Yet, most importantly- like a trusting puppy, I go EACH time to have my blood drawn only to find out my levels may be just slightly elevated. Why can't so much pain be seen and defined under the microscope? I certainly feel like I'm harboring something volatile! That is a question that may never be answered completely until science advances, I'm certain.
On the other side of the coin, my recent self-acknowledged near death experience, can be reasoned that I'm not on death row after all. It doesn't help with the recent harrowing experience, but at least I know from a routine blood panel that my organs are not shutting down, nor do I have that cancer that I was sure was taking over.
So what do routine tests show us?
Blood tests help doctors check for certain diseases and conditions. They also help check the function of your organs and show how well treatments are working.
Specifically, blood tests can help doctors:
- Evaluate how well organs—such as the kidneys, liver, thyroid, and heart—are working
- Diagnose diseases and conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, anemia, and coronary heart disease
- Find out whether you have risk factors for heart disease
- Check whether medicines you're taking are working
- Assess how well your blood is clotting
Complete Blood Count
Doctors often order a complete blood count, or CBC, as part of a routine or yearly exam. A CBC measures the amounts of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and iron in your blood. This test can detect anemia, inflammation, infections and bleeding disorders. A CBC can also help the doctor determine if medications that you are on need to be adjusted.
Blood Chemistry Tests
A doctor may order a basic metabolic panel, or a BMP. This is a series of tests that is run on the plasma of your blood. These tests measure how much glucose and calcium is in your blood, and whether you have the right amount of electrolytes and minerals in your blood. A BMP can detect diseases such as diabetes, cancer, bone disease, kidney disease and other disorders. Some tests require that you fast beforehand, and others don't. Ask your doctor if you are unsure.
Blood Enzyme Tests
Enzyme tests can show your doctor whether you have damage or disease in various organs of the body. A creatine kinase, or CK, test can help your doctor determine if you've had a heart attack. A troponin test is another test that can indicate a heart attack. Creatinine tests measure kidney function. Liver enzyme tests can help a doctor rule out or diagnose liver disease. These also help to determine whether a medication may need to be adjusted or eliminated if it is causing liver damage.
So, In actuality, you are being tested for a whole host of issues that could wreck havoc on your delicate system if not noted early on. I know this may not be a comfort as to why you are experiencing such waves of pain and confusion, but at least you know for the moment life will go on. And even this small sliver of hope allows us to move forward.