Blood tests are a normal part of your healthcare and help your doctor assess your overall health. When you receive a copy of your blood test results, you might be confused by all the numbers and abbreviations. Learn more about the common tests performed to help you understand your results.
Understanding Your Blood Test Results
Complete Blood Count
One of the most common blood tests performed is the complete blood count (CBC), which measures the white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets in the blood. The numbers tell your doctor if your body is producing the proper number of each cell, and they can identify if you've had a recent infection, clotting issues or underlying conditions. For example, a high white blood cell count indicates the presence of an infection, notes Ada Health. Hematocrit (Hct) and hemoglobin (Hgb) tests both look at red blood cells and are useful in diagnosing anemia or other deficiencies.
A lipid panel measures the fat in your blood to assess cardiac risk. A lipid panel consists of your total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. Too much of the bad cholesterol in your blood puts you at risk for hardened arteries, heart disease and stroke. However, the good cholesterol can help undo some of the damage from the bad cholesterol, which is why your lipid panel also includes a ratio of each type in relation to one another, according to Ada Health. Your lab test results online often display your range as well as the ideal or target range for each value for comparison. If you're wondering what blood tests require fasting, this is one of them.
Also known as a chemistry panel or chem 7, this test actually includes seven tests that measure different enzymes in the blood as well as evaluate your kidney function. A blood chemistry test also measures your blood glucose level, so your doctor can use this test to determine if you need further testing for diabetes, notes Verywell Health.
There are many blood lab test abbreviations associated with measuring your liver enzymes. The test itself is referred to as liver function studies (LFTs). Because your liver plays a big role in blood clotting and removing toxins from your bloodstream, it's important to test its function. Elevated liver enzymes indicate that your liver isn't functioning as it should, according to Verywell Health. The GGT is another test that can help your doctor assess if you have liver damage.
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a test that measures your average blood sugar over a period of two or three months. Your doctor usually orders this test if he or she suspects that you are at risk for diabetes. If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, this test becomes a part of your normal healthcare routine and is performed every three months. WebMD notes that a normal A1c is below 5.7 percent, and those with diabetes have an A1c higher than 6.5 percent.