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  • H. Shripriya

Knowing more about Lab tests, your Doctor prescribes you

Importance

Laboratory tests are often part of a routine check-up to look for changes in your health. They also help doctors diagnose medical conditions, plan or evaluate treatments, and monitor diseases.



Routine lab test is a medical procedure that involves testing a sample of blood, urine, or other substance from the body. Laboratory tests can help determine a diagnosis, plan treatment, check to see if treatment is working, or monitor the disease over time.


Doctors suggest to get routine lab tests done once in every year.


Types

During a routine physical, a doctor may order one of the following tests:


Complete blood count

A complete blood count (CBC) measures a variety of the blood’s components, such as: 

  • red blood cells 

  • white blood cells 

  • haemoglobin 

  • platelets 

  • mean corpuscular volume (MCV) — the average size of a person’s red blood cells 

  • haematocrit — how much space red blood cells take up in the blood

A CBC test helps a doctor identify blood disorders or diseases, such as anaemia, issues with clotting, inflammation, infection, or immune system disorders.


Blood enzyme tests

Blood enzyme tests measure the levels of specific enzymes in the body. The body produces enzymes to help control chemical reactions within the body. Enzyme blood tests can help a doctor identify specific health problems, including a heart attack. If a doctor suspects a heart attack, they will check the levels of the cardiac troponin enzyme, which the heart releases when it is injured.


Common enzymes tested include: 

  • Creatine phosphokinase (CPK-1). This is found in your lungs and brain. High levels can indicate brain injuries or cancer. 

  • CPK-2 (CK-MB). These enzymes are found in your heart. They often increase in your blood after a heart attack or other heart injury. 

  • CPK-3. These enzymes are also found in your heart. They often result from muscle inflammation, injury, or intense exercise. 

  • Troponin. This is a heart enzyme that can leak into your blood and results from heart injury.

Blood clotting tests


A blood clotting test, also known as a coagulation panel, PT and Pro Time. This test measures how long it takes blood to clot. This coagulation test measures the presence and activity of five different blood clotting factors. This test can screen for bleeding abnormalities, and may also be used to monitor medication treatments that prevent the formation of blood clots. A doctor may order this test if they suspect the person may have a blood clotting disorder.


Lipoprotein panel


If a doctor wants to assess a person’s risk for developing coronary heart disease or other atherosclerotic problems, they will likely order a lipoprotein, or lipid, panel. A lipoprotein panel will provide information about a person’s: 

  • low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level 

  • high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level 

  • total cholesterol level 

  • triglycerides level in the blood

A person will need to fast for 8 to 10 hours tested source before a lipoprotein panel. If the results indicate abnormal levels of any cholesterol or triglycerides, it could indicate that the person is at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.


Basic metabolic panel

The basic metabolic panel (BMP) measures the levels of different chemicals found in the plasma portion of the blood.

The BMP test, provides information about the bones, muscles, and organs. Individuals may need to fast for up to 12 hours before this test.

BMP tests look at the following: 

  • Uncorrected calcium levels: Abnormal calcium levels could indicate a person has an underlying condition related to their kidneys or bones, cancer, malnutrition, or other diseases. 

  • Glucose level: Higher than normal blood glucose levels could indicate a person has diabetes or is at risk of developing diabetes. Some people may need to fast before a blood glucose test. 

  • Kidneys: The presence of excess waste products in the blood and urine, such as blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine, can indicate a problem with the kidneys. 

  • Electrolytes: The presence of abnormal electrolyte levels (Sodium, calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium) could indicate an issue with dehydration, kidneys, or other underlying conditions.

Urine analysis


Urinalysis is a series of tests on your urine, or pee. Doctors use it to check for signs of common conditions or diseases. They include: 

  • Kidney disease 

  • Liver disease 

  • Diabetes

There are three ways to analyse urine, and your test might use all of them.


One is a visual exam, which checks the colour and clarity. If your pee has blood in it, it might be red or dark brown. Foam can be a sign of kidney disease, while cloudy urine may mean you have an infection.


A microscopic exam checks for things too small to be seen otherwise. Some of the things that shouldn’t be in your urine that a microscope can find include: 

  • Red blood cells 

  • White blood cells 

  • Bacteria 

  • Crystals (clumps of minerals, a possible sign of kidney stones)

The third part of urinalysis is the dipstick test, which uses a thin plastic strip treated with chemicals. It’s dipped into your urine, and the chemicals on the stick react and change colour if levels are above normal. Things the dipstick test can check for include: 

  • Acidity, or pH if the acid is abnormal, you could have kidney stones, a urinary tract infection (UTI), or another condition. 

  • Protein. This can be a sign your kidneys aren’t working right. Kidneys filter waste products out of your blood. 

  • Glucose. A high sugar content is a marker for diabetes. 

  • White blood cells. These are a sign of infection or inflammation, either in the kidneys or anywhere else along your urinary tract. 

  • Nitrites. This means that there is an infection with certain kinds of bacteria. 

  • Bilirubin. If this waste product, which is normally eliminated by your liver, shows up, it may mean your liver isn’t working properly.

  • Blood in your urine. Sometimes this is a sign of infections or certain illnesses.


Liver Panel

The liver panel is a combination of tests used to assess liver function and establish the possible presence of liver tumours. 

  • albumin 

  • total protein 

  • alkaline phosphatase (ALP) 

  • alanine aminotransferase (ALT) 

  • aspartate aminotransferase (AST) 

  • bilirubin


Thyroid Stimulating Hormone

This test screens and monitors the function of the thyroid.


Haemoglobin A1C

This test is used to diagnose and monitor diabetes.


Some tests require fasting


Everything you eat and drink contains vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients that can cause the related levels in your blood to temporarily spike or drop. Fasting for 8–12 hours helps to ensure that blood test results are free from these variables, making your test results as accurate as possible.

Lab tests that require fasting: 

  • blood glucose test 

  • liver function test 

  • cholesterol test 

  • triglyceride level test 

  • high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level test 

  • low-density lipoprotein (LDL) level test  basic metabolic panel 

  • renal function panel 

  • lipoprotein panel

References:


1. Textbook of Medical Laboratory Technology, Vol-1 and Vol-2, Praful B. Godkar

2. Textbook of Medical Laboratory Technology, Vol-1 and Vol-2, Ramnik Sood

3. Textbook of Biophysical Chemistry, Upadhyay Upadhyay Nath


H. Shripriya

Principal

Dr.M.V.Shetty Institute of

Allied Health Sciences,

Mangaluru-13

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