A Brush with Internal Medicine: What Does the Blood Work Say?

Millions of individuals are sent to the lab for blood work on a daily basis as part of their yearly physical examinations. While many obey their doctor’s orders without question, few patients know what the doctor is looking for when he gets the results back from laboratory. Blood work sheds light on a number of hidden illnesses and can sometimes be the difference between life and death. Here are a few ways that medical professionals use blood cells to determine the health of a patient.

Chemistry Panel and Complete Blood Count (CBC)
This test gives physicians a patient’s overall health status. The CBC examination reveals an individual’s blood cell status as well as the strength, or weakness, of a person’s kidney or liver. Medical professionals can analyze a number of factors within the red and white blood cell count and make an informed decision as to how to go about caring for a patient.

Also included in the examination is the Chemistry Panel. This test focuses on the cardiovascular system in determining cholesterol levels and overall heart health. Whereas low cholesterol level, below 200 mg/dL, typically signifies good heart health, numbers above 200 mg/dL are usually indicative of cardiovascular problems in the near or distant future. Physicians use information received from the Chemistry Panel and CBC exams to prescribe medication to patients.

Fibrinogen Test
Fibrinogen is a soluble protein that contributes to blood clotting. While ordinarily a beneficial protein, too much of the substance can lead to a number of health problems. Individuals with high levels of fibrinogen are at higher risk of experiencing a stroke or heart attack than those having low levels of the substance found in their bodies. Acceptable fibrinogen levels are those between 193 mg/dL to 369 mg/dL. Any number above 423 mg/dL is considered dangerously high.

In most cases, lowering fibrinogen levels is a matter of diet and exercise. In particular, constant movement leads to less tissue inflammation, which causes, fibrinogen levels to remain in normal range.

Hemoglobin A1C
Measuring blood sugar is that much easier with a hemoglobin A1C test. One trip to the doctor can tell a patient if his glucose levels are too high or low. This test is especially beneficial to an individual with a family history of diabetes. The hemoglobin A1C test will tell doctors if a patient has developed the disease early on, so that he can prepare a plan of action to help the individual combat diabetes. The laboratory range that physicians like to see when testing for blood sugar levels is below 4.5 percent. Anything above 5.7 percent is indicative of diabetes.

The good thing about hemoglobin A1C results is the empowerment that it gives patients. Learning of the potential to develop diabetes gives patients the opportunity to change nutritional and exercise habits for better lifestyles. The test also helps those who have developed diabetes monitor the disease. Doctors recommend individuals with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes visit internal medicine for hemoglobin A1C exams every three to six months.

Keyword: internal medicine


Leave a Comment