There are a variety of hematology tests, also known as blood tests, that may be ordered by a doctor as a part of a routine check-up or to confirm a suspected medical diagnosis. A complete blood count, or CBC, is used to measure various components of the blood, including blood cells and hematocrit. Blood enzyme tests and blood chemistry tests are other types of hematology tests that may be performed. Some blood tests may test the function of specific organs, such as the heart or kidneys. Any questions or concerns about hematology tests on an individual basis should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.
One of the most commonly performed hematology tests is the CBC, or complete blood count. This type of test measures the number of red cells, white cells, and platelets in the blood as well as hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. The results of this blood test can help to diagnose medical conditions such as anemia, infection, or bleeding disorders. These lab values may be abnormal when certain forms of cancer are present as well. Dehydration or problems with the body's immune system can sometimes be diagnosed based on the results of this blood test.
Blood enzymes and metabolic chemicals are frequently monitored through the use of hematology tests. The most commonly tested enzymes are known as creatine kinase and troponin. This particular type of blood test is often used to detect a heart attack. Metabolic testing can check a variety of system functions that rely on metabolic chemicals, including glucose, calcium, and electrolyte levels. If left untreated, a chemical imbalance can lead to potentially fatal complications, including diabetes and malabsorption issues.
Some hematology tests are helpful in diagnosing problems with the kidneys. Abnormal BUN or creatinine levels may indicate that the kidneys are not functioning as well as they should. Additional tests are often performed based on the results of these blood tests in order to determine the exact cause of the loss of kidney function. Similar hematology tests may detect liver disease or impaired cardiac function.
A lipoprotein panel is among the more commonly used hematology tests. In this blood test, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are tested. If these levels are high, it does not necessarily indicate the presence of disease, although the patient does carry an increased risk of developing heart disease. Monitoring these levels may be able to prevent future health problems in many people.