Most Common Lab Tests
Among the more common blood tests ordered by doctors are the
- Lipid Profile Test.
- Uric Acid Test.
- Cbc blood test or Complete Blood Check Test.
Note: All the above tests can be done from a single sample and are normally bunched together.
Prerequisites for lab tests
- Wear loose clothes that can provide for the lab attendant to draw a blood sample from your elbow region.
- Check with the doctor if you need to be fasting before the blood test.
The procedure involved in a blood test
The test will take only a few minutes. The technician will clean the region of your skin on the inside of your elbow, with an antiseptic wipe. An elastic band is tightened around the upper arm and you are asked to clench your fist. A needle is inserted into a swollen vein and collects a blood sample into a 5ml syringe. The elastic band is removed after you unclench your fist and the prick point covered with a plaster to prevent further bleeding. You may feel some discomfort during the process. If dizzy or nauseous please ask the technician to help. Minor bruising at the spot may exist and will clear in 3 to 5 days without any intervention. The heel is pricked for a sample of infants.
Most results are available a few hours to a day after testing. The above three tests can be done with a single sample if ordered together. Improper fasting, human error, medications, and a many other factors can cause your test to produce false-positive or false-negative results. Testing both your LDL or HDL levels typically produces more accurate results than checking your LDL alone.
The Lipid Profile Test
This test is a blood sample test to measure the levels of
- Total cholesterol (soft fat that is essential to body functions).
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the “bad cholesterol” requires fasting for 4 hours before the test.
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein), the “good cholesterol”
- Triglycerides, another form of fat.
Discuss with your doctor your family medical history, your medications like birth control pills, hormone supplements etc and enquire about the fasting period required.
LDL when high places you at risk of heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis etc.HDL levels being high mean your body is able to remove the LDL from your blood. (and is hence called “good cholesterol”). Unconverted fats are stored as triglycerides. High levels are found in the obese, alcoholics, people who eat too much sugary sweets etc.
Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood. Your lipid profile test lab report will indicate the normal levels.
The CBC or Cbc blood test
A complete blood count, or CBC blood test, determines if there is any change in blood cell counts and helps the diagnosis of anaemia, infection, cancer, diabetes, thyroidism etc. Normal values vary depending on your age and your gender.
Abnormal blood cell counts signal conditions that may require further testing like heart disease, bone marrow and bleeding disorders, iron or other vitamin and mineral deficiencies, cancer etc.
- Changes in the white blood cells count would mean infection, inflammation, or cancer.
- Low Platelets count would mean the body cannot stop bleeding
- Low levels of haemoglobin and hematocrit (red blood cells) could mean iron deficiency or anaemia.
The CBC profile is a tool and reads with other eliminative tests helps the diagnosis.
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. If 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 is called hyperuricemia and indicates conditions like Gout and cancer. Low Uric acid contents indicate kidney disorders like stones, renal failure, liver disorders, alcoholism etc.
Discuss with your doctor the medications you take normally as alcohol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin etc may interfere with the uric acid test results. Fasting for 4 hours before the test is needed and normally done early after rising from bed.
Diet is an important factor and the remedy. The intake of foods like liver, mackerel, dried beans, beer, wine etc increase uric acid levels.