Like most people, you probably don’t think much about blood tests or understand blood test results.
You go in for your annual physical, the doctor gets you through a few tests, and then you go on with your life. Typically, your allopath will tell you everything looks fine unless you have a diagnosis.
But what are these tests actually measuring? And why are they important? We will share common blood tests explained in an effort to help you in understanding blood test results.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most common blood tests explained and what they can tell us about our health.
So read on to learn more!
Complete Blood Count
Believe it or not, the most commonly ordered blood test is complete blood count, also known as CBC. Whether you are sick or healthy, CBC is done as a routine test due to its low cost and the value it provides.
Don’t get confused. Although they sound complex, they are easy to understand.
Hemoglobin count, hematocrit, and red blood cells are usually examined together. These are indicators of whether your body is producing enough red blood cells or not.
Hemoglobin is a protein present in red blood cells, and it is responsible for carrying oxygen to your body.
Therefore, if your blood cannot produce enough hemoglobin, it won’t be able to synthesize enough red blood cells.
When you are deficient in hemoglobin and, thus, red blood cells, this is called anemia.
There are many causes of anemia. It can be due to iron deficiency (the most common cause), vitamin B9 deficiency (folate), or vitamin B12 deficiency (cobalamin).
Other causes that can lead to anemia include genetic disease and chronic diseases. Your doctor will suspect the cause of anemia based on your readings of common blood tests explained and understanding blood test results.
Regarding white blood cells, these are your defenders. They would fight for you against infections. Their number increases in response to an infection.
Therefore, your doctor can use this number to determine if you have an infection or not.
They also rise in other unfortunate cases like leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. Usually, the numbers here are extremely high and are accompanied by other symptoms.
The final part is platelets. You should be grateful for your platelets. Without them, you will end up dying from losing excessive amounts of blood.
The function of platelets is to make blood clots in cases of injury to avoid excessive bleeding, contributing to a process called homeostasis. This is to help you to understand your CBC in common blood tests explained and understand blood test results.
You can also add a differential to have an expanded view of your immune system
Basic Metabolic Panel
The basic metabolic panel (BMP) comes after the CBC in importance. It is required for routine checkups because of the various diseases detected through it.
A BMP measures 8 substances: blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, calcium, carbon dioxide, chloride, glucose, potassium, and sodium.
The most important of these 8 are BUN and creatinine. These two are measurements of how well your kidney is working as common blood tests explained and understanding blood test results
Basically, BUN and creatinine are metabolites produced in response to protein metabolism in your body.
They are present in your blood in a very tight range. Your body gets rid of them by excreting them through the kidney. If your kidney is not working well, their level will rise.
This will make your doctor think you have a kidney problem and need further investigations.
The other measurements are electrolytes. Discussion about them is extremely complex and beyond the scope of this article, but you should be aware that the most important of them are sodium and potassium.
We typically add the CMP 14 which is the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel which includes the liver panel as well to view liver function.
Albumin is a protein made in the liver.
Total protein, measures the total amount of protein in the blood.
ALP (alkaline phosphatase), ALT (alanine transaminase), and AST (aspartate aminotransferase). These are different enzymes made by the liver.
Bilirubin, a waste product made by the liver.
These are to help you to have a deeper understanding blood test results in common blood tests explained
This one is the most interesting of them. Although it is not routinely done for young people, it is very important for the elderly.
The lipid panel measures the level of lipids in your blood. Your body has different forms of lipids like cholesterol, low-density cholesterol (LDL), and high-density cholesterol (HDL).
Did you know that if you have high cholesterol levels, this means that you are at risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes?
This is why it is important for the elderly because they are at the highest risk for developing such conditions.
Out of the 3 parameters mentioned above, scientists found that LDL (also known as the bad cholesterol) is the strongest predictor of heart disease, thus given this name 🙂
Don’t be afraid if your doctor detects any abnormalities in your lipid panel. You should know that a healthy lifestyle is a great way to lower your lipid levels in common blood tests explained and understanding blood test results
If that doesn’t work for you, your doctor will make recommendations to help you improve your lipid panel such as looking at diet, supporting liver function, etc.
Some Interesting Facts About Your Blood
Did you know that you are a millionaire? Yea! As far as we are talking about blood : )
Your body has 5 million red blood cells per microliter of blood. Imagine how tiny these things are!
Did you know that your bone marrow (the organ responsible for producing red blood cells) creates 17 million red blood cells per second? I wish we were as productive as the bone marrow.
The lifespan of a red blood cell is only 3 months. This is why they have no time to waste and work 24/7 for us.
Finally, did you know that your body has around 0.2 milligrams of gold? Unfortunately, there is no way we can separate from the blood.
Looking at your red blood cells help in understanding blood test results and common blood tests explained.
Vampires have many reasons to be obsessed with blood. Imagine that tiny drop of your blood has millions of red blood cells, millions of white blood cells, platelets, lipids, proteins, and so much more!
Hopefully this helped your understanding blood test results and common blood tests explained.
Thanks to the technology that enabled us to examine these things at the molecular levels and use them to predict diseases via blood tests like complete blood picture, basic metabolic panels, lipid panels, and much more!
Have you ever had to do any of the blood tests mentioned or any blood tests? Let us know in the comment how was your experience, and share what you learned about your health!