What Do Blood Tests Show?

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The most common blood test, the complete blood count, or CBC, measures red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, platelets and mean corpuscular volume of the blood, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. This test is often used to check symptoms and diagnose a wide variety of conditions, such as anemia, infections, blood cancers, clotting problems and immune system disorders.

The CBC is often part of a regular check up, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The basic metabolic panel is a different group of blood tests that measure chemicals in the plasma of the blood. Sometimes requiring fasting before a blood draw, the basic metabolic panel measures blood glucose, calcium, electrolytes and kidney function.

A lipoprotein panel blood test measures total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides and is useful in identifying risk for coronary heart disease.

Blood clotting tests measure the ability of blood to coagulate to determine risk for bleeding or developing clots in blood vessels. This type of testing is often administered to monitor people taking medicines that lower the risk of blood clots.

Depending on the type of test, results take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of weeks to complete. Patients need to follow up with the administering doctor to discuss results.