides, so the VLDL level can be estimated as a percentage of the triglyceride level.
A blood glucose test can be used to determine the amount of glucose in the blood. It may be used to help diagnose diabetes or to help those with diabetes check their blood glucose and insulin levels.
Blood glucose tests provide instant results and let you know:
If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, your healthcare provider may also order a blood glucose test. They may also be looking to see if you have diabetes or prediabetes, a medical condition where your blood glucose levels are higher than normal.
If your results show higher-than-normal blood glucose levels, you may have or are at risk for developing diabetes. High blood glucose levels may also be a sign of:
If you have diabetes, lower-than-normal glucose levels may be caused by the following:
If you do not have diabetes, low blood glucose levels may mean:
If your glucose results are abnormal, it doesn't always mean you have a condition that requires treatment. Certain medicines and stress can affect the glucose levels in the blood.
Thyroid blood tests are used to determine if your thyroid gland is functioning properly by measuring the number of thyroid hormones in your blood. The tests measure the levels of different hormones, such as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3). Other tests on the thyroid include antibodies related to thyroid tissue. They are performed by withdrawing blood from a vein in your arm. These tests help diagnose thyroid diseases.
TSH, T4, and T3 levels can all be tested in the blood. Your healthcare provider will probably test TSH first, then T3 and T4 if TSH is not normal. Tests can also be used to measure antibodies to diagnose autoimmune thyroid disease.
A high TSH might mean:
A low TSH might mean:
Your healthcare provider will be aware of your circumstances and can discuss the results with you.
Liver function tests are used to help diagnose and monitor liver disease or damage. The tests measure the levels of enzymes and proteins in your blood.
Liver function tests are helpful in:
If one or more of your liver function test results are not normal, it may mean your liver is damaged or not functioning properly. Liver damage can be caused by several different conditions, including:
If you have questions about your test results, talk to your healthcare provider.
Colon cancer screening can detect polyps and early cancers in the large intestine. This screening can find problems that can be treated before cancer develops or spreads. Regular screenings may reduce the risk of death and complications caused by colorectal cancer.
There are many ways to screen for colon cancer.
A Pap smear is used to detect abnormal cells on the cervix that are cancerous or potentially cancerous. This test is conducted by taking a sample of the cells from the surface of the cervix during a pelvic exam with a swab or small brush.
A Pap smear is used as a screening test for cervical cancer. Health conditions, such as infections, inflammation, and other types of cancer, may also be detected with this test.
During the procedure, your healthcare provider:
It is not painful, but you’ll probably feel some discomfort.
Your healthcare provider will put the cell sample in a liquid substance in a tube or jar and send it to a laboratory. A pathologist examines the cell samples under a microscope to search for abnormal cells that may indicate cancer or HPV.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is made by the prostate gland. High PSA levels may indicate prostate cancer, a noncancerous condition like prostatitis, or an enlarged prostate gland.
The PSA test is the primary method of screening for prostate cancer. PSA screening can help catch the disease early when treatment may be more effective and potentially cause fewer side effects. A PSA test may be done with a digital rectal exam (DRE), in which a physician carefully inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to examine the prostate for irregularities.
There is no specific normal or abnormal level for PSA in the blood. Generally, the higher your PSA level, the more likely you have cancer. But it is possible to have a high PSA without prostate cancer or a low PSA with prostate cancer.
Human immunodeficiency virus can be transmitted through contact with certain infected body fluids. If ignored, HIV can progressively destroy the body’s ability to fight severe infections and cancers.
HIV tests use blood, oral fluid, or urine samples to detect the presence of HIV, antigens, and/or antibodies produced by the body in response to an HIV infection.
HIV tests detect HIV genetic material, antigens, and/or antibodies. If these substances are detected, the test shows a positive result for HIV.
There are 3 types of HIV tests:
Antibody test: The body produces antibodies after an HIV infection. It can take several weeks to produce antibodies, so HIV antibody testing can only detect HIV from 3-12 weeks after infection.
Antigen/antibody test: Foreign substances that activate an immune response, antigens appear before the body produces antibodies. So antigen/antibody testing can detect an HIV infection earlier than antibody tests, within 2-4 weeks of becoming infected.
HIV viral load test: In addition to detecting an HIV infection, viral load testing can detect the amount of the virus in the blood. Although this type of test can detect an HIV infection earlier compared to other HIV tests, it’s costly and is typically only used when someone has symptoms or possible exposure to HIV.
A blood pressure test checks whether your blood pressure is healthy or high or low.
Blood pressure is the strength with which your blood pushes on the walls of your arteries as it's pumped around your body.
Low blood pressure (hypotension) is not usually an issue, although it can cause dizziness and fainting in some.
High blood pressure (hypertension) can increase your risk of developing severe problems, such as heart attacks and strokes if it's not treated.
This quick test is the only way to determine your blood pressure – and it could save your life.
When preparation is needed, a common pre-test instruction is too fast. Because what you consume can affect the test results, your healthcare provider may tell you to avoid eating or drinking anything except water for several hours before testing. How long you need to fast depends on the blood test prescribed.
It’s important to discuss with your healthcare provider before making any lifestyle changes or changes in the medicines you take before blood testing.
Fasting blood sugar (FBS): For fasting blood sugar tests, don't eat or drink anything other than water for at least 8 hours before the sample is taken.
If you suffer from diabetes, you may need to wait until you have had your blood tested before taking your daily dose of insulin or diabetes medicine.
Random blood sugar (RBS): No special preparation is needed before a random blood sugar test.
The test requires little preparation. Usually, you just need to urinate into a plastic container and return the urine sample to the technician or doctor.
A technician may accompany you to make sure that you are giving the sample correctly. The technician should explain the reason for this supervision.
It is important to note that certain medicines and supplements can cause false-positive test results.
Let your healthcare provider know if you are taking any:
Be sure to let the testing professional know if you are taking any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or supplements because these substances may affect the test results. Also, avoid foods with poppy seeds, which can show up as opiates in a drug test.
No special preparations are needed for a standard electrocardiogram. Let your healthcare provider know about any medications and supplements you take. These can often affect the electrocardiogram test results.
Laboratory tests are medical devices and procedures intended for checking samples of blood, urine, body tissues, or other substances taken from the body. Physicians need laboratory tests to help in diagnosing diseases, planning for treatments, evaluating the patient's response to those treatments, and monitoring diseases.
Once the sample has been collected from your body, it will then be sent to a laboratory. Tests will be performed on the samples to see if they contain various substances and how much. The presence, absence, or amount of an analyte (the substance being analyzed) your sample has will help determine your condition.
Your physician will sometimes compare your results to results from previous tests. Laboratory tests are usually part of a regular checkup to look for changes in your health.
Your physician will analyze your lab test results to see if you fall within the normal range. Lab test values are given in range instead of a specific number because what is normal differs from person to person.
Some lab tests show if a particular substance is present or absent in your body. It may show an infectious organism or mutations to a gene that would explain your conditions or why you respond to therapies the way you do.
Laboratory testing is an important part of a routine checkup. Routine blood work is ordered to look for changes in your health. They also help healthcare providers diagnose medical conditions, plan or evaluate treatments, and monitor diseases.
Diagnostic tests include blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests, and special tests such as electrocardiograms and electroencephalograms. Each test you have has a different accuracy rate, and your healthcare provider can give you an idea of the reliability of the test. Often, the result itself includes a statement about the accuracy of the test.
During venipuncture, a laboratory professional, known as a phlebotomist, will collect a blood sample from a vein in your arm with a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be stored in a test tube or vial. You may feel a slight sting when the needle goes in or out.
To collect a urine sample, label a sterile, screw-top container with your name, date of birth, and date. Wash your hands (and genitals) thoroughly, pee, and collect either a "first-catch" or a "midstream" sample of urine in the container – you will be informed which type to collect.
Routine blood tests check the blood for white blood cells (WBC), red blood cells (RBC), hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelets. CBCs can detect if you have anemia, nutritional deficiencies, infection, cancer, and bone marrow problems. If these test results appear abnormal, your doctor may order more specific testing.
Some blood tests can help your healthcare provider determine how different organs in your body are functioning. Examples of organs whose malfunctions can be detected in a blood test include your thyroid, liver, or kidneys. Your healthcare provider can also use blood tests to detect markers of diseases and health conditions such as diabetes.
Screenings and diagnostic tests initially differ based on their intended users and whether they're symptomatic. Screening tests are intended for asymptomatic (showing no or disguised symptoms) people, whereas diagnostic tests are intended for those showing signs of needing a diagnosis.
If a doctor asks you to repeat lab tests, it is usually because:
Please do not worry if the doctor has asked you for a repeat test; if there is a severe problem, the doctor will speak or request to see you directly.