Our Expert Explains How To Understand Your Blood Reports?
Blood tests are the one of the first things that doctors suggest when one is suffering from any kind of sickness or diesase.
Blood tests are helpful in diagnosing diseases and infections in the body
- Blood tests are helpful in diagnosing most diseases and infections.
- Experts suggest that blood tests should be interpreted only by doctors.
- Repeated blood tests leads to dual treatment of patients.
Blood tests are something which we might have had at a very young age. Most conditions are diagnosed via a blood test report, including any kidney-related problems or checking for diseases like dengue and chikungunya. Blood tests, sometimes called blood panels, are one of a physician's most basic tools. A doctor can see a detailed report about the nutrients, blood sugar levels and also how various organs like kidney and liver are functioning. However, in case of emergencies, one must be acquainted with the technical know-how of a blood report, because we can never estimate an odd situation coming our way.
In order to give us a detailed analysis of a blood test reports, what all it diagnoses and the do's of and don'ts of getting a blood test done, Dr. Satya Prakash Yadav, , shares his expertise:
What all does a basic blood test report state?
The most common kind of blood test is called "Complete Blood Count (CBC)". This type of blood test is advised to people who are not feeling well, have fever etc. The test is used for checking haemoglobin (Hb) levels, white blood cells and platelets. It is a very useful, simple and fast test.
Things to check in a blood report
Usually, a blood test report will tell you in H (High) or L (Low) of your haemoglobin, blood sugar levels, etc. If your Hb is low, it means that you have anaemia and you need medical treatment to improve it.
Check for thalassemia
Thalassemia is a common problem in north India. Some people who are generally healthy and have 11-12 units of Hb, too can have thalassemia. Thalassemia is a condition of low haemoglobin and red blood cells (RBCs) which are small in size, and are decreasing in number. In cases with low Hb and small RBCs which are increasing in size, it means they have thalassemia minor.
Thalassemia patients have smaller RBCs (but more in number than people who are iron deficient). A child of two thalassemia minor patients results in a thalassemia major baby. Thalassemia major is a condition in which the child is dependent on blood transfusion for his entire life. The child has to get blood transfusions every month to survive.
However, having such kind of a child is totally preventable. CBC can be done during pregnancy and if both parents are diagnose of having thalassemia minor, they should probably avoid child birth. The reason behind this is that huge amount of money which goes in regular blood transfusions.
White blood cells (WBCs)
If the blood test report shows increase/decrease in WBC, then there are chances of infections, and other diseases. One must seek medical help in this case.
Low number of platelets is a cause of concern. In case the report shows below 10,000 platelets count, a special test needs to be done to diagnose the real problem.
Also, an increase in the number of platelets, is indicative of anaemia, or some infection in the chest or brain. High platelets ascertain that there can be some serious disorder and need to be further diagnosed.
What are the key areas that need to be checked in a blood test report?
One should check for Hb levels, or any other iron or vitamin deficiency. Normal values of these are mentioned in the report. If there is anything above or below normal level, they need further attention of the doctor to intervene.
For instance, there are times when you have increased Hb. You have high fever for four days and you get a blood test done. In case your haemoglobin comes down to 16, normally which is 13 and 14, there are chances of you having dengue. In dengue, your blood vessels become leaky. If one appears very red physically and has high haemoglobin, it means that their blood pressure (BP) is soon going to drop and they will soon begin to feel very weak. One should seek medical help immediately.
Whereas, usually in dengue, people think that platelet count is a big trouble. But more than that, one has to focus on Hb.
Also read our expert advice: What do high levels of TLC and DLC mean?
How often must one get a blood test done?
Anyone who is above 40 must get a blood test done at least once a year, in which a complete blood count is done. Also, patients suffering from diabetes, kidney or liver problems must also get regular blood tests done.
Also read: What Do High TLC And DLC Levels On A Blood Test Report Mean?
When must one avoid blood tests?
In dengue fever, for instance, people have a block in their minds that their platelet count is going to tell about their well-being, and that's why they get blood tests done repeatedly. As mentioned above, platelets are not required to be checked unless they fall below 10,000, and Hb is the main cause of concern. Repeated blood tests lead to leads to dual treatment of patients, which can have many side effects.
However, blood test report must always be checked by a doctor, recommends our expert Dr. Gita Prakash. "One must show their blood test report to a doctor because how one interprets a blood test report may or may not be correct. And if one interprets it wrong, then it is like deliberately putting yourself in a question mark situation. You may not know the reason behind the results. Maybe it is an allergy or maybe it is much more than that, but you can never be sure of it. So you must get your blood test report
(Dr. Gita Prakash is a family physician at Max Multi Speciality Hospital, Panchsheel Park)
(Dr. Satya Prakash Yadav is director, department of haemotology and medical oncology, Medanta)