Understanding Common Blood Tests and What They Mean

One of the best medical methods to check whether our organ systems are working proficiently is a blood test. Over the years, the tests have been redefined by proper medical research. The processes have become faster and generate more accurate results.

Learning what blood tests are and why they are done to some extent becomes mandatory. This education enables patients to not only learn what the results interpret but also helps them to focus on their health properly. Let us take a quick look at a few common blood tests done in labs, nursing homes and hospitals.

Common blood tests: A short introduction

1. Complete blood count (CBC)

As the name suggests, a CBC test is done to count ten components of blood. These components are the major blood cells and others that comprise the blood connective tissues running through our veins and arteries. The components are:

  • Red blood cells (RBC)
  • White blood cells (WBC)
  • Platelets
  • Haemoglobin
  • Hematocrit

The results can detect the following abnormalities.

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Anemia
  • Clotting problems
  • Infection
  • Blood cancer
  • Immune system disorders

2. Basic metabolic panel (BMP)

The metabolism of a person can be checked through this blood test. It checks eight parameters by measuring the levels of the following factors.

  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Glucose
  • Potassium
  • Bicarbonate
  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
  • Chloride
  • Creatinine

The test results interpret and detect the following abnormalities.

  • Kidney disease
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Diabetes
  • Deficiencies, etc

3. Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)

This blood test is done to check all the factors of BMP along with the levels of additional proteins and substances that focus on liver functions. The extra factors calculated are:

  • Albumin
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
  • Total protein
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
  • Bilirubin, etc

This test can detect the following abnormalities occurring in a patient’s body.

  • Inflammation and blockage in the gallbladder
  • Bone metabolism disorder
  • Deficiencies
  • Liver problems
  • Heart conditions
  • Inflammation in the pancreas
  • Adverse medication reactions
  • Abnormalities in red blood cell destruction, etc

4. Liver function test (LFT)

As the name suggests, an LFT test is conducted to check liver functions. The results interpret the condition of a liver and its functioning in a patient. Here is what is checked in this test.

  • ALT
  • AST
  • ALP
  • Albumin
  • Total protein
  • Bilirubin
  • Prothrombin time (PT)
  • L-lactate dehydrogenase (LD)
  • Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT)

Checking these factors explain the following ailments.

  • Liver infections
  • Progression of an infection or a disease in liver
  • Severity of diseases
  • Side effects of certain medications

5. Lipid panel

This test is done to check the two genres of cholesterol present in the human body.

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL)

HDL is good for our physiological functions. It aids in the removal of harmful substances present in our blood. On the other hand, LDL causes plaque in the veins and arteries causing various heart diseases.

6. Thyroid panel

This test is designed to check the condition and functioning of the thyroid organ present in the neck region of a human being. This organ is responsible for the production and control of various hormones. These hormones are required for metabolic functions, controlling heart rate, digestive functions, muscular functions, bone maintenance, brain development etc. The hormones released from this organ are also responsible for controlling the mood, overall metabolism and energy level.

This test checks the following factors.

  • Triiodothyronine (T3)
  • Thyroxine (T4)
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)

The abnormal results of this test conclude the following things.

  • Low protein levels in the body
  • Abnormal levels of sex hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone
  • Thyroid growth disorder

7. Sexually transmitted infection tests (STIs)

Another common blood test done to check any kind of contraction of sexually transmitted disease (STD) is called the sexually transmitted infection test (STI). This test is done to identify the infection-causing agents in the system. It checks the following diseases.

  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Herpes, etc

The blood test results will interpret what is causing the infections in the human body. Sometimes, it takes time to reveal the causative agent. For instance, it takes at least a month to detect the HIV virus in a blood sample after contraction.

8. Coagulation panel

As the name suggests, this test checks how faster a person’s blood coagulates and what the abnormalities are. The clotting of blood is an important part of our blood circulatory system as it takes care of wounds and stops blood loss. This test checks the various clotting factors and determines the following abnormalities.

  • Leukemia
  • Thrombosis
  • Excessive bleeding or haemophilia
  • Vitamin K deficiency
  • Liver conditions, etc

Wrapping up

These are the common blood tests conducted in healthcare institutions to determine the abnormalities occurring in the human body. These tests are conducted to diagnose the issues and develop a proper treatment plan to cure a patient.

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