Blood Test or Executive Blood Panel
What Can You Learn from a Blood Testing?
Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluations at J. Flowers Health Institute
If you would like to learn more about J. Flowers Health Institute, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Using a Blood Test as a Part of a Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation
Table of Contents
When it comes to your health, getting the complete picture often allows a doctor to make the best decisions regarding treatments and lifestyle changes. While a doctor can use their eyes and tools like a stethoscope to examine you, sometimes it’s another test that reveals potential underlying conditions.
Is There a Blood Test for Cancer?
There isn’t any one laboratory test that can help provide a definitive diagnosis of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.1 This doesn’t mean that doctors don’t use blood tests to help them make a cancer diagnosis or check on a treatment’s progress. However, doctors won’t use blood work as the only way they diagnose cancer.
Common Blood Test Abbreviations
Sometimes, a doctor or other medical provider will use quick terms or abbreviations to describe a blood test. Because they refer to these tests every day, it’s easy for them to forget that you might not know the abbreviations. You can always ask for a better explanation about how or why a doctor is ordering a certain test. This guide to some of the most common tests and their abbreviations can help too.
CBC Blood Test
CBC stands for complete blood count. This test measures the number of blood cells in your body. Examples of the blood cells it reports include:1
CBC with Differential
MCV Blood Test
RDW Blood Test
CMP Blood Test
A doctor may order a CMP for a variety of reasons because it tests so many things. Some examples include to monitoring or screening for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or liver disease.
BMP Blood Test
C02 Blood Tests
C02 blood tests are tests that measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. Carbon dioxide is a waste product of using oxygen. Your body carries carbon dioxide as PC02 and HC03 (also known as bicarbonate) in the blood. A doctor may order a C02 blood test (or evaluate it as part of your BMP) when you’re having problems breathing or have signs of a pH imbalance in your body.
Because C02 is linked with oxygen, you have different levels in your arterial and venous systems. Your veins carry deoxygenated blood to your heart. This means your C02 levels are going to be higher than arterial blood, which has more oxygen. Before you have a C02 blood test, ask your doctor if the blood will come from an artery or vein.
What Tubes Are Used for What Blood Tests?
Laboratory workers put specific blood tests into special tubes. Some contain chemical preservatives or chemicals that react with the blood in a certain way to make the blood easier to test. Laboratory workers may call the different tubes “tops.” You may see a person drawing your blood using a purple, green, or light blue top. Each is for different laboratory results. This explains why a laboratory worker may have to get more than one blood tube’s worth of blood for laboratory results.
Preparation for Blood Work
Fasting for Blood Work
Can I Take Medication Before a Fasting Blood Test?
Can I Drink Coffee Before a Fasting Blood Test?
Drink “clear liquids only” before a blood draw. The good news is doctors consider coffee (but only black coffee) a clear liquid. If you add milk or creamer to your coffee, it isn’t a clear liquid anymore because your body takes longer to digest the milk. When in doubt, it’s best to ask your doctor or laboratory to ensure you get the best results.
Blood Test Results
You will receive most blood test results in the report form. The report will explain what tests your doctor ordered and give your results, usually with reference ranges for normal values.
How Long Does Blood Work Take?
How to Read Blood Test Results
Blood test results can look different from laboratory to laboratory. Some labs use different normal ranges based on a person’s age, weight, and gender. Most of the time, a laboratory report after a blood test will contain a “normal” range, which the laboratory may also call:1
According to the National Cancer Institute, when a healthy person takes a blood test, most laboratories expect a person’s lab values will fall in the normal range 95% of the time.1
About 5% of the time, your results may fall outside this range.
According to Healthline, a “normal” range for red cell distribution is 12.2% to 16.1% for adult females and 11.8% to 14.5% for adult men.3 Always read your laboratory’s reference ranges as they may define them differently.
RDW Blood Test High
When an RDW result is higher than normal, this value could suggest a diagnosis of:3
RDW Blood Test Low
Low RDW results are usually less helpful in making a diagnosis.3 This is because there aren’t many blood disorders that cause low LDW results. If your LDS results are low, it could be your body’s normal variation.
A laboratory report should include a reference range for red blood cell sizes. Sometimes, the results may be less accurate if a woman is on her menstrual cycle because her blood counts may be slightly lower.2
MCV Blood Test High
Larger-than-expected red blood cells could indicate the following conditions:2
MCV Blood Test Low
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Normal Ranges
Here are some of the potential normal reference ranges for the BMP results:4