Routine blood tests are used to assess a person’s general health and blood condition. During a laboratory test, blood is extracted from a vein using a venipuncture or finger prick and tested for red and white blood cell counts, platelet count and hemoglobin quality. Through these results it is determined whether the blood is normal. If it is not, it can be the sign of a problem and further evaluations are necessary.
Blood carries oxygen and vital nutrients throughout the body system. It also absorbs waste and toxins and transports them to the digestive system so the body can get rid of them. Blood is made of red and white cells floating in a fluid called blood plasma. The plasma also contains protein, salts and platelets. The platelets aid in clotting the skin when an injury occurs so we don’t bleed to death.
Because blood circulates throughout the body, it can be very telling when something is off inside the body. Also, if something is wrong with the blood, it will affect other parts of the body.
Routine blood tests are generally quick and easy. The results can be extremely beneficial in determining any underlying medical condition. If you or a doctor is suspicious there is something wrong with your health, a blood test can help you find out.
Blood tests can be the first step to determining if a patient has cancer, tuberculosis, rheumatic disease, anemia, liver damage, hypothyroidism or platelet count problems. Sometimes the results are abnormal but all of these conditions are ruled out. That can mean further testing is required to figure out the problem. Sometimes there is no problem and the person just genetically has atypical blood.
Types of Blood Tests
There are four different blood tests that fall under the category of routine blood tests. They are TC, DC, ESR and HB. You doctor will decide which test is best for you.
TC stands for Total Count and determines the amount of white blood cells that are in the blood. White blood cells increase when an infection is present. If high white blood cells (over 10,000/cubic mm of blood) are tested, it signifies an infection. Cancer patients have extremely high white blood cell counts.
DC stands for Differential Count. This tests the consistency of the white blood cells. If the white blood cells have abnormal size and shape, it can signify cancer.
ESR stands for Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate. This tests the value of red blood cells. If the results are abnormal, it can signify tuberculosis or rheumatic disease.
HB stands for Hemoglobin. It tests the amount of red blood cells. Abnormal amounts can signify anemia, or iron deficiency.
Blood tests also count the amount of platelets. A low amount of platelets can mean liver disease. It can also just be genetic but can cause excess bleeding after an injury because the blood does not clot well. A high amount of platelets puts the person at danger for blood clots.