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Have you had your blood tested yet?

By Prashant Shetty
July 30, 2018 10:11 IST

Blood tests are a significant diagnostic method for disease detection, says Prashant Shetty.

Selena Gomez

Photograph: Kind courtesy Selena Gomez/Instagram

Blood tests are the most commonly used diagnostic method for detecting various forms of diseases worldwide.

While it may be just a needle prick for the patient, the diagnostic process involves an investigation of various components of the blood and is extremely complex.

The specialised body fluid which travels from head to toe has four main components: red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma and platelets.

All these components have a major role to play, which includes carrying oxygen to and carrying carbon dioxide from all organs, protecting the body from infections, transporting nutrients throughout the body and ensuring clotting.

It is the blood which provides a window to the complete health of a patient. 

Over the past years, the medical, and especially the diagnostic, field has seen tremendous evolution in helping diagnose diseases more quickly and more accurately.

Certain blood tests are required to be done not only for diagnosing diseases but also for monitoring health conditions.

 

Anaemia

Anaemia is the condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red cells to carry sufficient oxygen to deliver to our body organs.

There are many types of anaemia depending on aetiology, the identifying of which is important because the treatment depends on it.

The causes of anaemia are iron deficiency, Vitamin B12 deficiency, chronic disease, haemolysis and sickle cell disease.

Complete blood count is the basic and first test. It not only diagnoses anaemia but also indicates its severity.

This test may also indicate the type of anaemia. 

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases which affects how our body utilises its sugar level.

Sugar is an important source of energy for the cellular function in the body.

There are two main types of diabetes -- 1 and 2.

It is very important to screen for diabetes because, if uncontrolled, it can affect all major organs like the kidneys, eyes, heart and brain.

The HbA1c Test is important not only for diagnosing diabetes, but also for monitoring its control.

The advantage of this test is that it does not need a fasting sample can be collected at any time of the day.

It indicates average blood sugar levels for the past two to three months.

Blood sugar levels, either fasting or a random sample, can detect diabetes.

Thyroid

Thyroid is a very common disease worldwide.

It is one of the most common diseases in India and affects women in particular.

Common thyroid diseases include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goitre, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, thyroid cancer.

Many times, the disease remains asymptomatic.

T3, T4, TSH are the basic tests done to detect a thyroid disease.

Sometimes, additional tests like FT3, FT4 and thyroid antibodies are required to confirm and determine the type of thyroid disease.

Prashant Shetty
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