Lab Tests

Lab Tests

Lab Tests
Lab tests are performed to check the health of a patient. Blood, urine and other substances are performed to diagnose, treat or prevent the onset of conditions and diseases.

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    A fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test measures your fasting blood sugar and is the preferred test for diagnosing diabetes. You'll be asked to fast overnight and give a blood sample in the morning, before you've eaten anything.

    What your results mean:

    - 80-99 mg/dL: Normal
    - (IFG) 100-125 mg/dL: Prediabetes or impaired fasting glucose
    - >126 mg/dL: Diabetes

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    Liver function tests are blood tests that help your doctor determine how well your liver is functioning and whether there are any signs of injury, infection or disease in your liver. Your doctor may order liver function tests -- also called a "liver panel" -- as part of a routine checkup or if you have signs of a potential liver problem or are at risk for liver disease. If you are being treated for liver disease, your doctor may order liver function tests to determine how well that treatment is working.

    Some liver function tests check the levels of certain enzymes that are essential to chemical reactions that help the liver function normally. These tests include:
    • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). These enzymes are involved in processing proteins. Too high levels of ALT and/or AST can signal that the liver is injured or damaged.
    • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP). ALP levels that are higher than normal can be a sign of liver diseases,blocked bile ducts, or other conditions.
    • Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) is an enzyme found in large amounts in your liver, bile ducts and pancreas. High levels of GGT in the blood may signal liver or bile duct damage.
    Other liver function tests check the blood levels of certain substances needed for normal liver functioning. These tests include:
    • Bilirubin tests. Bilirubin is a byproduct of the normal breakdown of red blood cells. If your liver is damaged, bilirubin can leak out of your liver into your blood, causing your skin and eyes to appear yellow (jaundice).
    • Globulin and albumin are proteins made in the liver. Low levels of these proteins may indicate liver damage.
    • An alpha-1 antitrypsin test measures the amount of a protein that helps protect the liver (and the lungs) from damage. A deficiency in alpha-1 antitrypsin may signal a rare form of cirrhosis. An alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency can be inherited.
    • Prothrombin time (PT) test. Prothrombin is a protein made in your liver that helps with normal blood clotting. A prothrombin time test measures how long it takes for the liquid portion of your blood (plasma) to clot. A high prothrombin time can be a sign of liver damage.
    If your doctor orders liver function tests, you may need to fast overnight before you give a blood sample. Follow your doctor's directions exactly to help ensure accurate test results.
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    A OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology), answered on behalf of
    Are recurrent breast cysts a cause of concern?
    Recurrent breast cysts can cause pain and stress in women. In this video, Darcy Bryan, MD, of Riverside Community Hospital, explains the concerns with cysts that keep coming back. 
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    An estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) measurement estimates how well your kidneys are filtering wastes from your blood. It is calculated using a blood test for serum creatinine.
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    A , Hospitalist, answered
    Antistreptolysin O is a type of protein called an antibody. It is formed when a person has been infected with Group A Streptococcus bacteria. The most common problem caused by this germ is Strep throat.

    A blood sample is needed for the ASO test. The normal value is somewhat different in each laboratory. In general, a level of 200 or higher for an adult is considered abnormal. For children in the 5 to 12 age range, the normal value may be higher.

    Your daughter clearly has an elevated level of ASO. Most likely she has had a Strep throat within the last few months. She might not have had any symptoms, but her immune system could still trigger the production of antibodies. The ASO level can stay elevated long after the infection is gone.

    The next step depends on why the test was done. If the test was ordered because of some other concern such as joint pain, fever or red blood cells in her urine, then other diagnoses need to be considered, including:
    • Group A Strep infection somewhere else in her body; usually this is obvious
    • Rheumatic fever, a complication of Group A Strep infection that causes rash, joint pain, fever and other problems. It is extremely rare in developed countries.
    • Glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidneys.
    If she feels well and has had no symptoms such as recent sore throat, there is no right answer as to what, if anything, should be done. I would perform a throat culture. If it is positive for Group A Strep, I would treat her with antibiotics.

    If the throat culture is negative, I would have her repeat the ASO blood test in two to three weeks. This helps determine when the infection occurred. If the repeat ASO blood level is higher than the first, the Strep infection was probably recent. I would recommend treatment with antibiotics. However, if the ASO result is falling, the infection was probably quite a while ago. In this situation, the value of antibiotics is questionable.
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    Live blood microscopy is the process of analyzing live blood samples using a darkfield microscope.
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    A Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered on behalf of

    A MUGA (multiple gate acquisition) test involves no pre-procedure. The test takes approximately one hour. A radioactive isotope will be injected into your vein. You will be required to lie flat on your back.

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    Direct (or conjugated) bilirubin dissolves in water and is made by the liver from indirect bilirubin. Total bilirubin and direct bilirubin levels can be measured directly in the blood. In the newborn the level of total bilirubin varies with the infant’s age and whether the infant is a premature or full-term infant. Direct bilirubin levels are normally very low, but when the direct bilirubin level is more than 2.0 mg/dL it is considered pathological and needs further investigation.

     

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    A , Hospitalist, answered
    A blood test for total iron binding capacity is usually done along with a test to check serum iron level. Doctors usually order these two tests in people that have a low red blood cell count. This is also called anemia.

    The combination of the two tests can help determine if Iron deficiency is the cause of the anemia. People with iron deficiency anemia have a low serum iron level and a high total iron binding capacity.

    The two tests also are used to find out if a person might have an iron overload. This is called hemochromatosis. People with too much iron have a slightly low total iron binding capacity and a high serum iron level.

    Sometimes both the total iron binding capacity and serum iron levels are below normal. When this occurs, other causes of the low iron binding capacity need to be considered.

    A protein called transferrin, which is made in the liver, does most iron binding in the blood. If the level of this protein falls, the person will have a low total iron binding capacity.

    Low levels of transferrin (and therefore a low total iron binding capacity) can be caused by:
    • Persistent active diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and certain cancers
    • Malnutrition
    • Cirrhosis
    When a person has a low red blood cell count, a low serum iron level and a low total iron binding capacity, doctors call this "anemia of chronic disease."
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Densitometry is a method of measuring bone density so you can find out how strong your bones are. It figures out how much calcium you have in certain parts of your bones, so it’s a good way to see if you are developing or have osteoporosis. The dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan is the most common test. The test will give you a T score, and this number lets you know if your bone density is normal (T score of -1 or higher), mild loss/osteopenia (T score between -1 and -2.5), moderate loss/osteoporosis (T score less than -2.5), or severe deficiency. A T score less than -2.5 puts a person at high risk for fracture.