What does standard blood work reveal about your health.

Myself and my SO just got our bloodwork results. Apparently her blood work came back fine and I have high cholesterol :frowning:

Aside from cholesterol however, what exactly is checked in a standard blood test? Will possible cancer markers be looked for? Infections, diseases, deficiencies, diabetes?

Is there such a thing as a “standard blood test”?

That’s the thing I don’t know. All we said to the doc was that we haven’t had a blood test or a full physical in years and we wanted them. They took two or maybe three small vials of blood, some urine and that’s it. What is the most likely tests that the blood would have undergone?

Wikipedia: Blood Tests

At the very least? That you have blood.
I assume this is generally considered positive.

Wow, there are a huge number of different tests. Essentially it comes down to me having to ask the doc, right?

I’m not positive, but I don’t think there’s a “standard blood test” that’s true for everyone/every clinic. I’ve had to write up requisitions for blood tests for research subjects, and there are a lot of different things you can ask for. There are various “blood chemistry” tests that look for different things in the blood (sodium, calcium, CO2, glucose, etc.) but you can request a wide variety of things to look for. Then there are the “hematology” tests for stuff like white/red blood cells, neutrophils, hemoglobin, hematocrit.

I know from experience that different hospitals have certain standard “panels” of tests that doctors can order, but what’s called a “Clin Chem” at one place might not be the same as a “Comprehensive Metabolics” at another.

However - cancer markers are special things. We’re talking DNA analysis level there. Those are expensive tests. Diabetes might show up if glucose is checked, and that is a not uncommon and not expensive test. Infections might be indicated if, for instance, your white blood cell count is huge.

That’s not true for all infections though - on the way out there end of things, HIV does not affect white blood cell count, though once it’s progressed to AIDS you’ll see that the CD4 T-cell count (not a common test) has dropped. HIV requires a special, expensive ($100+) test to test for. Other uncommon viruses have their own specific tests.

On edit: Dammit, too slow. Still, you do have to ask your doctor.

IANAD, but I do work as a lab tech in a hospital lab.

It’s true there is no such thing as ‘standard blood tests’, however a lot of doctors tend to order what I will now call the ‘what the hell is wrong with this guy?’ panel, which USUALLY consists of:

CBC (complete blood count): checks your white blood cell (WBC) count (and differentiates between the types), red blood cell (RBC) count, the hemoglobin and platelet count.
Generally, one can infer if you have a systemic infection (or screen for leukemia) by the WBC count, you can get an idea of your body’s iron stores from the hemogloblin and how small/big/filled with Hb your cells are. Remember what I’m telling you is VERY general and different interpretations can be made based on the presentation of the patient.

They also like to order glucose (screen for diabetes/check for hypoglycemia) electrolytes (if your electrolytes are off you are likely to be feeling very sick indeed) urea & creatinine (gives an idea of how the kidneys are functioning) total bilirubin, AST, ALT, Alk Phos (general liver health indicators).

As to what you got, I have no idea. These are the test I see most often being ordered when a patient comes in with vague symptoms.

Clarifying: Typically the basic “does this person have HIV?” test is not expensive, to the best of my recollection. There is a more specialized test that is used in people known to have HIV which measures how much is present in the blood; that is the expensive one I was thinking about.

I don’t know, he’s in New Jersey, that’s about as close to Hell as you can get - so maybe the fact he had a beating heart is cause for concern.

The ones my doctor always mentions to me are the cholesterol, the sugar, the liver function, and the white blood cell count.

If you have an elevated white blood cell count, it indicates that your body is fighting…something, so more tests may be needed. It could be an infection, a cold, or cancer, but it needs to be looked into.

I think that these “standard” blood tests lead into more thorough exams when somethiing amiss is found. Like the WBC count, or if your sugar is abnormal, then we go to tests for diabetes or hypoglycemia for example.

If your cholesterol is high, then the doctor might put you on meds or simply tell you to quit eating fatty foods, drinking cheap whiskey, and go to church more.

Since I am on an HMO that pays 100% of blood tests, my doctor does them almost all of the time…