Digestive Health

Digestive Health Testing and health information

Order gastrointestinal diagnostic tests with Ulta Lab Tests to evaluate the health of your GI tract and digestive issues. Learn about your health today!


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Digestive Health - Basic contains the following tests

  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets) 
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Fecal Globin by Immunochemistry (InSure®) 
  • Celiac Disease Comprehensive Panel (w/ Reflexes)

Specimens from children less than 4 years of age (i.e., less than 48 months) are not appropriate for this test. The test for children 4 years of age and younger is the Celiac Disease Comprehensive Panel, Infant (test code 15981).

Includes

Tissue Transglutaminase, IgA with Reflexes; Total IgA with Reflex

IMPORTANT - Note this is Reflex Test which if additional tests are run you will be charged for the specific tests that the lab peforms. Additional test will be run if the following criteria are met.


If the Tissue Transglutaminase IgA is positive, 

1. Endomysial Antibody Screen (IgA) will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 86255).

If the Endomysial Antibody Screen (IgA) is positive, 

2. Endomysial Antibody Titer will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 86256).

If the Total IgA is less than the lower limit of the reference range, based on age

3. Tissue Transglutaminase IgG will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 83516).

Clinical Significance

Celiac disease is caused by an immune response to gluten in genetically sensitive individuals. The diagnosis is largely based on a biopsy of the small intestine, but serologic tests also help support a diagnosis and may assist identification of patients who may require biopsy.

Tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG, IgA) is a marker with 95% sensitivity and specificity. Total IgA is measured because 2-3% of celiac disease patients are IgA deficient. Because tTG, IgA, and anti-Gliadin IgA tend to decrease in patients on a gluten-free diet, these markers are also used to assess dietary compliance.

The endomysial antibody (EMA, IgA) assay has high specificity for celiac disease and is used to confirm positive anti-tTG results.


Digestive Health - Basic Plus contains the followwing tests: 

  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) 
  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets) 
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Fecal Globin by Immunochemistry (InSure®) 
  • Ferritin
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)
  • Celiac Disease Comprehensive Panel (w/ Reflexes)

 Specimens from children less than 4 years of age (i.e., less than 48 months) are not appropriate for this test. The test for children 4 years of age and younger is the Celiac Disease Comprehensive Panel, Infant (test code 15981).

Includes

Tissue Transglutaminase, IgA with Reflexes; Total IgA with Reflex

IMPORTANT - Note this is Reflex Test which if additional tests are run you will be charged for the specific tests that the lab peforms. Additional test will be run if the following criteria are met.


If the Tissue Transglutaminase IgA is positive, 

1. Endomysial Antibody Screen (IgA) will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 86255).

If the Endomysial Antibody Screen (IgA) is positive, 

2. Endomysial Antibody Titer will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 86256).

If the Total IgA is less than the lower limit of the reference range, based on age

3. Tissue Transglutaminase IgG will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 83516).

Clinical Significance

Celiac disease is caused by an immune response to gluten in genetically sensitive individuals. The diagnosis is largely based on a biopsy of the small intestine, but serologic tests also help support a diagnosis and may assist identification of patients who may require biopsy.

Tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG, IgA) is a marker with 95% sensitivity and specificity. Total IgA is measured because 2-3% of celiac disease patients are IgA deficient. Because tTG, IgA, and anti-Gliadin IgA tend to decrease in patients on a gluten-free diet, these markers are also used to assess dietary compliance.

The endomysial antibody (EMA, IgA) assay has high specificity for celiac disease and is used to confirm positive anti-tTG results.


The Digestive Health - Advanced contains the following tests

  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) 
  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets) 
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Fecal Globin by Immunochemistry (InSure®) 
  • Ferritin
  • Folate, Serum
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)
  • QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (D2, D3), LC/MS/MS 
  • Transferrin
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) 
  • Celiac Disease Comprehensive Panel (w/ Reflexes)

Specimens from children less than 4 years of age (i.e., less than 48 months) are not appropriate for this test. The test for children 4 years of age and younger is the Celiac Disease Comprehensive Panel, Infant (test code 15981).

Includes

Tissue Transglutaminase, IgA with Reflexes; Total IgA with Reflex

IMPORTANT - Note this is Reflex Test which if additional tests are run you will be charged for the specific tests that the lab peforms. Additional test will be run if the following criteria are met.


If the Tissue Transglutaminase IgA is positive, 

1. Endomysial Antibody Screen (IgA) will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 86255).

If the Endomysial Antibody Screen (IgA) is positive, 

2. Endomysial Antibody Titer will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 86256).

If the Total IgA is less than the lower limit of the reference range, based on age

3. Tissue Transglutaminase IgG will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 83516).

Clinical Significance

Celiac disease is caused by an immune response to gluten in genetically sensitive individuals. The diagnosis is largely based on a biopsy of the small intestine, but serologic tests also help support a diagnosis and may assist identification of patients who may require biopsy.

Tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG, IgA) is a marker with 95% sensitivity and specificity. Total IgA is measured because 2-3% of celiac disease patients are IgA deficient. Because tTG, IgA, and anti-Gliadin IgA tend to decrease in patients on a gluten-free diet, these markers are also used to assess dietary compliance.

The endomysial antibody (EMA, IgA) assay has high specificity for celiac disease and is used to confirm positive anti-tTG results.


Digestive Health - Comprehensive contains the following tests: 

  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) 
  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets) 
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Fecal Globin by Immunochemistry (InSure®) 
  • Ferritin
  • Folate, Serum
  • Gliadin (Deamidated Peptide) Antibody (IgA) 
  • Gliadin (Deamidated Peptide) Antibody (IgG) 
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios
  • Magnesium
  • Prealbumin 
  • QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (D2, D3), LC/MS/MS 
  • Transferrin
  • TSH
  • Vitamin A (Retinol)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) 
  • Vitamin K
  • Celiac Disease Comprehensive Panel (w/ Reflexes)

Specimens from children less than 4 years of age (i.e., less than 48 months) are not appropriate for this test. The test for children 4 years of age and younger is the Celiac Disease Comprehensive Panel, Infant (test code 15981).

Includes

Tissue Transglutaminase, IgA with Reflexes; Total IgA with Reflex

IMPORTANT - Note this is Reflex Test which if additional tests are run you will be charged for the specific tests that the lab peforms. Additional test will be run if the following criteria are met.


If the Tissue Transglutaminase IgA is positive, 

1. Endomysial Antibody Screen (IgA) will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 86255).

If the Endomysial Antibody Screen (IgA) is positive, 

2. Endomysial Antibody Titer will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 86256).

If the Total IgA is less than the lower limit of the reference range, based on age, 

3. Tissue Transglutaminase IgG will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 83516).

Clinical Significance

Celiac disease is caused by an immune response to gluten in genetically sensitive individuals. The diagnosis is largely based on a biopsy of the small intestine, but serologic tests also help support a diagnosis and may assist identification of patients who may require biopsy.

Tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG, IgA) is a marker with 95% sensitivity and specificity. Total IgA is measured because 2-3% of celiac disease patients are IgA deficient. Because tTG, IgA, and anti-Gliadin IgA tend to decrease in patients on a gluten-free diet, these markers are also used to assess dietary compliance.

The endomysial antibody (EMA, IgA) assay has high specificity for celiac disease and is used to confirm positive anti-tTG results.


Ulta - GI, Gut & Digestion Discovery Panel

Description: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), among other gastrointestinal problems, are understood only by ruling out other conditions. This requires some sleuthing—tests that measure some common and less recognized problems that result in GI symptoms. For example, frequent antibiotics, inadequate nutrient intake, and gut infections can cause nutrient deficiencies. And these deficiencies can cause more digestive problems. A vicious positive feedback cycle. With nutrients, such as zinc and RBC magnesium along with comprehensive celiac and inflammation results, this panel leaves few stones unturned. There are even tests for allergy (IgE total) and full thyroid activity. Once again, it is worth stating that a skilled professional eye is helpful to understand meaning and possible unique interactions taking place.

  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets) #6399
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) #10231
  • Ferritin #457
  • Hemoglobin A1c with eAG #16802
  • Insulin #561
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios #19543
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) #927
  • Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy, Total, Immunoassay #17306
  • Gliadin (Deamidated Peptide) Antibody (IgG) #11212
  • Celiac Disease Comprehensive Panel #19955
  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) #4420
  • Magnesium, RBC #623
  • Prealbumin #4847
  • Zinc #945
  • T3, Free #34429
  • T4, Free #866
  • TSH #899
  • IgE #542

Description: The CRP test is used to identify and/or monitor inflammation in patients.

Also Known As: CRP Test, Inflammation test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a C-Reactive Protein test ordered?

When a person's medical history and signs and symptoms indicate that they may have a significant bacterial infection, a CRP test may be recommended. When a newborn displays signs of infection or when a person has sepsis symptoms including fever, chills, and rapid breathing and heart rate, it may be ordered.

It's also commonly requested on a regular basis to check illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and it's routinely repeated to see if medication is working. This is especially effective for inflammation issues because CRP levels decrease as inflammation decreases.

What does a C-Reactive Protein blood test check for?

C-reactive protein is a protein produced by the liver and released into the bloodstream within a few hours following tissue injury, infection, or other inflammatory event. After trauma or a heart attack, with active or uncontrolled autoimmune illnesses, and with acute bacterial infections like sepsis, markedly higher levels are reported. CRP levels can rise by a thousand-fold in response to inflammatory diseases, and their elevation in the blood can occur before pain, fever, or other clinical signs. The test detects inflammation caused by acute situations or monitors disease activity in chronic diseases by measuring the level of CRP in the blood.

The CRP test is not a diagnostic tool, although it can tell a doctor if inflammation is occurring. This information can be combined with other indicators like signs and symptoms, a physical exam, and other tests to establish whether someone has an acute inflammatory disorder or is having a flare-up of a chronic inflammatory disease. The health care provider may next do additional tests and treatment.

This CRP test should not be confused with the hs-CRP test. These are two separate CRP tests, each of which measures a different range of CRP levels in the blood for different purposes.

Lab tests often ordered with a C-Reactive Protein test:

  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • Procalcitonin
  • ANA
  • Rheumatoid Factor
  • Complement

Conditions where a C-Reactive Protein test is recommended:

  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Sepsis
  • Vasculitis
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Meningitis and Encephalitis

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a C-Reactive Protein test?

A health practitioner uses the C-reactive protein test to diagnose inflammation. CRP is an acute phase reactant, a protein produced by the liver and released into the bloodstream within a few hours following tissue injury, infection, or other inflammatory event. The CRP test is not a diagnostic test for any ailment, but it can be used in conjunction with other tests to determine whether a person has an acute or chronic inflammatory disorder.

CRP, for example, can be used to detect or track substantial inflammation in someone who is suspected of having an acute ailment like:

  • Sepsis is a dangerous bacterial infection.
  • An infection caused by a fungus
  • Inflammation of the pelvis

People with chronic inflammatory diseases can use the CRP test to detect flare-ups and/or see if their medication is working. Here are a few examples:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Arthritis, which can take many forms.
  • Autoimmune disorders, examples include lupus and vasculitis

CRP is occasionally requested in conjunction with an erythrocyte sedimentation rate, another inflammatory test. While the CRP test is not specific enough to diagnose an illness, it does serve as a broad marker for infection and inflammation, alerting doctors to the need for more testing and treatment. A variety of additional tests may be used to determine the source of inflammation, depending on the probable cause.

What do my C-Reactive Protein test results mean?

CRP levels in the blood are usually low.

CRP levels in the blood that are high or rising indicate the existence of inflammation, but they don't tell you where it is or what's causing it. A high CRP level can establish the presence of a severe bacterial infection in people who are suspected of having one. High levels of CRP in persons with chronic inflammatory disorders indicate a flare-up or that treatment isn't working.

When the CRP level rises and then falls, it indicates that the inflammation or infection is diminishing and/or responding to treatment.

Is there anything else I should know about C-Reactive Protein?

CRP levels can rise during pregnancy, as well as with the use of birth control tablets or hormone replacement therapy. Obese people have also been found to have higher CRP levels.

In the presence of inflammation, the erythrocyte sedimentation rate test will also rise; however, CRP rises first and then falls faster than the ESR.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Cadmium is a naturally occurring element that is mined and used in industrial production because of its durability. Excessive cadmium exposure can damage lungs, kidneys, and the digestive tract.

Cadmium is a naturally occurring element that is mined and used in industrial production because of its durability. Excessive cadmium exposure can damage lungs, kidneys, and the digestive tract.

Clinical Significance
Micronutrient, Cadmium, Blood - Cadmium is a naturally occurring element that is mined and used in industrial production because of its durability. Excessive cadmium exposure can damage lungs, kidneys, and the digestive tract.

Patients must be 18 years of age or greater.

Reference Range(s)

Adults, Non-Smokers 1.7 mcg/L or less
Adults, Smokers 5.0 mcg/L or less
OSHA Reference Range 5.0 mcg/L
Toxic Concentration Early signs of toxicity have been observed at 30 mcg/L 

Reference range not available for individuals <18 years for this micronutrient test.


Cadmium is a naturally occurring element that is mined and used in industrial production because of its durability. Excessive cadmium exposure can damage lungs, kidneys, and the digestive tract.

Carnitine, LC/MS/MS Includes: Carnitine, Total; Carnitine, Free; Carnitine, Esters; Esterified/Free Ratio

 

Clinical Significance

Serum carnitine analysis is useful in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with carnitine deficiency (either primary or secondary). Primary carnitine deficiency is an autosomal recessively inherited genetic condition that affects carnitine uptake by cells and tissues through a defect in the plasma membrane carnitine transporter. Secondary carnitine deficiency can be seen in some disease states or in patients on carnitine-poor diets, but is also seen in a number of metabolic disorders. In these disorders, carnitine complexes with the accumulated substrate of the blocked metabolic step, and the resulting acylcarnitine ester is excreted in the urine, leading to a depletion of carnitine in the patient


Description: The celiac disease comprehensive panel test screens for antibodies associated with celiac disease in your blood’s serum.

Specimens from children less than 4 years of age (i.e., less than 48 months) are not appropriate for this test. The test for children 4 years of age and younger is the Celiac Disease Comprehensive Panel, Infant (test code 15981).

Also Known As: Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase Antibody test, tTG Test, tTGA Test, Endomysial Antibody Test, EMA Test, DGP Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

IMPORTANT - Note this is Reflex Test which if additional tests are run you will be charged for the specific tests that the lab peforms. Additional test will be run if the following criteria are met.
If the Tissue Transglutaminase IgA is positive,

  1. Endomysial Antibody Screen (IgA) will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 86255).
  1. If the Endomysial Antibody Screen (IgA) is positive, 
  2. Endomysial Antibody Titer will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 86256).
  3. If the Total IgA is less than the lower limit of the reference range, based on age, 
  4. Tissue Transglutaminase IgG will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 83516).

When is a Comprehensive Celiac Disease Panel test ordered?

Celiac disease tests are requested when signs and symptoms of celiac disease, malnutrition, and/or malabsorption are present. The condition is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are typically ambiguous and varied. The symptoms may be faint at first and go unrecognized, but they will gradually worsen or appear irregularly. The illness can affect several sections of the body.

When somebody with celiac disease has been on a gluten-free regimen for a while, one or more antibody tests may be required. This is done to ensure that antibody levels have dropped and that the diet has been successful in reversing the damage to the gut lining.

Asymptomatic people may be examined if they have a close family with celiac disease, such as a parent or sibling, but celiac disease testing is not suggested as a general population screening at this time.

What does a Comprehensive Celiac Disease Panel blood test check for?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition marked by an abnormal immune response to gluten, a protein present in wheat and related grains such as rye and barley. Antibodies to celiac disease have been created to aid in the diagnosis and monitoring of the disease as well as a few other gluten-sensitive disorders. These tests look for autoantibodies in the blood, which are produced by the body as part of the immune response.

The small intestine is inflamed, and the villi that line the intestinal wall are damaged and destroyed as a result of the immunological response. The villi are tiny tissue folds that enhance the surface area of the intestine, allowing nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fluids, and electrolytes to be absorbed. When a gluten-sensitive person is exposed to gluten, the body releases autoantibodies that attack intestinal villi constituents. When villi are damaged or eliminated, the body's ability to absorb food is greatly reduced, and signs of malnutrition and malabsorption appear.

Celiac disease was previously only diagnosed by examining a tissue biopsy of the small intestine. The emergence of less invasive blood tests to check for celiac disease has lowered the amount of biopsies required.

The level of certain autoantibodies in the blood is measured in Celiac disease blood tests. There are tests to detect the IgA and IgG classes of autoantibodies, but the ones that assess IgA are more specific and are virtually solely utilized. IgG and IgA are two of five antibody protein classes produced by the immune system in reaction to a perceived danger. In gastrointestinal secretions, IgA is the most common antibody.

If a person has an IgA deficit, autoantibody testing for IgG may be ordered. This happens roughly 3% of the time in celiac disease patients and can result in false-negative test findings.

Celiac disease tests include:

  • IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody detects antibodies to tissue transglutaminase, an enzyme that induces protein crosslinking. The most sensitive and specific blood test for celiac disease is anti-tTG, IgA. People with an IgA deficiency may be prescribed anti-tTG from the IgG class.
  • Quantitative immunoglobulin A: determines if someone is deficient in the IgA class of antibodies by measuring the total amount of IgA in their blood.
  • Anti-DGP IgA antibodies are detected by deamidated gliadin peptide antibodies, IgA; like anti-tTG, the IgG class can be used to diagnose an IgA deficit.

Lab tests often ordered with a Comprehensive Celiac Disease Panel test:

  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Fecal globulin
  • Total Protein
  • Albumin
  • Calcium
  • Iron Total
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Ferritin
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Antibody Testing
  • ANA Screen
  • Sed Rate
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • F-Actin

Conditions where a Comprehensive Celiac Disease Panel test is recommended:

  • Celiac Diseae
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Malabsorption
  • Malnutrition
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

How does my health care provider use a Comprehensive Celiac Disease Panel test?

Celiac disease antibody tests are used to diagnose and monitor celiac disease, an autoimmune condition caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten, a protein found in wheat and related food proteins found in rye and barley. Celiac disease tests are typically recommended for persons who have symptoms including anemia and gastrointestinal pain.

Because about four to twelve percent of people with close relatives that have celiac disease have or will develop celiac disease themselves, celiac testing may be used to screen for asymptomatic celiac disease. Those with other autoimmune illnesses may also be subjected to testing.

The number of certain antibodies in the blood is measured in Celiac disease blood tests. The following are the most common tests:

  • The primary test ordered to screen for celiac disease is tissue transglutaminase antibody, IgA class. According to the American College of Gastroenterology's 2013 guidelines, it is the single test preferred by the American Gastroenterology Association and the American Gastroenterology Association for the identification of celiac disease in persons over the age of two years. If you have an IgA deficiency, you can obtain anti-tTG from the IgG class as an alternative. If the anti-tTG, IgA, or IgG test is positive, it can be used to monitor a person with celiac disease and assess treatment success; antibody levels should reduce as gluten is removed from the diet. Although these tests are called "tissue tests," they actually measure blood.
  • Immunoglobulin quantification A test that is ordered in conjunction with, prior to, or after an anti-tTG test to detect IgA deficiency, which occurs in about 2-3 percent of celiac disease patients and can result in false-negative test results. If a person has an IgA deficit, a test for autoantibodies of the IgG class may be ordered.
  • Antibodies to deamidated gliadin peptides, IgA or IgG, may be positive in certain celiac disease patients who are negative for anti-tTG, particularly children under the age of two. It's sometimes ordered in conjunction with or after an anti-tTG test, especially if the latter is negative. The American College of Gastroenterology recommends DGP IgG testing in addition to anti-tTG IgG testing for persons with low IgA or IgA deficiency. If the anti-DGP test is positive, celiac disease can be monitored.

Less frequently used tests include:

  • Anti-endomysial antibodies – antibodies produced in response to continuing injury to the intestinal lining; tTg was discovered to be the chemical detected in this test. Anti-EMA antibodies of the IgA class are found in nearly 100% of persons with active celiac disease and 70% of people with dermatitis herpetiformis. Because the test is more difficult to perform and interpret than anti-tTg, it is utilized less frequently.
  • Anti-reticulin antibody test — not as specific or sensitive as the other autoantibodies; it's identified in roughly 60% of celiac disease patients and 25% of dermatitis herpetiformis patients; it's rarely requested.
  • A biopsy of the small intestine is used to confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease by looking for damage to the intestinal villi. Due to the invasive nature and high expense of a biopsy, antibody tests are frequently used to identify persons with a high risk of celiac disease.

Other tests may be conducted to establish the severity of the disease and the extent of any consequences that may occur, such as malnutrition, malabsorption, and organ involvement. Examples of tests include:

  • Anti-F-actin — A positive result may suggest greater intestine damage if a person has been diagnosed with celiac disease and a health practitioner wants to assess the severity of intestinal damage.
  • CBC to rule out anemia
  • ESR is used to assess inflammation.
  • CRP is used to assess inflammation.
  • CMP is used to check electrolyte, protein, and calcium levels, as well as the kidney and liver's health.
  • Vitamin D, B12, and folate are used to assess vitamin deficiency.
  • To detect iron shortage, doctors use iron, iron binding capacity, or transferrin, and ferritin.
  • Stool fat is used to assess malabsorption.

Because celiac disease patients may also have lactose intolerance, celiac disease testing may be combined with other intolerance and allergy testing.

What do my Celiac Disease panel test results mean?

An intestinal biopsy is usually performed after all positive and ambiguous celiac disease testing. Celiac disease is diagnosed definitively with a biopsy.

When a person with celiac disease avoids gluten from his or her diet, autoantibody levels should decrease. If they don't go down and the symptoms don't go away, there could be hidden gluten in the diet that hasn't been eliminated, or the person could have one of the uncommon kinds of celiac disease that is resistant to dietary adjustments. Rising levels of autoantibodies suggest noncompliance with a gluten-free diet when celiac disease tests are used to track progress.

Celiac disease tests may be negative if the person being tested has not consumed gluten for several weeks to months prior to the test. If the doctor suspects celiac disease, he or she may administer a gluten challenge, which involves introducing gluten into the patient's diet for several weeks or months to see if symptoms reappear. Celiac disease tests may be redone at that time, or a biopsy may be performed to look for damage to the villi in the intestine.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: A CBC or Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets test is a blood test that measures many important features of your blood’s red and white blood cells and platelets. A Complete Blood Count can be used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide variety of conditions such as infection, anemia, and leukemia. It also looks at other important aspects of your blood health such as hemoglobin, which carries oxygen. 

Also Known As: CBC test, Complete Blood Count Test, Total Blood Count Test, CBC with Differential and Platelets test, Hemogram test  

Collection Method: Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: Whole Blood 

Test Preparation: No preparation required 

When is a Complete Blood Count test ordered?  

The complete blood count (CBC) is an extremely common test. When people go to the doctor for a standard checkup or blood work, they often get a CBC. Suppose a person is healthy and their results are within normal ranges. In that case, they may not need another CBC unless their health condition changes, or their healthcare professional believes it is necessary. 

When a person exhibits a variety of signs and symptoms that could be connected to blood cell abnormalities, a CBC may be done. A health practitioner may request a CBC to help diagnose and determine the severity of lethargy or weakness, as well as infection, inflammation, bruises, or bleeding. 

When a person is diagnosed with a disease that affects blood cells, a CBC is frequently done regularly to keep track of their progress. Similarly, if someone is being treated for a blood condition, a CBC may be performed on a regular basis to see if the treatment is working. 

Chemotherapy, for example, can influence the generation of cells in the bone marrow. Some drugs can lower WBC counts in the long run. To monitor various medication regimens, a CBC may be required on a regular basis. 

What does a Complete Blood Count test check for? 

The complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test that determines the number of cells in circulation. White blood cells (WBCs), red blood cells (RBCs), and platelets (PLTs) are three types of cells suspended in a fluid called plasma. They are largely created and matured in the bone marrow and are released into the bloodstream when needed under normal circumstances. 

A CBC is mainly performed with an automated machine that measures a variety of factors, including the number of cells present in a person's blood sample. The findings of a CBC can reveal not only the quantity of different cell types but also the physical properties of some of the cells. 

Significant differences in one or more blood cell populations may suggest the presence of one or more diseases. Other tests are frequently performed to assist in determining the reason for aberrant results. This frequently necessitates visual confirmation via a microscope examination of a blood smear. A skilled laboratory technician can assess the appearance and physical features of blood cells, such as size, shape, and color, and note any anomalies. Any extra information is taken note of and communicated to the healthcare provider. This information provides the health care provider with further information about the cause of abnormal CBC results. 

The CBC focuses on three different types of cells: 

WBCs (White Blood Cells) 

The body uses five different types of WBCs, also known as leukocytes, to keep itself healthy and battle infections and other types of harm. The five different leukocytes are eosinophiles, lymphocytes, neutrophiles, basophils, and monocytes. They are found in relatively steady numbers in the blood. Depending on what is going on in the body, these values may momentarily rise or fall. An infection, for example, can cause the body to manufacture more neutrophils in order to combat bacterial infection. The amount of eosinophils in the body may increase as a result of allergies. A viral infection may cause an increase in lymphocyte production. Abnormal (immature or mature) white cells multiply fast in certain illness situations, such as leukemia, raising the WBC count. 

RBCs (Red Blood Cells) 

The bone marrow produces red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes, which are transferred into the bloodstream after maturing. Hemoglobin, a protein that distributes oxygen throughout the body, is found in these cells. Because RBCs have a 120-day lifespan, the bone marrow must constantly manufacture new RBCs to replace those that have aged and disintegrated or have been lost due to hemorrhage. A variety of diseases, including those that cause severe bleeding, can alter the creation of new RBCs and their longevity. 

The CBC measures the number of RBCs and hemoglobin in the blood, as well as the proportion of RBCs in the blood (hematocrit), and if the RBC population appears to be normal. RBCs are generally homogeneous in size and shape, with only minor differences; however, considerable variances can arise in illnesses including vitamin B12 and folate inadequacy, iron deficiency, and a range of other ailments. Anemia occurs when the concentration of red blood cells and/or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood falls below normal, resulting in symptoms such as weariness and weakness. In a far smaller percentage of cases, there may be an excess of RBCs in the blood (erythrocytosis or polycythemia). This might obstruct the flow of blood through the tiny veins and arteries in extreme circumstances. 

Platelets 

Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are small cell fragments that aid in the regular clotting of blood. A person with insufficient platelets is more likely to experience excessive bleeding and bruises. Excess platelets can induce excessive clotting or excessive bleeding if the platelets are not operating properly. The platelet count and size are determined by the CBC. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Complete Blood Count test: 

  • Reticulocytes
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Basic Metabolic Panel
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • Prothrombin with INR and Partial Thromboplastin Times
  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Von Willebrand Factor Antigen

Conditions where a Complete Blood Count test is recommended: 

  • Anemia
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiency
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Heart Disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Leukemia
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Cancer
  • Bleeding Disorders
  • Inflammation
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Mononucleosis

Commonly Asked Questions: 

How does my health care provider use a Complete Blood Count test? 

The complete blood count (CBC) is a common, comprehensive screening test used to measure a person's overall health status.  

What do my Complete Blood Count results mean? 

A low Red Blood Cell Count, also known as anemia, could be due many different causes such as chronic bleeding, a bone marrow disorder, and nutritional deficiency just to name a few. A high Red Blood Cell Count, also known as polycythemia, could be due to several conditions including lung disease, dehydration, and smoking. Both Hemoglobin and Hematocrit tend to reflect Red Blood Cell Count results, so if your Red Blood Cell Count is low, your Hematocrit and Hemoglobin will likely also be low. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

What do my Differential results mean? 

A low White Blood Cell count or low WBC count, also known as leukopenia, could be due to a number of different disorders including autoimmune issues, severe infection, and lymphoma. A high White Blood Cell count, or high WBC count, also known as leukocytosis, can also be due to many different disorders including infection, leukemia, and inflammation. Abnormal levels in your White Blood Cell Count will be reflected in one or more of your different white blood cells. Knowing which white blood cell types are affected will help your healthcare provider narrow down the issue. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

What do my Platelet results mean? 

A low Platelet Count, also known as thrombocytopenia, could be due to a number of different disorders including autoimmune issues, viral infection, and leukemia. A high Platelet Count, also known as Thrombocytosis, can also be due to many different disorders including cancer, iron deficiency, and rheumatoid arthritis. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported. Certain biomarkers do not appear in healthy individuals. 

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Reflex Parameters for Manual Slide Review
  Less than  Greater Than 
WBC  1.5 x 10^3  30.0 x 10^3 
Hemoglobin  7.0 g/dL  19.0 g/dL 
Hematocrit  None  75%
Platelet  100 x 10^3  800 x 10^3 
MCV  70 fL  115 fL 
MCH  22 pg  37 pg 
MCHC  29 g/dL  36.5 g/dL 
RBC  None  8.00 x 10^6 
RDW  None  21.5
Relative Neutrophil %  1% or ABNC <500  None 
Relative Lymphocyte %  1% 70%
Relative Monocyte %  None  25%
Eosinophil  None  35%
Basophil  None  3.50%
     
Platelet  <75 with no flags,
>100 and <130 with platelet clump flag present,
>1000 
Instrument Flags Variant lymphs, blasts,
immature neutrophils,  nRBC’s, abnormal platelets,
giant platelets, potential interference
     
The automated differential averages 6000+ cells. If none of the above parameters are met, the results are released without manual review.
CBC Reflex Pathway

Step 1 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes:

  • Confirmation of differential percentages
  • WBC and platelet estimates, when needed
  • Full review of RBC morphology
  • Comments for toxic changes, RBC inclusions, abnormal lymphs, and other
  • significant findings
  • If the differential percentages agree with the automated counts and no abnormal cells are seen, the automated differential is reported with appropriate comments

Step 2 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes: If any of the following are seen on the slide review, Laboratory staff will perform a manual differential:

  • Immature, abnormal, or toxic cells
  • nRBC’s
  • Disagreement with automated differential
  • Atypical/abnormal RBC morphology
  • Any RBC inclusions

Step 3 If any of the following are seen on the manual differential, a Pathologist will review the slide:

  • WBC<1,500 with abnormal cells noted
  • Blasts/immature cells, hairy cell lymphs, or megakaryocytes
  • New abnormal lymphocytes or monocytes
  • Variant or atypical lymphs >15%
  • Blood parasites
  • RBC morphology with 3+ spherocytes, RBC inclusions, suspect Hgb-C,
  • crystals, Pappenheimer bodies or bizarre morphology
  • nRBC’s

Description: A Comprehensive Metabolic Panel or CMP is a blood test that is a combination of a Basic Metabolic Panel, a Liver Panel, and electrolyte panel, and is used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a variety of conditions and diseases such as liver disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. 

Also Known As: CMP, Chem, Chem-14, Chem-12, Chem-21, Chemistry Panel, Chem Panel, Chem Screen, Chemistry Screen, SMA 12, SMA 20, SMA 21, SMAC, Chem test

Collection Method: 

Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: 

Serum 

Test Preparation: 

9-12 hours fasting is preferred. 

When is a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test ordered:  

A CMP is frequently requested as part of a lab test for a medical evaluation or yearly physical. A CMP test consists of many different tests that give healthcare providers a range of information about your health, including liver and kidney function, electrolyte balance, and blood sugar levels. To confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis, abnormal test results are frequently followed up with other tests that provide a more in depth or targeted analysis of key areas that need investigating. 

What does a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel blood test check for? 

The complete metabolic panel (CMP) is a set of 20 tests that provides critical information to a healthcare professional about a person's current metabolic status, check for liver or kidney disease, electrolyte and acid/base balance, and blood glucose and blood protein levels. Abnormal results, particularly when they are combined, can suggest a problem that needs to be addressed. 

The following tests are included in the CMP: 

  • Albumin: this is a measure of Albumin levels in your blood. Albumin is a protein made by the liver that is responsible for many vital roles including transporting nutrients throughout the body and preventing fluid from leaking out of blood vessels. 

  • Albumin/Globulin Ratio: this is a ratio between your total Albumin and Globulin  

  • Alkaline Phosphatase: this is a measure of Alkaline phosphatase or ALP in your blood. Alkaline phosphatase is a protein found in all body tissues, however the ALP found in blood comes from the liver and bones. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage, gallbladder disease, or bone disorder. 

  • Alt: this is a measure of Alanine transaminase or ALT in your blood. Alanine Aminotransferase is an enzyme found in the highest amounts in the liver with small amounts in the heart and muscles. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage. 

  • AST: this is a measure of Aspartate Aminotransferase or AST. Aspartate Aminotransferase is an enzyme found mostly in the heart and liver, with smaller amounts in the kidney and muscles. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage. 

  • Bilirubin, Total: this is a measure of bilirubin in your blood. Bilirubin is an orange-yellowish waste product produced from the breakdown of heme which is a component of hemoglobin found in red blood cells. The liver is responsible for removal of bilirubin from the body. 

  • Bun/Creatinine Ratio: this is a ratio between your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and Creatinine result.  

  • Calcium: this is a measurement of calcium in your blood. Calcium is the most abundant and one of the most important minerals in the body as it essential for proper nerve, muscle, and heart function. 

  • Calcium: is used for blood clot formation and the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth. 

  • Carbon Dioxide: this is a measure of carbon dioxide in your blood. Carbon dioxide is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as chloride, potassium, and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels.  

  • Chloride: this is a measure of Chloride in your blood. Chloride is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as potassium and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels. 

  • Creatinine: this is a measure of Creatinine levels in your blood. Creatinine is created from the breakdown of creatine in your muscles and is removed from your body by the kidneys. Elevated creatinine levels are often associated with kidney damage. 

  • Egfr African American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells. 

  • Egfr Non-Afr. American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells. 

  • Globulin: this is a measure of all blood proteins in your blood that are not albumin. 

  • Glucose: this is a measure of glucose in your blood. Glucose is created from the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion and is the body’s primary source of energy. 

  • Potassium: this is a measure of Potassium in your blood. Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in cell metabolism, nerve and muscle function, and transport of nutrients into cells and removal of wastes products out of cells. 

  • Protein, Total: this is a measure of total protein levels in your blood. 
    Sodium: this is a measure of Sodium in your blood. Sodium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in nerve and muscle function. 

  • Sodium: this is a measure of sodium in your blood's serum. Sodium is a vital mineral for nerve and muscle cell function.

  • Urea Nitrogen (Bun): this is a measure of Urea Nitrogen in your blood, also known as Blood UreaNitrogen (BUN). Urea is a waste product created in the liver when proteins are broken down into amino acids. Elevated levels are often associated with kidney damage. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test: 

  • Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Lipid Panel
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • Prothrombin with INR and Partial Thromboplastin Times
  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • C-Reactive Protein

Conditions where a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test is recommended: 

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Hypertension

Commonly Asked Questions: 

How does my health care provider use a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test? 

The comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a broad screening tool for assessing organ function and detecting diseases like diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. The CMP test may also be requested to monitor known disorders such as hypertension and to check for any renal or liver-related side effects in persons taking specific drugs. If a health practitioner wants to follow two or more separate CMP components, the full CMP might be ordered because it contains more information. 

What do my Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test results mean? 

The results of the tests included in the CMP are usually analyzed together to look for patterns. A single abnormal test result may indicate something different than a series of abnormal test findings. A high result on one of the liver enzyme tests, for example, is not the same as a high result on several liver enzyme tests. 

Several sets of CMPs, frequently performed on various days, may be examined to gain insights into the underlying disease and response to treatment, especially in hospitalized patients. 

Out-of-range findings for any of the CMP tests can be caused by a variety of illnesses, including kidney failure, breathing issues, and diabetes-related complications, to name a few. If any of the results are abnormal, one or more follow-up tests are usually ordered to help determine the reason and/or establish a diagnosis. 

Is there anything else I should know? 

A wide range of prescription and over-the-counter medications can have an impact on the results of the CMP's components. Any medications you're taking should be disclosed to your healthcare professional. Similarly, it is critical to provide a thorough history because many other circumstances can influence how your results are interpreted. 

What's the difference between the CMP and the BMP tests, and why would my doctor choose one over the other? 

The CMP consists of 14 tests, while the basic metabolic panel (BMP) is a subset of those with eight tests. The liver (ALP, ALT, AST, and bilirubin) and protein (albumin and total protein) tests are not included. If a healthcare provider wants a more thorough picture of a person's organ function or to check for specific illnesses like diabetes or liver or kidney disease, he or she may prescribe a CMP rather than a BMP. 

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Please note the following regarding BUN/Creatinine ratio: 

The lab does not report the calculation for the BUN/Creatinine Ratio unless one or both biomarkers’ results fall out of the published range. 

If you still wish to see the value, it's easy to calculate. Simply take your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and divide it by your Creatinine result.  

As an example, if your Urea Nitrogen result is 11 and your Creatinine result is 0.86, then you would divide 11 by 0.86 and get a BUN/Creatinine Ratio result of 12.79. 


Description: Fecal Globulin by immunochemistry is a test that measures the amount of blood present in fecal samples. The results from the fecal globulin test can be used to detect a lower gastrointestinal disorder. It is recommended to be a part of the routine physical examination.

Also Known As: Fecal Immunochemical Test, Fecal Occult Blood Test, Stool Occult Blood Test, FIT, FOBT

Collection Method: Fecal specimen collected from toilet water and brushed onto InSure® FOBT test card

Specimen Type: Fecal Specimen

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Fecal Globin test ordered?

When a person chooses fecal occult blood testing as a method of colon cancer screening, the American Cancer Society and other major healthcare organizations recommend yearly testing. The American Cancer Society and others recommend that colon cancer screening begin around age 50 for the general population, but it may begin earlier if a person has a family history of colon cancer.

An FOBT may be ordered by a doctor if a patient has unexplained anemia that could be caused by gastrointestinal bleeding.

What does a Fecal Globin test check for?

The majority of colon cancer cases begin with the formation of benign intestinal polyps. Benign polyps are quite common in adults over 50, and while the majority do not cause health problems, some can turn malignant and spread to other parts of the body. These finger-like growths protrude into the rectum or the intestinal cavity. They can be delicate and bleed on occasion, as when food debris rubs against them.

The blood expelled is normally not visible in the stool, but a fecal occult blood test or a fecal immunochemical test can detect it. The FOBT and FIT are effective colorectal cancer screening techniques because this small amount of blood may be the earliest and sometimes only evidence of early colon cancer. A guaiac-based test, an over-the-counter flushable reagent pad, and an immunochemical technique are all options for testing.

It is advised that at least three stool samples be taken on different days be tested. According to the American Cancer Society, a single test performed during a digital rectal exam at a doctor's office is not recommended since it may not be sensitive enough to detect cancer. Because collecting feces on three different days increases the chances of identifying cancer, the home FOBT or FIT is advised. Additionally, those who choose this type of colon cancer screening should be screened every year.

Lab tests often ordered with a Fecal Globin test:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Calprotectin

Conditions where a Fecal Globin test is recommended:

  • Colon Cancer

How does my health care provider use a Fecal Globin test?

The fecal occult blood test, also known as the fecal immunochemical test, is primarily used to screen for early colon cancer. The majority of colon cancer cases begin with the formation of benign intestinal polyps. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop benign polyps. The majority are non-cancerous, however some can develop malignant.

Blood in the stool could be the only sign of early cancer, so if caught early, therapy can begin right away, increasing the chances of a cure.

What do my Fecal Occult Blood test results mean?

Normally, the fecal occult blood test is negative.

A positive test result for the guaiac-based FOBT shows that abnormal bleeding is occurring anywhere in the digestive tract. Ulcers, diverticulosis, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, hemorrhoids, blood eaten owing to bleeding gums or nosebleeds, or benign or malignant tumors could all cause blood loss.

A positive result for the fecal immunochemical test shows abnormal bleeding in the lower digestive tract. Other sources of blood, such as those found in the diet, do not generate a positive result since this test only identifies human hemoglobin. Furthermore, hemoglobin from upper digestive tract hemorrhage is broken down before reaching the lower digestive tract and is undetectable by the FIT. As a result, the FIT is a more precise test than the gFOBT.

Follow-up testing is required after a positive result from either the guaiac-based FOBT or the immunochemical FIT. Direct imaging of the colon and rectum is generally used.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A Ferritin test is a blood test that measures Ferritin levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate the level of iron stored in your body.

Also Known As: Ferritin Serum Test, Ferritin Test, Ferritin Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Ferritin test ordered?

When a CBC test’s implies iron deficiency anemia due to small red blood cells or low hematocrit and hemoglobin levels, the ferritin test, and other iron tests, may be requested, even if other clinical symptoms have not yet arisen.

There are frequently no physical symptoms in the early stages of iron insufficiency. Symptoms rarely develop before hemoglobin falls below dangerous levels. However, when the iron deficit continues, symptoms emerge, prompting a doctor to order ferritin and other iron-related testing. The following are the most prevalent symptoms of iron deficiency anemia:

  • Chronic tiredness/fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Skin that is pale

Shortness of breath, ringing in the ears, sleepiness, and irritability may occur as iron levels are reduced. Chest pain, headaches, limb pains, shock, and even heart failure may occur as the anemia worsens. Learning impairments can occur in children. There are some symptoms that are specific to iron deficiency, in addition to the usual signs of anemia. Pica, a burning feeling in the tongue or a smooth tongue, ulcers at the corners of the mouth, and spoon-shaped finger- and toe-nails are only a few of the symptoms.

When iron overload is suspected, a ferritin level may be requested. Iron overload symptoms differ from person to person and tend to worsen over time. They are caused by an excess of iron in the blood and tissues. Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • Joint discomfort
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Loss of weight
  • Energy deficiency
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Suffering from a lack of sexual desire
  • Hair loss on the body
  • Congestive heart failure is an example of a cardiac issue

Other iron tests including a genetic test for hereditary hemochromatosis may be conducted to confirm the existence of iron excess.

What does a Ferritin blood test check for?

Ferritin is an iron-containing protein that stores iron in cells in its most basic form. The amount of total iron stored in the body is reflected in the little amount of ferritin released into the blood. This test determines how much ferritin is present in the blood.

About 70% of the iron consumed by the body is integrated into the hemoglobin of red blood cells in healthy humans. The remaining 30% is stored primarily as ferritin or hemosiderin, which is a combination of iron, proteins, and other elements. Hemosiderin and ferritin are typically found in the liver, although they can also be found in the bone marrow, spleen, and skeletal muscles.

Iron stores are depleted and ferritin levels fall when available iron is insufficient to meet the body's needs. This can happen owing to a lack of iron, poor absorption, or an increased need for iron, such as during pregnancy or if you have a condition that causes persistent blood loss. Before any indicators of iron shortage appear, significant loss of iron reserves may occur.

When the body absorbs more iron than it needs, iron storage and ferritin levels rise. Chronic iron absorption causes a gradual buildup of iron compounds in organs, which can eventually lead to organ malfunction and failure. Even on a typical diet, this happens in hemochromatosis, a hereditary disorder in which the body absorbs too much iron.

Lab tests often ordered with a Ferritin test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Iron Total
  • Iron Total and Total Iron binding capacity
  • Transferrin
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel
  • Zinc Protoporphyrin

Conditions where a Ferritin test is recommended:

  • Anemia
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Lead poisoning
  • Pregnancy
  • Restless Leg Syndrome

How does my health care provider use a Ferritin test?

The ferritin test is used to determine the amount of iron a person has in their body. To determine the existence and severity of iron shortage or iron overload, the test is sometimes ordered in conjunction with an iron test and a TIBC test.

One source of iron overload can be the use of iron supplements.

What does my ferritin lab test result mean?

Ferritin levels are frequently measured alongside other iron tests.

Ferritin levels are low in iron deficient people and high in people who have hemochromatosis or have had several blood transfusions.

Ferritin is an acute phase reactant that can be elevated in persons who have inflammation, liver illness, chronic infection, autoimmune disorders, or cancer. Ferritin isn't commonly utilized to detect or monitor these problems.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A Folate test measures the levels of folic acid in the blood. These results can be used to determine a folate deficiency and evaluate a person's nutritional status. Anemia and Neuropathy can also be evaluated using the results from this test.

Also Known As: Folate Serum Test, Folic Acid Test, Vitamin B9 Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Folate test ordered?

When a complete blood count and/or blood smear, performed as part of a health checkup or anemia evaluation, reveal a low red blood cell count with the presence of big RBCs, B12 and folate levels may be ordered. A high mean corpuscular volume, in particular, implies that the RBCs are enlarged.

When a person exhibits the following signs and symptoms of a deficit, testing for folate levels may be necessary.

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness, fatigue
  • Appetite loss.
  • Skin that is pale
  • Irregular heartbeats, rapid heart rate
  • Breathing problems
  • Tongue and mouth ache
  • In the feet, hands, arms, and legs, there is tingling, numbness, and/or burning 
  • Confusion or obliviousness
  • Paranoia

When a person is at risk of deficiency, such as those with a history of malnutrition or a condition associated to malabsorption, folate testing may be ordered.

Individuals being treated for malnutrition or a folate deficit may have these tests done on a frequent basis to see how effective their treatments are. This could be part of a long-term therapy plan for people who have a disease that causes chronic deficiency.

What does a Folate blood test check for?

The B complex of vitamins includes vitamins including vitamin B12 and folate. They are required for the creation of normal red blood cells, tissue and cell repair, and the synthesis of DNA, the genetic material in cells. Both are nutrients that the body cannot make and must be obtained from the diet.

Vitamin B9 tests, also known as folate tests, diagnose vitamin deficiencies by measuring vitamin levels in the liquid section of the blood. The amount of folate in red blood cells is sometimes tested as well.

Folate is a naturally occurring form of the vitamin, whereas folic acid is a supplement that can be added to foods and beverages. Leafy green vegetables, dry beans and peas, citrus fruits, yeast, and liver all contain it. Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, can be found in animal-based foods such red meat, fish, poultry, milk, yogurt, and eggs. Fortified cereals, breads, and other grain products have become key sources of B12 and folate in recent years

A lack of folate can cause macrocytic anemia, a condition in which red blood cells are bigger than normal. Megaloblastic anemia is a kind of macrocytic anemia marked by the generation of fewer but larger RBCs known as macrocytes, as well as cellular abnormalities in the bone marrow. Reduced white blood cell and platelet counts are two more test results linked to megaloblastic anemia.

Folate is required for cell division, which occurs in the developing fetus. In a growing fetus, a lack of folate during early pregnancy can raise the chance of neural tube abnormalities such spina bifida.

Folate deficiency is most commonly caused by inadequate intake of the vitamin through diet or supplements, poor absorption, or increased bodily requirement, as observed during pregnancy:

  • Dietary deficiencies are uncommon in the United States since many meals and beverages are fortified with vitamins that the body stores. Adults normally have around three months' worth of folate stored in their liver. Dietary deficiencies normally do not manifest symptoms until the body's vitamin supplies have been exhausted.
  • Increased demand—this can occur as a result of a range of diseases and disorders. When a woman is pregnant or nursing, in early childhood, with malignancies, or with chronic hemolytic anemias, there is an increased demand for folate.

Lab tests often ordered with a Folate test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Methylmalonic Acid
  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B7
  • Vitamin B12
  • Intrinsic Factor Antibody
  • Parietal Cell Antibody
  • Reticulocyte Count

Conditions where a Folate test is recommended:

  • Neural Tube Defects
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiencies
  • Anemia
  • Alcoholism
  • Malnutrition
  • Celiac Disease
  • Malabsorption
  • Neuropathy
  • Nervous System Disorders
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

How does my health care provider use a Folate test?

Separate tests for vitamin B12 and folate are frequently used in conjunction to detect deficiencies and to aid in the diagnosis of anemias such as pernicious anemia, an inflammatory condition that inhibits B12 absorption.

B12 and folate are two vitamins that the body cannot generate and must be obtained from the diet. They're needed for red blood cell creation, tissue and cell repair, and DNA synthesis, which is the genetic material in cells. B12 is required for normal nerve function.

B12 and folate tests can also be used to assess someone who is experiencing mental or behavioral changes, especially in the elderly. A B12 test can be ordered with or without folate, as well as with other screening laboratory tests like a complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, antinuclear antibody, C-reactive protein, and rheumatoid factor, to help determine why a person is exhibiting signs and symptoms of a nerve disorder.

B12 and folate tests can also be performed in conjunction with a variety of other tests to assess a person's overall health and nutritional status if they have signs and symptoms of substantial malnutrition or dietary malabsorption. People with alcoholism, liver disease, stomach cancer, or malabsorption diseases including celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or cystic fibrosis may fall into this category.

Testing may be performed to assess the success of treatment in patients with known B12 and folate deficits. This is especially true for people who cannot absorb B12 and/or folate effectively and must be treated for the rest of their lives.

Folate levels in the blood's liquid part might fluctuate depending on a person's recent diet. Because red blood cells contain 95 percent of circulating folate, a test to evaluate folate levels inside RBCs could be employed instead of or in addition to the serum test. Some doctors believe that the RBC folate test is a better predictor of long-term folate status and is more clinically useful than serum folate, however there is no consensus on this.

Homocysteine and methylmalonic acid are two more laboratory tests that can be used to detect B12 and folate deficits. In B12 deficiency, both homocysteine and MMA are high, whereas in folate deficit, only homocysteine, not MMA, is elevated. This distinction is critical because treating anemia with folate treats the anemia but not the brain damage, which may be irreparable.

What do my Folate Serum test results mean?

Normal folate levels may indicate that a person does not suffer from a deficiency and that the signs and symptoms are caused by something else. Normal levels, on the other hand, may indicate that a person's stored folate has not yet been depleted.

A low folate level in a person with signs and symptoms implies a deficiency, although it does not always indicate the severity of the anemia or related neuropathy. Additional tests are frequently performed to determine the source of the deficit. Low folate levels can be caused by a variety of factors.

Dietary folate deficiency is uncommon in the United States. It can be evident in people who are malnourished in general and vegans who do not eat any animal products. Folate deficiency has become extremely rare since the development of fortified cereals, breads, and other grain products.

Folate deficits can be caused by diseases that prevent them from being absorbed in the small intestine. These may include the following:

  • Pernicious anemia.
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Bacterial overgrowth or the presence of parasites in the intestines, such as tapeworms
  • Long-term usage of antacids or H2 proton pump inhibitors reduces stomach acid production.
  • Absorption can be considerably reduced by surgery that removes part of the stomach or the intestines, such as gastric bypass.
  • Insufficiency of the pancreas
  • Chronic alcoholism or heavy drinking
  • Some treatments, such as metformin, omeprazole, methotrexate, or anti-seizure medications like phenytoin.
  • Increased requirement for healthy fetal development, all pregnant women require an increased amount of folate and are advised to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. People who have cancer that has spread or who have chronic hemolytic anemia require more folate.
  • Smoking

If a person is taking supplements to treat a folate deficiency, normal or higher findings indicate that the treatment is working.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Clinical Significance
Micronutrient, Folate

Patients must be 18 years of age or greater.

Reference Range(s)
≥18 years    >5.4 ng/mL
Reference range not available for individuals <18 years for this micronutrient test.


Clinical Significance
Micronutrients, Antioxidants Panel

Patients must be 18 years of age or greater.

Includes
Micronutrient, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Micronutrient, Vitamin A (Retinol)
Micronutrient, Vitamin C
Micronutrient, Vitamin E

Patient Preparation
Overnight fasting required.
Avoid taking Coenzyme Q10 supplements the morning of the test.
Refrain from eating fruits or taking vitamin C supplements 24 hours prior to collection.

Reference Range(s)
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)    >35 ug/mL
Vitamin A (Retinol)
18-19 years    26-72 mcg/dL
>19 years    38-98 mcg/dL
Reference range not available for individuals <18 years for this micronutrient test.

Vitamin C
Male ≥18 years    0.2-2.1 mg/dL
Female ≥18 years    0.3-2.7 mg/dL
Reference range not available for individuals <18 years for this micronutrient test.

Vitamin E
Alpha Tocopherol    ≥18 years    5.7-19.9 mg/L
Beta-Gamma Tocopherol    ≥18 years    <4.4 mg/L
Reference range not available for individuals <18 years for this micronutrient test.


Detection of antibodies to gliadin, one of the major protein components of gluten, is a sensitive assay useful in diagnosing celiac disease. However, gliadin antibodies may be found in individuals without celiac disease; thus gliadin antibody assays are less specific than assays measuring antibodies to endomysium and transglutaminase. Recent work has revealed that gliadin-reactive antibodies from celiac patients bind to a very limited number of specific epitopes on the gliadin molecule. Further, deamidation of gliadin results in enhanced binding of gliadin antibodies. Based on this information, assays using deamidated gliadin peptides bearing the celiac-specific epitopes have much higher diagnostic accuracy for celiac disease when compared to standard gliadin antibody assays.

Detection of antibodies to gliadin, one of the major protein components of gluten, is a sensitive assay useful in diagnosing celiac disease. However, gliadin antibodies may be found in individuals without celiac disease; thus gliadin antibody assays are less specific than assays measuring antibodies to endomysium and transglutaminase. Recent work has revealed that gliadin-reactive antibodies from celiac patients bind to a very limited number of specific epitopes on the gliadin molecule. Further, deamidation of gliadin results in enhanced binding of gliadin antibodies. Based on this information, assays using deamidated gliadin peptides bearing the celiac-specific epitopes have much higher diagnostic accuracy for celiac disease when compared to standard gliadin antibody assays.

Excessive exposure to heavy metals can cause acute chronic toxicity. Heavy metals panel is intended to evaluate and monitor exposure to heavy metals and evaluate the process of detoxification. Excessive cadmium exposure can damage lungs, kidneys, and the digestive tract.

Description: Hemoglobin A1c is the protein Hemoglobin found in red blood cells, but with glucose attached to it. Hemoglobin A1c is used to check for and monitor diabetes as it shows average blood glucose levels over the past 2 to 3 months.

Also Known As: A1c Test, Glycohemoglobin Test, Glycated Hemoglobin Test, Glycosylated Hemoglobin Test, HbA1c Test, Estimated Average Glucose Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Whole Blood

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Hemoglobin A1c with eAG test ordered?

A1c may be requested as part of a routine physical examination or when a practitioner suspects a patient of having diabetes due to characteristic signs or symptoms of high blood sugar, such as:

  • Increased thirst and fluid intake
  • Increased urination
  • Increase in hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Vision is hazy
  • Infections that take a long time to heal

Adults who are overweight and have the following additional risk factors may consider doing the A1c test:

  • Physically inactive
  • Diabetes in a first-degree relative
  • Race/ethnicity that is at high risk such as African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders
  • Blood pressure that is high
  • A lipid profile that is abnormal.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome 
  • Cardiovascular disease 
  • Insulin resistance and other conditions links to insulin resistance

People who have not been diagnosed with diabetes but have been assessed to be at an increased risk of developing diabetes should have their A1c levels tested at least once a year.

Monitoring

The A1c test may be performed 2 to 4 times a year, depending on the type of diabetes a person has, how well their diabetes is controlled, and the healthcare provider's recommendations. If diabetics are fulfilling treatment goals and have stable glycemic control, the American Diabetes Association advises A1c testing at least twice a year. A1c may be ordered quarterly when someone is first diagnosed with diabetes or if control isn't good.

What does a Hemoglobin A1c with eAG blood test check for?

Hemoglobin A1c, often known as A1c or glycated hemoglobin, is hemoglobin that has been attached to glucose. By assessing the proportion of glycated hemoglobin, the A1c test determines the average quantity of glucose in the blood during the previous 2 to 3 months.

Hemoglobin is a protein present inside red blood cells that transports oxygen.

Glycated hemoglobin is generated in proportion to the amount of glucose in the blood. Once glucose attaches to hemoglobin, it stays there for the duration of the red blood cell's life, which is usually about 120 days. The most common kind of glycated hemoglobin is known as A1c. A1c is created on a daily basis and is gradually removed from the bloodstream as older RBCs die and younger RBCs replace them.

This test can be used to detect and diagnose diabetes, as well as the risk of developing it. According to the American Diabetes Association's standards of medical care in diabetes, diabetes can be diagnosed using either A1c or glucose.

This test can also be used to track the progress of a diabetic patient's treatment. It aids in determining how well a person's glucose levels have been controlled over time by medication. An A1c of less than 7% suggests good glucose control and a lower risk of diabetic complications for the majority of diabetics for monitoring reasons.

eAG may help you understand your A1C value because eAG is a unit similar to what you see regularly through self-monitoring on your meter.

Lab tests often ordered with a Hemoglobin A1c with eAG test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Glucose
  • Frucstosamine
  • Albumin
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Microalbumin w/creatinine
  • Lipid panel

Conditions where a Hemoglobin A1c with eAG test is recommended:

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes

How does my health care provider use a Hemoglobin A1c with eAG test?

Adults can use the hemoglobin A1c test to screen for and diagnose diabetes and prediabetes.

A fasting glucose or oral glucose tolerance test should be done to screen or diagnose diabetes in these instances.

The A1c test is also used to track diabetics' glucose control over time. Diabetics strive to maintain blood glucose levels that are as close to normal as feasible. This helps to reduce the risks of consequences associated with chronically high blood sugar levels, such as progressive damage to body organs such as the kidneys, eyes, cardiovascular system, and nerves. The result of the A1c test depicts the average quantity of glucose in the blood over the previous 2-3 months. This can help diabetics and their healthcare professionals determine whether the steps they're taking to control their diabetes are working or if they need to be tweaked.

A1c is a blood test that is usually used to help newly diagnosed diabetics identify how high their uncontrolled blood glucose levels have been in the previous 2-3 months. The test may be ordered multiple times throughout the control period, and then at least twice a year after that to ensure that good control is maintained.

What does my Hemoglobin A1c test result mean?

HbA1c levels is currently reported as a percentage for monitoring glucose control, and it is suggested that most diabetics try to keep their hemoglobin A1c below 7%. The closer diabetics can keep their A1c to the therapeutic objective of less than 7% without experiencing abnormally low blood glucose, the better their diabetes is controlled. The risk of problems rises as the A1c rises.

However, a person with type 2 diabetes may have an A1c goal set by their healthcare professional. The length of time since diagnosis, the presence of other diseases as well as diabetes complications, the risk of hypoglycemia complications, life expectancy, and whether or not the person has a support system and healthcare resources readily available are all factors that may influence the goal.

For example, a person with heart disease who has had type 2 diabetes for many years without diabetic complications may have a higher A1c target set by their healthcare provider, whereas someone who is otherwise healthy and newly diagnosed may have a lower target set by their healthcare provider as long as low blood sugar is not a significant risk.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Clinical Significance

Histamine is a mediator of the allergic response. Histamine release causes itching, flushing, hives, vomiting, syncope, and even shock. In addition, some patients with gastric carcinoids may exhibit high concentrations of histamine.

Patient Preparation 

Avoid taking allergy causing drugs, antihistamines, oral corticosteroids and substances which block H2 receptors 24 hours prior to collection.

 


Most Popular
For diagnosis of allergic disease. A normal IgE level does not exclude the possible presence of an allergic disorder.


Did you know that each year, 62 million Americans are diagnosed with digestive disorders? And 20 million Americans have chronic digestive diseases, with 25% of digestive diseases requiring surgery.

Your digestive health is key to your overall well-being, and digestive health lab tests are essential tools to maintaining your health.

Don't ignore your health. Your body speaks to you through its symptoms. If you're concerned you might have a digestive order, then keep reading this guide to learn what you need to know about digestive disorders and digestive health lab tests. 

What are Digestive Disorders

Digestive orders are conditions that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract comprises your gallbladder, pancreas, esophagus, liver, stomach, small and large intestines. 

The most common digestive orders include irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and colon cancer.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common and chronic disorder that can affect your digestive tract. Only a small amount of people with IBS have severe signs and symptoms. Typically, IBS doesn't cause changes in your intestinal tissue or increase your risk for colon cancer.

Symptoms vary but usually include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Changes in stool appearance

Causes usually include infections or exposure to extremely stressful events, especially during childhood. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of disorders that cause chronic inflammation and damage to your digestive tract. The two main types of  IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. 

Ulcerative colitis involves ulcers and inflammation along the superficial lining of your large intestine and rectum. 

Crohn's disease involves inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract. Crohn's disease can happen anywhere along your digestive tract and often skips certain areas while affecting others. The inflammation from Crohn's disease often involves deeper layers of your digestive tract. 

Symptoms of IBD vary, depending on the severity of the inflammation. But most of the time, both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding.

The exact cause of IBD isn't known, but one of the main causes is thought to be an immune system malfunction. When you have an abnormal immune response, your immune system goes on the attack causing inflammation and symptoms of IBD.

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is cancer that usually begins in the large intestine or colon area. Colon cancer usually affects older adults, but it happens at any age.

Colon cancer typically begins with small, noncancerous cells clump together and form polyps that attach to the colon's lining. Over time these polyps can grow into colon cancers, especially if you don't get regular colonoscopies and don't have them removed. For this reason, regular screenings for colon cancer are essential.

Colon cancer symptoms usually include a change in your stools like diarrhea or constipation. Other symptoms include rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss. 

If you get colon cancer, there are many treatments available to control it, like surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and chemotherapy.

Other Digestive Disorders

Other digestive disorders involve the other organs that are a part of your digestive process. Other digestive diseases include:

  • Gallstones and cholecystitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver problems like hepatitis and liver failure
  • Diverticulitis
  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Malabsorption

Risk factors for Digestive Disorders

One of the biggest risk factors for digestive disorders is your genetics. Certain digestive diseases are thought to be hereditary. These disorders include:

  • Crohn's disease
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Certain liver diseases
  • Celiac disease
  • Cystic fibrosis

Certain diseases in other parts of your body put you at higher risk for digestive disorders such as:

  • Scleroderma
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Heart failure 
  • HIV
  • Diabetes

Also, having a history of surgeries like gall bladder surgery, bowel resection, and bariatric surgery can put you at higher risk of developing a digestive order.

Causes of Digestive Disorders

 Common causes of digestive orders include:

  • bacterial infections
  • Viral infections
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Difficulty digesting certain foods

Other causes include lifestyle choices including:

  • High-stress levels
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Not exercising regularly

Some people experience functional disorders, meaning they experience symptoms, but all test results are normal. Unfortunately, functional disorders cause real symptoms and affect your quality of life, yet they are difficult to treat. Irritable bowel syndrome is an example of a functional disorder.

There are also structural causes from things like an ulcer in your stomach or intestines, as well as a cancerous tumor. Not only do structural problems cause digestive disorders, but so does your age. As we age, food doesn't move through us like it once did. 

Signs and Symptoms of Digestive Disorders

Digestive disorders can be mild or serious, but usually, signs of problems in the digestive tract include symptoms like:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bleeding
  • Heartburn or abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Problems swallowing
  • Weight gain or weight loss

Remember symptoms of digestive orders can vary depending on the condition, but for severe abdominal pain or blood in your stool, see your doctor immediately.

Diagnosis of Digestive Disorders

To reach a diagnosis, your doctor will first ask you about your medical history, family history and discuss what symptoms you've been experiencing. A physical exam is done next to assess for any obvious signs of illness.

Your doctor will first order a series of GI lab tests that will help assess your blood levels, inflammatory markers, and overall digestive health. These labs usually include a complete blood count, vitamin B12 level, and a celiac disease panel.

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may order other tests like a CT scan to study your digestive organs like the liver and pancreas. A barium enema is a series of tests that examine your rectum and the lower part of your small intestine. Barium is given through your rectum via an enema which highlights blockages and other problem areas.

Your doctor may also want you to have a colonoscopy. This procedure involves a long narrow tube that is inserted into your rectum up into the colon, and it helps identity:

  • Inflammation
  • Ulcers
  • Growths
  • Bleeding

An upper endoscopy allows your doctor to examine your esophagus and stomach. Under anesthesia, a tube is inserted through your mouth and throat to visualize the areas of your upper GI tract. 

Lab Tests for Digestive Disorders

digestive health panel is the best place to start to test for gastrointestinal diagnostic lab tests. A panel is a great tool to evaluate your blood, organs, and how a digestive disorder might be impacting your health.

complete blood count (CBC) measures your blood levels, white blood cells, platelets and is a good indicator of your overall health. 

comprehensive metabolic profile (CMP) checks things like your liver and kidney function, blood glucose, and electrolytes. And a c-reactive protein (CRP) measures the amount of inflammation in your body and can point towards inflammatory bowel disease.

You'll also have a celiac disease panel that will test your antibody levels for the presence of celiac disease, which is an autoimmune reaction to eating gluten. Your iron and total iron-binding capacity is also measured and is a good indicator of inflammatory disorders.

Your vitamin B12 and Vitamin D level are often decreased from malabsorption with digestive orders.

Other gastrointestinal diagnostic tests include a fecal globin by immunochemistry. This test detects blood in your stool and is useful in detecting conditions like ulcerative colitis and colon cancer.

FAQS About Digestive Disorders

What are the most common symptoms of digestive disorders? The most common symptoms you're most likely to experience include:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn. 

What are some fun and interesting facts about the digestive system? Some interesting things to know include:

  • The average person produces over two pints of saliva each day
  • Every muscle in your esophagus work together and act as a giant wave
  • The enzymes in your digestive system separate food into nutrients
  • Even if you're standing on your head, your body can still digest food
  • Your small intestine is about 23 feet long, while your large intestine is 5 feet long

Your digestive system is an amazing and interesting system that keeps your mind and body on track. Many times you can find remedies for digestive issues by a little reading and research. 

Digestive Health Lab Tests With Ulta Lab Tests

Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate tests, allowing you to make the best decisions about your health. Here are some things you'll love about Ulta Lab Tests:

  • Secure and confidential results
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Order your digestive health lab tests today, and your results will be provided securely and confidentially within 24 to 48 hours in most cases.

Take control with Ulta Lab Tests today!

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped, small organ in your abdomen under the liver. In between meals, the gallbladder gathers bile and stores it. This digestive fluid is made inside the liver. It contains bile salts as well as other substances to help with digesting fat from food. During meals, the gallbladder contracts and then bile is released into the small intestine to help with digestion. 

Bile ducts are thin tubes that transport bile from the gallbladder and liver into the intestines and include the following:  

  • Common bile duct 
  • Hepatic duct 
  • Cystic duct  

The gallbladder, in addition to the bile ducts that connect it to the small intestine and liver, is referred to as the biliary system. Also, the common bile duct runs through the top part of the pancreas, transporting bile into the small intestine from the gallbladder and liver. The pancreas is a flat, narrow organ with a tail, middle, and head section. The head section connects with the duodenum or first section of the small intestine. Digestive enzymes are carried by the pancreatic duct down the pancreas and then into the duodenum. Usually, the pancreatic duct and bile duct join right before the duodenum is entered and share the same opening to the small intestine.  

When the gallbladder isn’t functioning properly, gallbladder disease occurs. A majority of gallbladder problems happen when one a bile duct is blocked by a gallstone, which causes symptoms such as nausea and severe abdominal pain.   

Gallbladder disease also can develop when a blockage is caused by something else or with congenital defects, tumors, infections, or inflammation. A gallstone at times may block the pancreatic duct, which causes pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas.  

Gallbladder Disease and Blockage  

Gallstones form when substances, like calcium salts, bile pigments, and/or cholesterol, harden into solid forms. Gallstone might be as big as a golf ball or as small as grains of sand.  

Gallstones affect 10% to 15% of adults in the U.S. under 65 years old and 20% of individuals who are older than 65 years old. Gallstones do not cause any symptoms most of the time. When the cystic duct is blocked by the gallstones, which leads to the bile duct, or the actual common bile duct, bile accumulates inside the gallbladder, which causes pain, swelling, and pressure. Pain that gallstones cause is referred to as biliary colic. Usually, it takes place in the upper abdomen or the back of the right shoulder blade sometimes within a short time period.  

Other types of gallbladder blockages: – Although the most common cause of gallbladder blockages are gallstones, other conditions may prevent bile from being able to move inside of the bile ducts They include the following:  

  • Biliary sludge – this occurs when bile stays too long inside the gallbladder. Microscopic bile particles may accumulate with stones forming. Eventually, the biliary sludge forms gallstones or passes into the biliary ducts and blocks them. Biliary sludge tends to form during pregnancy and normally disappears by itself.   
  • Viral infections – Gallbladder inflammation can trigger virial infections and cause the bile ducts to become scarred and inflamed, which can also cause the narrowing of the ducts. Before antiviral medications were widely available for treating HIV, 25% of individuals with HIV were affected by this gallbladder condition. Today, gallbladder disease caused by viral infection is reported only rarely in developed countries, although in developing countries, it is still a problem.   
  • Gallbladder cancer – this form of cancer is rare. For gallbladder cancer, the most common risk factor is gallstones. Since bile ducts can be blocked by a tumor, symptoms of gallbladder cancer are similar to the symptoms of gallstones. Bile ducts can also be blocked by cancers of the pancreas and non-cancerous tumors. 

Gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis) 

Fortunately, uncomplicated gallbladder inflammation is quite treatable. However, if gallbladder inflammation is left untreated, it can become quite severe. It can result in a bacterial infection to develop, which can require the patient to receive antibiotics in the hospital. Severe, untreated inflammation may also result in sepsis, gangrene, gallbladder rupture, and pancreatitis.  

When a gallbladder blockage caused by gallstones or another type of obstruction persists, it may cause cholecystitis, which is gallbladder inflammation. 

Cholecystitis can develop very rapidly with a few hours (acute) or over a long time period (chronic). Acute cholecystitis begins suddenly and can cause severe pain within the upper abdomen and normally will last for over 6 hours.  

A person can rarely develop acute gallbladder inflammation with no evidence of any gallstone or another type of obstruction that blocks the bile duct. It is a serious condition referred to as acalculous cholecystitis. It may result in gangrene or a ruptured gallbladder. If left untreated, it can potentially be fatal.  

Typically, acalculous cholecystitis develops as a complication after a person is very ill already. It can affect individuals who are immune deficient, someone who has undergone extended intravenous feeding, has sepsis, severe burns, a serious injury, or has had major surgery. Sluggish bile movement can cause acalculous cholecystitis, which may be brought on in critically ill individuals by dehydration and fever.  

Ten percent of gallbladder inflammation cases are caused by acalculous cholecystitis, while the remainder is caused by gallstones:

  • Gallbladder pain but no gallstones  
  • People sometimes experience gallbladder pain without any obvious block of their bile duct. The pain may be caused by the following:  
  • Undetected small gallstones passing through the ducts 
  • The muscle in between the small intestines and bile duct not functioning 
  • A sensitive small intestine or biliary tract 

In some cases, it is not known why bile is not properly leaving the gallbladder  

Risk Factors 

The following are some of the most common risk factors for the development of gallbladder disease and gallstones:  

  • Older age (40 years old and older) 
  • Female Sex 
  • High blood cholesterol levels 
  • Obesity  
  • Mexican American or Native American descent  
  • Estrogen-containing medication treatment 
  • Rapid weight loss 
  • Family history of developing gallstones  
  • Liver disease 
  • Sickle cell anemia and other forms of hemolytic anemia  
  • Cystic fibrosis 
  • Diabetes 
  • Low fiber, high cholesterol, and/or high-fat diet  
  • Pregnancy 
  • Sedentary lifestyle  

Symptoms and Signs  

The most common cause of gallbladder disease is gallstone. However, most gallstones do not cause symptoms. Often they are discovered when an individual has an ultrasound or abdominal X-ray for evaluating a different issue.  

However, pain may experience inside the abdomen when a gallstone is blocking the bile flow outside of the gallbladder when it contracts. It is referred to as biliary colic. Symptoms and signs can include the following:  

Severe abdominal pain, particularly at the center or top ride side of the abdomen  

Nausea and abdominal pain occurring at the very same time 

Pain spreading to the right shoulder blade or back  

Abdominal pain linked when consuming a fatty meal (at the te the gallbladder contracts)  

The intense pain normally lasts for 30 minutes, at least but starts subsiding within one hour. Usually, a biliary colic attack lasts for under 6 hours.   

In certain cases, the cystic duct is permanently blocked by a gallstone, which results in gallbladder inflammation (acute cholecystitis). The pain is prolonged (normally more than 6 hours), unrelenting, and severe in acute cholecystitis. Typically a fever accompanies the pain.    

The stone can occasionally move from the gallbladder and inside the tube that transports bile into the intestine (referred to as the common bile duct). It may cause jaundice (yellow eyes and skin). You might also notice light-colored stool and dark urine. 

Acute cholangitis (inflammation of either the hepatic duct or the common bile) happens if bacteria enter into the blocked tube. That results in a high fever, often with extreme tiredness, vomiting, and pain.  

Gallstones may become lodge at the place where the common bile duct and pancreas meet. That results in pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Symptoms of gallbladder infection or inflammation that require a medical exam include:   

  • Whites of the eyes and yellowing of the skin (jaundice) 
  • Chills 
  • Fever 
  • Vomiting  
  • A gallbladder tumor blocking a bile duct may cause symptoms and signs that are similar to gallstones. A person who has gallstone cancer might also have:  
  • Greasy or light-colored stools 
  • Dark urine 
  • Weight loss 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Itchy skin 
  • Lumps on the right side of the stomach  

Laboratory Tests 

Lab tests can be conducted to detect complications and determine the kind of gallbladder disease. Typically, people with uncomplicated gallbladder disease will have normal results on their lab tests.  

Some examples of lab tests that might be conducted when it is suspected that a person might have gallbladder disease include the following:  

Complete blood count (CBC) – this test evaluates the blood cells. When white blood cell counts are high, it can indicate a ruptured gallbladder, an abscess, infection, or inflammation.  

C-reactive protein (CRP -preferred test) or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) – elevated results are an indication of inflammation.  

Liver panel – if a person has gallstones blocking bile ducts, bilirubin results might be high because of bile backing up inside the liver.  In severe gallbladder inflammation cases, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and other liver enzymes might be elevated.  

Amylase or lipase (preferred test) – these are pancreatic enzymes that might be elevated if pancreatitis has also been caused by gallbladder disease.