Doctors order blood tests as diagnostic tools. All these tests are done from a single sample and are normally ordered bunched together. The most common of these are discussed below.
An elastic band is tightened around the upper arm and you are asked to clench your fist to engorge the veins. The technician will clean the region with an antiseptic wipe and insert the needle of a 5ml syringe into a swollen vein and collect a blood sample. The elastic band is removed and the prick-point covered with a plaster to prevent further bleeding. Some pain and discomfort during the process are normal. However, if dizzy or nauseous ask the technician to help. Minor bruising at the spot may exist in some. To test infants the heel is pricked.
Most results are available a few hours to a day after testing. Improper fasting, medications, human error, and a variety of other factors can cause false results in your test.
The Lipid Profile Test
This blood sample test measures the levels of
- Total cholesterol (soft fat that is vital to body functions).
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the “bad cholesterol” requires 4-7 hours fasting before the test.
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein), the “good cholesterol”
- Triglycerides, another form of fat.
Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood. Testing both your HDL and LDL levels typically produces more accurate results than checking your LDL alone.
- High LDL places you at risk of strokes, heart attack, and atherosclerosis.
- High HDL means your body is able to remove the LDL from your blood.
- Triglycerides are unconverted fats and high levels are found in the obese, alcoholics, and people who eat too many sugary sweets.
Discuss your lab report which indicates the normal levels with your doctor.
The CBC Blood test
A complete blood count (CBC) test determines if there is any change in blood-cell counts and helps the diagnosis of cancer, anaemia, infections, diabetes, thyroid function etc. Normal values vary depending on your age and your gender.
Abnormal blood-cell counts may require further testing and signal heart disease, bone marrow and bleeding disorders, iron or other vitamin and mineral deficiencies, cancer and many others.
- Changes in the white blood cells count indicate infection, inflammation, or cancer.
- Low Platelets count mean the body cannot stop bleeding
- Low levels of haemoglobin and hematocrit (red blood cells) could mean iron deficiency or anaemia.
The Uric Acid Test
This test is used to detect the levels of Uric Acid in the blood. In a normally functioning body, this acid is contained and passed out in the urine. When levels of this acid in the blood are too high or low they indicate certain conditions though not definitely.
A high level of uric acid in the blood indicates conditions like Gout and Cancer. Low Uric acid contents indicate kidney disorders like renal stones, renal failure, liver disorders, alcoholism etc.
Alcohol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin can interfere with the test results. Fasting for 4-7 hours before the test is needed and is normally done early morning.
Discuss your medications, family history, use of a catheter and fears with your doctor. After the tests ask the doctor to interpret them for you.