Perfect Post-Halloween: BLOOD (Tests)

I missed Halloween by just a few days.  With just a little bit more aforethought, this would have been a perfect Halloween blog.  Let’s just pretend it’s still Halloween, shall we?  By the way,  my costume is that of the mad scientist with the opposite of a hypodermic. 

Notice anything unusual about the size of the font in the body of the blog?  The nasty little hobgoblins are still hanging around and won’t let me change the font back to our usual one.  Will somebody please tell them Halloween is over!


 The Blood Tests

If you could see the lower part of my lab orders, you won’t need to do much research to understand it since the numerical codes for each blood test has a definition right next to it.  Again, all you need is a dictionary – maybe even a medical dictionary.  Only the circled numbers are the tests performed under a particular script. I’ll be using those ordered for me for demonstration purposes.

 3000, CBC W/Diff, W/Plat. This is the same test as the one in my original blood tests. Then there’s 900323, comprehensive metabolic panel. This is the same test that my primary care physician ordered, except for the more specific tests she didn’t order such as code 9210, Ferritin, which refers to the test of this protein that stores your iron until your body needs it. An infection can interfere with its function, so an abnormal reading doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem.  Your doctor may ask you to take a regiment of antibiotics and then retest.  This, I know from personal experience.

9225, Immunofixation uses antibodies to identify the types of proteins or antibodies separated by protein electrophoresis. Your doctor needs the information garnered by test 2075 to make sense of this. It’s fairly technical medically, but you can make use of a medical dictionary if you’d like more information about this particular test.

2040, Iron and TIBC. Iron TIBC stands for Total Iron Binding Capacity. It shows if there is an abnormal amount of iron in the blood by measuring how well the protein transferrin is carrying iron in the blood. Iron is what is used in the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Low iron contributes to anemia, a not unusual byproduct of CKD.

2075, Protein Electrophoresis separates elements of your blood into individual components. Immunofixation identifies the proteins found in this test. That’s how 9225 and 2075 work together: 2075 separates the individual components of your blood, while 9225 identifies the types of proteins or antibodies found there.

3110, Reticulocyte Count measures how fast the bone marrow produces red blood cells (the reticulocytes in the title of the test) and releases them into the blood. Again, a low red blood cell count contributes to anemia. Your doctor may need to order iron supplements or synthetic iron intravenously, if necessary.  Unfortunately, extra iron may lead to constipation, so talk this over with your doctor should your results for this test suggest you need extra iron.

1013, Uric Acid levels in the blood can indicate that you’re at risk for gout, kidney stones, or kidney failure.  It’s the kidney’s job to filter uric acid from the body.  A buildup means the kidneys are not doing their job well. This doesn’t seem to be foolproof since I hadn’t had elevated uric acid levels in the blood but did experience kidney stones.

The last blood test ordered for me was: 902068, Vitamin D, 25 Hydroxy, LC/MS/MS. I can’t resist telling you I burst out laughing again – obviously, a much needed relief by this time – when I read this.  I immediately visualized a Hydrox cookie being tested. In reality, the test is actually just what it says it is: a test of the vitamin D in your body, since calcium production is dependent on Vitamin D. The kidneys produce calcitrol which is the active form of vitamin D. The kidneys are the organs that transfer this vitamin from your food and skin (sunshine provides it to your skin) into something your body can use. 

Both vitamin D and calcium are needed for strong bones. It is yet another job of your kidneys to keep your bones strong and healthy.  Should you have a deficit of Vitamin D, you’ll need to be treated for this, in addition for any abnormal level of calcium or phosphates.  The three work together.  Vitamin D enables the calcium from the food you eat to be absorbed in the body. CKD may leech the calcium from your bones and body.  Phosphate levels can rise since this is stored in the blood and the bones as is calcium.  With CKD, it’s hard to keep the phosphate levels normal, so you may develop itchiness since the concentration of urea builds up and begins to crystallize through the skin. This is called pruritus.

Those are the blood tests ordered for me.  Some of yours may be different or the same.  You can research yours the same way I did by simply entering the name of the test in your search bar and then choosing the site you want to look at.  I chose the most comprehensive definitions so I could thoroughly understand the test before writing about it, but you may choose the easiest to understand. There’s no sense having an authoritative definition if you haven’t a clue what it means.

Somewhere along the line, one of your doctors may order an A1C test.  This measures how well your blood sugar has been regulated for the two or three months before the test.  That’s possible because the glucose adheres to the red blood cells.  This is important since quite a few CKD patients develop the disease from diabetes.

That wasn’t too bad, was it?  I wonder if those costumed as some blood sucking ghoul or other knew what was in the blood they pretended to be sucking.  Ugh.


          Until Friday,

          keep living!

Published in: on November 2, 2010 at 9:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

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