Blood Check-up: Explained!

Getting a regular check-up is not only advised by doctor’s and insurance companies around the world, it is a necessity for good health. Your blood is one of the most detailed repositories of your body’s functioning and can give essential clues to doctors and physicians about your health. It is highly simplistic to think of your blood as merely an oxygen carrying system or waste removal mechanism. Blood is also a great indicator of your vital organs like heart, liver, lungs, kidney, spleen etc.

A regular blood test can be conducted either at the lab or a trained health-care professional will come to draw the samples at your residence. The samples then undergo a battery of tests to check various levels including hemoglobin, WBC, RBC among many others. These results are then organized according to established practices to provide the concerned physician the information he or she may need.

Understanding the report

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More often than not your blood work report looks to be comprised of a series of numbers and alphabets seemingly sounds like a statistics report. It is, however, quite easy to understand the report and figure out the red flags if you know what you are looking at.

CBC – Complete blood Count

This test focuses on all the types of blood cells, namely red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. It gives you the figures of the amount of each in your blood, their size among a variety of other things. This is a broad spectrum screening that helps doctors identify diseases like anemia, leukemia among others.

The white blood cell count, or leukocyte count, is essential in identifying infections and allergic reactions. These cells are a huge part of the human body’s immune system. There are five basic types of white blood cells, basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes and monocytes. Neutrophils are the first on scene in case of any infection, while basophils release essential enzymes during allergic reactions.

The red blood cell count is one of the most important things on your blood report. Red blood cells carry oxygen to various part of the body. High RBC counts can be result of dehydration, kidney problems or even a cardiovascular condition. On the other hand, a low RBC count can indicate a nutritional deficiency, bone marrow damage or even kidney issues.

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This section also contains the hemoglobin values, hemoglobin is the protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen. Hematocrit results help identify the volume of blood taken up by the RBCs, this is pivotal in determining your red blood cell count. The mean corpuscular value is determined to identify the size of the RBCs, abnormal sizes could point to a vitamin B12 deficiency or anemia. Mean corpuscular hemoglobin measure the amount of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. It is also called mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, or MCHC.

This test will also give you your platelet count. Platelets are fragments of blood cells that help heal and stem excessive bleeding. Low platelet counts can be indicative of a risk for excessive bleeding, while a high count could come with a possibility of forming clots.

Comprehensive metabolic panel

This test provides information about the electrolytes present in the human body along with the calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium among others. This test also measures the body’s bilirubin, albumin and creatinin levels. Bilirubin is formed when hemoglobin disintegrates in the human body, found in bile and food, excess could indicate jaundice.

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Albumin is the main protein in blood plasma, the clear fluid that is part of the blood. Low levels of it can indicate kidney or liver diseases as well as malnutrition. Creatinin is the byproduct of creatin which supplies energy to the muscles and increased levels could indicate low and poor kidney functions.

This test can also include a fasting glucose test which would be used to check your glucose levels. Increased glucose levels during such a test could indicate a chance of diabetes.

Lipid panel

This is a collection of tests that indicates the level of fats in your blood stream. It essentially measures your triglyceride levels as well as your cholesterol.

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LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, if high, can be a precursor to cardiovascular problems, HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the good cholesterol that can keep your LDL cholesterol in check. Similarly, high levels of triglyceride levels can be indicative of heart and coronary artery diseases.

 

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