Medical experts believe that even healthy people should undergo blood tests at least once in six months. Some might neglect this. If detected early, many diseases can be cured and it becomes easy to save lives. This is the meaning of the suggestion. There are many kinds of blood tests to detect diseases. Along with these, urine tests, X-ray, scanning etc., are part of the diagnostic process. A majority among these are ordinary blood tests. This is an attempt to reveal what they imply.
Doctors try to detect the causes for some health condition, prior to treatment. As a part of this, after learning about the symptoms, they will send the patient to undergo some blood tests if they deem it fit, to detect the cause of some problem. For common conditions, there is no need for blood or urine tests. However, a majority of the doctors are suggesting blood or urine tests, for all and sundry conditions.
Complete Blood Picture (CBP)
This is one of the commonest blood test that is suggested by doctors. In this test, the count of Red Blood Cells (RBC), Haemoglobin, ESR, PCV, MCV, MCH, MCHC, White Blood Cells (WBC, DC), platelets, is seen. RBCs should be below 4.56 million, per cubic meter. Haemoglobin (Hb) should be between 42 per cent and 52 per cent in men and 36 per cent and 48 per cent in women. If ESR is 1mm-7 mm in the first hour, it is normal. MCV should be between 78 cubic microns and 90 cubic microns, MCH between 27 pico gms and 32 pico gms., and MCHC between 30 pico grams to 38 pico grams. The doctor will be able to diagnose your condition, depending on these counts.
Changes will occur in these counts, during anaemia, infection or some kinds of cancers. The blood count is key for determining Dengue fever, bacterial infection and blood cancer. If there is a bacterial infection in the body, the WBC count is increased. The WBC count is abnormal, in blood cancer and other problems. The body produces them in abundance to fight bacterial infections. RBCs take oxygen to all parts of the body, from the lungs. If there is any abnormality in their count, it leads to anaemia, dehydration, bleeding, and other problems. Platelets help in coagulation of blood. In severe conditions like meningitis, there is a fall in the blood and blood cells count.
In Polycythemia, RBC (Red Blood Cells) count rises abnormally from eight to 11 million. This is a problem that occurs mostly in people who live in uphill areas. Similarly, in breathing problems like emphysema, congestive heart disease, chronic mono-carbon mono-oxide poisoning, the RBC count increases.
If RBC count is less or there is iron deficiency, the blood cannot carry enough oxygen to all parts of the body. This condition is called anaemia. Due to lack of enough RBCs and iron, the blood pressure drops. Lack of nutrients, reduction of RBC levels, defects in bone marrow could be the reasons.
It is 25 gm, at birth. It reduces to 20 gm in three months. After a year, it is 17 gm and in adulthood, it is 15 gm.
Erythrocytes (RBCs) in a man's blood constitute 40-45 per cent and the same in a women's blood is 38-42 per cent. This test will reveal the percentage of RBCs in your blood. If Hematocrit is high, you are dehydrated (water content in the body falls). If the same is low, then you are suffering from anaemia. If hematocrit count is abnormal, problems related to blood or bone marrow are suspected.
ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate)
It is high in infants, children as well as in women. It grows from the third month of pregnancy in women. ESR shoots up in all kinds of anaemia, excepting Sickle Cell anaemia. Also, in TB, malignant tumours, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatic fever and live problems, ESR will be higher than the normal range. Sickle Cell anaemia, allergies, Polycythemia, severe leukocytosis and peptone shock, result in reduction in ESR. This will reveal any chronic illness or effect of medicines used during treatment.
Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV) is the average of the RBCs in blood. When the RBCs are very minute, MCV rate is reduced. This is also called microcytic anaemia. Iron deficiency, menstrual cycle and gastro enteritis lead to bleeding, Thalasemia and microcytic anaemia.
Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin Concentration (MCHC) is a test that determines the rate of haemoglobin in each RBC. This value is essential for determining Anaemia. Normally, it is between 30 to 38 per cent.
White Blood Cells (WBC)
It is normal to have 4,000 to 11,000 in a cubic mt of blood. They are necessary to fight any infection. They increase during bacterial infections, common cold, Tuberculosis (TB), allergy, fever, and while taking steroid medicines. Anaphylactic shock, liver cirrhosis, spleen problems, pernicious anaemia, typhoid, para typhoid fevers, viral infections, during chemotherapy for cancer, intake of some kinds of medicines, and lack of immunity to diseases, leads to lowering their count.
Differential Count (DC)
Normally, Nutrophils are between 40 to 70, Esonophils are between 1-4 per cent, Basophils between 0-1 per cent, Monocytes between 4-8 per cent, lymphocytes between 20-40 per cent.
Neutrophils: These are part of white blood cells. If they detect any infection in any part of the body, they attack it. They constitute 60 per cent of the white blood cells. Their count increases when there is any inflammation, infection, necrosis, malignancy, stress, excessive exercise, medicines, or during pregnancy.
Eosinophils: These too are a kind of white blood cells that fight infections. There is a rise in their count, during allergic reaction, Asthma, parasitic infection, cancer. When esonophils are down there is no need for anxiety.
Basophils: They are rare white blood cells. They are seen during allergic reaction and parasitic infections. They are mixed with anti coagulant hypersthenes. As such, they prevent immediate coagulation of blood. They also have vasodilator histamine, for easy flow of blood to the cells, by preventing immediate coagulation.
Lymphocytes: They compromise 20-40 per cent of WBCs. They surround lymph glands, tonsils, and spleen. They respond to antigens. Antigens are tcells, bcells, severe viral and bacterial infections, smoking, over stress and auto immune thyroidity.
Monocytes: These constitute four to eight per cent of WBCs. Chemo, treatments that affect the immune system, severe stress and use of steroids, lead to their reduction. They increase in number when there is any infection or disease. More than the total WBC count, it is important to know the actual count of each of these cells which are a part of it. This is necessary to understand the disease.
These are a kinds of cells present in the blood. They help in coagulating the blood immediately after an injury to the body, to stop bleeding. If their count in the blood decreases, the blood will not coagulate. The condition of reduced platelets in the blood is called Thrombocytopenia. They are reduced in dengue fever, inflammation, pregnancy, iron deficiency, immune problems or liver disease. If the platelets are reduced by one lakh, the condition is called Thrombocytopenia.
Complete urine examination/complete urine analysis
After purifying the blood, kidneys dispose the waste material in the form of urine. They send the excess water in the body through as urine. The entire urinary system consists of two kidneys, two urinary tubules, one urinary bladder and a urinary tract. The composition of the urine depends on the food we eat and drink. Generally, urine consists of urea, uric acid, creatine, sodium chloride, ammonia, sulphates and phosphates. By examining the urine, a number of illnesses can be detected. As part of the complete urine analysis, the physical form of urine is examined. Also, chemical analysis and microscopic examination is done.
Specific gravity: Density of urine determines the presence of various materials in urine. If these are less, it is understood that the patient has taken a lot of water before passing urine.
Ph factor: Imbalance of ph factor leads to crystal formation in urine and thereby to formation of stones in kidneys. Ph factor can be set right through food and medicines.
Colour: If urine is dark in colour, it is because of taking medicines and because of several food materials, decrease in water in the body, fever and presence of blood in the urine.
Protein (albumin): Protein in urine is a sign of kidney diseases or urine infection.
Glucose: If there is glucose in urine, one can say that there is excess glucose in blood.
Ketones: These are produced, when excess fat in the body is brunt. Presence of ketones in urine shows that the individual is taking more protein and less carbohydrate diet. Ketones are present in diabetics.
Bilirubin: This is a waste product of the liver. Presence of bilirubin shows liver problems.
Eurobilinogen: This is produced from bilirubin. Even this indicates liver problem.
Nitrates: They are present in the urine because of bacteria. This means the patient is suffering urinary infection. In the case of urinary tract infection, WBCs will be present in urine.
Red Blood Cells: These are present in urine if there is an injury in the kidneys or in the case of urinary tract inflammation.
Epithelial cells: When the urinary tubes are blocked and inflamed, epithelial cells are formed.
Crystals: they are formed in various ways. But most of them dissolve in urine. They are formed when ph factor is imbalanced.
Bacteria: The presence of bacteria means infection
Mucus: Urinary tract infection leads to mucus being eliminated via urine.
It is a blood test that will show the functioning of the kidneys. Blood urea nitrogen and creatinine are the sub products of protein metabolism. This are biological by products. They are thrown out of the body by the kidneys. In this context, the functioning of the kidneys is detected through this test. It is known through this whether or not there is a kidney failure and if so at what stage.
Electrolytes are minerals. They help in keeping the salts and acid base levels stable. Sodium, potassium, bicarbonates, chlorides come under this category. If they reach an abnormal count, it means the individual is suffering from kidney, liver disease, heart failure, high blood pressure and other problems. Sodium is present in the water. It is very essential to retain the required amount of water in the body. Also it aids in electric functions of nerves and muscles. Potassium protects the nerves and muscles. This test will say at what level all these minerals are.
Liver function test
Liver is one of the main organs in the body. It is responsible for various functions. Its functioning is known through liver function test. This test also reveals a lot of information regarding the liver. The protein levels reveal the percentage of nutrients in the body. Albumin is a primary protein. How much nutrients are reaching the body, is known through this. Globulin is another complex protein. It is present with antibodies and fights infections. Bilirubin determines the functioning of the liver and the burning of fat. If bilirubin count is abnormal, it indicates jaundice.
There are three main enzymes in the liver. Alkaline phosphates is a body protein. It reveals the functioning of the bones and liver. Their count is abnormal in the case of dysfunction of the liver. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST or SGOT) in the head, heart and muscles can be detected. If there is any abnormality, it indicates liver disease. The third enzyme is Alanine Aminotransfarase (ALT or SGPT). An abnormality indicates liver disease.
Cholesterol lipid profile
This is a blood test that shows the levels of lipids or fats in the body. In this the levels of total cholesterol, hdL cholesterol, ldL cholesterol, risk ratio, triglycerides are known. Excess fat in the body leads to heart diseases. Among these, ldL cholesterol is highly harmful. It accumulates in the walls of the blood vessels and leads to heart diseases. hdL removes ldL cholesterol from the walls of the blood vessels.
Blood Glucose test
This indicates sugar levels in the blood. Several tests like fasting, post lunch, hba1c etc., tests are done. hba1c test will reveal how far the sugar levels are being maintained, from the past three months. In ordinary blood tests the high or low level of sugar is revealed. In hba1c, the average sugar levels over a period of time will be known. The excess sugar in the blood, get stuck to the haemoglobin in it. As such, haemoglobin a1c will rise. That is why it is necessary to get checked for at least once in six months for hba1c.
Anti-bodies are ordinary proteins in blood. They play a key role in immune system. Rheumatoid factor is also an anti-body. But this is not present in normal human beings. If it is present, it becomes the cause for rheumatoid arthritis. To check this, tests are done to determine rheumatoid factor. When bacteria enter the body and cause infections, doctors recommend anti-body tests, to determine their nature. When new infections invade, the body takes time to produce anti-bodies to counter this. The test is not done immediately after the infection is suspected though. It should be done a few days later. These anti-bodies stay in the body for a long time, after the infection is cured. As such, the infection does not occur once again. Hepatitis, lime disease, HIV infections, can be detected through anti-bodies tests.
Cancer tests/Tumour markers
Tumour markers reveal the presence or absence of several types of cancers in the body. Cancer treatment progress is also known through this. ca15-3 is used to determine breast cancer. Gastro intestinal tumours through ca19-9, ovarian cancers through ca125, prostrate cancers through psa, pancreatic, breast, gastro intestinal, lung cancers, through cea (Carcinoembryosis antigen) marker tests are done.
In those, where Homocysteine levels are high, they run the risk of heart attack and stroke. There is a link between C reactive protein levels and heart disease.
Some diseases can be detected even through examination of faeces. It will reveal about typhoid-causing bacteria. It is suggested rarely. Hepatitis is also detected through this test.
Blood clotting test
Doctors recommend blood clotting test for some. It is useful to detect proteins that aid in clotting of blood. Depending on the results, it is determined that there is bleeding in blood vessels or clotting. In those with risk of clotting, medicines to dilute the blood are suggested. In those who use these medicines, doctors recommend this test to see how dilute the blood is and is there any danger of bleeding.
When any part or area of the body is highlighted through radiation, that part appears on a photographic plate placed in the opposite direction. Based on this, doctors will be able to detect the problem being faced by the person. If there is pneumonia for example, x-ray of the person's lungs are taken. Usually a white patch appears. Contrast dye is used in some cases, for more clarity.
It is a kind of an x-ray. It is useful to detect cancer or infection in bones. With the help of a chemical called radio transfer, the condition of bones can be known with much clarity. Computer records the pictures, while scanning and projects them on the monitor. Doctors will take the help of these pictures to detect which part of the bone has a problem. CT scan too takes microscopic pictures of the body in various tiny parts. The scan results are transformed in to pictures by the computer.
Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) is a powerful magnetic field, to detect the disease. The magnetic field disturbs the water content in the body. The ripples are recorded by the MRI machine. Pictures are developed from the recorded images.
Ultra Sound Scan
In this, ultra sonic waves are made to penetrate the body. These waves are not heard by the human ear. There is no pain or inconvenience because of them. They penetrate the womb and scan the various organs like kidneys or liver of a foetus, for examination.
These are waves of high frequency which are used to take pictures of the heart. It is also called cardiac ultra sound test. Through this, the condition of the chambers of the heart, valves, walls and the blood vessels that are aligned with the heart, is known.
Electro Cardiogram (ECG, EKG)
It is done to learn about the muscles and electric activities of the heart. It is done within minutes. Electrodes are placed close to the heart region, to record its electric activities. It measures the heart beat rate and rhythm.