Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Blood test and their reports play a significant role in evaluating one’s health status. Though lab test results may not provide all the information required by the doctor, but the tests help him/her make a diagnosis and plan the treatment.
It is important to understand what the test results mean and how to read blood test results together with what factors can affect the results. Sometimes test results can be affected by what you ate last night, exercise, age, and medicines or herbal supplements you’re taking. This means that the test results can be different for different people even if they have the same medical condition.
What can a blood test detect?
This is a very common question which we all have in our mind and the answers to which are at times difficult to find. Blood tests are done to check for certain diseases and conditions. They also help to check the function of the organs and show how well treatments are working. Some of the common types of blood test which can be advised to a patient are:
- General Lab test: The test included in this category are
- Antibody/Immunity test
- Inflammatory /Auto-immune test
- Vitamin Test
- Infectious disease/ STI Test
- Hormone test
Most of the blood tests don’t require any special preparations. For some, you may need to fast (not eat any food) for 8 to 12 hours before the test. Your doctor will guide you to prepare for the blood tests.
Reference range and what they mean
You have the lab test reports and when you look at the results, you’ll find the reference/normal ranges for each blood test mentioned next to your personal results.
Usually, test results are interpreted based on their relation to a reference range. By comparing the blood test results with normal range or reference values, you and your doctor can see if any of your test results fall outside the range of expected values. Values that fall outside the expected ranges can provide clues to help identify possible conditions or diseases. It is important to know that for many reasons, laboratory results can be outside of the reference range.
3 misconceptions about reference range
- Normal result in one lab may be abnormal in another
- Normal result does not promise health: Having all the test results within normal limits is definitely a good sign, but it’s not a guarantee of good health. Hence, if the symptoms continue, it is important to see a doctor.
- Abnormal result does not mean you are sick: A test result outside the reference range may or may not always indicate a problem.
Blood Test Results Decoded
To understand our blood test reports, let’s have a look at some of the common blood test along with their reference range:
|BLOOD TEST||REFERENCE RANGE||EXPLANATION|
|Albumin||8 to 37 IU/L (IU/L: International units per litre)||This test helps in determining the levels of the liver enzyme ALT. Elevated level enzymes may indicate liver damage.|
|Alkaline Phosphate||44 to 147 IU/L||Elevated levels will indicate a problem with liver or bone related disease.|
|Bilirubin||0.1 to 1.9 mg/dL (milligrams per decilitre)||This test provides information about liver and kidney functions, problems in bile ducts, and anemia.|
|Fasting Glucose (Blood sugar)||70 to 99 mg/dL||The fasting blood sugar test is done after at least 6 hours without food or drink other than water.|
|Triglycerides||40-60mg/dL||These are fats, which are found in the bloodstream and they contribute to heart disease and other health problems.|
|Vitamin D||30 to 74 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter)||Low levels of vitamin D can put you at risk for broken bones, heart disease, cancer, and a host of other ailments.|
|Complete Blood Count (CBC)||
WBC (White Blood Cell)
Leukocyte count : 4,300 to 10,800 cmm (cells per cubic millimetre)
RBC (Red blood cell)
Erythrocyte count : 4.2 to 5.9 million cmm
Men : 45% to 52%
Women : 37% to 48%
Men : 13 to 18 g/dL
Women:12 to 16 g/dL
Mean corpuscular volume (MCV):
80 to 100 femtoliters (fraction of one-millionth of a litre)
Mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH): 27 to 32 picograms
Mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC): 28% to 36%
Platelet count: 150,000 to 400,000 mL
|CBC helps in examining the cellular elements in the blood, including red blood cells, various white blood cells, and platelets|
To get accurate results, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions while preparing for the tests. You may, for example, be asked not to eat and to drink only water for anywhere from a few hours to 12 hours beforehand.
What to do to stay Healthy?
To stay healthy it is recommended to get an annual check-up along with routine blood tests. Even if you feel healthy, it is always advisable to have a continuous record of the standard blood markers.
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