As patients, most of us have an unresolved issue with respect to our health, namely understanding the results of our blood tests.
That is why, at Best Doctors, we want to provide some guidelines that will help us understand what all those medical terms mean and the values that each of them present. They will allow us to have a better knowledge on how to read our body’s warning signs.
Our point-by-point analysis
Haemogram (complete blood count)
Erythrocytes (red blood cells): normal levels: 3.8-5.4 x 106/uL, taking into account that (1,000 uL = 1 ml)
High level: respiratory failure, altitude or smoking.
Low level: may be a symptom of anaemia
Leukocytes (white blood cells): 4,500-10,600/ml
They defend us against infections.
High level: may result from the use of drugs such as heparin, as well as some infections
Low level: some/certain antibiotics
Hemoglobin: 12 to 16 gm/dL
Protein in our red blood cells that sets oxygen and carbon dioxide to move through the bloodstream. Their values are associated with those of the red cells.
MCV: Mean Corpuscular Volume: 80-97 fl. (Size of the red blood cells)
High level: overly large size which could be due to a lack of vitamin B12.
Low level: may be as a result of a lack of iron.
Hematocrit: 35-47%. Relationship between liquid and blood cells.
High level: diarrhoea, burns or excessive production of red blood cells.
Low level: anaemia or bleeding.
Platelets or thrombocytes: 140-400 X 103/uL. They are responsible for “plugging” our wounds. Altered levels may be related to infections, bleeding, swelling of the spleen, etc.
Bilirubin: 0-1.1 mg/dL. High levels of this pigment could be a sign of stones in your gallbladder or liver problems.
Creatinine 0.4-1.2 mg/dL. Anything above these levels may be a sign of kidney stones or kidney problems.
Glucose: 70-110 mg/dL. Diabetes may occur at a level above 200 mg/dL.
Triglycerides: 35-135 mg/dL
Total cholesterol: 120-220 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol (the one we know as “good”): 30-100 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol (the “bad” one): 60-130 mg/dL
Too much cholesterol in our body poses a risk as it builds up in the arterial walls, thus reducing the mobility of the blood, which could in turn result in a heart attack.
Urea: 10-40 mg/dL
High level: kidney failure, dehydration or in people with highly developed muscles.
Low level: in people with low muscle mass
Uric acid: 3.4-6 mg/dL. Residual product of nitrogen metabolism in our body.
High level: after exercise, excessive intake of protein foods such as seafood, meat or oily fish, and in some cases it may be a sign of the presence of tumours.
Transaminases: enzymes found in the liver, heart, pancreas or brain.
GGT (gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase): 11-50 U/L (units/litre)
GOT (glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase): 0-37 U/L
GPT (glutamic-pyruvic transaminase) 0-41 U/L
High level: could reflect tissue destruction, hepatitis, myocardial infarction, etc.
Alkaline phosphatase: 35-110 U/L. Enzyme found in bones, liver or intestine. Abnormal levels may be due to a large number of causes.
Iron: 70-140 mg/L
Low level: may indicate anaemia.
Ferritin: 15-200 ng */mL. Iron is stored in our body. Their results are directly linked to the previous point.