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Blood Chemistry

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Updated 2009-03-31 00:10

Blood Chemistry Tests

 

Blood TestIndications
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)An enzyme found primarily in the liver, but also in red blood cells and the heart. It is a good indicator of liver function and liver cell damage.
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)Can be high due to hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity, some medications and herbs.
AlbuminA protein that makes up about two-thirds of the total protein circulating in blood. It helps keep water inside blood vessels and transports nutrients throughout the body.
AlbuminCan be high due to dehydration (not enough water in the body).
AlbuminCan be low due to malnutrition, too much water in the body, liver and kidney ailments, severe injuries such as burns or major bone fractures, slow bleeding over a long period of time.
Albumin to Globulin Ratio (A/G Ratio)Can be high due to hereditary immunoglobulin deficiency, leukemia.
Albumin to Globulin Ratio (A/G Ratio)Can be low due to multiple myeloma, autoimmune disease, cirrhosis, nephrotic syndrome, chronic inflammation.
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP, Alk Phos)An enzyme found in all body tissues, but most importantly in the bone and liver.
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP, Alk Phos)Can be high due to bones growing (in normally growing children), conditions of the bones and liver such as rickets and hepatitis, some medications including aspirin and birth control pills.
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)An enzyme found mainly in the heart, liver and muscles; it assists in the production of amino acids.
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)Can be high due to congestive heart failure, hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcohol and drug abuse, muscular dystrophy.
Bilirubin, TotalA waste product produced when hemoglobin (the component of red blood cells that carries oxygen) is broken down in the liver. This test measures the total of two forms: direct and indirect. Too much of this waste product causes jaundice (yellow skin and eyes).
Bilirubin, TotalCan be high due to liver problems such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, hemolytic anemia, blocked bile ducts such as from gallstones, some medications.
Bilirubin, DirectIt is soluble (can dissolve in water). Can be high due to blockage of bile ducts such as from gallstones.
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Blood TestIndications
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)A waste product produced when proteins are broken down in the liver. It is removed from the body by the kidneys, so it is an indirect measure of kidney function.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)Can be high due to kidney damage such as from diabetes or high blood pressure, dehydration, blood loss, high-protein diet.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)Can be low due to liver disease, low-protein diet, too much water intake.
BUN/Creatinine RatioCan be high due to kidney failure, urinary tract obstruction, bleeding into the gut (intestine).
BUN/Creatinine RatioCan be low due to low-protein diet, severe muscle injury, pregnancy, cirrhosis, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH).
CalciumA mineral found in cells, blood and bones that ensures the proper functioning of nerves, enzymes, muscles and blood clotting.
CalciumNinety-five percent of the body’s stock of this is in the bones, the rest is in the blood and cells.
CalciumCan be high due to too much milk, antacid, or vitamin D; hyperthyroidism; hyperparathyroidism; some types of cancer.
CalciumCan be low due to low albumin or total protein levels, high phosphorus levels, too little vitamin D, hypoparathyroidism, medical conditions such as pancreatitis and kidney disease.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)The waste product produced when the body uses oxygen. When you breathe in, oxygen is brought into the red blood cells, which carry it throughout the body. When the body uses oxygen, this waste product is produced. The red blood cells then carry this waste product back to the lungs, where it is released.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)Can be high due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, pneumonia, Cushing’s syndrome, Conn’s syndrome, alcoholism, persistent vomiting.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)Can be low due to cirrhosis, liver failure, hyperventilation, uncontrolled diabetes, kidney or heart failure, shock, excessive diarrhea, dehydration, starvation.
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Blood TestIndications
Chloride (Cl)An electrolyte present in cells and blood that plays an important role in maintaining both acid/base and salt/water balance. Changes in its level are usually associated with changes in the sodium level: when one goes up, the other goes down.
Chloride (Cl)Can be high due to excessive salt intake, dehydration, anemia, kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism.
Chloride (Cl)Can be low due to too much water in the body, heart or kidney failure, diabetic ketoacidosis, persistent vomiting, severe burns.
Cholesterol, TotalA fat that our bodies need to remain healthy, but too much can clog blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol, TotalCan be high due to increased risk of heart disease, familial hypercholesterolemia, pregnancy (a temporary increase is normal).
Cholesterol, TotalCan be low due to acute illness, stress, malnutrition, liver disease, cancer.
Cholesterol, HDL (High-density lipoprotein)The “good” kind. It protects against heart disease. It carries cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver. The liver then removes the cholesterol from the body.
Cholesterol, HDL (High-density lipoprotein)When high, more cholesterol can be carried away so that it doesn’t clog up the arteries and possibly lead to a heart attack.
Cholesterol, HDL (High-density lipoprotein)Can be low due to increased risk of heart disease, familial lipoprotein disorder.
Cholesterol/HDL RatioCan be high due to increased risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol, LDL (Low-density lipoprotein)The “bad” kind. High levels increase the risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol, LDL (Low-density lipoprotein)When high, it can build up in the arteries and cause a blockage that results in a heart attack or stroke.
Cholesterol, LDL (Low-density lipoprotein)Can be high due to increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of dementia with stroke, familial hypercholesterolemia, pregnancy (a temporary increase is normal).
Cholesterol, LDL (Low-density lipoprotein)Can be low due to acute illness, stress.
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Blood TestIndications
CreatinineA waste product that is formed when food is converted to energy and when muscles are injured. Its level in the blood depends mostly on the ability of the kidneys to excrete it. Its level also depends on the amount of muscle tissue. Men tend to have higher levels than women because they have more muscle mass.
CreatinineCan be high when the kidneys are not doing a good job clearing waste products from the blood.
CreatinineCan be high due to kidney disease, prostate disease or kidney stone that blocks the urinary tract, muscle injury such as heart failure.
CreatinineCan be low due to decreased muscle mass (muscular dystrophy, aging), very low-protein diet.
FerritinA protein that binds to iron stored in the body. It is an indirect measure of the amount of iron stored in the body for future use.
FerritinCan be high due to hemochromatosis (familial iron overload), alcoholism, liver disease, inflammatory disease such as arthritis, leukemia and other cancers.
FerritinCan be low due to iron deficiency anemia, insufficient iron in diet, prolonged bleeding such as occurs with ulcers.
Gamma-Glutamyltransferase (GGT)An enzyme primarily found in the liver.
Gamma-Glutamyltransferase (GGT)Can be high due to liver diseases (obstructive jaundice, hepatitis, cirrhosis, metastatic cancer), bile duct obstruction, alcohol use and abuse, some medications.
GlobulinA type of protein that makes up about 1/3 of the total protein circulating in blood. There are about 60 different types of this protein. They help fight infection and clot the blood. If your total level is abnormal, your doctor might want to measure specific types to get more information.
GlobulinCan be high due to infection, inflammatory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple myeloma.
GlobulinCan be low due to liver or kidney problems.
GlucoseThe chief source of energy for all living organisms and, as such, is very important for a healthy body.
GlucoseCan be high due to diabetes, inadequate patient fasting, stress such as that caused by a heart attack, severe liver disease, pancreatitis, some medications.
GlucoseCan be low due to pancreatic, adrenal or liver tumors; hypothyroidism; liver disease such as cirrhosis; some medications.
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Reference:
   http://www.questdiagnostics.com/healthwise/files/blood_chemistry.pdf
   (PP2208 08/2007 version)

 

See Blood Chemistry 2 or Blood Chemistry 3 for more.