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How do you understand blood test results?

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Quick Answer

Blood test results are expressed in metric units such as milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL, and millimoles per liter, or mmol/L, explains Newport Natural Health. Results vary by specific type of test. For instance, a complete blood count, or CBC, examines the cellular elements that make up blood.

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How do you understand blood test results?
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Full Answer

Blood tests are also known as blood panels, according to Newport Natural Health. Blood test results are given in metric units that include cells per cubic millimeter, or cmm, milliequivalent per liter, or mEq/L, nanograms per millimeter, or ng/mL, and international units per liter, or IU/L. Other measures include picograms, a unit representing one-trillionth of a gram that is abbreviated as pg, and femtoliters, or fL, a unit that represents a fraction of one-millionth of a liter.

Blood tests fall into one of a number of different categories, according to Newport Natural Health. The chemistry panel, or metabolic panel, is used to examine varied aspects of the body's metabolism. Some of the tests in this category include the alanine aminotransferase test, or ALT, which is used to check levels of the liver enzyme ALT, and the blood urea nitrogen test, or the BUN, which is used to analyze certain kidney and liver functions. Another blood test category is the lipid panel, or the lipid profile, which is a group of tests used to analyze types and levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the body. Occasionally, physicians may recommend additional blood tests, such as thyroid tests and vitamin D tests, in addition to a standard battery of tests.

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