12:13pm Sunday 15 September 2019

Understanding Your Blood Tests

You hear things like getting a CBC, platelet count, and hemoglobin. But what does it all mean? Is it serious or should you be worried what the tests reveal? It is commonplace for doctors to take blood for more information on your health, but knowing why some of these tests are taken and what they show can help you be more aware too.

What is a CBC?

A complete blood count can be done at any Health Testing Centers and is one of the most common tests a doctor will do. It looks at the concentration of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in your body. These values are important in making sure your body can fight fatigue, infection, and be strong and healthy.

·         White cells- These are larger cells that fight infection from basic bacterial and viral to cancer and more serious conditions.

·         Red cells- Carry oxygen throughout the whole body, and take the carbon dioxide to the lungs to be expelled. This result can show if you are anemic.

·         Platelets- These help to control blood flow, and clump together to help stop bleeding. Too many and you may be in danger of a blood clot forming. Too few and you may bleed uncontrollably.

Blood Chemistry Tests

Blood chemistry tests, sometimes called BMP for basic metabolic panel, measures the chemicals in your blood by testing the plasma. It reveals information about your bones, muscles, and organs. The values it tests are:

·         Blood Glucose- Form of sugar your body needs for energy. This may show if you are diabetic.

·         Calcium- A mineral in your body that can show if you have kidney problems, bone disease, cancer, or thyroid problems.

·         Electrolytes- Another mineral that helps maintain fluid levels.

·         Kidney Functions- Since the kidneys help to filter out toxins in the body these measurements can show if there are problems and possible disorders.

Blood Enzyme Tests

Enzymes help to monitor and regulate chemical reactions in your body. Enzymes are made up of proteins and aid in driving certain chemical reactions that are important to your body’s function. The tests explore:

·         Troponin- This protein helps with the contraction of your muscles. For instance, when you have a heart attack troponin levels will significantly be raised.

·         Creatine Kinase- The release of this chemical can show important damage to your body such as a heart attack.

Other Possible Test

Because heart disease is a major factor in the US it can be typical to have tests like LDL and HDL cholesterol tests, and triglycerides to measure the fat in your body. Blood clotting or thyroid tests may be ordered if you are showing symptoms to be concerned about. And C-reactive protein is a general marker for inflammation like IBD, Crohn’s, or Ulcerative Colitis.

Blood test can reveal a lot about your health. They are a low cost, fairly no-invasive way to check for issues. The next time you have tests done take the time to learn about what it all means for your health.

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