Blood tests and lab services health facts
- A blood test, in which we draw a blood sample for laboratory evaluation, provides valuable information about a person’s health and can help identify problems early on.
- Our provider may request blood tests and other lab tests for a variety of reasons including to make a diagnosis or prepare an individual for surgery.
- Blood tests and labs (such as a urinalysis test), can also be used to monitor ongoing treatments.
- We provide laboratory screenings for prostate and colon cancer.
- HealthFit Family Medicine has an in-house lab to facilitate fast, accurate results and efficient communication.
Blood tests for laboratory analysis
Laboratory testing of a blood sample can give healthcare providers important insight into the health and well-being of an individual. The results of such lab tests can help providers diagnose certain conditions and formulate treatment options or determine if a treatment is working.
When our doctors or other providers order a blood test for a patient, they will direct our in-house lab to look for something specific. So one patient might have blood analyzed for cholesterol levels, while another has a blood test for vitamin deficiency.
Some blood tests (like a test for sexually transmitted disease) have a yes or no answer, while others (like cholesterol tests) provide a number for comparison to an average or “reference range.”
At HealthFit we offer the following blood tests for a variety of conditions.
Complete blood count (CBC) tests
Complete blood count testing measures the quantity of the different types of cells within the blood. Based on a small sample of blood, healthcare providers can determine whether the number of cells and the amount of protein and plasma in the blood are healthy or indicate an illness or disorder. A complete blood count test measures:
- Red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the body.
- White blood cells, which fight infection throughout the body.
- Hemoglobin, the protein that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen.
- Hematocrit, which refers to the percentage of the blood that is composed of red blood cells.
- Platelets, which are the cells that help the blood to clot.
CBC test results can be used to gain an understanding of a person’s overall health, diagnose conditions like anemia (low levels of red blood cells) or leukemia (an excess of white blood cells), or to monitor medical conditions and treatments. HealthFit doctors and providers will usually include the CBC test as part of a routine health check.
Screenings are used to proactively identify the presence of, or risk for, a disease in a person who otherwise has no apparent health condition. The biometric screening includes measurements like the individual’s height, weight, blood pressure and activity level. It also includes a blood test to measure the blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels (see below). Biometric screenings are sometimes required by employers that provide employee health plans.
Glucose & cholesterol test
A full panel cholesterol and blood glucose test measures the types of cholesterol, fat and sugar stored within the blood. This test is often used to diagnose diabetes (type 1 and type 2) or to identify heart disease risk. The frequency of blood glucose and cholesterol testing is dependent on diabetes and heart disease risk.
Glucose and cholesterol tests measure the following.
- Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (often referred to as the bad cholesterol) carries cholesterol, triglycerides and other fats to various parts of the body. High LDL levels can indicate heart disease.
- High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (or good cholesterol) carries LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) from other parts of the body to the liver where it can be broken down and eliminated from the body. The higher a person’s HDL levels, the lower their risk for heart disease.
- Total cholesterol is the measure of all the cholesterol types together.
- Triglycerides are the fats used to store excess energy throughout the body. High triglyceride levels can indicate risk of heart disease and other medical problems.
- Blood glucose refers to the amount of sugar in the blood. Elevated blood glucose levels over an extended period of time can indicate conditions like type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin deficiency test
Vitamins are naturally occurring substances our bodies need to function. A lot of our vitamins come from the food we eat, but some disorders prevent the body from producing or absorbing certain vitamins. A vitamin deficiency test measures the level of certain vitamins the body produces, testing for a number of potential vitamin deficiencies with varied symptoms.
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test
The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that secretes hormones that regulate metabolism. The primary method for assessing the function of the thyroid is to measure the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) it secretes. This test is often used to diagnose hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
Sexually transmitted infection testing
STIs (or sexually transmitted diseases – STDs) are infections that pass from one person to another, often during vaginal, oral or anal sexual contact. Blood tests can effectively diagnose a number of sexually transmitted diseases/infections in men and women. Here are some of the STIs we test for.
- Genital warts.
- Genital herpes.
STIs can damage and scar the reproductive system, including causing pelvic inflammatory disease, so it is important to receive regular examinations and blood tests. Early detection can prevent permanent damage to the reproductive organs and prevent the spread of infection from one person to another.
Also called a urine test, a urinalysis evaluates the patient’s urine for indications of conditions such as diabetes, kidney function problems and urinary tract infections (UTIs). The patient will provide a urine sample in our office that our lab will evaluate.
Our doctors might perform a urinalysis during an annual checkup, as part of a pre-surgery test (see below) or to evaluate a woman during pregnancy. Our lab will evaluate the appearance of the urine and look for substances that shouldn’t be there like blood, too much protein, bacteria or other germs.
Cancer screening and lab detection tests
A screening looks for disease or disease risk in people who don’t have a symptom of a disease. These screenings can catch a disease early, improving the chances of treatment success. Screenings can also reliably measure cancer-related markers in a blood sample and identify a person’s risk for certain types of cancers. Additional diagnostics such as digital rectal exams and colonoscopies may be needed.
We perform pre-surgery testing for patients whose surgeon requests a health evaluation prior to an operation. This is to determine if the patient is healthy enough to tolerate the surgery.
We may perform a CBC (blood count) test, as well as testing the blood for sugar level and evidence of kidney or liver concerns. A pre-surgery test can also involve a chest X-ray, an electrocardiogram and other evaluations.