What can a
blood test tell us?
Our blood can give us a better idea of what is happening in our body and determine if anything is wrong. It can provide us with a detailed assessment and identify and monitor markers of illness early.
Regular blood testing is one of the most important ways to keep track of your overall physical health. Healthline recommends regular blood testing is one of the most important ways to keep track of your overall physical well-being. Getting tested at routine intervals to track changes to your body over time and help you to make informed decisions about your health.
But what can a blood test tell us?
Full Blood Count
One of the most commonly requested blood tests is the full blood count (FBC). It provides information about the different kinds and numbers of cells in your blood, which includes red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets if there are abnormalities in any of these cells that can indicate specific medical disorders.
- Red blood cells contain haemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to all the tissues of the body.
- White blood cells protect the body from invasion by foreign substances such as bacteria, fungi and viruses and also control the immune system.
- Platelets help the blood clotting process by plugging holes in broken blood vessels.
Each of these types of cells has an important part to play and provides crucial signposts to your overall health.
Your kidneys have several jobs, but one of their most important is to filter out waste materials from your blood and remove them from the body as urine. They also control the levels of water and various essential minerals in the body.
A blood test can check your kidneys are working correctly and measure the level of urea, creatinine and certain dissolved salts.
A blood test can determine how well your liver is functioning and give a clearer idea of whether there’s any damage or inflammation. It does this by looking at the chemicals (enzymes), proteins and other substances made by the liver to assess whether levels of any of these are abnormal.
A test can also measure your bilirubin, a substance made in the body when the haemoglobin protein in old red blood cells break down in your blood. Bilirubin is then processed in your liver and mixed into bile and stored in your gallbladder. Eventually, the bile is released into the small intestine to help digest fats. A higher level of bilirubin can be a sign that either your red blood cells are breaking down at an unusual rate or that your liver isn’t breaking down waste properly and clearing the bilirubin from your blood. It can also indicate health conditions like anaemia and liver disease.
It can also check for damage from infections such as hepatitis B and C, monitor the side effects of medications, and check for other reasons why your liver might not be working so well as it should.
A blood test can provide a picture of how your thyroid is performing. The thyroid is a small gland located in the lower-front part of your neck. It is responsible for helping to regulate many of your body’s processes, such as metabolism, energy generation, and mood.
The thyroid produces two major hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). If your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of these hormones, you may experience symptoms such as weight gain, lack of energy, and depression. This condition is called hypothyroidism.
If your thyroid gland produces too many hormones, you may experience weight loss, high levels of anxiety, tremors, and a sense of being on a high. This is called hyperthyroidism.
Inflammatory markers (CRP)
Inflammation in any part of your body causes extra types of protein to be released and circulate around your bloodstream. A blood test can pick up these proteins and help to identify many inflammation conditions, including abscesses, arthritis. And tissue injury.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and plasma viscosity (PV) blood tests are commonly used to detect an increase in protein in the blood. More investigations may be needed to sort out the exact cause of the problem.
Bone Markers (calcium, phosphate, uric acid)
A bone profile blood test analyses the proteins, minerals and enzymes present in your bones. These nutrients support healthy bone structure and development. A bone profile of blood tests helps to determine how well your body’s metabolic processes are affecting your skeleton. As we age the strength of our bones can be weakened by conditions like osteoporosis.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in your body. If you eat more calories than you need, the extra calories turn into triglycerides and are stored in your fat cells for later use.
Having a high level of triglycerides in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease.
High cholesterol levels often are a significant risk factor for coronary artery disease.
A complete cholesterol test — also called a lipid panel or lipid profile — is a blood test that can measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.
A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of the buildup of plaques in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body (atherosclerosis).
The test is used to determine your blood concentration of vitamin D.
Iron/Total Iron Binding Capacity/ Ferritin
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient disorder in the world. An iron blood test will determine how many red blood cells you have. And if they’re within the normal range for your gender and age.
Cardiac/Muscle Enzymes LDH/ CK
When cells are damaged, enzymes are released into the bloodstream. A blood test can detect these enzymes.
- Increased CK-MB is seen with heart muscle damage.
- LDH is an enzyme released in the blood with cell injury. It is often used as a late marker to detect a heart attack. It is also elevated with liver and kidney disease, pernicious and megaloblastic anaemias, malignancy, progressive muscular dystrophy, and pulmonary emboli.
A blood glucose test measures the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose, a type of simple sugar, is your body’s primary source of energy. Your body converts the carbohydrates you eat into glucose.
The amount of sugar in your blood is usually controlled by a hormone called insulin. However, if you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin produced doesn’t work correctly. In some cases, blood glucose testing may also be used to test for hypoglycemia. This condition occurs when the levels of glucose in your blood are too low.
Vitamin B12 can also be added to this panel. Speak to one of our doctors about booking a blood test.