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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

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Health Tips Diabetes Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers

Blood Test Results: Your Guide to


Understanding the Numbers
Diabetes, Heart Conditions, Immunity

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by Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.

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posted on August 20th, 2012

If youre like most of my patients, youve


probably looked over the alphabet soup of
acronyms and abbreviations in your blood test
results and wondered what it all means. So to
empower my readers, here is a simplified guide
to understanding your blood test results. If
youre interested in playing a more active role in
your medical care something I strongly
recommend then I suggest you save this
newsletter. The next time you have blood work
done; youll be able to read the results like a pro!
Blood tests, sometimes called blood panels, are one of a physicians most basic tools. Not that
long ago, doctors diagnosed patients through observation and the patients answers to
questions. Today, we have a wide range of testing options to choose from, with blood tests
being among the most basic.
Blood tests allow a doctor to see a detailed analysis of any disease markers, the nutrients and
waste products in your blood as well as how various organs (e.g., kidneys and liver) are
functioning. Below, Ive explained some of the commonly measured indicators of health.
During a physical examination, your doctor will often draw blood for chemistry and complete
blood count (CBC) tests as well as a lipid profile, which measures cholesterol and related
elements. Here is a brief explanation of the abbreviations used in measurements followed by
descriptions of several common test components.

Deciphering Blood Test Measurements


Blood tests use the metric measurement system and abbreviations such as the
following:
cmm

cells per cubic millimeter

fL (femtoliter)

fraction of one-millionth of a liter

g/dL

grams per deciliter

IU/L

international units per liter

mEq/L

milliequivalent per liter

http://www.newportnaturalhealth.com/2012/08/a-guide-to-understanding-blood-tests/[4/28/2015 10:36:02 PM]

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

mg/dL

milligrams per deciliter

mL

milliliter

mmol/L

millimoles per liter

Popular Health Articles

ng/mL

nanograms per milliliter

pg (picograms) one-trillionth of a gram

Chemistry Panel (or Metabolic Panel)


ALT (alanine aminotransferase)
Healthy range: 8 to 37 IU/L
This test looks at levels of the liver enzyme ALT. When alls well with your liver, your score on
this test should be within range. Anything higher may indicate liver damage.
Albumin
Healthy range: 3.9 to 5.0 g/dL
A protein made by the liver, albumin levels can be an indicator of liver or kidney problems.
A/G ratio (albumin/globulin ratio) or total protein test
Healthy ratio: a bit over 1, favoring albumin
There are two types of protein your blood albumin (see above) and globulin. The A/G ratio
test compares levels of these proteins with one another. Elevated protein levels could indicate
a health condition in need of attention.

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Cholesterol Levels

Alkaline phosphatase
Healthy range: 44 to 147 IU/L
This enzyme is involved in both liver and bone, so elevations may indicate problems with the
liver or bone-related disease.

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need to read this. From talking to patients, Ive
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AST (aspartate aminotransferase)


Healthy range: 10 to 34 IU/L
This enzyme is found in heart and liver tissue, so elevations suggest problems may be
occurring in one or both of those areas.

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Bilirubin
Healthy range: 0.1 to 1.9 mg/dL
This provides information about liver and kidney functions, problems in bile ducts, and anemia.
BUN (blood urea nitrogen)
Healthy range: 10 to 20 mg/dL
This is another measure of kidney and liver functions. High values may indicate a problem with
kidney function. A number of medications and a diet high in protein can also raise BUN levels.
BUN/creatinine ratio
Healthy ratio of BUN to creatinine: 10:1 to 20:1 (men and older individuals may be a bit higher)
This test shows if kidneys are eliminating waste properly. High levels of creatinine, a byproduct of muscle contractions, are excreted through the kidneys and suggest reduced kidney
function.
Calcium
Healthy range: 9.0 to 10.5 mg/dL (the elderly typically score a bit lower)
Too much calcium in the bloodstream could indicate kidney problems; overly active thyroid or
parathyroid glands; certain types of cancer, including lymphoma; problems with the pancreas;

http://www.newportnaturalhealth.com/2012/08/a-guide-to-understanding-blood-tests/[4/28/2015 10:36:02 PM]

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to


Understanding the Numbers
If youre like most of my patients, youve probably
looked over the alphabet soup of acronyms and
abbreviations in your blood test results and wondered
what it all means. So to empower my readers, here is a
simplified guide to | Read More

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

About Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.

or a deficiency of vitamin D.

Dr. Connealy attended the


University of Texas School of

Chloride
Healthy range: 98 to 106 mEq/L
This mineral is often measured as part of an electrolyte panel. A high-salt diet and/or certain
medications are often responsible for elevations in chloride. Excess chloride may indicate an
overly acidic environment in the body. It also could be a red flag for dehydration, multiple
myeloma, kidney disorders, or adrenal gland dysfunction.

Public Health and the University of


Health Sciences Chicago Medical
School. She then completed her
post-graduate training at the
Harbor/UCLA Medical Center in
Los Angeles, CA. Read More

Creatinine
Healthy range: 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL for women; 0.6 to 1.2 mg/dL for men (the elderly may be
slightly lower)
The kidneys process this waste product, so elevations could indicate a problem with kidney
function.
Fasting glucose (blood sugar)
Healthy range: 70 to 99 mg/dL for the average adult (the elderly tend to score higher even
when they are healthy)
Blood sugar levels can be affected by food or beverages you have ingested recently, your
current stress levels, medications you may be taking, and the time of day. The fasting blood
sugar test is done after at least 6 hours without food or drink other than water.
Phosphorus
Healthy range: 2.4 to 4.1 mg/dL
Phosphorus plays an important role in bone health and is related to calcium levels. Too much
phosphorus could indicate a problem with kidneys or the parathyroid gland. Alcohol abuse,
long-term antacid use, excessive intake of diuretics or vitamin D, and malnutrition can also
elevate phosphorus levels.
Potassium
Healthy range: 3.7 to 5.2 mEq/L
This mineral is essential for relaying nerve impulses, maintaining proper muscle functions, and
regulating heartbeats. Diuretics, drugs that are often taken for high blood pressure, can cause
low levels of potassium.
Sodium
Healthy range: 135 to 145 mEq/L
Another member of the electrolyte family, the mineral sodium helps your body balance water
levels and helps with nerve impulses and muscle contractions. Irregularities in sodium levels
may indicate dehydration; disorders of the adrenal glands; excessive intake of salt,
corticosteroids, or pain-relieving medications; or problems with the liver or kidneys.

Lipid Panel (or Lipid Profile)


The lipid panel is a collection of tests measuring different types of cholesterol and triglycerides
(fats) in your bloodstream.
Total cholesterol
General rules (best to worst):
Healthy

Below 200 mg/dL (below 5.18 mmol/L)

Borderline high

200 to 239 mg/dL (5.2 to 6.2 mmol/L)

High

Above 240 mg/dL (above 6.2 mmol/L)

This test measures combined levels of both LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol. The test
may be done simply to record an individuals cholesterol levels or for comparison purposes

http://www.newportnaturalhealth.com/2012/08/a-guide-to-understanding-blood-tests/[4/28/2015 10:36:02 PM]

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

(e.g., to determine if cholesterol-lowering medications or nutrients are working).


Triglycerides
Healthy range: 40 to 160 mg/dL
These fats are found in the bloodstream and may contribute to heart disease and other health
problems.
HDL (Good) cholesterol
General rules:
Best

Above 60 mg/dL

Good

50 to 60 mg/dL

Poor

Below 40 mg/dL for men; below 50 mg/dL for women

Also known as good cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) protects against heart disease.
Low scores are risk factors for heart disease.

If you're like most of my patients, you've probably looked over the alphabet soup of
acronyms and abbreviations in your blood test results and wondered what it all means. So
to empower my readers, here is a simplified guide to understanding your blood test results.
If you're interested in playing a more active role in your medical care -- something I strongly
recommend -- then I suggest you save this newsletter. The next time you have blood work
done; you'll be able to read the results like a pro! Blood tests, sometimes called blood
panels, are one of a physician's most basic tools. Not that long ago, doctors diagnosed
patients through observation and the patients' answers to questions. Today, we have a wide
range of testing options to choose from, with blood tests being among the most basic.
Blood tests allow a doctor to see a detailed analysis of any disease markers, the nutrients
and waste products in your blood as well as how various organs (e.g., kidneys and liver)
are functioning. Below, I've explained some of the commonly measured indicators of health.
During a physical examination, your doctor will often draw blood for chemistry and complete
blood count (CBC) tests as well as a lipid profile, which measures cholesterol and related
elements. Here is a brief explanation of the abbreviations used in measurements followed
by descriptions of several common test components.

Deciphering Blood Test Measurements


Blood tests use the metric measurement system and abbreviations such as the
following:
cmm
cells per cubic millimeter
fL (femtoliter)

fraction of one-millionth of a liter

g/dL

grams per deciliter

IU/L

international units per liter

mEq/L

milliequivalent per liter

mg/dL

milligrams per deciliter

mL

milliliter

mmol/L

millimoles per liter

ng/mL

nanograms per milliliter

http://www.newportnaturalhealth.com/2012/08/a-guide-to-understanding-blood-tests/[4/28/2015 10:36:02 PM]

Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

pg (picograms) one-trillionth of a gram

Chemistry Panel (or Metabolic Panel)


ALT (alanine aminotransferase) Healthy range: 8 to 37 IU/L This test looks at levels of
the liver enzyme ALT. When all's well with your liver, your score on this test should be
within range. Anything higher may indicate liver damage. Albumin Healthy range: 3.9 to 5.0
g/dL A protein made by the liver, albumin levels can be an indicator of liver or kidney
problems. A/G ratio (albumin/globulin ratio) or total protein test Healthy ratio: a bit over
1, favoring albumin There are two types of protein your blood -- albumin (see above) and
globulin. The A/G ratio test compares levels of these proteins with one another. Elevated
protein levels could indicate a health condition in need of attention. Alkaline phosphatase
Healthy range: 44 to 147 IU/L This enzyme is involved in both liver and bone, so elevations
may indicate problems with the liver or bone-related disease. AST (aspartate
aminotransferase) Healthy range: 10 to 34 IU/L This enzyme is found in heart and liver
tissue, so elevations suggest problems may be occurring in one or both of those areas.
Bilirubin Healthy range: 0.1 to 1.9 mg/dL This provides information about liver and kidney
functions, problems in bile ducts, and anemia. BUN (blood urea nitrogen) Healthy range:
10 to 20 mg/dL This is another measure of kidney and liver functions. High values may
indicate a problem with kidney function. A number of medications and a diet high in protein
can also raise BUN levels. BUN/creatinine ratio Healthy ratio of BUN to creatinine: 10:1 to
20:1 (men and older individuals may be a bit higher) This test shows if kidneys are
eliminating waste properly. High levels of creatinine, a by-product of muscle contractions,
are excreted through the kidneys and suggest reduced kidney function. Calcium Healthy
range: 9.0 to 10.5 mg/dL (the elderly typically score a bit lower) Too much calcium in the
bloodstream could indicate kidney problems; overly active thyroid or parathyroid glands;
certain types of cancer, including lymphoma; problems with the pancreas; or a deficiency of
vitamin D. Chloride Healthy range: 98 to 106 mEq/L This mineral is often measured as part
of an electrolyte panel. A high-salt diet and/or certain medications are often responsible for
elevations in chloride. Excess chloride may indicate an overly acidic environment in the
body. It also could be a red flag for dehydration, multiple myeloma, kidney disorders, or
adrenal gland dysfunction. Creatinine Healthy range: 0.5 to 1.1 mg/dL for women; 0.6 to
1.2 mg/dL for men (the elderly may be slightly lower) The kidneys process this waste
product, so elevations could indicate a problem with kidney function. Fasting glucose
(blood sugar) Healthy range: 70 to 99 mg/dL for the average adult (the elderly tend to
score higher even when they are healthy) Blood sugar levels can be affected by food or
beverages you have ingested recently, your current stress levels, medications you may be
taking, and the time of day. The fasting blood sugar test is done after at least 6 hours
without food or drink other than water. Phosphorus Healthy range: 2.4 to 4.1 mg/dL
Phosphorus plays an important role in bone health and is related to calcium levels. Too
much phosphorus could indicate a problem with kidneys or the parathyroid gland. Alcohol
abuse, long-term antacid use, excessive intake of diuretics or vitamin D, and malnutrition
can also elevate phosphorus levels. Potassium Healthy range: 3.7 to 5.2 mEq/L This
mineral is essential for relaying nerve impulses, maintaining proper muscle functions, and
regulating heartbeats. Diuretics, drugs that are often taken for high blood pressure, can
cause low levels of potassium. Sodium Healthy range: 135 to 145 mEq/L Another member
of the electrolyte family, the mineral sodium helps your body balance water levels and helps
with nerve impulses and muscle contractions. Irregularities in sodium levels may indicate
dehydration; disorders of the adrenal glands; excessive intake of salt, corticosteroids, or
pain-relieving medications; or problems with the liver or kidneys.

Lipid Panel (or Lipid Profile)


The lipid panel is a collection of tests measuring different types of cholesterol and
triglycerides (fats) in your bloodstream. Total cholesterol General rules (best to worst):
Healthy
Below 200 mg/dL (below 5.18 mmol/L)

http://www.newportnaturalhealth.com/2012/08/a-guide-to-understanding-blood-tests/[4/28/2015 10:36:02 PM]

Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

Borderline high

200 to 239 mg/dL (5.2 to 6.2 mmol/L)

High

Above 240 mg/dL (above 6.2 mmol/L)

This test measures combined levels of both LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol. The
test may be done simply to record an individual's cholesterol levels or for comparison
purposes (e.g., to determine if cholesterol-lowering medications or nutrients are working).
Triglycerides Healthy range: 40 to 160 mg/dL These fats are found in the bloodstream and
may contribute to heart disease and other health problems. HDL (Good) cholesterol
General rules:
Best
Above 60 mg/dL
Good

50 to 60 mg/dL

Poor

Below 40 mg/dL for men; below 50 mg/dL for women

Also known as good cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) protects against heart
disease. Low scores are risk factors for heart disease. LDL (Bad) cholesterol General
rules (best to worst):
Optimal
Below 100 mg/dL
Near optimal

100 to 129 mg/dL

Borderline high

130 to 159 mg/dL

High

160 to 189 mg/dL

Very high

Above 189 mg/dL

Also known as bad cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the substance that clogs
arteries and is linked to heart disease. Total cholesterol/HDL ratio American Heart
Association guidelines:
Optimal
Ratio of 3.5 to 1
Healthy

Ratio of 5 to 1 or lower

This ratio is another way of checking your risk of heart disease. It is determined by dividing
your HDL cholesterol level into total cholesterol. But don't worry about the math -- the lab
normally does the calculation, so your doctor will simply tell you what the ratio is.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)


The CBC test examines cellular elements in the blood, including red blood cells, various
white blood cells, and platelets. Here is a list of the components that are normally
measured, along with typical values. If your doctor says you're fine but your tests results are
somewhat different from the range shown here, don't be alarmed. Some labs interpret test
results a bit differently from others, so don't consider these figures absolutes. WBC (white
blood cell) leukocyte count Normal range: 4,300 to 10,800 cmm White blood cells help
fight infections, so a high white blood cell count could be helpful for identifying infections. It
may also indicate leukemia, which can cause an increase in the number of white blood
cells. On the other hand, too few white blood cells could be caused by certain medications
or health disorders. WBC (white blood cell) differential count Normal range:
Neutrophils
40% to 60% of the total
Lymphocytes

20% to 40%

Monocytes

2% to 8%

Eosinophils

1% to 4%

http://www.newportnaturalhealth.com/2012/08/a-guide-to-understanding-blood-tests/[4/28/2015 10:36:02 PM]

Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

Basophils

0.5% to 1%

This test measures the numbers, shapes, and sizes of various types of white blood cells
listed above. The WBC differential count also shows if the numbers of different cells are in
proper proportion to each other. Irregularities in this test could signal an infection,
inflammation, autoimmune disorders, anemia, or other health concerns. RBC (red blood
cell) erythrocyte count Normal range: 4.2 to 5.9 million cmm We have millions of red
blood cells in our bodies, and this test measures the number of RBCs in a specific amount
of blood. It helps us determine the total number of RBCs and gives us an idea of their
lifespan, but it does not indicate where problems originate. So if there are irregularities,
other tests will be required. Hematocrit (Hct) Normal range: 45% to 52% for men; 37% to
48% for women Useful for diagnosing anemia, this test determines how much of the total
blood volume in the body consists of red blood cells. Hemoglobin (Hgb) Normal range: 13
to 18 g/dL for men; 12 to 16 g/dL for women Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which
makes blood bright red. More importantly, hemoglobin delivers oxygen from the lungs to the
entire body; then it returns to the lungs with carbon dioxide, which we exhale. Healthy
hemoglobin levels vary by gender. Low levels of hemoglobin may indicate anemia. Mean
corpuscular volume (MCV) Normal range: 80 to 100 femtoliters This test measures the
average volume of red blood cells, or the average amount of space each red blood cell fills.
Irregularities could indicate anemia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome. Mean corpuscular
hemoglobin (MCH) Normal range: 27 to 32 picograms This test measures the average
amount of hemoglobin in the typical red blood cell. Results that are too high could signal
anemia, while those too low may indicate a nutritional deficiency. Mean corpuscular
hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) Normal range: 28% to 36% The MCHC test reports
the average concentration of hemoglobin in a specific amount of red blood cells. Here
again, we are looking for indications of anemia if the count is low, or possible nutritional
deficiencies if it's high. Red cell distribution width (RDW or RCDW) Normal range: 11%
to 15% With this test, we get an idea of the shape and size of red blood cells. In this case,
"width" refers to a measurement of distribution, not the size of the cells. Liver disease,
anemia, nutritional deficiencies, and a number of health conditions could cause high or low
RDW results. Platelet count Normal range: 150,000 to 400,000 mL Platelets are small
portions of cells involved in blood clotting. Too many or too few platelets can affect clotting
in different ways. The number of platelets may also indicate a health condition. Mean
Platelet Volume (MPV) Normal range: 7.5 to 11.5 femtoliters This test measures and
calculates the average size of platelets. Higher MPVs mean the platelets are larger, which
could put an individual at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Lower MPVs indicate smaller
platelets, meaning the person is at risk for a bleeding disorder.

Additional Recommended Tests


Thyroid While not part of the standard blood panel, I often order thyroid tests for my
patients, especially if they report fatigue and weight gain, or weight loss and feelings of
nervousness or hyperactivity. Some physicians dismiss borderline low or high tests, but I've
found that these can be very helpful for identifying problems with the thyroid gland. Here
are the ranges I look for in thyroid tests:
Test
Normal Range
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
0.3 to 3
Total T4 (total thyroxine)

4.5 to 12.5

Free T4 (free thyroxine)

0.7 to 2.0

Total T3 (total triiodothyronine)

80 to 220

Free T3 (free triiodothyronine)

2.3 to 4.2

If your test shows you are below the minimum numbers, you may be suffering from
hypothyroidism, or low thyroid. If your scores are above the normal range, you may have an

http://www.newportnaturalhealth.com/2012/08/a-guide-to-understanding-blood-tests/[4/28/2015 10:36:02 PM]

Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

overly active thyroid, or hyperthyroidism. In either case, your physician can advise you on
appropriate medication. You may also want to read my earlier newsletter on thyroid issues.
Vitamin D Normal range: 30 to 74 ng/mL Regular readers know I often recommend
supplemental vitamin D, since deficiencies are very common. Too little vitamin D can put
you at risk for broken bones, heart disease, cancer, and a host of other ailments. Our
bodies can make vitamin D, but only when bare skin, free of sunblock and lotions, is
exposed to sunlight. And even then, people of color and older individuals may not be able
to manufacture sufficient quantities for optimal health. The best way to determine if you
need supplements is to have a vitamin D test, known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Here again,
doctors don't always agree on how to interpret the results. My own preference is to see
readings in the normal range. There are quite a few more tests available, but the ones
included here are among the most common. To get accurate readings, be sure to follow
your doctor's instructions in preparing for tests. You may, for example, be asked not to eat
and to drink only water for anywhere from a few hours to 12 hours beforehand. Please
follow these instructions, or your results may be skewed, requiring additional tests or even
unnecessary medications. If you don't understand something in your results, remember it's
okay to ask questions. Doctors are busy people, but you are entitled to the information. If
your doctor can't provide it, ask the nurse or physician's assistant for help. Knowing where
you stand with these important parameters is essential for being proactive and owning your
own health.

LDL (Bad) cholesterol


General rules (best to worst):
Optimal

Below 100 mg/dL

Near optimal

100 to 129 mg/dL

Borderline high

130 to 159 mg/dL

High

160 to 189 mg/dL

Very high

Above 189 mg/dL

Also known as bad cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the substance that clogs
arteries and is linked to heart disease.
Total cholesterol/HDL ratio
American Heart Association guidelines:
Optimal

Ratio of 3.5 to 1

Healthy

Ratio of 5 to 1 or lower

This ratio is another way of checking your risk of heart disease. It is determined by dividing
your HDL cholesterol level into total cholesterol. But dont worry about the math the lab
normally does the calculation, so your doctor will simply tell you what the ratio is.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)


The CBC test examines cellular elements in the blood, including red blood cells, various white
blood cells, and platelets. Here is a list of the components that are normally measured, along
with typical values. If your doctor says youre fine but your tests results are somewhat different
from the range shown here, dont be alarmed. Some labs interpret test results a bit differently
from others, so dont consider these figures absolutes.
WBC (white blood cell) leukocyte count
Normal range: 4,300 to 10,800 cmm

http://www.newportnaturalhealth.com/2012/08/a-guide-to-understanding-blood-tests/[4/28/2015 10:36:02 PM]

Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

White blood cells help fight infections, so a high white blood cell count could be helpful for
identifying infections. It may also indicate leukemia, which can cause an increase in the
number of white blood cells. On the other hand, too few white blood cells could be caused by
certain medications or health disorders.
WBC (white blood cell) differential count
Normal range:
Neutrophils

40% to 60% of the total

Lymphocytes

20% to 40%

Monocytes

2% to 8%

Eosinophils

1% to 4%

Basophils

0.5% to 1%

This test measures the numbers, shapes, and sizes of various types of white blood cells listed
above. The WBC differential count also shows if the numbers of different cells are in proper
proportion to each other. Irregularities in this test could signal an infection, inflammation,
autoimmune disorders, anemia, or other health concerns.
RBC (red blood cell) erythrocyte count
Normal range: 4.2 to 5.9 million cmm
We have millions of red blood cells in our bodies, and this test measures the number of RBCs
in a specific amount of blood. It helps us determine the total number of RBCs and gives us an
idea of their lifespan, but it does not indicate where problems originate. So if there are
irregularities, other tests will be required.
Hematocrit (Hct)
Normal range: 45% to 52% for men; 37% to 48% for women
Useful for diagnosing anemia, this test determines how much of the total blood volume in the
body consists of red blood cells.
Hemoglobin (Hgb)
Normal range: 13 to 18 g/dL for men; 12 to 16 g/dL for women
Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which makes blood bright red. More importantly,
hemoglobin delivers oxygen from the lungs to the entire body; then it returns to the lungs with
carbon dioxide, which we exhale. Healthy hemoglobin levels vary by gender. Low levels of
hemoglobin may indicate anemia.
Mean corpuscular volume (MCV)
Normal range: 80 to 100 femtoliters
This test measures the average volume of red blood cells, or the average amount of space
each red blood cell fills. Irregularities could indicate anemia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH)
Normal range: 27 to 32 picograms
This test measures the average amount of hemoglobin in the typical red blood cell. Results
that are too high could signal anemia, while those too low may indicate a nutritional deficiency.
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC)
Normal range: 28% to 36%
The MCHC test reports the average concentration of hemoglobin in a specific amount of red
blood cells. Here again, we are looking for indications of anemia if the count is low, or possible
nutritional deficiencies if its high.

http://www.newportnaturalhealth.com/2012/08/a-guide-to-understanding-blood-tests/[4/28/2015 10:36:02 PM]

Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

Red cell distribution width (RDW or RCDW)


Normal range: 11% to 15%
With this test, we get an idea of the shape and size of red blood cells. In this case, width
refers to a measurement of distribution, not the size of the cells. Liver disease, anemia,
nutritional deficiencies, and a number of health conditions could cause high or low RDW
results.
Platelet count
Normal range: 150,000 to 400,000 mL
Platelets are small portions of cells involved in blood clotting. Too many or too few platelets
can affect clotting in different ways. The number of platelets may also indicate a health
condition.
Mean Platelet Volume (MPV)
Normal range: 7.5 to 11.5 femtoliters
This test measures and calculates the average size of platelets. Higher MPVs mean the
platelets are larger, which could put an individual at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Lower
MPVs indicate smaller platelets, meaning the person is at risk for a bleeding disorder.

Additional Recommended Tests


Thyroid
While not part of the standard blood panel, I often order thyroid tests for my patients, especially
if they report fatigue and weight gain, or weight loss and feelings of nervousness or
hyperactivity. Some physicians dismiss borderline low or high tests, but Ive found that these
can be very helpful for identifying problems with the thyroid gland. Here are the ranges I look
for in thyroid tests:
Test
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

Normal Range
0.3 to 3

Total T4 (total thyroxine)

4.5 to 12.5

Free T4 (free thyroxine)

0.7 to 2.0

Total T3 (total triiodothyronine)

80 to 220

Free T3 (free triiodothyronine)

2.3 to 4.2

If your test shows you are below the minimum numbers, you may be suffering from
hypothyroidism, or low thyroid. If your scores are above the normal range, you may have an
overly active thyroid, or hyperthyroidism. In either case, your physician can advise you on
appropriate medication. You may also want to read my earlier newsletter on thyroid issues.
Vitamin D
Normal range: 30 to 74 ng/mL
Regular readers know I often recommend supplemental vitamin D, since deficiencies are very
common. Too little vitamin D can put you at risk for broken bones, heart disease, cancer, and
a host of other ailments. Our bodies can make vitamin D, but only when bare skin, free of
sunblock and lotions, is exposed to sunlight. And even then, people of color and older
individuals may not be able to manufacture sufficient quantities for optimal health. The best
way to determine if you need supplements is to have a vitamin D test, known as 25hydroxyvitamin D. Here again, doctors dont always agree on how to interpret the results. My
own preference is to see readings in the normal range.
There are quite a few more tests available, but the ones included here are among the most
common.

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

To get accurate readings, be sure to follow your doctors instructions in preparing for tests. You
may, for example, be asked not to eat and to drink only water for anywhere from a few hours
to 12 hours beforehand. Please follow these instructions, or your results may be skewed,
requiring additional tests or even unnecessary medications.
If you dont understand something in your results, remember its okay to ask questions.
Doctors are busy people, but you are entitled to the information. If your doctor cant provide it,
ask the nurse or physicians assistant for help.
Knowing where you stand with these important parameters is essential for being proactive and
owning your own health.

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zzi
Hello, I was recommended blood test for Protein C and Protein S after a miscarriage. I got it done 2 days after the
procedure. My results are Protein C 95.8% and Protein S 63%. Are these normal? I am asking since Protein S
result is at the low end.
Thanks!

Abbey InOR
I had my thyroid blood work done. One of the tests is TPO what is this and what does it mean?

Suzy Fuchs
what is NRBC .0 normal what about .7?

Twyla Thorn
the doctor are send meto hemotology oncology, pulmonology and cardiology, In 2010 had a 4.9 mass likely infiltrate
and then when I went to have it checked they noticed I had two six months later in surgery they removed only one
lung when I actually had two masses possibly infiltrate in my lul/lll. When the surgeon was operating she cut into the
mass so the dowsed me with doxycycline and saline. Now 5 years later gasping for air and spitting blood they are
wanting me to see all three specialist

Twyla Thorn
my lymph percentage is 39.5 % help

Audrey
Is Mono% result 10.1 normal?

Silvercatz
Does anyone answer questions on this site? I ask a series of questions a few days ago and no answers. Ive noticed
this with others questions.

fatima
i received my blood test report back.

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH


HB 12.0
PCV 39.7%
RBC 5.05
MCV 79.0
MCH 23.8
MCHC 30.2
TOTAL LEUCOCYTES 9,000
DIFFERENT COUNT
Neutrophils 58%
Lymphocytes 38%
Eosinophils 02%
Monocytes 02%
Platelets 293,000
ESR
Westergren 05

pls tell me is every thing ok according to this report ?

sandra solano
I have RA and just got my lab results for the ESR my value was 33 the reference range is 0-15 what does this mean

Dr. Samina Mazhar


My daughter age 18 has following
MCH 26.1
MCHC 32.4
MPV 12
%mono 10.7
WBC 7.54
RBC 5.0
HGB 13.3

I am very worried for her disturb blood chemistry please tell me about what can be concluded from it?

Silvercatz
I had a cbc with diff./platelet and a metabolic panel for an EGD and Colonoscopy. Ive noticed that the results were
quite different from last year especially in 2 of them. Neutrophils in 2014 was 59 and this year 35. The lymphs 2014
was 27 and this year its 50. The EGD Showed wite spots in my esophagus and small intestines. What does all this
mean and should I be concerned??

Linda Walsh
plt 141-320k/cmm is this normal range?

disqus_jEIUO1YJ0g
Its BUN/Creatinine & is listed above in explanation of blood tests.

Randall Cosens
Heart Attack! Still stuck on cholesterol as the main bad actor and not looking at elevated homocysteine levels, a
proven killer of children with genetic inability to use
specific B vitamins. Children as young as 10 and 12 dying of heart attacks with high levels of homocysteine, a
necessary amino acid at low levels in the blood. In adults with high levels of homocysteine adding B-6, B-12 and folic
acid dropped the levels to normal
at a cost of pennies a day. A blood test for homocysteine should cost less than $40. The doctor discovering this was
told to shut up and then fired from a major Medical University and blackballed when he refused. They had decided
that Cholesterol was the problem and drugs were the answer and happened to be patentable and profitable , like
finding firemen at fires and concluding they must be causing fires.

Edie cubby
I just got my blood work and my AST is 111. And my ALT is 105. What does this mean

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

Nola
What is the Anion Gap blood test?

LOL
Dear doctor, what is this symbol means??
WBC
HCT
PLT
MXD%
RDW_SD
RDW_CV
P_LCR
Found it on my bloodtest results..please reply..

mary
my platelets say alert, they are 91, should I check this out with my Dr.?

Douglas Osgood
I have Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Had it for 7 years now. Have read some work done on T-Cell Immunotherapy
for Leukemia. Is this some thing I should look into. I got the CLL from over dose of Cat scan radiation.

sujith
Can you help me with my complete blood count report ? Can anyone tell me what these results mean?

WBC H 12.0510^3/uL
neutrophils H 73.0%
Lymphocytes L 16.3%
MCHC L 3.9g/dL

sujith
Can you help me with my complete blood count report ? Can anyone tell me what these results mean?

WBC H 12.0510^3/uL

neutrophils H 73.0%

Lymphocytes L 16.3%

MCHC L 3.9g/dL

sujith
Can you help me with my complete blood count report ? Can anyone tell me what these results mean?

WBC H 12.0510^3/uL
neutrophils H 73.0%
Lymphocytes L 16.3%

MCHC L 3.9g/dL

Linda Dickson
What does CK stand for under Routine Chemistry II and should I be worried if it is high?

Loni Harris Jacks-Beckham


Cant find LY# Mine is low. What does that mean?

Gayle Gdovin
Your figures are wrong!!!1

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH


Nick Petros
Platelet count of 140explain please. NP

Blaine
My wbc is very low , is there anything i can do to elevate numbers ?

Blaine
my BUN number was elevated . Is there anything different I can do with diet ?

Rener
What is the GGTGGT GGT test stand for? [I don't see it listed] And how would the result of 45 stand?
Thanks to all.

cat38
My MCHC was low
My ALT was high as was my RBC and Glucose
I also have had two episodes of rectal bleeding and the stool test showed blood but Dr. Office said everything was
normal?

Christina Gude
What does B/CR 20.9 on my recent fasting blood panel meanit says normal is 12.0 to 20.0 so mine is slightly
elevated (?) whatever it iscant find the meaning of this abbreviation ANYWHERE???? All other results are w/in
normal range, except this and in a word its freaking me out.

http://www.indiamirrorholidays.com/testimonials.html venunambiar
calccium range in blod

tammi
my toughts exactly Karen.

tammi
JKaterina is correct actually you are all miss understanding what she is saying. yes hyper means over and hypo
under but what she is pointing out is that it is stated by the doctor underneath that if all levels are high you are hyper
but this is not true of the tsh level if you tsh level is above 3.8 it is a sign you are under active . Trust me I know
mine was 196 and I am severly UNDER active and have been treated as so for 16 months. My daughter was told
only yesterday that she is under active with a tsh of 8.76 also so please get your facts correct

Angelica Julia Cardona


how do I figure out the actual number from of my wbc. Its listed as 16.11 _X10^3

Abdelrahman Mohamed
My blood test said my white blood cells are too fat what does this mean?

Arielle Mann
If Dr Connealy is correct then you are saying that my Doctor who works at Beth Israel and went to Harvard Medical
School that he is incorrect. Sorry dont buy the article, nor the information.

Karen
I hate to disagree on the thyroid but hyperthyroid and hypothyroid are backwards in your news letter. If you are
hypothyroid your numbers will be high. If your hyperthyroid they will be low.

sandy
I got 4.11 for RBC (normal is 4.20-5.40). Does that mean Im anemic and should be taking iron tablets?

sandy
My red blood count was 4.11 which is under the 4.20 range and my CHOL (cholesterol ?) was 214 which is above the
low risk range of 200. Should I be worried? Do I need to be taking iron tablets for anemia? Everything else came
back within the normal ranges. Thanks!!

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

countrygirl282
what does a bun/creatinine ratio 11.3

George Lewis
This has been most informative. Male 67, lived through 6 doctors, only the early ones would try to explain each
medical detail. Have tried o read profiles for some time and this will help, thanks.

Nancy Littlejohn
When reading results of blood tests what does the mean before the number

GLenna Lee
What does the CHL test mean?? Is it for cholesterol? I can not find it on the internet at all. eeps

Niku
My Hemoglobin A1c is 6.5. How does that relate to your 70 to 99 mg/dL for the average adult ?

Bev
My daughter needs bloods doing x3 of loc: LOPD, con:SPE what does this mean please? xx

guestzzzzzzzzzz
What are the normal levels of the blood test IGg4?

robert
what should i do if my ast is 44 and my alt is 58

courtney
This is what my med profile reads..
Result 10.9 fL

Normal high 12.0 fL

Normal Low 9.0 fL

courtney
My MPV is 10.9 and Platelet count is 199. Im a usually very healthy, except extremely fatigued, 28 year old. I can
only read my own results and have not had them explained yet to me.but why do you say why me? Im at around
the same levels as youlower platelets. What are you worried about?

courtney
Can you help me with my results? The dr hasnt gotten back to me, but theyre posted on my health profile.

Low b12
Hi direct bili
Lo ALP
Lo ALT
Lo Sodium
Lo Potassium
Hi Chloride
Lo Creatinine
LO Calcium
Lo RBC count
Slight hi WBC count (within upper range)
Lo Hemoglobin
Lo hematocrit
HI MCHC
Hi RDW
Lo Platelet
BUN on the highest edge of normal

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

courtney
You are incorrect, JKaterina. HYPER, as in OVERACTIVE, means levels are high. HYPO (meaning UNDER)
means levels are low.
Perhaps using your brain before using your attitude would be helpful. I dont mean to be rude is usually the start
of Dont think Im mean, but Im about to say something mean But I can speak your language.I would be
concerned if YOU were a doctor. This IS so basic!!!
I dont mean to be rudebut youre not that smart.

ronald
what does GLU and RDW mean in a blood report both of mine was high

di_1954
What is Cystatin C? It says mine is high with a 1.29 mg/L with range of 0.50 1.03

Stephanie DeGiovanni
Elevated lipase in an adult is a result indicative of pancreatitis.

Stephanie DeGiovanni
I do not believe they put that on everyones results.

Stephanie DeGiovanni
Ranges differ depending on patient population. It is nothing to be worried about if the ranges vary a little.

Stephanie DeGiovanni
If they are at the end of the range and still within the range then it is not abnormal. If the results are below the range
then a look at your medical history would be done.

Stephanie DeGiovanni
C-reactive Protein (CRP) is a test used to screen for cardiovascular disease.

krisin
My blood test shows my levels and the ranges but then it shows the levels and ranges of someone who has CKD do
they put those on everyones or just if u have CKD

Eric Mangin
my total bilirubin was 1.4 which is ok per your chart. MY VA says its high. What should I do?

LadyBlue
Did Blood Test today, I was able to get information on all the test that was done. The article was helpful.

Gayle
What does an elevated lipase mean

unluckyirishlass
Im sorry but YOU are the one who is incorrect! Hyper means high or over, for example HYPERactive is OVERactive,
and HYPO is low or under. Before you question whether someone is lying about their credentials you really should
research your opinions first. I believe you owe her an apology.

Bahaddin Ahmad
Hello Sally , Bahaaddin is talking about your result, every result you have , its normal status but you should be take
care about your self , and your should be eat healthy food.

Agnes Kehr
What is ra latex turbid.sed rate rea tive protein

iogle
Beware of the stated Normal Range for cholesterol. The maximum

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH


acceptable number for total cholesterol was 300 mg/dL. Now its
200?!?!?! Every time that number is lowered, the drug industry makes
many billions of dollars at YOUR EXPENSE both in money and in
health. Your M.D. (who is married to Big Pharma) will not only
immediately prescribe a drug (usually a statin), but it will probably be
a brand name! And beware of combination therapy! If the first drug
doesnt work, try another one and take them both together. Now theyve
sold you TWO drugs! BEWARE! If you dont believe me, find out for
yourself. And dont ask your doctor! Go to a naturopath!

Nicki
Is your explanation of the MCH round the wrong way? Should it read that low may indicate anaemia and high may
indicate nutritional deficiency ??

Christopher Evans
I am living in Austria, so to read the blood test in German can be a bit more difficult.
I have been treated for Rhuma/Arthritis. for the last 2 plus years with no real positive affect, I have been asking for
checks on Lymes since found a few ticks over the space of time ion the skin. The results were a bit boarder line, even
had the spinal canal test neg 18mths ago. But the pain kept on increasing nothing controlled it.
Then after the last infusion treatment seemed to improve for a month, then the pain came back and in September last
year found another tick in my right wrist, then started losing the use of the right hand, the pain was so high no one
could explain, then again had another Lymes test positive and had hit the nerve system. well 1 month normal
antibiotics Nov. Great pain dropped then after Christmas came back with revenge, i had to fight with the Doctors
saying this is the Lymes back, they all stated after 1month treatment there is no Lyme (Boriosis) here, my own Doctor
would not repeat treatment, I went to my specialist on Rhuma he said unlikely not willing to repeat another antibiotic I
explained my theory hat the treatment for rhuma had lowered the immune system so low that this had a very hard
hold. After a while he said OK I will give you treatment for a month but another antibiotic that does not affect Rhuma
as the last may have done, So ended up having Biocef 200 2X daily (Cefpodoxim) after a month the pain had
dropped a bit on the arm and in other parts of the body including the colon, spine, and now going into the 3rd Month
my wrist I can use again and now can type again and live a normal life.
But for the different blood tests from my Rhuma Drs Lab can not make sense of the blood tests, the other labs seem
easy but this one is hard even my G.P. has a problem, could I scan it to you my Rhuma doctor says keep on taking
the Antibiotics and my G.P, is not sure I should. I am also taking teasel which I think has helped as well as
Echinaceae to boast the immune system. This has been a long fight with blood test and spinal tests not showing the
Boriousis bacterium.

Fred Wittig
My wife is dying of no tumor brain cancer by 2 MDs and an oncologist, yet her blood tests at two different clinics
show she is healthy. Is there a better test?

chris
how do you know if you have to much Tylenol in your system. what liver test would be checked.

emme noname
I had my CBC repeated in January because the MPV in September was 10.9. Normal is up to 10.4. Once again the
MPV was 10.9. Platelet count this time was 211. It was near that in September also. This time at my request she did
a CBC with differential. The differential part of the test and the entire test was perfect. All but the MPV at 10.9.
Even though the doctor says that I am fine, I am obsessed with this and keep googling and googling.
My husband had a horrible death from myelodysplastic syndrome in 2011. He acquired this from chemo for CML. I
am afraid of this.
My sister (an RN) thinks my problems are all in my head. That I have a fear of getting a blood cancer.
I dont want to go to an oncologist/hematologist. I want to believe my doctor.
Why am I releasing my platelets into the population too soon? My am I doing this?
Other people arent. Why ME?

Darcy Norris
Can using medical marijuana cause a high ALT number? Mine was 61U/L..i dont drink alcohol or take Tylenol but I
DO use cannabis for pain and anxiety. Thanks!

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH

malak
i think it means lymphocytes monocytes and granulocytes which are types of white blood cells

healthtony
Actually Dr. Connealys information is correct in the article above. If you would like more information about
hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism see this article.
http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/endocrinology/hypothyroidism-andhyperthyroidism/

JKaterina
The thyroid information you posted is backwards. Correct = If levels are low, you are hyperthyroid. If levels are high
you are hypothyroid. I dont mean to be rude, but this is so basic I really am concerned you arent a doctor.

Sally
I have had blood tests for fatigue amongst some other symptoms.my results are: rbc 3.96 (range 3.8 5.8),
haemoglobin 130 (range 115 165), haematocrit 0.36 (range 0.37 0.47), MCV 91.9 (range 76 100), MCH 32.7
(range 27 32), MCHC 356 (range 320 360), red blood cell distribution width 12.3 (range 11.5 14.5). I havent
been back to my doctor yet to discuss. Can anyone tell me what these results mean?

Rhonda Wiens
can you please tell me what this means? my blood work was flagged in 2 areas. Hematology MCV was 101. AlsoDifferentials Eosinophils was o.8 needing to know! thanks

ub
Thanks Matt

thats really helpful .

Matt
Ok. just to help a little. the numbers inside the ( parentheses ) are the normal range. and then also the mean grater
then and less then like in math class. So I hope that help.. Im not a medical professional but I can see that most of
those are in the normal range. you can look at each one indivdually and check like your HCT: 0.39 L/L ( 0.35 0.46 )
so .39 is in between the normal range.

ub
please help.I really hope to find out what this all means
Glucose: 5.3 mmol/L ( 3.5 7.7 )
guess thats normal?????
Observation date: 30-Sep-2013

30 Sep 2013, Liver Function Tests


Total Bilirubin: 7 umol/L ( < 25 )
Alk. Phosphatase: 74 U/L ( 40 100 )
GGT: 25 U/L ( < 50 )
ALT: 25 U/L ( 7.0 )
Comment: Borderline range B12 110 170
Borderline range Folate 7.0 10.0 **** what does that mean????

30 Sep 2013, Iron Studies


Ferritin: 64 ug/L ( 20 380 ) ????is that good?????
Ordered by:
Laboratory: labtests
Observation date: 30-Sep-2013

30 Sep 2013, Renal Function Tests


Sodium: 142 mmol/L ( 135 145 )
Potassium: 4.2 mmol/L ( 3.5 5.2 )
Creatinine: 65 umol/L ( 45 90 )
eGFR: > 90 mL/min/1.73m2 ( > 90 )

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH


Ordered by: ***** and what does that all mean???

30 Sep 2013, Complete Blood Count


Haemoglobin: 130 g/L ( 115 155 )
RBC: 4.55 x10e12/L ( 3.60 5.60 )
HCT: 0.39 L/L ( 0.35 0.46 )
MCV: 87 fL ( 80 99 )
MCH: 28.6 pg ( 27.0 33.0 )
Platelets: 223 x10e9/L ( 150 400 )
WBC: 7.0 x10e9/L ( 4.0 11.0 )
Neutrophils: 4.42 x10e9/L ( 1.90 7.50 )
Lymphocytes: 1.98 x10e9/L ( 1.00 4.00 )
Monocytes: 0.40 x10e9/L ( 0.20 1.00 )
Eosinophils: 0.22 x10e9/L ( < 0.51 )
Basophils: 0.02 x10e9/L ( 0.00 0.20 )
again??????? is this good?????

Carla Padgett-Morris
PRB is Packed Red Blood cells. Usually associated as a treatment for people who have low red blood cell counts.

nonie57
what does the LDL Density mean if it is abnormal

michelle
my blood test said my white blood cells are too fat what does this mean?

Flo OBannon Jewelcentenial191


My lab tests have shown (H) MPV (H)CREATINE (H) FERATIN (H) RED BLOOD CELL count for 2 years. I have a
new medical provider . When these labs came back high last month nothing was said at my last appointment. Should
I let my new Dr know the length of time the levels have been high and request specific tests.

John Isreal
meaning for prb in blood report

Machelle Lund
I just received my lab results today and all of my numbers looked great. Only issues were my good cholesterol which
was too low and my platelet count was lower than it should have been. Should I be worried? Could the platelet count
have been a lab error?

Tammy Morrow
this way very helpful. no one explained any of these with me and I have been looking at these two sheets of paper
feeling lose and reading this helped me so much. Thank You

Jon B
Thank you posting this, it was very helpful in reviewing my results beyond the doctors everything is fine.

Anne Nero
What is:
Lymph%
MONO#
Lymph%
MONO%
ANC
Gran%

Susan Baker-Haynes
Hematocrit is H, MCHC is L, Neutrophils is L, Monocytes is H, Monocytes# is H, Urea Nitrogen is H, Bacteria is 1+. I
have flu like symptoms, body aches, kidneys hurt, low grade fevers. Thyroids fluctuate but they forgot to run tests for

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH


that. Low grade fevers off and on.

Tammy
is an Aldosterone LCMS, serum test the same as Venipunct, Hepatic, metabolic panel and a lipid panel?

Carol Hatch
My husband just got an elevated CRP, what in the world does that mean??

anna olsen
I am flummoxed in reading the results, not even understanding, on recent blooodwork up that was supposed to be a
hormone panel. Can you guide me?

PonderThis2
Everyone offers possible disorders if #s are elevated. What if everything is low? Ok, not r everything, but suppose all
of the following are at or below the lowest end of range?
Neutrophils
Lymphocytes
Eosinophils
Basophils
MCHC
Potassium (fluctuating 3.0-4.2)
Creatinine
Calcium
A/G Ratio (.82:1.1)
Tot Bilirubin
Alk Phosphate
AST
ALT
Magnesium

I cannot seem to find any answers for this phenomenon.

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Blood Test Results: Your Guide to Understanding the Numbers NNH


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