Many of us just run behind anything that promises extended lifespan and better health, be it organic vegetables, yoga, meditation, diet, you name it. But, when we question ourselves what we did to ensure our better health, the answer among most of us would be none. Even a simple blood test once a year can help us to detect many serious diseases at its early stages which make it easily curable is the scientific fact. But most of us are not interested in spending this little time towards our health just once a year is a sad truth.
Infectious diseases like dengue, malaria to noninfectious diseases like cancer can be detected through blood tests. We can detect hundreds of diseases through the appropriate blood tests. In this article, we will look into most vital blood tests and how they help to protect ourselves.
Complete Blood Count
Complete blood count test helps to detect the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets count. Additionally, we can detect the condition of arteries, kidneys, liver, and blood cells.
This test helps us to find out the counts, types, percentage, density, and quality of white, red blood cells, and platelets. It also helps us to detect infections, anaemia, and activity of red blood cells.
Haemoglobin is the protein present in red blood cells. It is responsible for maintaining proper oxygen supply through out our body. Lower levels of haemoglobin could lead to anaemia. Haemoglobin test will reveal the levels of haemoglobin and oxygen in our blood.
A litre of blood should contain 120 to 180 grams of haemoglobin. This can vary with age and sex. Presence of high levels of haemoglobin could mean dehydration, lung infection, and excessive production of red blood cells.
On the contrary, lower levels of haemoglobin could mean liver contraction, kidney problems, problems with the functioning of bone marrow, bone marrow cancer, vitamins and mineral deficiency.
It is common for a pregnant woman to have low levels of haemoglobin. Smokers and people who live in hilly areas will have high levels of haemoglobin.
Glucose acts as the main fuel for our body. Carbohydrate we consume is converted to glucose and mixed into blood during the digestion process. There are many tests available to detect the levels of glucose in our blood. These tests are mainly carried out to detect diabetes and level of sugar in the blood for diabetes patients. Diabetes can happen during pregnancy for some women. Glucose test will be carried out on pregnant women during 24th to 28th week after pregnancy to detect diabetes.
Sugar levels in Blood
If the blood sugar level for a person is above 126 before food and above 200 after food, then it means the person is diabetic.
Apart from this, there are many reasons for why a person could be diabetic. This includes Pancreatic cancer, Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and many other problems. Consuming certain medications could also be the reason for elevated levels of sugar in the blood.
Blood glucose levels could decline to dangerous levels due to alcohol, not having a healthy diet, high dose of insulin injection, hypothyroidism, liver infections, and consuming certain medications.
HBA1C test is conducted to detect the sugar levels of three month time period. This test is carried out on diabetes patients to find out the effectiveness of their treatment and lifestyle changes to keep diabetes under control. If the value is less than 6, then it means the person is very effectively keeping his sugar levels under control. When it is between 7 to 8 then the person is moderately keeping the disease under control. If the value is more than 9, then it means the diabetes is totally out of control.
Lipid profile test is carried out to measure the levels of fat in our body. The person should fast for 9 to 12 hours before undergoing this test. LDL levels of 70 – 130 mg means the person has right levels of fat.
Liver Function test
This test will be carried out to detect the functioning of liver and hepatitis virus infection. Additionally, this test is also carried out to detect effects of certain medications on the liver, liver infections, effectiveness of treatment provided for liver related problems, and liver contraction.
Certain enzymes and proteins present in the blood will be detected during this test. Levels of these enzymes and proteins will be used to detect certain liver conditions. Apart from this, ALT, AST, ALP, Albumin, and bilirubin will be examined during this test.
Hepatitis Virus Test
This includes many tests which include Hepatitis-A Antigen, Antibodies against Hepatitis-A, Hepatitis-B antigen, and many more tests. This test is used to detect jaundice, and how well a patient affected by hepatitis virus is responding to the treatment.
Kidney Function Test
Kidneys expel toxins in our body through urine. There are many tests that will be carried out to detect the proper functioning of our kidneys. This includes serum creatinine, glomerular filtration rate, and Blood Urea nitrogen tests.
Creatinine is a type of waste created by our tissues. Levels of creatinine will increase with our age. If the creatinine level is over 1.2 in women, and over 1.4 in men, it means the person’s kidney is not functioning well. We can measure the functioning levels of our kidneys using the creatinine level.
Glomerular filtration rate is used to detect the effectiveness of our kidneys in expelling toxins, wastes, and excess water content in our body. If the GFR value is over 90, then it is considered as normal. If it is lesser than 15, it means the kidneys have stopped to function. These patients might need a kidney transplant or dialysis treatment.
Blood Urea Nitrogen Test
When the protein we consume is broken down, it creates urea and nitrogen. If the value of urea and nitrogen is 7 and 20, then it is considered as normal. If these values are low, then it means there are high levels of urea and nitrogen in our body.
IgE test is carried out to detect the value of IgE in our blood. This test is carried out by measuring the difference in value between total IgE and IgE for a particular substance to detect intolerance or allergy for a particular substance.
Blood culture test will be carried out to detect bacterial and fungal infections in the blood. If the blood test is positive, then it means the person has bacteria or fungal infections. Further treatment by Doctors will be based on the type of bacterial or yeast infection.
There are specific blood tests that are available for dengue, malaria, chikungunya, and swine flu. There are also separate blood tests for detecting Hepatitis A, B, and C viruses.
Anaemia can be detected by measuring the levels of red blood cells, folate, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin-C in the blood.
Methylmalonic acid test and antibiotics test will be carried out if the blood test confirms anaemia due to vitamin deficiency.
Nutrition Blood Tests
There are tests to detect the Vitamin deficiency of A, C, T, K, and B-complex. Calcium, potassium, iron, and minerals deficiencies can also be detected using appropriate blood tests.
There are separate hormone tests for each type of hormones. Testosterone hormone test will be conducted for men and progesterone test will be conducted for women to detect the functioning of their reproductive system.
Cancer Antigen (CA) 125: This test is carried out to detect ovarian cancer.
Cancer Antigen (CA) 15-3: It is a type of protein which produces normal and cancer cells. This test is used to monitor breast cancer.
Cancer Antigen (CA) 19-9: We can detect pancreatic cancer through this test. Additionally, this test is used to detect colon cancer, lung cancer, gallbladder cancer, gallbladder stone, liver infections and many other problems.
Cancer Antigen (CA) 27.29: Used to detect and monitor breast cancer.
PSA: This test is used to detect prostate cancer and prostate inflammation.