I'm sure there are more knowledgeable people on here who can add to, correct and otherwise critic the information that I've put together, but I hadn't seen anything like this on the board so thought I'd put it up. I just found it helpful to have around as a basic reference when looking at bloods. Some of the information on here may have also changed since I wrote it.
Any comments are welcome.
Cholesterol (Lipid Panel)
Total cholesterol (TC) - Cholesterol is needed by your body to maintain healthy cells, too much can clog arteries. A TC test looks at the overall level of cholesterol in your body.
High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) - "Good cholesterol" - moves excess cholesterol out of the blood and into the liver. The higher this level is the better.
Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) - "Bad cholesterol" - moves cholesterol from the blood into cells and therefore needs to be kept low.
Triglycerides (TG) - Increases after eating foods high in sugar and fat or drinking alcohol. The level of triglycerides is also typically higher in obese patients and patients with liver or thyroid problems. A high triglyceride level is indicative of a high risk of coronary heart disease.
LDL/HDL Ratio - The ratio of bad vs good cholesterol. Found by dividing LDL cholesterol by HDL cholesterol values. Previously viewed as important data, now generally accepted that the individual LDL and HDL numbers are more indicative of health and risk factors.
Liver (AST, ALT, ALP, Total Bilirubin, GGT, Albumin)
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT or SGPT) - Found in the liver only. High levels of ALT in the bloodstream mean that there may be liver inflammation and/or damage. This test cannot predict liver damage or disease progression, it is simply a direct measurement of the amount of ALT in the person's bloodstream at the time of the test.
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST or SGOT) - Found in other organs besides the liver. High AST levels in the bloodstream can be a sign of liver trouble.
Cholestatic Liver Enzymes (GGT and ALP) - Chloestasis is a term used for partial or full blockage of the bile ducts. Bile ducts bring bile from the liver into the gallbladder and the intestines. Bile is a green fluid produced in liver cells. Bile helps the body to break down fat, process cholesterol and get rid of toxins. If the bile duct is inflamed or damaged, GGT and ALP can get backed up and spill out from the liver into the bloodstream.
• Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) - ALP metabolizes phosphorus and brings energy to the body (essential in ATP production). Found in the bones, intestines, kidneys and placenta as well as the liver. Abnormally high ALP can have many causes other than liver damage, including: bone disease, congestive heart failure, and hyperthyroidism. A rise in ALP levels can indicate liver trouble if GGT levels are also elevated.
• Gamma-Glutamyltranspeptidase (GGT) - GGT brings oxygen to tissues. Found in the liver. Obesity, PBC, heavy drinking, fatty liver, and certain medications or herbs that are toxic to the liver can cause GGT levels to rise.
Bilirubin is a yellow fluid produced in the liver when worn-out red blood cells are broken down. Bilirubin can leak out from the liver into the bloodstream if the liver is damaged. When Bilirubin builds up, it can cause jaundice.
Albumin - A protein made in the liver. If the liver is badly damaged, it can no longer produce albumin. Albumin maintains the amount of blood in the veins and arteries. Very low levels of albumin may be a sign of liver damage.
There is no single thyroid test that can diagnose all thyroid diseases so several different thyroid tests are used to assure proper results (TSH, T4, T3, Free T4, etc.).
Thyrotropin- Stimulating Hormone (TSH) - Stimulates the thyroid gland to secrete the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Provides a general indication of the health of the endocrine system. As it does not give more than a general indication of overall endocrine function T3 and T4 test are performed contemporaneously or, generally, following an abnormal TSH result.
Thyroxine (T4) - Two separate measurements - Total T4 and free T4. Free T4 is the active form of, thyroxine or tetraiodothyronine. T4 binds to certain proteins and therefore Free T4 measures the amount avaliable to the body to convert to T3. (Note: increased estrogen levels can reduce the amount of carrier proteins in the blood and therefore give a high reading of Free T4, a Total T4 test provides a fallback in this instance). T4 levels determine whether the thyroid hormone feedback system is functioning as it should, and the results of the tests help to distinguish between different causes of hyper- and hypothyroidism.
Triiodothyronine (T3) - Thyroid hormone that circulates in blood almost completely bound (99.5%) to carrier proteins. The main transport protein is thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG). Only free (unbound) portion of triiodothyronine (free T3) is responsible for the biological action.
In normal thyroid function, as the concentrations of the carrier proteins changes, the total triiodothyronine level also changes, so that the free triiodothyronine concentration remains constant.
Progesterone - Stimulates and regulates the production of the thyroid gland, and keeps blood-clotting levels at normal values. See further at Hormones below.
Progesterone - Produced in the body from cholesterol and is a precursor to most of the other steroid hormones including cortisol, testosterone, estrogen. Progesterone aids in immunity, reduces swelling and inflammation, and keeps blood-clotting levels at normal values. Progesterone.
Pregnenolone - A naturally occurring metabolite often referred to as the ‘mother steroid compound’ because it is the basic raw material for all steroid hormones in the body. This includes cortisone, Progesterone, estrogen, testosterone and DHEA. Although it’s the precursor of all steroid hormones, Pregnenolone itself is not a steroid hormone. Instead, Pregnenolone is made from cholesterol in the cells of both the adrenal gland and the central nervous system.
Estradiol (E2, 17β-estradiol, or oestradiol) - Predominant sex hormone present in females. It is also present in males, being produced as an active metabolic product of testosterone. Under normal conditions, only 10-20% of circulating estradiol is directly secreted by the testes; the remaining 80% is the product of peripheral aromatization of testosterone or conversion of estrone. The adrenal glands also contribute to circulating estradiol levels, through the production of estrone and androstenedione, which can be converted to estradiol and testosterone, respectively. Estradiol represents the major estrogen in humans. Androstenedione is the key intermediary . A fraction of the androstenedione is converted to testosterone, which in turn undergoes conversion to estradiol by an enzyme called aromatase. In an alternative pathway, androstenedione is aromatized to estrone, which is subsequently converted to estradiol.
Testosterone - Present in the blood as "free" testosterone (1-4%) or bound testosterone. The latter may be loosely bound to albumin, a serum protein, or bound to a specific binding protein called Sex Steroid Binding Globulin (SSBG) or Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). The binding between testosterone and albumin is not very strong and is easily reversed; so the term bioavailable testosterone (BAT) refers to the sum of free testosterone plus albumin-bound testosterone. Free Testosterone is that which will be available for use within the body, whereas Total testosterone is an indication of the total amount produced in the body (both through testes secretion and conversation.
Cortisol (hydrocortisone) - Produced by the adrenal gland it is released in response to stress and a low level of blood glucocorticoids. Its primary functions are to increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis; suppress the immune system; and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It also decreases bone formation.
Dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-sulfate) - This test measures the amount of DHEA-sulfate in the blood. DHEA-sulfate is a weak male hormone (androgen) produced by the adrenal gland in both men and women. High DHEA levels can cause a lack of insulin sensitivity, which is a precursor to diabetes.
Edited by henryv, 19 February 2011 - 06:58 AM.