10 Important Blood Tests And What They Are For?

  • June 15, 2020
10 important blood tests

Blood Tests:

A blood test is an analysis of the blood sample in the laboratory. We can get the blood mainly from veins in the arm via finger prick or hypodermic needle. Almost all of us go through blood testing at least once in our life.  

Blood tests are a great indicator of the body’s overall health. Doctors recommend getting routine blood checkups at least once a year.

To detect pathologies and infections, doctors prescribe the blood tests according to different requirements.

In this blog article, we will explain the different types of blood tests.

1. CBC (Complete Blood Count):

A CBC is a test related to blood cells. 

CBC includes:

  • RBCs (red blood cells per microliter blood)
  • WBCs (white blood cells per microliter blood)
  • Platelet count (number of platelets per microliter blood)
  • Hematocrit (a blood fraction constituting red blood cells)
  • Hemoglobin (grams of protein (oxygen-carrying) per deciliter blood)
  • MCV (mean corpuscular volume indicates the average size of RBCs)

Indications of CBC are to diagnose:

  • Anemia (when levels of hematocrit, hemoglobin, and red blood cells are lower)
  • Infection (when white blood cells go up)
  • Bone marrow problem (when platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells are less)
  • Age-related problems (platelet count in the older age group is usually low)

2. Comprehensive metabolic panel:

CMP indicates seven items in the blood:

  • Total protein
  • Calcium
  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
  • Total bilirubin
  • Albumin
  • Alkaline phosphate

ALT and AST are liver enzymes, which indicate the problems related to liver functioning. These levels can go up due to certain medications for other health problems.

Higher levels of alkaline phosphate can show liver blockage or problems with bone metabolism.

The liver produces the bilirubin. An increase in the level of bilirubin can indicate gallstones or blockage of bile ducts.

Albumin is a significant protein present in the bloodstream. The liver synthesizes the albumin. Low albumin levels can indicate liver problems and malnutrition.

Blood tests aren’t the gold standard for assessing calcium levels through the blood. Higher or lower calcium levels indicate any cognitive dysfunction or underlying health conditions.

3. Basic metabolic panel:

Doctors advice basic metabolic panel to measure seven or eight electrolytes as:

  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Blood urea nitrogen
  • glucose
  • Creatinine

Indications of a basic metabolic panel are to diagnose:

  • Blood acidity and infections (when carbon dioxide levels are higher)
  • Kidney dysfunctions (when BUN and creatinine levels are higher then they can indicate temporary impairment of kidney functions). Kidney functions tend to decline with the increasing age
  • The estimated glomerular filtration rate represents the filtration power of kidneys. Patient’s creatinine levels and age are helpful to measure EGFR
  • Diabetes (when levels of glucose are higher, they indicate diabetes or uncontrolled diabetes)
  • Hypoglycemia (when glucose levels are lower than the normal either due to use of hypoglycemic drugs or other pathology)
  • We monitor levels of sodium and potassium in blood to find side-effects of certain medications as diuretics and anti-hypertensives.

4. C-reactive protein test:

In the case of tissue inflammation, the liver produces CRP. Higher levels of CRP indicates the following problems:

  • Heart diseases
  • IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Infections
  • Inflammation of arteries
  • RA (rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Cancer
  • Lupus
  • Infections

CRP levels of more than 10mg/L can indicate an extremely high risk of developing heart diseases.

5. DHEA-sulfate serum test:

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) comes from our adrenal glands, which develop body traits as the growth of body hair.

Higher levels of DHEA indicate:

  • PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Tumour or cancer of adrenal glands

Lower levels of DHEA indicate:

  • AIDS
  • Anorexia
  • Kidney related problems
  • Type II diabetes

6. Coagulation panel:

This type of blood test measures the ability of blood clotting. 

Indications of coagulation panels are to diagnose:

  • Deficiency of vitamin K
  • Liver related problems
  • Thrombosis
  • Haemophilia (excessive bleeding)
  • Acute myeloid leukemia

Results may vary depending upon your health and underlying conditions, which can affect the mechanism of blood clotting.

7. Sexually transmitted disease tests:

Sometimes, doctors advise the blood tests to diagnose STDs. Blood tests can be helpful to diagnose:

  • Syphilis
  • HIV
  • Herpes simples
  • Gonorrhea
  • Chlamydia infection

In the case of infections, blood tests can not show its presence right after the contraction. 

For example, 

In HIV, we need to wait one month after contracting infection to detect the virus.

8. Enzyme markers:

Blood tests for common body enzymes (proteins to proceed with chemical processes in the body) are:

  • Troponin (heart injury)
  • CPK-3 (inflammation)
  • CPK-2 (CK-MB) – heart injury or heart attack
  • Creatine phosphokinase (CPK-1) – cancer or brain injury

9. Thyroid panel:

A thyroid function test to assess:

  • TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone)
  • T4 Thyroxine – regulates metabolism
  • RU (T3 resin uptake) 
  • T3 (Triiodothyronine) – regulates body temperature and heart rate

10. Lipid panel:

A lipid panel is helpful to assess levels of two body cholesterols:

  • LDL
  • HDL

HDL is good body cholesterol, which removes toxicity from the body.

While LDL is bad body cholesterol, which causes the plaques inside arteries and increases the risk of heart diseases.