Your Guide to Lab Tests

You might have given your blood sample for several lab tests, but have you ever wondered what do the prescribed blood tests refer to. If you want to know keep reading:

Complete blood count (CBC)

The complete blood count (CBC) depends on the three types of blood cells: white blood cells (WBCs), red blood cells (RBCs) and platelets. By measuring the volume of blood cells, the CBC allows a doctor to evaluate a person’s overall health, as well as check for underlying conditions such as leukemia and anemia.

Hematocrit (Hct) test

This test is useful in diagnosing anemia, among other medical conditions.

Hemoglobin (Hgb) test

Hemoglobin is a protein contained within the RBCs that transports oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. The hemoglobin test is also useful in diagnosing anemia.

Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)

The comprehensive metabolic panel test measures the body’s glucose levels, fluid and electrolyte balance, as well as liver and kidney function.

Total protein test

The lab tests the ratio of two types of proteins: albumin and globulin. Low protein levels can indicate various conditions, including liver and kidney disorders and malnutrition, while high levels can be a sign of inflammation, infection or bone marrow disorder.

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test

This test measures the volume of nitrogen in the blood. High levels can be caused due to kidney damage or disease, while low levels may be a sign of malnutrition or severe liver damage.

Calcium test

This test measures the levels of calcium in the blood. If the test indicates low levels, this can indicate cancer, hyperparathyroidism, tuberculosis and other conditions, while high levels can indicate conditions including malnutrition, rickets and hyperparathyroidism.

Fasting blood sugar test

The fasting blood sugar test is done after a minimum of six hours of fasting to get accurate test results. Abnormal results can indicate diabetes among other medical conditions.

Lipid test

The lipid panel consists of various tests used to measure the different types of triglycerides (fats) and cholesterol in the blood. This can include triglycerides test, a fat found in the blood. Irregularities in the test are a possible risk factor for heart disease and other medical conditions. Whereas, HDL cholesterol test, also known as high-density lipoprotein (or good cholesterol), is useful in protecting against heart disease. Low levels can increase the risk of heart problems. Similarly LDL cholesterol test, also known as low-density lipoprotein (or bad cholesterol), is linked to heart disease and clogged arteries.