Blood tests are a routine part of a visit to your health care provider. But, many of us have a limited idea of what the abbreviations mean. Knowing how to read your lab report can help you make informed decisions concerning your health.
A CBC stands for Complete Blood Count. It includes RBC (red blood cell count), HCT (hematocrit), Hgb (haemoglobin), WBC (white blood cell count), MCV (mean corpuscular volume), MCH (mean corpuscular haemoglobin), MCHC (mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration), and Platelet Count.
A BMP (Basic Metabolic Panel) includes Glucose, Na (sodium), K (potassium), Ca (calcium), Cl (chloride), CO2 (carbon dioxide), HCO3 (bicarbonate), BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine. These labs measure electrolyte imbalances. BUN and creatinine measure kidney function.
The Blood Enzyme Test includes CK (creatine kinase) and troponin. These labs measure muscle breakdown. High levels can indicate heart attack/damage or rhabdomylosis.
The Lipoprotein Panel, which can measure risks for heart disease and stroke, includes Total Cholesterol, LDL (low density lipoprotein), (HDL high density lipoprotein) and Triglycerides.
CRP (C - reactive protein), and Homocysteine
These labs measure the body's inflammatory response to infection.
A lab report contains too much information for an untrained person to read in a few minutes. Get a copy from your health care provider, study it, and then take it back with your questions. Put aside any feelings of intimidation and take an active role in your health care.
Remember some abbreviations vary slightly from lab to lab.