Understanding your Blood Tests

By Buffalo Medical Group | July 15 2019 | Doctor Tips

At Buffalo Medical Group, we want to make sure our patients have a clear understanding of their blood tests, so we’ve provided the definitions below to help answer your questions.

Please note that these definitions are in no way making conclusions about your individual results. Any specific questions or concerns should be directed to your physician.

Sodium: Measures for the amount of sodium in your body. If your levels are too high or too low, it may mean you have a problem with your kidneys, are dehydrated, or other medical conditions.

Potassium: Potassium is an electrolyte that’s essential for proper muscle and nerve function. Our cells and organs require electrolytes to function normally.

Chloride: Chloride is a type of electrolyte, which is charged minerals that help control the amount of fluids and the balance of acids and bases in your body. Chloride is often measured along with other electrolytes to diagnose or monitor conditions such as kidney disease, heart failure, liver disease and high blood pressure.

Carbon Dioxide: This tests to determine if there’s an imbalance between the oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood or a pH imbalance in your blood.

Glucose: Glucose is ultimately your body’s fuel source; it is the blood sugar that is essential for proper brain, heart, and digestive function. After you eat your digestive system produces glucose as it breaks down carbohydrates. A blood glucose test measures the amount of glucose in your blood, this amount of sugar in your blood is controlled by the hormone called insulin. If your body is not producing enough insulin, or your insulin is not working properly, then you may be at risk of diabetes.

BUN: A BUN test also stands for Blood Urea Nitrogen test. It is used to evaluate the function of your liver and kidneys by measuring the nitrogen levels in your blood that results from the waste product urea, a major component of urine. If your kidneys are not able to remove urea from the blood normally then your BUN level rises.

Creatinine Serum: A creatinine serum test measures the levels of creatinine in your blood, which indicates if your kidneys are working properly. High levels of creatinine indicate that your kidneys are not functioning, or filtering, properly. A result of high levels of creatinine can be due to factors such as dehydration, low blood volume, or certain medications you take.

GFR: Your Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) measures how well your kidneys function overall. In terms of maintaining overall fluid balance and regulation of filtering minerals from the blood, your GFR number resembles how much kidney function you have.

Calcium: Calcium is one of the most important minerals in your body. This test measures the levels of calcium in your blood, which directly coincides with the proper functioning of the nerves, heart, and muscles.

Protein Total: Proteins are vital building blocks of all cell and tissue, and are crucial for your body’s growth, development, and overall health. A protein total test is used as part of your routine health checkup. The test measures the two types of proteins in your body, albumin and globulin. Albumin proteins function to keep fluid from leaking out of your blood vessels, while globulin proteins play a functional role in your immune system.

Albumin: The amount of albumin protein in your blood measures your kidney and liver function. Albumin is produced by the liver and carries hormones, medicines, and enzymes throughout your body.

Alkaline Phosphatase: Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found in several of the tissues among the body, including your liver, digestive system, kidneys, and bones; the highest concentration found in the liver and bone.

SGOT/AST: Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), also known as serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT), is a protein made by the liver. This protein can be found in parts of the body other than the liver, including the kidneys, heart, muscles, and brain. If your liver is damaged AST leaks into the bloodstream, causing your AST levels to be heightened.

Bilirubin: Bilirubin is a waste product produced by the breakdown of heme, a component of hemoglobin, which can be found in red blood cells. Processed by the liver, bilirubin levels in the blood test the liver’s function and help to diagnose any kinds of anemias caused by red blood cell destruction.