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Test Descriptions

Hematology Wellness is an assessment of the cellular portion of the blood.

  • WBC (White Blood Cell Count) is an indicator of the status of the body's defense system against infection. Elevated counts indicate a bacterial infection while low WBC's can indicate a virus.
  • RBC (Red Blood Cell Count) is a count of the RBCs in a measured amount of blood. This represents the ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the tissues. Low counts are associated with anemia and problems with the manufacture of new RBCs
  • HGB (Hemoglobin) is the portion of the RBC that actually carries the oxygen. Low values indicate anemia.
  • HCT (Hematocrit) compares the amount of cells to the amount of serum (fluid) in a blood sample. This test is also used for diagnosing anemia.
  • MCV, MCH, MCHC are called "indices". They are calculated values which help the doctor to determine, if present, a type of anemia.
  • Platelets are important in the blood clotting process.

Significant abnormalities in any area of the hemogram should be brought to the attention of your health care provider.

Total cholesterol is composed of three functions:

  • High Density Lipoproteins (HDL), Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL). HDL comprises some of the total cholesterol and because of its significance in coronary heart disease, we measure it and calculate the other fractions. High values of HDL (good cholesterol) tend to protect against atherosclerosis. HDL may be increased with exercise. LDL (bad cholesterol) may be decreased by lowering the saturated fat intake in your diet or by medication. Elevated levels of triglycerides may be due to diets high in carbohydrates and calories or by high alcohol intake.
  • CHOL./HDL Radio is a calculation that can aid your doctor in diagnosis if you have an imbalance of these two fats in your system.

Glucose or blood sugar is the most frequently ordered of all clinical chemistry tests and is primarily a screen for diabetes or hypoglycemia. The pancreas manufactures insulin which converts sugars into a usable form of energy for the body. This test is greatly affected if you are not fasting. Variations in glucose levels could also be due to Cushing's syndrome, tumors, and liver diseases.

Cholesterol and Triglycerides are fats. Fats are important in the diet for proper function of many bodily functions. However, elevated amounts of cholesterol and triglycerides increase your risk of stroke and heart disease. "Atherosclerosis" refers to the deposition of fatty substances, largely cholesterol, in the walls of the arteries.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Creatinine are waste products measured primarily to assess kidney function. Concentration of these in the body depends upon the rate of productions by the liver and the rate of removal by the kidneys. High values indicate that blood flow through the kidneys is reduced and that they are not filtering waste from the blood properly, that a high protein diet has been eaten, that there has been excessive destruction of cellular proteins of the body (fever or massive infections), or that there has been an obstruction to urine excretion. Low values are not usually associated with disease.

Calcium is one of the most important elements in the body, essential for maintenance and repair of bone and teeth, heart function and blood clotting. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in your body is contained in your bones - only one percent is in the blood. Low levels of calcium in the blood are associated with malnutrition. High levels can be caused by bone disease, excessive use of antacids and milk, cancer, overdosing on Vitamin D and some hormone disorders.

Alkaline Phosphatase and ALT are enzymes. An enzyme is a molecule that promotes chemical reactions. Alkaline Phosphatase is found in many body tissues, but the most important sites are bone, liver, bile ducts and gut. A high level of alkaline phosphatase in your blood may indicate bone, liver, or bile duct disease. Certain drugs may also cause increased levels. Growing children, because of bone growth, normally have higher levels than adults. The ALT enzyme is found mainly in the liver. Damage from alcohol, strenuous exercise and a number of diseases can cause high values for ALT (SGPT). Low values of alkaline phosphatase and ALT are not generally considered significant.

Uric Acid is a byproduct from the breakdown of the body's own cells and certain proteins. A high level of uric acid in your blood may cause gout, arthritis or kidney stones. Kidney disease, stress, alcohol and certain diuretics may also raise the level. Low levels are not generally considered significant.

Total Protein in the blood is an indicator of your general health, nutrition, and defense against infection. Total protein is made up of both albumin and globulin fractions. Albumin acts as a transport mechanism for substances such as drugs, antibiotics, etc. Proteins are normally too big to pass through the kidneys. Low values are associated with kidney, liver, and/or bowel disease or with nutritional deficiency such as protein starvation. High values may indicate that a disease process may be causing your body to overproduce various proteins. Dehydration can also increase albumin concentration. The most common causes of increased globulins are chronic infections, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, and multiple myeloma. Decreased globulins may be due to an inherited inability to make globulin. These people are susceptible to infections.

Blood Type (ABO and Rh) are the most common type of antigens found on your red blood cells. You can have A antigens and your blood type would be "A". You can also have B antigens and your blood type would be type "B". If you do not have "A" or "B" antigens, your blood type is "O". You can also have both "A" and "B" antigens present and then your blood type would be "AB".

Rh antigen is either present (positive) or not present (negative). The following table gives approximate blood type frequency. This frequency does vary slightly with race.

  • A pos 35%
  • O pos 38% 
  • AB neg 1%
  • B pos 8%
  • A neg 6%
  • O neg 7%
  • AB pos 3%
  • B neg 2%

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Mercy Medical Center - New Hampton | 308 North Maple Avenue New Hampton, IA 50659 | 641-394-4121 | Clinic 641-394-2151

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