Reviewed By: Dr. Kurt Kloss, MD
Last Reviewed Date: Dec 07, 2018
Last Modified Date: Dec 07, 2018
Published Date: Aug 25, 2017
What Lab Testing Can Determine About You
Just what can your doctor determine about you by ordering lab tests? Lab test results can tell you and your doctor a lot about your health and well-being, helping to detect health risks, diagnose diseases, infections and health conditions. In many cases, these provide information that help you improve your health. Of course, what blood testing can determine about you depends on the specific tests performed. Below is more information about what some lab tests can reveal.
A number of blood tests are done as part of a routine health check-up, for both men and women, to help your doctor evaluate your overall state of health and well-being. Among the most common blood testing done in routine health screenings are:
Complete Blood Count (CBC) – This test measures the concentration of white blood cells in your body, the number of red blood cells you have and the amount of hemoglobin they carry, and your level of platelets, among other factors. These assessments can aid in detecting infections, anemia, clotting disorders and leukemia, among other conditions.
Basic Metabolic Panel – This test looks for blood test indicators that reveal how well your heart, kidneys and liver are functioning, evaluates blood glucose levels to screen for diabetes or pre-diabetes, and checks levels of calcium and electrolytes.
Lipid Profile – This routine blood test assesses your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, important indicators of your level of risk for cardiovascular diseases, including arterial sclerosis, heart attack and stroke. It measures LDL, or bad cholesterol, HDL, or good cholesterol and triglycerides, which are fats circulating in the bloodstream.
Your nutritional status can have far-reaching effects on your health, since your body needs an array of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and many other nutrients to function at its best. Lab tests can help you determine whether you're getting enough of those vital nutrients from your daily diet, identifying nutritional deficits.
Not every infectious disease comes with obvious symptoms. Lab tests are one of the most effective means of ensuring early detection and treatment for a number of fairly common ones. Among these are sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, HIV, herpes simplex virus and hepatitis B and C. Other infectious diseases that can be difficult to detect without blood testing include Lyme disease, valley fever, infectious mononucleosis and tuberculosis, among others.
Whether You're Expecting – And Monitoring Along the Way
Lab testing is a more reliable means of confirming pregnancy. If you are expecting, your doctor may recommend additional lab tests. Among the factors that can be evaluated via blood test indicators are whether you are at increased risk for pregnancy related conditions like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
Whether You Have Allergies – And What Triggers Them
Allergies can range from annoying reactions to certain substances, such as sneezing, sniffling or rashes, to life threatening ones, so being aware of any that may affect you is important. Lab tests can tell you whether you have allergies, and if so, determine what substances can trigger a reaction.
While these are some of the most common issues that can be detected via blood testing, it is by no means an all-inclusive list. Today's vast array of advanced lab testing options can offer detailed information about your health and well-being from head to toe.