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4 Most Common Types of Blood Tests

4 Most Common Types of Blood Tests

Different types of blood tests are administered for different reasons. Your doctor may order a blood test to diagnose suspected diseases, test organ function, assess risk factors, or test the effectiveness of medications. Blood tests are a common routine that most new patients and those returning for a checkup are ordered to undergo.

Blood tests usually don’t require preparation but some call for fasting. We review the most commonly administered blood tests below, including what they are used for and what the results could mean.

To book an appointment to receive any of these tests book here with Speedy Sticks.

Different Types of Blood Tests

The types of blood tests vary by general categories, including a complete blood count, a blood enzyme test, a basic metabolic panel, and a test for heart disease. Within these categories, many smaller blood tests are conducted to assess different attributes of your blood. We review these in detail below.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A complete blood count is a common type of blood test most frequently ordered by doctors to assess the condition of new patients or as part of routine checkups. These tests are vital in assessing patients for various disorders, including:

  • Blood diseases (e.g., anemia)
  • Clotting issues
  • Infections
  • Cancer
  • Immune system disorders

A CBC tests for these conditions by taking a count of various parts of your blood, which include your red and white blood cells, platelets, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the different parts of a complete blood count:

Red blood cells – This count tells doctors whether a patient is dehydrated or anemic depending on how their red blood cell count compares to the norm. Since red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your body, they could be directly related to conditions that result from oxygen deficiency, such as sleep apnea or hypoxia, which means the blood’s oxygen level is too low. When the count is too high, it may indicate that a patient has heart failure, blood disorders, kidney tumors, congenital heart disease, or lung disease.

White blood cells – White blood cell counts are an indicator of immune system function. An abnormal amount could indicate infections, immune disorders, or blood cancers.

Hemoglobin – The protein hemoglobin is what allows red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body. If hemoglobin levels are not normal, a patient may suffer from blood disorders such as anemia.

Platelets – Platelets facilitate blood clotting after an injury. Abnormal platelet levels could indicate a bleeding or thrombotic disorder where your body clots too much or too little, respectively.

MCV – MCV stands for “mean corpuscular volume” and it refers to the size of your red blood cells. An abnormal size could indicate inherited blood disorders like thalassemia.

Blood Enzyme Test

Blood enzyme tests assess whether the chemical reactions within your blood that sustain healthy heart function are working normally. The test includes two separate enzymes: creatine kinase and troponin.

Creatine Kinase – Creatine Kinase, often abbreviated as CK-MB, is an enzyme released into your blood after your heart sustains an injury. This means that abnormally high levels of creatine kinase could indicate a heart attack.

Troponin – The protein troponin also indicates potential heart injury due to its role in causing your heart to contract. An excess troponin level is one of the most common markers of a heart attack.

Basic Metabolic Panel

Basic metabolic panels or BMPs are commonly ordered to assess organ function and test for diseases. They test the fluid of the blood for different compounds whose presence can indicate certain conditions. A BMP often requires fasting for 8-12 hours beforehand. Consult with your doctor about the requirements of your tests.

Minerals – Calcium is one of the minerals tested in a BMP. When calcium levels are off, a patient may be suffering from diseases of the kidney, thyroid, or bones. Malnutrition and cancer are other conditions indicated by abnormal calcium levels. Other minerals tested include potassium, sodium, and more.

Glucose – The sugar called glucose is the main indicator of diabetes, depending on its levels in a patient’s blood. Fasting is required for this part of the panel.

Blood urea nitrogen – Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) is assessed to test kidney function. Since your kidneys are supposed to filter BUN, abnormal levels could indicate a kidney disorder.

Electrolytes – Electrolytes maintain your body’s balance of fluids and acids. An abnormal electrolyte reading could be a sign of dehydration, heart failure, liver and kidney disease, or more.

Test for Heart Disease

Cholesterol tests, which assess a patient’s level of LDL or low-density lipoproteins, and triglyceride tests both assess heart function. High levels of LDL indicate a risk for heart disease. LDL collects against the walls of your blood vessels, which is why high levels raise your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

Other Blood Tests

This list is nowhere near exhaustive. Doctors may order many other types of blood tests to assess a patient’s condition, including a lipid panel, thyroid panel, liver panel, STI test, coagulation panel, c-reactive protein test, and more. We reviewed the most common to give you an overview of what your doctor may order and why.

Ask your doctor about what your test means, how to prepare, and how to interpret the results and if you can book with Speedy Sticks to get your results conveniently in your own home or business.

*This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace consulting with a healthcare professional. Please consult with your primary care physician or healthcare provider before engaging in any services offered by Speedy Sticks.