Blood tests are divided into three main groups
Haematological investigations (looking at your blood count)
Your blood count is routinely performed before any major surgical operation to ensure that your body is optimally fit for the surgery. A low blood count or red cell count may mean that your body is unable to get adequate oxygen to the cells at the time of surgery. There are a number of different types of blood cells that circulate in your body that react in different ways to different diseases. Your white blood cells increase in response to infection. Thus, if your doctor sees a raised white blood cell level, this will increase the suspicion of infection in the clinical setting of the pain and suffering that you may be encountering.
Electrolyte investigations (looking at the elements and irons in your blood)
Electrolyte levels are again routinely performed prior to major operations as abnormal electrolyte levels are associated with increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and other muscle dysfunctions. These abnormalities are often correctable prior to any major operative procedure. Also different electrolytes and chemicals within your body may again reflect disease specific to different organs of the body. Some chemicals may suggest raised levels of some chemicals suggesting a problem with the bones, while others suggest problems in the liver, kidney, prostate, bladder or heart. Again the doctor uses the results of these investigations in conjunction with the history and clinical examination that have been performed to aide in more accurately diagnosing the disease process.
Over the last decade, with advances in modern technology, a large number of disease specific tests have been identified and are now routinely performed as part of baseline screen and specific marker tests. Tests such as a raised ESR or (erthyrocyte sedimentation rate) or CRP may indicate general markers of infection somewhere in the body. Other tests such as a PSA or prostate specific antigen, may indicate abnormality within the prostate gland. Other specific marker tests are available for heart and liver function problems as well as others for bone disease.
Posted in: Patient Tests and Investigations