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One of the most common physical symptoms of anemia is fatigue. A hemoglobin test is done when a person is ill or during a general physical examination. Good health requires an adequate amount of hemoglobin. The amount of oxygen in the body tissues depends on how much hemoglobin is in the red cells.

Without enough hemoglobin, the tissues lack oxygen, and the heart and lungs must work harder to try to compensate. A low hemoglobin usually means the person has anemia. Anemia results from conditions that decrease the number or size of red cells, such as excessive bleeding, a dietary deficiency, destruction of cells because of a transfusion reaction or mechanical heart valve, or an abnormally formed hemoglobin. A high hemoglobin may be caused by polycythemia vera, a disease in which too many red Blood cells are made.

Hemoglobin levels also help determine if a person needs a Blood transfusion. The hematocrit is a compound measure of red Blood cell number and size.

There are five indices:. Neutropenia may be found in certain infections, including typhoid fever, brucellosis, viral illnesses, rickettsioses, and malaria.

Other causes include aplastic anemia see list of drugs above , aleukemic acute leukemias, thyroid disorders, hypopitituitarism, cirrhosis, and Chediak-Higashi syndrome. Drugs increasing the lymphocyte count include aminosalicyclic acid, griseofulvin, haloperidol, levodopa, niacinamide, phenytoin, and mephenytoin.

Lymphopenia is a characteristic indication of AIDS. Of all hematopoietic cells lymphocytes are the most sensitive to whole-body irradiation, and their count is the first to fall in radiation sickness.

Other causes include pemphigus, dermatitis herpetiformis, scarlet fever, acute rheumatic fever, various myeloproliferative neoplasms, irradiation, polyarteritis nodosa, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, coccidioidomycosis, smoking, idiopathically as an inherited trait, and in the resolution phase of many acute infections. Eosinopenia is seen in the early phase of acute insults, such as shock, major pyogenic infections, trauma, surgery, etc. Drugs producing eosinopenia include corticosteroids, epinephrine, methysergide, niacin, niacinamide, and procainamide.

Estrogens, antithyroid drugs, and desipramine may also increase basophils. Platelets are cells in the Blood which are necessary to help Blood clot.

A normal platelet count is between to thousand per cubic millimeter. Low platelet counts are called thrombocytopenia which can be caused by some drugs. Unlike microbiological tests, which look for the presence of a disease causing microorganism, serologic tests most often look for specific antibodies produced by the immune system in response to specific disease causing microorganisms.

Also unlike microbiology tests, serology tests are very useful to determine if the patient has been exposed to an infection before they begin showing signs of disease. If detected and treated early, usually during the first year of infection, syphilis can be controlled.

If left unchecked, it becomes much more difficult to treat and can result in serious disease of the brain and death. It is generally recommended that those who are sexually active be tested for syphilis antibodies at least annually. Serology testing can also be used to determine if the infection has responded effectively to therapy. HBV is not usually fatal, but can cause liver problems in a small percentage of those infected.

HCV, on the other hand, can cause serious liver disease in the majority of patients infected with the virus. Antibodies are checked to see if there is signs of recent or past infections. Most people develop antibodies eventually, but if the early antibodies are present, it may give us a clue to a recent infection causing symptoms.

HIV antibody testing also allows patients to find out their status many years before they get sick, allowing them to start medication to treat HIV. Results of this test cannot be given over the phone and you must sign a form explaining the HIV test before we can send it. There are some tests that do not easily fit into any of the other categories.

We group them together here. For technical reasons, it is easier and less expensive to measure the TSH and that usually tells us what is wrong, if that is off we may also measure FreeT4 level, but T3 is usually not measured on screening tests. A high level suggests your thyroid is underactive, and a low level suggests your thyroid is overactive.

This is usually the test used to screen for high or low thyroid and monitor dosage of medications suchas Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, etc. This is NOT a thyroid test, rather a test on the proteins that carry thyroid around in your Blood stream. Moreover, a high test number may indicate a low level of the protein.

The method of reporting varies from lab to lab. The test is to compute the free thyroxine index. High levels may be due to hyperthyroidism, however technical artifact occurs when estrogen levels are higher from pregnancy, birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy.

A Free T4 see below can avoid this interference. The results tell us how much thyroid hormone is free in the Blood stream to work on the body. Unlike the T4 alone, it is not affected by estrogen levels. It is a more reliable, but a little more expensive test. If diarrhea continues after the first six weeks, talk with your doctor about medications that may help treat bile salt diarrhea.

Chronic diarrhea can affect your ability to absorb nutrients. Following a low fat diet may help reduce diarrhea. Medications such as the cholesterol lowering agent cholestyramine resin, which is a powder that you mix with water, or Colestid, a tablet, can help reduce symptoms by absorbing bile and removing it in the stool.

Over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications may also help. Video of the Day. Gall Bladder Symptoms in Women. Diet After Gallstone Surgery. Exercise After Gallbladder Removal. This range varies depending on the lab, region e. US vs EU and type of blood component. A number above or below this reference range can give valuable diagnostic information about body systems. High and low values are especially useful when taken in context with other symptoms, lifestyle factors, and tests. Lab values vary for each person and must be assessed relative to other factors.

While reference ranges are established after testing a large number of healthy people, everyone is slightly different. This basic test looks at 20 different parts of the blood including levels of certain minerals, proteins, etc. Beyond the basic SMAC, there are many different blood tests you can request. Highlighted below are some of the most useful tests. Getting annual blood work with a physician is a good idea for preventative health. This way you can observe trends and catch potential health problems before they spiral out of control.

If you want to track your health trends over time, make sure to request a copy of your lab results and keep them in a file somewhere. Yep, we know… the health and fitness world can sometimes be a confusing place. Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article. A manual of laboratory and diagnostic tests. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Ingelsson E, et al. Clinical utility of different lipid measures for prediction of coronary heart disease in men and women.

Natarajan S, et al. Cholesterol measures to identify and treat individuals at risk for coronary heart disease. Am J Prev Med. Lemieux I, et al. Kinosian B, et al. Cholesterol and coronary heart disease: Making sense of cholesterol tests. High ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol predicts extensive coronary disease.

How it works and what you need to know. In this article we outline how it works and what you need to know. What is blood work? How is blood work done? We get blood for testing from: Blood is analyzed in a lab. The blood is put into a centrifuge and spun until it separates. Variation in results and ranges Lab values vary for each person and must be assessed relative to other factors. Blood analyses vary based on: Cardiovascular tests Test What it is Higher with Lower with Total cholesterol Cholesterol is necessary for building brain and nerve cells, along with various hormones.

Too much of it floating around the blood is associated with cardiovascular disease CVD. Low density lipoprotein LDL This compound carries cholesterol to body cells from the liver.

Overeating and most folks overeat processed fats, sugars, and refined grains , hypothyroidism, nephrotic syndrome, multiple myeloma, hepatic obstruction, anorexia nervosa, diabetes, renal failure, porphyria, pregnancy, androgen use.

Apo A is the main component of HDL. Apo B is the main component of LDL. Diabetes, renal failure, diets very high in polyunsaturated fat, smoking, some drugs, genetic diseases. Malnutrition, plant-based diets, high polyunsaturated fat diets, some drugs, genetic diseases. Lipoprotein a Lp a This is another sub-fraction of cholesterol. High levels of this are associated with premature heart disease. Not significant — levels might be slightly lower with niacin use. High density lipoprotein HDL This compound carries cholesterol from cells back to the liver.

The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL is considered a better predictor of heart disease than total cholesterol or LDL. The goal is to have a ratio of 5: An optimum ratio is 3. Lots of exercise for many years, estrogen use, low levels of alcohol consumption.

Diabetes, cholestasis, renal failure, obesity, sedentary behavior, certain drugs, insulin resistance. When triglycerides are under , the LDL calculation is usually inflated. The triglyceride to HDL ratio might be the single best predictor of heart disease risk. A ratio above 4: The goal is a ratio of 2: CVD, liver disease, alcoholism, renal disease, hypothyroidism, pregnancy, birth control medications, smoking, obesity, diabetes, gout, anorexia nervosa, a recent meal with fat. Malnutrition, hyperthyroidism, some lung diseases, strenuous exercise, a lean body.

C-reactive protein CRP A marker for low grade inflammation. Useful in predicting CVD. Pain, fever, infection, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, autoimmune disease. Not significant — can be an indication that inflammation is decreasing. Homocysteine An amino acid found in small amounts in the blood resulting from the synthesis of cysteine from methionine. Only cleared from the body with adequate blood levels of vitamin B12, B6 and folate. Elevations of homocysteine are associated with CVD.

Folic acid deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, vitamin B6 deficiency, heredity, older age, kidney disease, male gender, certain medications. Liver function tests Test What it is Higher with Lower with Alkaline phosphatase If the bile duct is blocked cholestasis , this enzyme gets backed up and spills into the bloodstream.

Values can help to evaluate bone health since elevated levels show active bone growth or inflammation due to damaged or healing bones. If elevated in conjunction with GGT, we have a liver issue. GGT A cholestatic liver enzyme. If the bile duct is blocked cholestasis , this enzyme gets backed up and spills into the blood stream.

Evaluates liver and gallbladder function, but is also found in kidneys. Helpful when alkaline phosphatase levels are elevated.

High alcohol intake, various liver disorders, stress, excess body fat, exercise, some drugs. Liver damage, heart damage, muscle damage, high body fat, diabetes, mononucleosis, pregnancy, hypothyroidism, shock, some drugs. Azotemia, dialysis, vitamin B6 deficiency. Damage to the liver from alcohol, inflammation, increased body fat, mononucleosis, some drugs, heart attack, aspirin, strenuous exercise. Bilirubin This is a normal, yellow fluid metabolic by-product of red blood cell breakdown that must be cleared by the liver.

Bile flow impairment, carcinoma, liver disease, high levels of red blood cell breakdown, prolonged fasting, anorexia nervosa, niacin supplementation, some forms of anemia.

Exposing a blood sample to 1 hour of sunlight can decrease bilirubin. Rare and not significant. Foods with lots of orange color carrots, yams can increase the yellow hue in serum and falsely increase bilirubin levels if tested with a spectrophotometer. Ammonia The end product of protein metabolism. The liver normally removes ammonia via portal vein circulation with conversion to urea. Kidney function tests Test What it is Higher with Lower with Creatinine This is a metabolic by-product of muscle metabolism that must be filtered by the kidneys.

Since muscle creatine breaks down into creatinine, someone with more muscle will have abundant creatine and potentially higher creatinine levels. When there is disordered kidney function, the ability to excrete creatinine diminishes. Impaired kidney function along with high BUN , obstruction of the urinary tract, muscle disease, shock, heart failure, dehydration, rhabdomyolysis, high meat diet, hyperthyroidism.

Decreased muscle mass, inadequate protein intake, pregnancy. BUN blood urea nitrogen Urea is a waste product of protein metabolism eliminated from the body through urine, feces, and perspiration. Various kidney diseases, heart failure, urinary tract obstruction, gut hemorrhage, diabetes with ketoacidosis, steroid use, circulatory disorders, high animal protein intake, intense exercise, salt or water depletion from sweating, diarrhea, vomiting.

Pregnancy, liver failure, acromegaly, Celiac disease, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone SIADH , malnutrition. Increased ratio with normal creatinine occurs in: Salt depletion, dehydration, heart failure, catabolic states, gut hemorrhage, high animal protein intake.

Increased ratio with elevated creatinine occurs in: Obstruction of the urinary tract, ketoacidosis, prerenal azotemia. Decreased ratio with decreased BUN occurs in: Decreased ratio with elevated creatinine occurs in: Some drug use, rhabdomyolysis, muscular folks who are developing kidney failure.

TSH is secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulates thyroid gland function, leading to the release of T3 and T4. TSH secretion is regulated by T3 and T4 feedback inhibition and is stimulated by thyrotropin-releasing hormone released from the hypothalamus. This test is the most sensitive for primary hypothyroidism. An under-active thyroid, advanced age, amphetamine abuse.