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Blood Tests

Trinity Health Partners

Trinity Health Partners
TrinityHL@ihs.org
515-574-6505       

Helping You Understand Your Blood Test Results


Albumin (Part of total Protein) is tested to:

  • Check how well the liver and kidney are working.

  • Find out if your diet contains enough protein.

  • Help determine the cause of swelling of the ankles (pedal edema) or abdomen (ascites) or of fluid collection in the lungs that may cause shortness of breath (pulmonary edema).

 

Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) is done to:

  • Check for liver disease or damage to the liver.

  • Check bone problems (sometimes found on X-rays).

  • Check the cause of a high blood calcium level.

 

ALT is done to:

  • Measure for liver damaged or diseased.

  • Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) test is done to:

  • Help identify liver disease, especially hepatitis and cirrhosis.

  • Check on the recovery from or treatment for liver disease.

 

Bilirubin test is used to:

  • Check liver function and watch for signs of liver disease, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, or the effects of medicines that can damage the liver.

  • Find out if something is blocking the bile ducts. This may occur if gallstones, tumors of the pancreas, or other conditions are present.

  • Diagnose conditions that cause increased destruction of red blood cells.

 

Blood Glucose tests are done to:

  • Check for diabetes.

  • Monitor treatment of diabetes.

  • Check for diabetes that occurs during pregnancy (gestational diabetes).

 

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) test is done to:

  • See if your kidneys are working normally.

  • See if your kidney disease is getting worse.

  • See if treatment of your kidney disease is working.

  • See if severe dehydration is present.

 

Calcium test may be done:

  • To check for problems with the parathyroid glands or kidneys, certain types of cancers and bone problems, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), and kidney stones.

  • To see if your symptoms may be caused by a very low calcium level in the blood. Such symptoms may include muscle cramps and twitching, tingling in the fingers and around the mouth, muscle spasms, confusion, or depression.

  • To see if your symptoms may be caused by a very high calcium level in the blood. Such symptoms may include weakness, lack of energy, not wanting to eat, nausea and vomiting, constipation, urinating a lot, belly pain, or bone pain.

 

Chloride test may be done to:

  • Check your chloride level if you are having symptoms, such as muscle twitching or spasms, breathing problems, weakness, or confusion.

  • Find out whether you have kidney or adrenal gland problems.

  • Help find the cause for high blood pH.

 

Cholesterol and Triglyceride testing is done:

  • To check your response to medicines used to treat lipid disorders.

  • To help determine your chances of having of heart disease, especially if you have other risk factors for heart disease or symptoms that suggest heart disease is present.

  • If you have unusual symptoms, such as yellow fatty deposits in the skin (xanthomas), which may be caused by a rare genetic disease, that causes very high cholesterol levels.

    • Cholesterol. The body uses cholesterol to help build cells and produce hormones. Too much cholesterol in the blood can build up along the inside of the artery walls, forming what is known as plaque. Large amounts of plaque increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

    • HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol helps remove fat from the body by binding with it in the bloodstream and carrying it back to the liver for disposal. It is sometimes called "good" cholesterol. A high level of HDL cholesterol may lower your chances of developing heart disease or stroke.

    • LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol carries mostly fat and only a small amount of protein from the liver to other parts of the body. It is sometimes called "bad cholesterol." A high LDL cholesterol level may increase your chances of developing heart disease.

    • Triglycerides are a type of fat the body uses to store energy. Only small amounts are found in the blood. Having a high triglyceride level along with a high LDL cholesterol may increase your chances of having heart disease more than having only a high LDL cholesterol level.

 

CBC (Complete Blood Count):

Used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide range of disorders, including anemia, infection and leukemia. The complete blood count test measures several components of your blood, including:

  • Red blood cells, which carry oxygen

  • White blood cells, which fight infection

  • Hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells

  • Hematocrit, the proportion of red blood cells to plasma in the blood

  • Platelets, which help with blood clotting

 

Creatinine level or a creatinine clearance test is done to:

  • See if your kidneys are working normally.

  • See if your kidney disease is changing.

  • See how well the kidneys work in people who take medicines that can cause kidney damage.

  • See if severe dehydration is present.

 

Potassium is done to:

  • Check levels in people being treated with medicines such as diuretics and for people having kidney dialysis.

  • Check to see whether treatment for too low or too high potassium levels is working.

  • Check people with high blood pressure who may have a problem with their kidneys or adrenal glands.

  • Check the effects of extra nutrition (total parenteral nutrition [TPN]) on potassium levels.

  • Check to see whether certain cancer treatments are causing too many cells to be destroyed (cell lysis).

 

Sodium level is done to:

  • Check the water and electrolyte balance of the body.

  • Find the cause of symptoms from low or high levels of sodium.

  • Check the progress of diseases of the kidneys or adrenal glands.

 

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is done to:

  • Find out whether the thyroid gland is working properly.

    • An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can cause symptoms such as weight gain, tiredness, dry skin, constipation, a feeling of being too cold, or frequent menstrual periods.

    • An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause symptoms such as weight loss, rapid heart rate, nervousness, diarrhea, a feeling of being too hot, or irregular menstrual periods.

  • Find the cause of an under active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). TSH levels can help determine whether hypothyroidism is due to a damaged thyroid gland or some other cause (such as a problem with the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus).

  • Keep track of treatment with thyroid replacement medicine for people who have hypothyroidism.

  • Keep track of thyroid gland function in people who are being treated for hyperthyroidism. This treatment may include anti-thyroid medicine, surgery, or radiation therapy.

  • Double-check the diagnosis of an under active thyroid gland in a newborn (congenital hypothyroidism).