What Is a Blood Test?
A blood test determines what substances are present in our bloodstream. It measures blood glucose (sugar), cholesterol, electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, hormones, antibodies, vitamins, liver function, thyroid function, and triglycerides. We may have multiple blood tests over time to monitor our health in some cases. Blood tests may be performed at the doctor’s office, a laboratory, or even by yourself using a home-based lab kit. Doctors use blood tests to diagnose illness and check the effectiveness of treatment. They may also use blood tests to screen patients for certain diseases. For instance, they may measure a person’s blood sugar before giving insulin if he has diabetes.
What does a blood test show?
A blood test shows the level of any substance in your blood, including proteins and enzymes. Blood tests are used to diagnose many conditions. They can also help detect problems with organs or bones. The information from a blood test can be used along with other tests to create an accurate diagnosis. For example, a doctor might take a blood sample and look for high protein levels. This could indicate kidney disease (because kidneys filter the blood). Then doctors would do more tests on the patient’s urine and stool to understand better how their body functions.
Types Of Blood Tests
There are several different types of blood tests.
1. Full Blood Count (FBC) – Includes the number of red blood cells, hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, white blood cell count, platelet count, and reticulocyte count. These numbers give a good idea of the overall health and condition of the immune system.
2. Serum Chemistry Panel – Measures concentrations of calcium, chloride, creatinine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, total CO2, albumin, bilirubin, blood urea nitrogen, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferases, gamma-glutamyltransferase, glucose, lactate dehydrogenase, lipids, and uric acid.
3. Electrolyte Profile – Measuring sodium, potassium, chlorine, bromide, phosphate, sulfates, carbon dioxide, magnesium, calcium, and parathyroid hormone (PTH). These measurements are helpful because they give us insight into water balance, which is essential to health. PTH helps regulate our bone metabolism.
4. Lipid Screening Panel -Measures triglycerides, HDL, and LDL cholesterol. High triglycerides, low HDL, and high LDL cholesterol increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Other lipid profiles include total cholesterol, free cholesterol, and phospholipids. A lipid profile gives detailed results about levels of fats in the blood.
5. Hormone Assays -Measure sex hormone levels, luteinizing hormone, follicular stimulating hormone, estradiol, progesterone, cortisol, testosterone, thyroxine, growth hormone, prolactin, DHEAS, renin, aldosterone, ACTH, adrenocortical tumor markers, chorionic gonadotropins, and estrogen receptors. All these tests provide additional information related to endocrine glands and their functions.
What are the symptoms of an abnormal blood test report?
There is no simple way to diagnose every disease. Some diseases have similar signs and symptoms, which makes diagnosis difficult. For example, diabetes might cause fatigue, irritability, frequent urination, blurred vision, or unexplained weight gain. LabMe is a service that allows patients to get answers from top experts at their fingertips. Patients share their medical reports with us, and our doctors review them to provide recommendations. Get answers today
Lab reports provide essential information about your health status. They also tell you whether you are at risk for developing certain conditions.
Lab tests are used to monitor certain aspects of our health. They measure electrolytes, cholesterol levels, glucose levels, liver function, kidney function, thyroid functions, etc. There are several types of lab tests. Some of them include CBC (Complete Blood Count), CMP (Chemistry Profile), ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate), and Liver Function Tests.
Abnormal blood test reports can indicate various medical issues. This may include anemia, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, renal failure, diabetes mellitus, etc. If you notice any changes in your body or any symptoms related to these diseases, seek immediate medical attention.
What Do You Do with an Abnormal Blood Test Report? Lab Me Has the Solution
Your blood test results came back, and they were abnormal. Is this cause for panic? In this article, we explore what a bizarre blood test report means, how you can minimize abnormal blood results and how to understand your blood test results better.
There are several routine blood tests you can take to measure your health. Having a good understanding of your results can help you make better choices regarding diet and lifestyle.
While some tests will help diagnose or screen for specific diseases or conditions, other tests give a more general overview of how well your body functions. These tests can provide valuable insight into your public health.
Blood consists mainly of white and red blood cells and platelets. When these components are within an abnormal range, it could signify the presence of various health problems. Abnormal blood counts may indicate an underlying disease, but they are often treatable. Always check with your healthcare provider about what your blood test results mean.
There’s no need to worry about getting an abnormal result in most cases. However, if the results are concerning, talk to your physician immediately. Also, try to stay calm. A positive attitude can go a long way in helping you deal with expected blood test results.
Factors that may lead to obtaining abnormal medical test results
- The patient is not taking the medication prescribed by the doctor, which can cause an altered level of certain drugs in the bloodstream or a decrease in their effectiveness. This will result in the medicine being ineffective and potentially dangerous.
- A person’s body chemistry changes with age or illness.
- Specific tests have different levels of accuracy depending on how much time has passed since the last meal or drink was consumed (time-dependent).
- Patients can be allergic to one type of medicine but not another.
- Patients who take over-the-counter medicines should always check the package insert for any warnings about interactions with other drugs they might be using.
- If you have been recently injured, your body could be producing natural antibodies that could interfere with some types of lab testing.
- Certain diseases or conditions can alter the way the body processes certain medications. For example, people with liver disease have difficulty metabolizing many drugs.
- Medications prescribed to treat one problem often have side effects that make them unsuitable for treating other issues.
- Some medications can interact with each other, causing unwanted effects (such as too low or high a dose of a drug).
How Can I Minimize An Abnormal Blood Result?
The following tips can help you minimize abnormal blood test results. Make sure to follow all precautions mentioned below before taking any medication.
1. Know What Normal Range Means
Most labs use ranges to define the average values for each blood component. For example, the normal range for hemoglobin is 12 – 16 gm/dl. This means that the average person has between 12 and 16 grams of hemoglobin in every 100 ml of blood (or one teaspoon).
2. Don’t Skip Tests
If you skip testing, you might not know whether something is wrong until it’s too late. The only exception to this rule would be when you’re pregnant.
3. Take Care Of Yourself
Eat healthy foods. Avoid junk food and unhealthy snacks like fried chicken nuggets and chips. High fat intake reduces your energy levels which further leads to fatigue. If you feel tired, try to get enough sleep.
4. Exercise Regularly
Physical exercise increases your heart rate and therefore helps in increasing your metabolism. It also stimulates your endocrine system, making your body release hormones that improve your overall health.
5. Reduce Stress
Stress can lead to increased production of cortisol, a hormone that interferes with many bodily processes, including digestion and immunity. So, reduce stress by practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation.
Understanding a Normal Vs. an Abnormal Blood Test Report
Your blood test results will tell you where your numbers fall within a reference range of expected values or effects. These expected ranges are considered normal for a large group of healthy people. In other words, a typical result is a result that falls within the scope of what is regarded as a specific result for healthy people.
Because every day is based on large population ranges, you may get a result outside of these ranges and still be healthy. These expected ranges cannot consider other factors or unique influences on a person’s results. If your blood test results come back outside the normal reference range, you will need to have more tests done for a more accurate picture.
On the other hand, some sick people may receive blood test results that are within the normal range.
Some common causes of abnormal blood test reports include:
Anemia occurs when your blood doesn’t contain enough oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Common types of anemia include iron deficiency anemia, thalassemia, and sickle cell anemia.
Leukocytes are white blood cells that fight infection. Leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow, which produces blood stem cells. Because leukemia usually begins in the bone marrow, bone marrow biopsy and aspiration are necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
Thrombocytes are small, round cells that form clots to stop bleeding at injury sites. A low platelet count indicates low platelets, making you prone to excessive bleeding.
Neutrophils are one type of white blood cell. Neutropenias occur when there are fewer neutrophils than average. They can be caused by chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancers and certain infections.
5. Hemolytic Anemia
Hematocrit measures how many red blood cells are present in the blood. A high hematocrit level indicates the presence of excess amounts of red blood cells and, therefore, an increase in the total amount of blood. When someone has hemolytic anemia, their red blood cells break apart and leak out into the bloodstream
Other Factors That Can Cause an Abnormal Blood Test Report
Several factors other than illness can influence the result of your blood tests. These include certain foods and drinks, medicines, exercise, Stress, and differences in lab procedures.
Some routine blood tests look at blood glucose and triglyceride levels affected by when you last ate. While the fasting baseline is 8 – 12 hours, having a snack late at night before an early morning test could put your lipids or glucose levels out of range.
While a high level of the muscle enzyme creatine phosphokinase can signal a muscular or heart disease, it may also indicate that you had worked out just before your blood sample was collected.
A high level of the liver (bone) enzyme, alkaline phosphatase, is a common sign of certain cancers or liver disease. But these levels can be raised if you are recovering from a broken bone or are an adolescent.
Average May Differ Between Men and Women
The typical value of most blood test measurements depends on gender. For example, females tend to have higher values for all hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormone but lower HDL cholesterol levels than males. While your average value might be based on data from thousands of men, it may not apply to women.
In addition to this, different labs use different methods to measure the same laboratory parameters. Even labs using the same approach often produce slightly varying results. As such, your actual average blood test value may vary between laboratories.
‘Normal’ May or May Not Vary by Age
While some blood test results do change with age, others don’t. Some common examples:
-Your RBC counts will rise as you get older because your body needs more oxygen to keep up with increased activity. Your red blood cells can then carry more oxygen through your circulatory system.
-As you grow old, your body’s ability to make new red blood cells declines. Your overall blood volume drops, so your blood pressure rises. The number of platelets that help prevent blood loss increases too.
-White blood cell counts drop as we lose our youthful energy. Aging affects many areas of the immune system, including lymphocyte development, antibody production, and phagocytosis (the process in which macrophages engulf and destroy foreign invaders).
-Neutrophils decrease during aging because they turn over faster than other types of white blood cells. However, neutropenia is very rare in healthy people. People with cancer, infection or autoimmune diseases may exhibit neutropenia due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or viral infections. Neutropenia occurs in about 1% of the general population.
-Lymphocytes (B cells and T cells) decline after puberty, although the thymus continues to function well into adulthood. Lymphocytes are involved in the regulation of immunity and inflammation.
An Abnormal Test Report May Not Mean You Are Sick. When Should You Be Concerned?
It is important to note that reference ranges may vary slightly from one Lab to another. So, depending on the Lab, your results may show at the high or low end of average or out of the normal range. It is easy to jump to conclusions, but rather discuss your results with your primary healthcare provider.
An abnormal blood test report on its own isn’t conclusive. Instead, look at and compare your results to previous tests. If there is a sudden change from your usual range or an out-of-the-ordinary spike, there may be some reason for concern.
It is essential to have regular blood tests to monitor your health. Avoid skipping routine blood tests and have a check-up every year even if you feel fine. Your doctor can get a better and more precise picture of your health trends with a proper record of blood markers.
Normal May Vary. Why It Is Important to Establish Your Normal Baseline.
With Lab Me, you can quickly establish your baseline normal. With the convenience of at-home blood testing and tracking, every blood test you get is placed on a graph so you can see how it is trending. Stock traders wouldn’t decide based on one day of trading data. Neither should you or your healthcare professional.
Don’t base your health on a guess. Here are the most famous at-home blood tests that can help you make more informed decisions.
Normal ranges indicate what blood looks like for 95% of the population, but this normal can vary according to sex and age.
The standard reference range for the number of red blood cells in a complete blood count is 5–6 million cells per microliter for men. The normal range for women is between 4 and 5 million per microliter. The average level of hemoglobin test in the hemoglobin test is much lower for children (11–13 grams/deciliter) than for adult men (14–17 grams/deciliter).
Lab results are based on reference ranges. These ranges are based on what would be considered normal for 95% of the population. But many healthy people fall outside of that normal range. What is normal for one person may not be for someone else. When looking at your blood test results, you want to know what is normal or abnormal for you. And knowing your baseline normal will give you a better indication if something is out of that range.
How Lab Me Works
Lab Me allows you to select a blood test that best suits you, perform the test at home, and mail it back to our labs for highly accurate results delivered to your computer or phone in a way that you understand. Learn more here.
Lab Me is easy to use with top-level encryption, state-of-the-art sample collection, and laboratory analysis.
It benchmarks your information and interprets the normal range according to your health. It helps avoid wrong diagnoses and missing issues. The best part of this program is that it works on machine intelligence, so your doctor can quickly help you and provide recommendations to provide the best possible result. Your data will support this engine to detect if you are at higher risk for a severe event. It helps manage the complete blood history of families or keep track of loved ones. You can get quick second opinions by sharing reports with doctors.
You need to order a test kit from Lab Me, perform it at home, and mail it back. It takes less than 3 minutes and gives insight at speeds that are conventionally araren’teasible.
Abnormal blood tests araren’teason to always panic. Let Lab Me help you to understand the difference.
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