Blood tests are a common part of health screening that Dr. Ali Ghahary and other family physicians in Vancouver will refer their patients for in order to ensure that their health is not compromised in any way.
A typical blood test usually includes what is known as a complete blood count (CBC) test, to measure the hemoglobin as well as your levels of red and white blood cells. This particular type of blood test is great for detecting a wide range of disorders such as infections and anemia, as well as cancers of the blood, such as leukemia. In addition to diagnosing these diseases, a complete blood count can also be used to manage already diagnosed medical conditions.
Below is a look at some of the common blood tests that Dr. Ghahary may consider for patients, and why.
Blood Glucose Tests
To diagnose or monitor diabetes. Depending on the type of test your physician sends you for, you may be asked to fast. A fasting glucose will determine the levels of glucose in your blood after you have not had anything to eat or drink for 8 hours or more. A glucose tolerance test is similar in the sense that it is done after fasting – however, you will then be provided a sugary beverage to drink, and the blood test will be performed again 2 hours later. Another blood glucose test known as the HbA1C test may also be done to determine what your average blood sugar is over a three-month period.
Blood Coagulation Tests
To determine the way in which your blood clots, and how long it takes to clot. If your blood takes a long time to clot, this may be indicative of a bleeding disorder. This test can also be done to monitor anticoagulant medications and to ensure you’re on the correct dose.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Tests
CRP is a substance that is produced by the liver. If your CRP levels are elevated, this suggests that you have an increased amount of inflammation (or recurring inflammation) in your body. However, it is important to note that a CRP blood test is usually non-specific, and you may need to go for further testing in order to determine the root cause of the inflammation. A few examples of some medical conditions that can cause inflammation include arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammation may also be a sign of infection.
To ensure minerals in the body (such as potassium, chloride, and sodium) are doing what they should and that you are maintaining a healthy balance of water in your body. If this test is abnormal, you may be dehydrated, so ensure that you are drinking enough fluids.
Thyroid Function Tests
To evaluate the function of your thyroid gland. Dr. Ali Ghahary will send patients for a thyroid function test if they are exhibiting symptoms of overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism, or underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include weight loss, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, tremors, weakness, as well as irritation of the eyes. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include weight gain, hair loss, dry skin or puffy skin, weight gain, fatigue, cold intolerance, and irregular menstrual cycles.
Blood Cholesterol Tests
Cholesterol is vital for your body to function normally, but too much cholesterol can be a bad thing. If your cholesterol levels are high, you may have a higher risk of developing a cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes. The best way to reduce your cholesterol levels is to ensure you have healthy eating habits. You should also decrease your salt intake.
As mentioned, these are just some of the common types of blood tests in which your GP can send you for. Depending on the symptoms you’re exhibiting, your doctor may also refer you for liver function tests, kidney function tests, calcium tests, CK tests, and more blood tests not mentioned in this article.
As always, if you have any concerns about your health, you should address them with your family physician as soon as possible. If you do not have a family doctor and you feel as though you cannot wait to have your concerns addressed, Dr. Ali Ghahary welcomes walk-in patients at Brentwood Medical Clinic. The clinic is conveniently located inside of Burnaby’s Brentwood Town Centre and is easily accessible from downtown Vancouver and other parts of the Lower Mainland via public transit.
For directions to the clinic, click here. For Dr. Ali Ghahary’s walk-in schedule, click here. Please note that Brentwood Medical Clinic’s walk-in hours and closing times are subject to change depending on patient volume.