More on the tests included in a standard health panel:
Complete blood count (CBC): A complete blood count (CBC) is a common blood test that evaluates your overall health by measuring several components of your blood, including:
- Red blood cells
- White blood cells
Abnormalities in these blood levels may indicate the presence of an underlying health condition such as:
- Bone disorders
- Malnutrition (such as vitamin or mineral deficiencies)
- Autoimmune disorders
- Leukemia and lymphoma
- Sickle cell anemia
Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP): A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) measures 14 different substances in your blood to give your doctor important information about your body's chemical balance and metabolism. CMPs measure the levels of:
- Blood urea nitrogen
- Carbon dioxide
- Total bilirubin
- Total protein
- Liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and aspartate aminotransferase)
A test of these levels can help doctors check several body systems such as:
- Liver and kidney function
- Blood sugar levels
- Blood protein levels
- Acidity in the blood
- Electrolyte balance
CMPs check the same substance balances as a BMP, as well as levels of enzymes that are made by the liver (alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and aspartate aminotransferase). Levels of bilirubin - a waste product made by the liver - are also tested to determine how well your body is filtering red blood cells. High levels of bilirubin may indicate liver or bile duct problems (such as cancer or gallstones).
Comprehensive metabolic panels are especially important for individuals who are managing a chronic health condition (such as diabetes), or who routinely take prescription medication that may affect the function of the liver and kidneys.
Lipid Panel: A lipid panel is a group of tests that measures cholesterol and other fats in your blood. These results can then be used to help assess your risk of heart disease or stroke. Your doctor may recommend a lipid panel if you have a family history of heart disease or stroke - or if you have any conditions that may increase your risk of heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity, high total cholesterol, and more.
Lipids are fat molecules in the blood. They act as energy stores and chemical messengers in the body. A lipid panel measures levels of 3 different lipids, as well as your total cholesterol levels:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: Commonly known as “bad cholesterol”, LDL will build up and clog the arteries. Excess levels of LDL cause plaque in blood vessels, which can obstruct and slow blood flow. If this plaque build-up occurs in the blood vessels around the heart, it can lead to coronary artery disease.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: Known as “good cholesterol”, HDL carries cholesterol through the body and deposits it back into the liver, which removes these fatty molecules from the body.
- Triglycerides: When you eat, your body converts any unneeded calories into triglycerides - a molecule that is stored in fat cells. In between meals, these molecules are converted into energy. Eating more calories than you burn can result in a build-up of triglycerides, which can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Lipid panel testing is especially important for individuals who have risk factors of heart disease and coronary artery disease. Risk factors include:
- Family history of heart disease or high cholesterol
- Being overweight/ obese
- Cigarette smoking
- Lack of physical activity/ cardiovascular conditions
- High blood pressure
- Unhealthy diet
- History of high cholesterol
Thyroid Panel: Thyroid panel tests are used to determine the levels of T3 and T4 hormones in your blood. Low amounts of these hormones indicate an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), where excessive levels of T3 and T4 indicate an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
A comprehensive thyroid panel will evaluate your thyroid function with 3 different tests:
- TSH test: A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test is a lab test that evaluates how well your thyroid is working by measuring your thyroid-stimulating hormone. Your doctor may recommend a TSH test if you're experiencing symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, including anxiety, weight gain/loss, tiredness, hair loss, irregular menstrual periods, changes in your heart rate, puffiness, and more.
- T4 Test: A thyroxine (T4) test measures the level of T4 in the blood.
- T3 Test: A triiodothyronine (T3) test measures the level of T3 in the blood.
Blood Clot Tests: Also known as a coagulation panel, this test measures protein levels in the blood that affect clotting.
Blood clotting helps stop bleeding when you get a wound, but may also lead to blockage in an artery or vein. This can cause a stroke, heart failure, or heart attack. Your doctor may order a coagulation panel if they suspect you may have a condition that affects your body’s normal blood clotting functions. Conditions that may be diagnosed through a coagulation panel test include:
- Hemophilia (a bleeding disorder that may result in spontaneous bleeding)
- Thrombosis (blood clots causing a blockage in blood vessels)
- Liver disease
- Vitamin K deficiency
If you are currently taking blood-thinning medication, your doctor may schedule regular blood clot tests to reduce your risk of spontaneous or uncontrollable bleeding.
Urinalysis: Commonly known as a urine test, this exam employs a microscope visual examination, as well as a dipstick test to identify possible infections in the urinary tract. Dipstick tests, specifically, check the chemical balance of urine to measure levels of:
- Acidity: Excessive acidity (ph) levels in the urine may indicate a kidney or urinary tract disorder.
- Protein: Large amounts of protein in the urine may indicate a kidney disorder, as the kidneys are responsible for filtering these substances out of the urine.
- Glucose: Elevated sugar levels in the urine are usually an indication of prediabetes or diabetes.
- White blood cells: White blood cells in the urine are a common indicator of infection.
- Bilirubin: Bilirubin is a waste product from the breakdown of red blood cells in the liver. The presence of this substance in urine may indicate a liver disorder.
If a microscope exam is performed, your urine will be checked for the presence of:
- White blood cells: White blood cells in the urine are usually an indicator of infection.
- Red blood cells: Red blood cells in the urine are a common sign of a kidney disorder, bladder cancer, or an infection of the urinary tract.
- Pathogens: Bacteria, viruses, parasites, or yeast in the urine may indicate the presence of an infection in the urinary tract, kidneys, or liver.
- Crystals: Uric crystals are a common indicator of kidney stones.