From the category archives:

Basic Blood Chemistry

Following is an example of results of a Chemistry Panel from a 40 year old male.  The reference interval indicates the “normal range” for each of the components and a flag (if present) indicates a specific result that has fallen outside of the normal range.

Example Chemistry Panel

Example Chemistry Panel

A description of each component of the panel is described below:
 
Glucose
Glucose:  Glucose is a measure of blood sugar levels.  Blood sugar levels can indicate hypoglycemia or diabetes. 
Waste Products
Uric Acid:  Uric Acid is one of the body’s normal byproducts excreted in urine.   Abnormal levels may indicate arthritis, gout or kidney problems.
Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN):  BUN is normal waste product specifically produced by the liver and excreted through the kidneys.  BUN levels (and the BUN / creatine ratio) assess the function of the kidneys. 
Creatinine:  Creatinine is a waste product primarily produced when muscles breakdown.  Levels are a good estimate of a person’s kidney filtration rate.
Glom Filtration Rate:  A measure of how well a person’s kidneys are filtering their blood.
 Electrolytes                       
Sodium:  Sodium is a key electrolyte, regulated by a person’s kidneys.  Electrolyte balance and body fulids are important measures of kidney function.
Potassium:  Potassium is another electrolyte controlled by the kidneys, that is critical for proper functioning of the muscles and nerves, particularly the heart.
Chloride:  Chloride is also an electrolyte involved in maintaining the proper balance of body fluids and the acid-base balance in the body.
Minerals
Calcium:  Calcium is a mineral in the blood regulated by the kidneys and glands.  Calcium is important for proper blood clotting, nerve conduction and other physiological functions.
Phosphorus:  Phosphorus is a mineral in the blood contolled by the kidneys.  High levels may indicate kidney malfunction or disease.
Blood Fats
Triglycerides:  Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood and an important source of energy for the body.  Elevated levels are often associated with heart disease.
Cholesterol:  Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is similar to fat which has been associated with heart disease. 
Proteins      
Albumin:  Albumin is a type of protein made primarilly in the liver that helps your blood to clot.
Globulin:  Globulin is a term for different types of protein in the blood that are important for fighting infection and disease.
Total Protein:  The total amount of protein in the blood is used to montior kidney function and the albumin / globulin ratio is a often used as a general measure of overall nutrition and health.
Enzymes
Total Bilirubin:  Bilirubin is a yellowish brown substance removed from the blood by the liver.  Levels are monitored to evaluate liver function.
Alkaline Phosphatase:  Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme produced primarily by the bones and liver.  High levels may indicate bone or liver disease. 
GGT:  GGT is an enzyme found in the cell membranes of many tissues.  High levels may indicate damage from alcohol, medications, vitamins or a number of possible diseases.
LDH:  LDH is an enzyme involved in the production of energy that is found in all the body’s cells.  Any injury or disease that results in damaged cells will raise the amount of LDH in the blood.  Particularly high levels are associated with lung disease, anemia, liver disease, and lymphoma.
AST (formerly called SGOT):  Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is also a an enzyme found in small amounts in the blood.  When the body’s tissue or organs are diseased or damaged AST is released into the blood.  The measure of AST in the blood is directly correlated to the extent of the damage.  AST may be released due to damage or disease in the heart, muscles, pancreas, liver, or kidneys. 

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