Archive for the ‘liver’ Category

There are hundreds (if not thousands!) of reasons why your healthcare provider might order blood tests for you. Abnormal hormone levels, vitamin deficiencies, diseases, and more can be diagnosed by examining different chemicals and molecules within the blood. Let’s take a look at some of the more commonly ordered blood tests.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

This is the go-to test to analyze the three main types of cells within the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Red blood cells contain a molecule called hemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. A CBC shows the number of red blood cells, their size and shape, and the concentration of hemoglobin within each cell. Red blood cells can be low if a person has been losing blood or if they have anemia (low hemoglobin levels). If you are diagnosed with anemia, your doctor will then order more specific tests to determine if your anemia is the result of recent blood loss, low iron levels, or a vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency.

The white blood cells are a key player in the body’s immune system, defending you against potentially harmful organisms. A CBC gives a total white cell count and the percentages of the different types of white cells, which can help your doctor determine what sort of infection your body is fighting (bacterial, parasitic, etc.). Additionally, leukemia, which is a cancer of bone marrow, can be diagnosed if abnormal white cells are present in the blood.

A blood platelet count in the normal range is necessary to ensure the blood clots as it should, preventing excessive blood loss from injuries or surgery. Learn more about the blood factors that help the blood clot properly. >>

test tube blood

Kidney Function Tests

The urea test (or blood urea nitrogen [BUN] test as it is sometimes known) and the creatinine test are the two most commonly order kidney function tests. These two substances are produced during the metabolic process in the body, and it is the kidneys’ job to filter them out of the blood and put them into urine to be excreted out of the body. Elevated levels of urea or creatinine in the blood suggest that the kidneys may not be working properly.

Other common kidney function tests include uric acid levels (raised levels can cause gout), electrolytes (the blood’s levels of potassium and sodium), and calcium and phosphate levels.

Liver Function Panel

The liver converts nutrients into energy for the body and breaks down dangerous toxins. A liver (hepatic) function panel is a blood test to check how well the liver is doing these vital jobs. Your doctor may order a liver function panel if you have symptoms of liver disease like abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, and fatigue. This test would also likely be ordered if you have recently been exposed to the hepatitis virus or if you are taking a medicine that could potentially cause liver damage.

The test measures the blood’s level of total protein, albumin, bilirubin, and liver enzymes. High or low levels could be indicative of liver damage or disease.

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Blood Tests

A number of STDs (or STIs [sexually transmitted infections], as they are sometimes called) can be diagnosed by using blood tests.

  • Hepatitis: Hepatitis is not always transmitted sexually, so the antibody and antigen testing can be included in the STD tests as well as with Liver Function Tests.
  • Herpes:  Antibodies for this virus can be measured to assess a past or present herpes simplex infection.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV):  The screening test looks for the presence of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus antibody. It can take time for the body to produce HIV antibodies (up to 6 months after infection), so they may not be detectable early on in an infection. This is why a repeat test may be needed some time after potential exposure.
  • Syphilis: Syphilis has an incubation period of between 9 days and 3 months (the average is 21 days). This test looks for antibodies, which are usually at detectable levels by 6 weeks post-infection. If positive, your doctor will likely recommend a repeat or different test for confirmation.

Thyroid Function Tests

The thyroid gland regulates metabolism in the body. Your doctor may order a thyroid panel if you have symptoms of low thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism) or high thyroid hormone levels (hyperthyroidism). Sometimes just the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test will be ordered as it can often rule out a thyroid problem. Learn more about how thyroid problems can affect people as they age. >>

Two websites to take advantage of our discount online blood testing:

Learn more about these and other value-priced blood tests available through HealthOne by using our convenient search feature. >>

Learn more about these and other value-priced blood tests available through InquireLabs by using our convenient search feature. >>

 


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The CDC  made a recommendation that all baby boomers receive Hepatitis C testing*.

In the US, it is estimated that 1-1.5% are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. People born during 1945–1965 account for approximately three fourths of all chronic HCV infections among adults in the US. There are effective treatments available for HCV, but most people do not know they are infected and therefore do not receive the necessary care.

As recommended by the CDC:

  • Adults born during 1945–1965 should receive one-time testing for HCV without prior ascertainment of HCV risk (Strong Recommendation, Moderate Quality of Evidence),
  • All persons identified with HCV infection should receive a brief alcohol screening and intervention as clinically indicated, followed by referral to appropriate care and treatment services for HCV infection and related conditions (Strong Recommendation, Moderate Quality of Evidence).

HCV testing is the first step toward improving health outcomes for persons infected with HCV.

liverCauses and risk factors

 People who may be at risk for hepatitis C are those who:

  • Have been on long-term kidney dialysis
  • Have regular contact with blood at work, such as health care workers
  • Have unprotected sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis C (this risk is much less common than hepatitis B, but the risk is higher for those who have many sex partners, already have a sexually transmitted disease, or are infected with HIV)
  • Inject street drugs or share a needle with someone who has hepatitis C
  • Received a blood transfusion before July 1992
  • Received a tattoo or acupuncture with contaminated instruments
  • Received blood, blood products, or solid organs from a donor who has hepatitis C
  • Share personal items such as toothbrushes and razors with someone who has hepatitis C (less common)
  • Were born to a hepatitis C-infected mother (this occurs in about 1 out of 20 babies born to mothers with HCV, which is much less common than with hepatitis B)

Take control of your health.

Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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If you want to take control of your health, save money and get answers quickly, know that you can order your own blood laboratory test via the service on the internet.  Discount blood tests are available to consumers nationwide.

 

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Perhaps you have some symptoms or maybe you just want to test for asymptomatic diseases.  Typcially, you would make an appointment with your doctor, wait in the waiting room, then the examining room, get a perscription for some blood tests and finally going to the patient service center to have your blood drawn.  Next you would wait for the physician’s office to call you with the results, then set up another appointment to discuss them with your doctor.  This process could take days or weeks!

Many people are cutting out the medical middlepersons and ordering their own lab work.  Go to www.HealthOneLabs.com, choose the tests you would like and utilize the secure, HIPPA compliant website and shopping cart.  The process takes less than 5 minutes to order and within a small amount of time you’ll receive the paperwork to take to the lab and have your blood drawn.  Most test results are ready the next day, so you can view your patient-friendly results and schedule a physician’s appointment to discuss them with your doctor; avoiding two appointments, time and money.  Tests prices are much lower since Health One is passing on their volumn discount to their customer.  At this time, insurance is not accepted but since most of the popular tests are only $29-$89, prices are typically lower than what an insured would pay for their co-pay.

Most Popular Tests:

  1. Comprehensive Health Profile – $59 – includes lipid panel, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose and more
  2. Men’s Health Value Package – $89 – includes lipids, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose, PSA, Urinalysis and more
  3. Women’s Health Value Package – $89 – includes lipids, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose, Thyroid panel, Urinalysis and more

 

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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The liver is a very important organ as its job is to filter all the blood in your body.  It continually filters toxins, drugs, wastes generated from the body, chemicals and alcohol.  A healthy liver is necessary for the body to function correctly.

human liver galbaldder

Why the Recent Increase in Liver Damage?

  1. Increased use of prescription, over-the-counter and illegal drugs
  2. Increased alcohol consumption

The liver has to break down alcohol and drugs to remove it from the body.  Excess of either drugs or alcohol can damage the liver.  Increasingly, people are mixing both drugs (e.g. Acetaminophen) and alcohol which can lead to acute liver failure.

Cool Facts about the Liver

  1. It’s the only internal organ that can regenerate itself
  2. The liver stores vitamins (fat soluble) and minerals (i.e. iron) and releases them to the blood as necessary
  3. It produces bile to break down fats

The Liver Function Test

There is a blood test (also know as a hepatic function test) to screen the liver to see if it is functioning normally.

Levels for the following are included in the test:

  • bilirubin
  • liver enzymes
  • blood proteins

Understanding the Liver Function Test Results

There are many acronyms associated with the different components and there are acceptable levels that physicians use to help diagnose problems with the liver:

Albumin, Globulin and Total Protein – Measures the amount and type of protein in your blood. They are a useful index of overall health and nutrition. Abnormal results are an indicator of malnutrition, liver or kidney disease, cirrhosis, multiple meyloma, sarcoid, amyloid, lupus, and/or major infections. Globulin is the “antibody” protein important for fighting disease. If one of these values is high, but the other values are within expected ranges, the result is probably not significant, but only your physician can confirm this.

LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase) – An enzyme found in blood and tissues. Elevated levels are found in various diseases including myocardial infarction, cancer, and anemia. A hemolyzed blood specimen can falsely elevate levels. Slightly decreased levels are usually insignificant but only your physician can confirm this.

Gamma GT (GGT) – A liver enzyme whose elevation may indicate liver disease. Moderate intake of alcohol and some common medications may cause elevated levels to occur.

Bilirubin – Primary pigment in bile. It is derived from hemoglobin and processed by the liver, and builds up when the liver is functioning poorly or when some other disorder reduces the normal flow of bile. It is increased also when there has been destruction of red blood cells.

AST & ALT – Injury to cells releases these enzymes into the blood. Liver disease and heart attacks, as well as serious physical injury can cause elevation of these values. Low values are probably not significant, but can only be confirmed by your physician.

Common Liver Diseases

Fatty liver disease -Fatty liver disease when there is extra fat in the liver cells and is typically associated with those that drink too much alcohol.  This type of diseases generally does not have any symptoms.  If diagnosed, fatty liver disease will go away once alcohol is eliminated from the diet.

Hepatitis B – Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis causes the liver to swell and become damagedHepatitis C – Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation.

Cirrhosis – Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver; hard scar tissue replaces soft healthy tissue Cirrhosis occurs in response to chronic damage to your liver.

Take Control of your Health!

Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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Blood Test : Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

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A comprehensive metabolic blood panel is a blood test that evaluates the level of glucose in the blood.  It also measures the balance of electrolytes and fluids as well as evaluating kidney function. An abnormal test could indicate a problem that needs to be addressed by a physician.

A physician may order a comprehensive metabolic blood panel as part of an annual wellness examination.  The doctor may also order the test to check and see if certain medications are affecting the kidneys. The test is many times ordered in the emergency room, so that doctors can quickly assess bodily functions.  To perform the test, a vial of blood is collected from a vein, usually in the arm.  Fasting for 10 – 12 hours before the test, may or may not be required, depending on why the test is being performed. After the blood is drawn, a specialized machine processes it and results are usually available to the doctor within 24 hours or less.

The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel is also called the CMP 14 (as opposed to the Basic Metabolic Panel or BMP 8) and tests the following:

  • Glucose
  • Urea Nitrogen (BUN): A waste product of the liver excreted by the kidneys. High values may indicate kidney malfunction and/or dehydration
  • Creatinine: This is a waste product of muscle metabolism that is discarded by the kidney. It is elevated in kidney disease, muscle wasting disease, and sometimes the day after strenuous physical exercise.
  • BUN/Creatinine Ratio: Both BUN and creatinine are elevated in kidney failure, but they are elevated differently depending on the cause of the failure. This ratio helps determine the type of kidney failure.
  • eGFR: Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Sodium, Potassium, and Chloride: “Electrolytes” help make up the salt balance and acid/base balance in the body. They can be affected by diuretics or water pills, high blood pressure, heart failure, kidney and lung disease. The balance among these elements is important for proper functioning of the heart and brain.
  • Carbon Dioxide: Part of the electrolyte panel used to detect, evaluate and monitor electrolyte imbalances.
  • Calcium: screens for range of conditions relating to the bones, heart, nerves, kidneys, and teeth. Blood calcium levels do not directly tell how much calcium is in the bones, but rather, how much total calcium or ionized calcium is circulating in the blood.
  • Albumin, Globulin and Total Protein: Measures the amount and type of protein in your blood. They are a useful index of overall health and nutrition. Abnormal results are an indicator of under nutrition, liver or kidney disease, cirrhosis, multiple meyloma, sarcoid, amyloid, lupus, and/or major infections. Globulin is the “antibody” protein important for fighting disease. If one of these values is high, but the other values are within expected ranges, the result is probably not significant, but only your physician can confirm this.
  • Alkaline Phosphatase: A bone and liver enzyme. High values are associated with liver and gall-bladder disease. Expect to see higher values in adolescents and pregnant or breast feeding women. Low values are probably not significant, but can only be confirmed by your physician.
  • Bilirubin: Primary pigment in bile. It is derived from hemoglobin and processed by the liver, and builds up when the liver is functioning poorly or when some other disorder reduces the normal flow of bile. It is increased also when there has been destruction of red blood cells.
  • AST & ALT: Injury to cells releases these enzymes into the blood. Liver disease and heart attacks, as well as serious physical injury can cause elevation of these values. Low values are probably not significant, but can only be confirmed by your physician.

This simple and inexpensive test provides extensive information about the health and wellness of your body.

Take Control of Your Health.

 Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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