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Explanation of Wellness Tests

  • WBC (White Blood Count) is an indicator of the status of the body’s defense system against infection. Elevated counts may indicate bacterial infection while low counts may indicate a viral infection.
  • RBC (Red Blood Count) is a count of the red blood cells in a measured amount of blood. This represents the ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the tissues. Low counts are associated with anemia and problems with the manufacture of RBC’s.
  • HGB (Hemoglobin) is the portion of the RBC that actually carries the oxygen. Low values indicate anemia.
  • HCT (Hematocrit)compares the amount of cells to the amount of fluid in a blood sample. This test is also used for diagnosing anemia.
  • MCV, MCH, MCHC are called “indices”. They are calculated values, which help your health care provider to determine, if present, a type of anemia.
  • Platelets are important in the blood clotting process.
  • Glucose is the primary energy source for all body tissue. The sugars and carbohydrates you eat are ordinarily converted into glucose, which can be either used to produce immediate energy stored in the liver or as fat throughout the body. High blood glucose (hyperglycemia after fasting suggests diabetes. A low glucose level (hypoglycemia) accompanied with symptoms such as weakness, nausea, sweating, and difficulty thinking clearly, is suggestive for hypoglycemia. Even if you have diabetes, it is important to report any abnormal levels to your health care provider.
  • Cholesterol is an essential blood fat found in nearly every body tissue. Elevated levels have been shown to be associated with higher risk of heart disease and clogged blood vessels. If elevated, the result should be discussed with your health care provider.
  • Triglycerides are a fatty substance in the body, which acts as a major form of stored energy. This is a blood fat that may be related to higher risk of heart disease. Elevated levels may be caused by food and alcohol. You must be fasting for at least 12 hours to obtain an accurate result for this test. Low values are generally not considered significant.
  • HDL Cholesterol is referred to as “good cholesterol” because it acts as a scavenger, removing excess cholesterol from artery walls. It has been shown that the HIGHER the level of HDL cholesterol, the LOWER the risk of developing heart disease.
  • LDL Cholesterol is the “lousy cholesterol”. This is the cholesterol that forms deposits on artery walls. The LOWER the LDL cholesterol, the LOWER the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Cholesterol/HDL Ratio is obtained by comparing the total cholesterol level to HDL cholesterol level. It is this ratio that appears to best measure the lipid associated risk of your developing coronary heart disease.
  • ALT (SGPT)is found mainly in the liver. High values should be evaluated by your health care provider. Low values are not generally considered significant.
  • AST (SGOT) is found in the heart, liver, and muscles. It is released into the blood stream when any of those organs are damaged. High values should be evaluated by your health care provider.
  • BUN and Creatinine are waste products measured primarily to assess kidney function. BUN is a waste product from protein breakdown in the liver. Creatinine is a waste product of muscle metabolism. The main job of the kidney is to filter the blood, excreting waste products into the urine and preserving essential elements. If the kidneys are not functioning properly, waste products can build up in the blood.
  • Calcium is one of the most important elements in the body, essential for maintenance and repair of bone and teeth, heart function, and blood clotting. Ninety-nine percent of the calcium in your body is contained in your bones-only one percent is in the blood. Low levels of calcium are associated with malnutrition. High levels can be caused by bone disease, excessive use of antacids and milk, cancer, overdosing on Vitamin D and some hormone disorders. Your health care provider should evaluate any elevated calcium level.
  • Alkaline Phosphatase is an enzyme that is found in many body tissues, but the most important sites are bone, liver, bile ducts, and gut. A high level of alkaline phosphatase in your blood may indicate bone, liver, or bile duct disease. Growing children, because of bone growth, normally have a higher level than adults. Low values are not generally considered significant.
  • Uric Acid is a by-product from the breakdown of the body’s own cells and certain proteins. A high level of uric acid in your blood may cause gout, arthritis, or kidney stones. High levels should be evaluated by your health care provider. Low levels are not generally considered significant.
  • Total Protein is a measure of the total protein in your blood. A low or high protein does not indicate a specific disease, but it does mean that some additional testing may be required to determine if there is a problem. 
  • Hemoglobin A1C measures the average blood glucose levels over the previous two to three months. This test is useful in monitoring how well glucose levels are being controlled in people who have been previously diagnosed with diabetes. Your results should be evaluated by your health care provider.
  • TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is the pituitary hormone, which controls thyroid gland function. It stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormone. When the thyroid gland fails, due to primary disease of the thyroid, pituitary TSH increases. This condition is called primary hypothyroidism. In contrast, when the thyroid gland is overactive, it produces too much thyroid hormone and the TSH decreases. This is called primary hyperthyroidism. In addition, if you are taking thyroid medication the TSH test can tell if your dose of thyroid hormone is correct. Abnormal results should be evaluated by your health care provider.
  • Free T4 (thyroxine) is another indicator of thyroid function. When used in combination with TSH, it is a very good check of thyroid function. An abnormally functioning thyroid gland affects an individual’s energy level, heart rate, weight control, and more. Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) is reflected by an increase in TSH and a decrease in Free T4. Conversely hyperthyroidism (over active thyroid) results in low TSH and an elevated Free T4. Abnormal results should be evaluated by your health care provider.
  • PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is a blood test that measures a protein that is only produced by the male prostate gland. Elevations of PSA may occur in men with prostate cancer or non-cancerous prostatic diseases. A normal PSA level does not entirely exclude the possibility of prostate cancer. High PSA levels do not always indicate prostate cancer, but all elevated levels should be evaluated by your health care provider.
  • ABO are the most common types of antigens found on your blood cells. If you have A antigens, your blood type is “A”. If you have B antigens, your blood type is “B”. If you do not have A or B antigens, your blood type is “O”. If you have both A and B antigens, your blood type is “AB”.
  • Rh is either present (positive) or not present (negative). The following table gives you approximate blood type frequency. The frequency slightly varies with race.
    A Pos 35% A Neg 6%
    B Pos 8% B Neg 2%
    O Pos 38% O Neg 7%
    AB Pos 3% AB Neg 1%
  • GFR (glomerular filtration rate) is a calculation based on your creatinine result, age, and sex. It is a measure of the function of the kidneys. Values <60 should be evaluated by your health care provider.
  • GGTP (GGT) is found mainly in the liver. Drinking too much alcohol, certain drugs, liver diseases, stress, physical exertion, some common medications, and bile duct disease can cause high levels of GGT in the blood. High values should be evaluated by your health care provider.
  • Total Bilirubin is the pigment in the blood that makes the liquid (serum or plasma) part of your blood yellow. When the bilirubin level in the blood is very high for a period of time, the whites of your eyes and your skin may become yellow-this is known as jaundice. Bilirubin comes from the breakdown of old red cells in the blood. A high bilirubin level in the blood can be caused by red cells being destroyed (hemolyzed), by liver disease, or by blockage of bile ducts.
  • Albumin is the most plentiful protein in the blood. Approximately two-thirds of the total protein circulating in your blood is albumin. It is produced primarily in the liver and helps keep the fluid portion of the blood within the blood vessels. When your albumin level is too low, water can leak into other parts of your body and cause swelling. This can be caused by malnutrition, too much water in the body, liver or kidney disease, severe injury or major bone fractures, and slow bleeding over a long period of time.
  • Sodium is one of the body’s principle minerals regulated by the kidneys. It plays an important role in water balance in your body. A high level can be caused by dehydration, excessive salt intake in your diet, and certain diseases. Diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sweating may cause a low level of sodium. Numerous drugs, including diuretics, certain blood pressure medications, and steroids may alter the sodium level. Any abnormal value should be evaluated by your health care provider.
  • Potassium is also one of the body’s principle minerals found primarily inside cells. It helps maintain water balance as well as proper function of nerves and muscles. Low or high values in the blood are of critical significance and should be evaluated by your health care provider. This is especially important if you are taking a diuretic or heart medication.
  • Chloride is also one of the body’s minerals. Involved with water balance, most body chloride comes from salt in the diet. A high chloride level may mean dehydration, certain kidney disorders, or hyperventilation. A low chloride level may result from excessive vomiting, diarrhea, severe burns, excessive sweating, or kidney failure. Borderline high or low values have very little significance.
  • Hemoccult is a test for the presence of blood in your stool. Your health care provider should evaluate a positive result.
  • Vitamin D is a hormone produced by skin that is carried by the bloodstream to the liver, and then processed by the kidney. Vitamin D is vital for strong bones, and also may have an important role in cancer prevention and immune function. Vitamin D2 is obtained through supplements and from dietary vegetable sources while Vitamin D3 is synthesized from cholesterol through sun exposure and ingested from the diet by consuming fish and meat. Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy total is the sum of D2 + D3.
  • Urine Microalbumin is an early indicator of possible kidney damage. The National Kidney Foundation recommends that Type 1 diabetics over the age of 12 and Type 2 diabetics under the age of 70 be screened every year. Your health care provider should evaluate elevated values.
  • Mumps Immunity is a test used to confirm the presence or absence of adequate protection against the mumps virus. A result of “IMMUNE” indicates an immune response to vaccine or infection sometime in the past with the mumps virus. These individuals are considered immune to the mumps virus. A result of “NOT IMMUNE” indicates a lack of specific immune response to a vaccine or previous exposure to the mumps virus. These individuals are not considered immune. An abnormal value should be evaluated by your health care provider.
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Kossuth Regional Health Center | 1515 South Phillips Street | Algona, Iowa 50511 | 515-295-2451

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