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Blood Chemistry 2

Updated 2009-03-31 00:09

Blood Chemistry Tests


Blood TestIndications
Iron (Fe)A metal the body uses to make hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen to the cells. Without oxygen, the cells, especially muscle cells in adults and brain cells in children, don’t work properly. Too much of it can injure the heart, pancreas, joints, testicles, ovaries and other organs.
Iron (Fe)Can be high due to hemochromatosis, hemolytic anemias such as thalassemia, acute liver disease, lead poisoning.
Iron (Fe)Can be low due to iron deficiency anemia.
Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD or LDH)An enzyme found in all tissues in the body. It helps release energy from glucose. Slightly elevated levels are common and rarely indicate medical conditions.
Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD or LDH)Can be high due to liver, heart or lung conditions; anemia; infection; cancer.
Magnesium (Mg)A metal found primarily inside the cells of the body. It ensures the proper functioning of muscles, nerves, the immune system and bones.
Magnesium (Mg)Can be high due to kidney failure, use of magnesium-containing antacids, dehydration.
Magnesium (Mg)Can be low due to severe malnutrition, severe diarrhea, alcoholism, excessive use of diuretics, heart disease.
PhosphateA form of phosphorus (a mineral) that is found primarily in the bones, but also in the blood. It ensures strong, healthy bones and proper functioning of muscles and nerves. Very low levels of it in the blood can lead to muscle weakness.
PhosphateCan be high due to strenuous exercise, dehydration, hypoparathyroidism, kidney disorders.
PhosphateCan be low due to starvation or malnutrition, excessive antacid or diuretic use, low levels of vitamin D, hyperparathyroidism, certain types of cancer.


Blood TestIndications
Potassium (K)An electrolyte found inside all cells. It helps optimize the amount of water inside the cells and helps in the transmission of nerve impulses.
Potassium (K)Some “salt” substitutes contain it in place of sodium; excessive use of these substitutes can cause dangerously high levels that may lead to heart dysfunction. A low level of it can cause muscle weakness and heart problems.
Potassium (K)Can be high due to kidney disorders, too much intake (fruit or supplements), certain medications.
Potassium (K)Can be low due to diuretics, low dietary intake, severe vomiting or diarrhea, alcohol abuse, certain medications.
Sodium (Na)An electrolyte that plays an important role in balancing the amount of salt and water in the body.
Sodium (Na)Can be high due to too much intake, dehydration, diuretic use, kidney disease, hyperaldosteronism, Cushing’s syndrome.
Sodium (Na)Can be low due to too much water intake, heart or kidney failure, or being lost in diarrhea, sweat, or vomit.
T4 (Thyroxine)A hormone that controls the rate at which energy is used and released by the body. A high level can cause nervousness, irritability or weight loss. A low level can cause tiredness, depression or weight gain even though your appetite is decreased.
T4 (Thyroxine)Can be high due to hyperthyroidism.
T4 (Thyroxine)Can be low due to hypothyroidism.
Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)An indirect measurement of transferrin levels. Transferrin binds iron and moves it from iron storage sites to where it is needed in the body. Transferrin also transports the iron back to the storage sites when it is not needed.
Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)Can be high due to iron deficiency, acute viral hepatitis, pregnancy, oral contraceptives.
Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)Can be low due to malnutrition, hemochromatosis, inflammation.
Total ProteinNormally, 2/3 of this is albumin and 1/3 of this is globulin.
Total ProteinCan be high due to dehydration, liver disease, autoimmune conditions such as lupus.
Total ProteinCan be low due to decreased intake or absorption, too much fluid, estrogen therapy, oral contraceptive use.


Blood TestIndications
Transferrin Percent SaturationThis test compares the amount of iron in the blood to the capacity of the blood to transport iron. It is obtained by comparing the iron level to the TIBC. It is high when there is too much stored iron and low when there is too little iron.
Transferrin Percent SaturationCan be high due to sideroblastic or hemolytic anemia, hemochromatosis, acute liver disease.
Transferrin Percent SaturationCan be low due to iron deficiency, kidney failure, infection, inflammation.
TriglycerideA type of fat that comes from food, but it is also made in the body. People with high levels often have high levels of cholesterol.
TriglycerideCan be high due to increased risk of heart disease, familial lipoprotein disorders, obesity, uncontrolled diabetes, hypothyroidism, pancreatitis, alcohol abuse, chronic kidney or liver disease, inadequate patient fasting.
TriglycerideCan be low due to malnutrition.
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)A hormone produced in the pituitary gland. It signals the thyroid gland to release T4 when blood levels of T4 are low. Doctors use its level to check for thyroid conditions and to be sure that people who are taking thyroid medication are getting the right amount.
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)Can be high due to hypothyroidism, pituitary gland tumor, not taking enough thyroid medication.
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)Can be low due to hyperthyroidism, damaged pituitary gland, taking too much thyroid medication.
Uric AcidA waste product that is excreted in the urine. High levels are found in patients who have gout, a form of arthritis that tends to run in families and is more common in men than women. Diets high in purines (present in sweetbread, kidney and liver) might worsen the condition.
Uric AcidCan be high in gout, kidney stones, kidney failure, inherited metabolic disorder, fasting or starvation diet, alcohol use, diuretics, medications.
Uric AcidCan be low in protein-poor diet, medications.


   (PP2208 08/2007 version)


See Blood Chemistry or Blood Chemistry 3 for more.