How to Tell if Your Blood Tests are Complete

By: Wendy Wu, MS, RD

If we’re good, most of us will get our blood tested once a year. Unfortunately, we don’t always know what the doctor is checking with our blood. If we don’t request for a copy of the results, we may not even know if the labs were ever done. Read on to learn about the different tests that doctors order and some important take home messages.

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In most cases doctors will order a Complete Blood Count (CBC), Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP) and a Lipid Profile with a Annual Physical.

Complete Blood Count:

The CBC checks our hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), and platelets levels.

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Complete Metabolic Panel:

The CMP checks our kidneys, liver, electrolytes, blood sugar, and blood proteins.

Kidneys:

  • BUN (blood urea nitrogen)
  • Creatinine

Liver:

  • ALP (alkaline phosphatase)
  • ALT (alanine amino transferase, also called SGPT)
  • AST (aspartate amino transferase, also called SGOT)
  • Bilirubin

Electrolytes:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • CO2 (carbon dioxide, bicarbonate)
  • Chloride

Blood Proteins:

  • Albumin
  • Total Protein

Glucose

Calcium

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Lipid Profile:

A lipid profile checks total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides.

If your doctor orders all three tests, then you’re in good hands. If  your doctor also orders your vitamin D level (25-hydroxyvitamin D), then you’re in excellent hands.

 

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Take Home Messages:

  • Get your blood tested at least once a year
  • Ask for a CBC with differential, CMP, Lipid Profile and Vitamin D level
  • Even if your results are NORMAL, request a copy for your records

 

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