Breast Health

Breast Cancer Testing and health information

Are you curious about blood tests for breast cancer tests? Learn what you need to know about breast health lab tests and order direct from Ulta Lab Tests today.

SEE BELOW THE LIST OF TESTS FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT – BREAST HEALTH LAB TESTS


Name Matches

The Breast Health Foundation Panel 

INFLAMATION

  • Creatine Kinase (CK), Total
  • hs-CRP
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD)
  • Sed Rate by Modified Westergren (ESR)

METABOLISM

  • Glucose
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1C)

NUTRIENTS

  • Ferritin
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  • Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy, Total, Immunoassay

CORE TESTS

  • ABO Group and Rh Type
  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

The Breast Health Foundation Panel 

INFLAMATION

  • Creatine Kinase (CK), Total
  • hs-CRP
  • Lactate Dehydrogenase (LD)
  • Sed Rate by Modified Westergren (ESR)

METABOLISM

  • Glucose
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1C)

NUTRIENTS

  • Ferritin
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  • Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy, Total, Immunoassay

CORE TESTS

  • ABO Group and Rh Type
  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

CANCER

  • CA 15-3

Most Popular

Description: The CA 15-3 is a cancer antigen test that is measuring the levels of the cancer antigen 15-2 that is present with breast cancer. This test is commonly used to monitor and watch for recurrence of breast cancer.

Also Known As: Cancer Antigen 15-3 Test, CA-Breast Test, Cancer Antigen-Breast Test, CA153 Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a CA 15-3 test ordered?

When advanced breast cancer is first detected, CA 15-3 may be administered together with other tests to assist evaluate cancer features and treatment options. If CA 15-3 is initially raised, it may be ordered on a regular basis to assess therapy effectiveness and to help detect recurrence. When breast cancer is identified early, before it has progressed, CA 15-3 is usually not ordered since levels are not raised in the majority of early tumors.

What does a CA 15-3 blood test check for?

Normal breast cells produce cancer antigen 15-3, which is a protein. The production of CA 15-3 and the related cancer antigen 27.29 is enhanced in many persons with malignant breast tumors. CA 15-3 does not induce cancer; instead, tumor cells dump it into the bloodstream. CA 15-3 is measured in the blood in this test.

CA 15-3 is a tumor marker that may be tested in the blood and used to track the progression of cancer. CA 15-3 is high in fewer than half of women with early-stage breast cancer or a small tumor, whereas it is elevated in nearly 80% of women with advanced breast cancer. The test isn't always useful because not all women with invasive breast cancer have increased CA 15-3.

Because it is non-specific, CA 15-3 is not recommended as a screening test for breast cancer in women. It can also be increased in healthy persons and people who have tumors of the colon, lungs, pancreatic, ovary, or prostate, as well as certain illnesses like cirrhosis, hepatitis, and benign breast disease.

Lab tests often ordered with a CA 15-3 test:

  • CEA
  • HER2/neu test
  • Estrogen Receptor Status
  • Progesterone Receptor Status
  • Gene Expression tests

Conditions where a CA 15-3 test is recommended:

  • Breast Cancer

How does my health care provider use a 15-3 test?

The cancer antigen 15-3 test, as well as the associated CA 27.29 test, are primarily used to track therapy response and detect breast cancer recurrence. They are used in conjunction with other clinical evaluations and tests to assess a person's breast cancer, such as estrogen and progesterone receptors, Her2/neu, and genomic testing for breast cancer.

CA 15-3 is occasionally ordered to get a sense of how much cancer is present. Because CA 15-3 can only be used as a marker if the cancer produces high levels of it, this test isn't appropriate for everyone with breast cancer.

Because non-cancerous diseases can induce increased levels, the CA 15-3 and CA 27.29 tests are not precise or specific enough to be used as cancer screening tests.

What do my CA 15-3 test results mean?

The greater the CA 15-3 level, the further advanced the breast cancer is and the more cancer is found in general. CA 15-3 levels tend to rise as the cancer progresses. When metastatic breast cancer has progressed to the bones and/or liver, the highest levels of CA 15-3 are frequently detected.

CA 15-3 levels that rise over time may suggest that a patient is not responding to treatment or that the cancer has returned.

Normal CA 15-3 levels do not rule out the possibility of metastatic or localized breast cancer. It could be too early in the disease process to identify elevated CA 15-3 levels, or the person could be one of the roughly 20% to 25% of advanced breast cancer patients whose tumors do not shed CA 15-3.

CA 15-3 levels are mild to moderate in a number of illnesses, including lung, pancreas, ovary, prostate, and colon cancer, as well as cirrhosis, hepatitis, and benign breast abnormalities, and in a small percentage of seemingly healthy people. CA 15-3 levels in non-cancerous circumstances are generally constant over time.

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


CA 27.29 may be useful for monitoring patients for metastatic breast cancer.

Most Popular

Description: CEA is a test that measures the levels of carcinoembryonic antigens in the blood. It is used to evaluate a person who has been diagnosed with cancer. The levels of CEA maybe elevated with certain types of cancer.

Also Known As: Carcinoembryonic antigen Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a CEA test ordered?

When a person is diagnosed with colon cancer or another type of cancer, a CEA test may be ordered. It will be evaluated before treatment begins and subsequently on a frequent basis to assess treatment success and detect recurrence.

When cancer is suspected but not yet diagnosed, a CEA test may be conducted. Although CEA can be increased with a variety of illnesses, this is not a popular usage for the test, it may provide additional information to a healthcare practitioner.

When a healthcare practitioner suspects that a cancer has metastasized, a CEA test may be conducted on a fluid other than blood.

What does a CEA blood test check for?

Carcinoembryonic antigen is a protein found in the developing tissues of a fetus. It drops to a very low level by the time a baby is delivered. CEA is generally seen in extremely low amounts in the blood of people, but it can be raised in cancer patients. This test examines the quantity of CEA in the blood to aid in the evaluation of cancer patients.

CEA is a tumor indicator. CEA was once assumed to be a particular marker for colon cancer, however subsequent research has revealed that an elevation in CEA can be detected in a variety of malignancies. Non-cancer disorders such as inflammation, cirrhosis, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, rectal polyps, emphysema, and benign breast disease, as well as smokers, can cause an increase in CEA. As a result, it is ineffective as a general cancer screening tool, although it does play a role in assessing cancer therapy response. An initial CEA baseline test may be performed after a person has been diagnosed with cancer. If this level is raised, serial CEA testing may be used to track the cancer's progress as the patient receives treatment.

Lab tests often ordered with a CEA test:

  • Tumor Markers
  • CSF Analysis
  • Body Fluid Analysis
  • CA 19-9
  • Calcitonin
  • Alpha Fetoprotein
  • Antiphospholipid Antibodies

Conditions where a CEA test is recommended:

  • Colon Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Lung Cancer

How does my health care provider use a CEA test?

The carcinoembryonic antigen test can be utilized in the following situations:

  • To keep track of the treatment of persons who have been diagnosed with colon cancer. It can also be used as a marker for rectum, lung, breast, liver, pancreatic, stomach, and ovary malignancies. Prior to therapy, a CEA test is usually ordered as a "baseline" measurement. If the level is high, the test can be used to track a patient's response to treatment and see if the cancer has advanced or returned.
  • Cancer staging entails determining the size of the tumor as well as the extent to which it has spread.
  • CEA testing in a bodily fluid sample can help doctors figure out if cancer has progressed to a body cavity like the chest or abdomen.
  • In the examination of cancer, a CEA test can be performed in conjunction with other tumor markers.

CEA is not produced by all malignancies, therefore a positive CEA test does not always indicate cancer.

What do my CEA test results mean?

Monitoring treatment and recurrence: CEA levels that are first raised but later return to normal following treatment indicate that the cancer has been successfully treated. The first symptom of tumor recurrence is frequently a progressively rising CEA level.

Staging: People with smaller and early-stage tumors are more likely to have a normal or slightly raised CEA score on initial testing. A high CEA value is more probable in people with larger tumors, later-stage cancer, or cancers that have disseminated throughout the body.

Testing for metastasis: If CEA is found in a bodily fluid other than blood, the cancer has most likely migrated to that part of the body. If CEA is found in CSF fluid, for example, it could suggest that cancer has spread to the central nervous system.

Because not all malignancies produce CEA, it's possible to have cancer and a normal CEA at the same time. The test will be useless as a surveillance tool if a malignancy does not produce CEA.

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


Most Popular

Description: ABO Group and Rh type is a blood test that is used to determine which blood group and Rh type you are.

Also Known As: Blood group test, blood type test, blood group and Rh type test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Whole Blood

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is an ABO Group and Rh Type test ordered?

All donated blood undergoes ABO grouping and Rh typing. They're also used when someone needs a blood transfusion. The following conditions or circumstances may necessitate a transfusion:

  • Anemia that is severe, as well as anemia-causing illnesses such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia
  • During or after surgery when you have bleeding
  • Trauma or injury
  • Excessive blood loss 
  • Chemotherapy and  cancer
  • Hemophilia and similar bleeding disorders

When a woman becomes pregnant, she is tested to see if she is Rh negative or positive. Soon after birth, all newborn babies of Rh-negative mothers are tested for ABO and Rh to see if the mother need Rh immune globulin.

When an individual becomes a candidate to receive an organ, tissue, or bone marrow transplant, or when a person decides to become a donor, blood typing may be required. It's one of the first of several tests used to see if a possible donor and recipient are a good match.

Blood type is sometimes used as part of the process of determining whether or not someone is a blood relative.

What does an ABO Group and Rh Type blood test check for?

The markers or antigens on the surface of red blood cells are used to determine blood types. The A and B antigens are two primary antigens or surface identifiers on human RBCs. Rh is another essential surface antigen. Blood typing determines a person's ABO blood group and Rh type by detecting the presence or absence of these antigens.

Blood group A is made up of people who have A antigens in their red blood cells, blood group B is made up of people who have B antigens in their red blood cells, blood group AB is made up of people who have both A and B antigens in their red blood cells, and blood group O is made up of people who don't have either of these markers.

A person's blood type is Rh+ if the Rh protein is present on red blood cells; if it is not, the person's blood type is Rh-.

Our bodies develop antibodies against antigens A and B that aren't found on our red blood cells. Anti-B antibodies are directed against the B antigens on red blood cells in people with blood type A, while anti-A antibodies are directed against the A antigens in people with blood type B. People with type AB blood do not have either of these antibodies, whereas people with type O blood do.

These antibodies are helpful in detecting a person's blood type and determining which blood kinds he or she can safely receive. If a person with antibodies directed against the B antigen, for example, is transfused with type B blood, his or her own antibodies will attack and kill the transfused red blood cells, resulting in serious and perhaps fatal consequences. As a result, matching a person's blood type to the blood that will be transfused is crucial.

Antibodies to Rh are not created spontaneously, unlike antibodies to A and B antigens. That is, Rh antibodies form only when a person without Rh factor on their red blood cells is exposed to Rh positive red blood cells. When a Rh-negative mother is pregnant with a Rh-positive kid, or when a Rh-negative individual is transfused with Rh-positive blood, this might happen during pregnancy or birth. In either instance, the first encounter to the Rh antigen may not trigger a robust immune response to Rh positive cells, but subsequent exposures may result in severe reactions.

Lab tests often ordered with an ABO Group and Rh Type test:

  • Direct Antiglobulin Test
  • RBC Antibody Screen
  • HLA Testing
  • Compatibility Testing

Conditions where an ABO Group and Rh Type test is recommended:

  • Anemia
  • Bleeding Disorders
  • Pregnancy

How does my health care provider use an ABO Group and Rh Type test?

Blood typing is used to determine a person's blood group, including whether they are blood group A, B, AB, or O, as well as whether they are Rh positive or negative.

Blood typing can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Ensure that the blood type of a person who needs a blood transfusion or blood components is compatible with the ABO and Rh types of the unit of blood that will be transfused. Blood typing is usually used in conjunction with other tests, such as an RBC antibody screen and a crossmatch, to determine what type of blood or blood components a person can safely receive. A potentially fatal transfusion reaction may occur if a unit of blood harboring an ABO antigen to which the blood recipient has an antibody is transfused to the recipient. Anti-A and anti-B antibodies, for instance, are present in the blood of people with blood group O. The antibodies in the recipient's blood will react with the red blood cells in this individual if they get a unit of blood from group A, B, or AB, destroying them and possibly having serious effects.
  • In the same way, if a Rh-negative person is transfused with Rh-positive blood, the person is likely to develop antibodies against Rh-positive blood. Although the recipient is unaffected by this scenario during the current transfusion, a future transfusion with Rh-positive blood could produce a significant transfusion reaction.
  • Determine the compatibility of a pregnant lady and her unborn child. Because a mother and her fetus may be incompatible, Rh type is especially significant during pregnancy. If the mother is Rh negative but the father is Rh positive, the fetus may test positive for the Rh antigen. As a result, the mother's body may produce antibodies against the Rh antigen. Hemolytic sickness of the fetus and infant could arise from the antibodies penetrating the placenta and destroying the baby's red blood cells. If the infant is Rh-positive, an injection of Rh immune globulin is given to the Rh-negative mother both during pregnancy and again after delivery to stop the production of Rh antibodies. The Rh immune globulin binds to and "masks" the fetus's Rh antigen during pregnancy and delivery to stop the mother from producing antibodies against it.
  • Determine the blood type of potential blood donors at a collection facility. Blood units from donors are blood typed and properly labeled so they can be utilized for patients who need a certain ABO group and Rh type.
  • The blood type of potential donors and recipients of organs, tissues, or bone marrow should be ascertained as part of the preparation for a transplant surgery. To identify and match organ and tissue donors with recipients who have the same or a sufficient number of matching HLA genes and antigens, ABO blood type is utilized in conjunction with HLA testing.

What do my ABO Group and Rh Type test results mean?

Blood typing determines if a person is type A, B, AB, or O, as well as whether he or she is Rh negative or positive. The results will inform the healthcare provider about whether blood or blood components are safe to provide to the patient.

The results of blood typing will reveal if a pregnant woman is Rh positive or negative. This information will help determine whether she is a candidate for Rh immune globulin, which prevents antibodies from forming against her fetus' blood cells.

Donated blood typing is significant because it allows health care providers to determine whether patients are compatible with the blood and may safely receive it.

When a donated organ, tissue, or bone marrow is compatible with the intended recipient, it is less likely to be rejected immediately after transplantation.

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

The Different Blood Types

There are four major blood groups and eight different blood types. Doctors call this the ABO Blood Group System.

The groups are based on whether or not you have two specific antigens -- A and B:

  • Group A has the A antigen and B antibody.
  • Group B has the B antigen and the A antibody.
  • Group AB has A and B antigens but neither A nor B antibodies.
  • Group O doesn’t have A or B antigens but has both A and B antibodies.

There’s also a third kind of antigen called the Rh factor. You either have this antigen (meaning your blood type is “Rh+” or “positive”), or you don’t (meaning your blood type is “Rh-” or “negative”). So, from the four blood groups, there are eight blood types:

  • A positive or A negative
  • B positive or B negative
  • AB positive or AB negative
  • O positive or O negative

This test detects 3 mutations which account for approximately 90% of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations found in Ashkenazi Jews.

This test detects mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes which are the most common causes of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.

Description: A hs-CRP or High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein test is a blood test used to accurately detect lower concentrations of the protein C-Reactive Protein. This test is used to evaluate your risk of cardiovascular and heart disease and to check for inflammation and many other issues.

Also Known As: hsCRP Test, Cardiac CRP Test, high sensitivity C-reactive protein Test, CRP Test for heart disease.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a hs-CRP test ordered?

There is currently no consensus on when to get an hs-CRP test. It may be beneficial for treatment purposes to order hs-CRP for those that have kidney disease, diabetes or inflammatory disorders.

It's possible that hs-CRP will be tested again to confirm that a person has persistently low levels of inflammation.

What does a hs-CRP blood test check for?

C-reactive protein is a protein found in the blood that rises in response to infection and inflammation, as well as after trauma, surgery, or a heart attack. As a result, it's one of numerous proteins referred to as acute phase reactants. The high-sensitivity CRP test detects low levels of inflammation in the blood, which are linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

According to the American Heart Association, CVD kills more people in the United States each year than any other cause. A number of risk factors have been related to the development of CVD, including family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight or diabetic, however a considerable number of people with few or no recognized risk factors will also acquire CVD. This has prompted researchers to investigate for new risk variables that could be causing CVD or could be used to identify lifestyle modifications and/or treatments that could lower a person's risk.

High-sensitivity CRP is one of an increasing number of cardiac risk markers that may be used to assess an individual's risk. According to certain research, monitoring CRP with a highly sensitive assay can assist identify the risk level for CVD in persons who appear to be healthy. CRP levels at the higher end of the reference range can be measured with this more sensitive test. Even when cholesterol levels are within an acceptable range, these normal but slightly elevated levels of CRP in otherwise healthy persons might indicate the future risk of a heart attack, sudden cardiac death, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.

Lab tests often ordered with a hs-CRP test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Lipid Panel
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lp-Pla2
  • Glucose

Conditions where a hs-CRP test is recommended:

  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Disease
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Stroke

How does my health care provider use a hs-CRP test?

A test for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein can be used to assess a person's risk of cardiovascular disease. It can be used in conjunction with a lipid profile or other cardiac risk markers, such as the lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 test, to provide further information regarding the risk of heart disease.

CRP is a protein that rises in the bloodstream as a result of inflammation. A continuous low level of inflammation, according to studies, plays a crucial role in atherosclerosis, the narrowing of blood vessels caused by the build-up of cholesterol and other lipids, which is typically linked to CVD. The hs-CRP test successfully detects low levels of C-reactive protein, indicating low but chronic inflammation, and so aids in predicting a person's risk of developing CVD.

Some specialists believe that high-sensitivity CRP is a good test for assessing CVD, heart attacks, and stroke risk, and that it can help in the evaluation process before a person gets one of these health problems. Some experts believe that combining a good marker for inflammation, such as hs-CRP, with a lipid profile is the best way to predict risk. This test has been recommended by several organizations for persons who are at a moderate risk of having a heart attack in the following ten years.

What does my hs-CRP test result mean?

Even when cholesterol levels are within an acceptable range, high levels of hs-CRP in otherwise healthy people have been found to predict an elevated risk of future heart attacks, strokes, sudden cardiac death, and/or peripheral arterial disease.

Higher hs-CRP concentrations indicate a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, while lower values indicate a lower risk. Individuals with hs-CRP values at the high end of the normal range are 1.5 to 4 times more likely than those with low levels of hs-CRP to have a heart attack.

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


Description: A Vitamin D test is a blood test used to determine if you have a Vitamin D deficiency and to monitor Vitamin D levels if you are on supplementation.

Also Known As: Ergocalciferol Test, Vitamin D2 Test, Cholecalciferol Test, Vitamin D3 Test, Calcidiol Test, 25-hydroxyvitamin D Test, Calcifidiol Test, 25-hydroxy-vitamin D Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Fasting preferred, but not required.

When is a Vitamin D test ordered:

When calcium levels are inadequate and/or a person exhibits symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, such as rickets in children and bone weakening, softness, or fracture in adults, 25-hydroxyvitamin D is frequently ordered to rule out a vitamin D deficit.

When a person is suspected of having a vitamin D deficiency, the test may be requested. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in older folks, people who are institutionalized or homebound and/or have minimal sun exposure, people who are obese, have had gastric bypass surgery, and/or have fat malabsorption. People with darker skin and breastfed babies are also included in this category.

Before starting osteoporosis medication, 25-hydroxyvitamin D is frequently requested.

What does a Vitamin D blood test check for?

Vitamin D is a group of chemicals that are necessary for the healthy development and growth of teeth and bones. The level of vitamin D in the blood is determined by this test.

Vitamin D is tested in the blood in two forms: 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. The primary form of vitamin D found in the blood is 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is a relatively inactive precursor to the active hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. 25-hydroxyvitamin D is routinely evaluated to assess and monitor vitamin D status in humans due to its longer half-life and higher concentration.

Endogenous vitamin D is created in the skin when exposed to sunshine, whereas exogenous vitamin D is taken through foods and supplements. Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 have somewhat different molecular structures. Fortified foods, as well as most vitamin preparations and supplements, include the D2 form. The type of vitamin D3 produced by the body is also used in some supplements. When the liver and kidneys convert vitamin D2 and D3 into the active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, they are equally effective.

Some tests may not differentiate between the D2 and D3 forms of vitamin D and just report the total result. Newer methods, on the other hand, may record D2 and D3 levels separately and then sum them up to get a total level.

Vitamin D's major function is to assist balance calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium levels in the blood. Vitamin D is necessary for bone growth and health; without it, bones become fragile, misshapen, and unable to mend themselves properly, leading to disorders such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D has also been proven to influence the growth and differentiation of a variety of other tissues, as well as to aid in immune system regulation. Other illnesses, such as autoimmune and cancer, have been linked to vitamin D's other roles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of the US population has adequate vitamin D, while one-quarter is at risk of inadequate vitamin D and 8% is at risk of insufficiency, as defined by the Institute of Medicine's Dietary Reference Intake.

The elderly or obese, persons who don't receive enough sun exposure, people with darker skin, and people who take certain drugs for lengthy periods of time are all at risk of insufficiency. Adequate sun exposure is usually defined as two intervals of 5-20 minutes each week. Vitamin D can be obtained through dietary sources or supplements by people who do not get enough sun exposure.

This test has 3 Biomarkers

  • Vitamin D Total which is a combined measurement of Vitamin D, 25-Oh, D2 and Vitamin 25-Oh, D3
  • Vitamin D, 25-Oh, D2 which is a measurement of ergocalciferol Vitamin D, which is Vitamin D obtained through plant sources. 
  • Vitamin D, 25-Oh, D3 which is a measurement of cholecalciferol Vitamin D, which is Vitamin D obtained through animal sources.

Lab tests often ordered with a Vitamin D test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • CMP
  • Iron and TIBC
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • PTH
  • Magnesium

Conditions where a Vitamin D test is recommended:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lymphoma
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Celiac Disease
  • Malabsorption
  • Malnutrition

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Vitamin D test?

Determine whether a deficit or excess of vitamin D is causing bone weakening, deformity, or improper calcium metabolism.

Because PTH is required for vitamin D activation, it can aid in diagnosing or monitoring problems with parathyroid gland function.

Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is absorbed from the intestine like a fat, it can help monitor the health of people with conditions that interfere with fat absorption, such as cystic fibrosis and Crohn's disease.

People who have had gastric bypass surgery and may not be able to absorb adequate vitamin D should be closely monitored.

When vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and/or magnesium supplementation is suggested, it can help assess the success of the treatment.

What do my Vitamin D results result mean?

Despite the fact that vitamin D techniques differ, most laboratories use the same reference intervals. Because toxicity is uncommon, researchers have focused on the lower limit and what cut-off for total 25-hydroxyvitamin D shortage implies.

A low blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D could indicate that a person isn't getting enough sunlight or dietary vitamin D to meet his or her body's needs, or that there's an issue with absorption from the intestines. Seizure medications, notably phenytoin, might occasionally interfere with the liver's generation of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to an increased risk of some malignancies, immunological illnesses, and cardiovascular disease.

Excessive supplementation with vitamin pills or other nutritional supplements frequently results in a high level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

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. 

  • 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: Creatine Kinase is a test that is measuring for the level of CK in the blood’s serum. CK is found in the heart tissue and the skeletal muscle. This test can be used to determine if there has been damage done to the muscles.

Also Known As: CK Test, Total Ck Test, Creatine Phosphokinase, CPK Test, CPK Level

Collection Method: Blood draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Creatine Kinase Total test ordered?

When muscle injury is suspected, a CK test may be requested, as well as at regular intervals to monitor for continuing damage. When a muscle illness, such as muscular dystrophy, is suspected, or when someone has suffered physical trauma, such as crushing injuries or major burns, it may be ordered. The test may be ordered if a person is experiencing symptoms of muscular damage, such as:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Muscle deterioration
  • Urine that is dark in color

When a person has nonspecific symptoms, testing may be recommended, especially if they are using a drug or have been exposed to a substance that has been associated to potential muscle damage.

What does a Creatine Kinase Total blood test check for?

The enzyme creatine kinase is found in the brain, heart, skeletal muscle, and other organs. When there is muscle injury, more CK is released into the bloodstream. The quantity of creatine kinase in the blood is measured in this test.

Skeletal muscles produce the little quantity of CK that is routinely found in the blood. An increase in CK can be caused by any disorder that causes muscular injury and/or interferes with muscle energy generation or usage. Strenuous activity and muscle inflammation, known as myositis, as well as muscle illnesses such muscular dystrophy, can raise CK levels. Rhabdomyolysis, or the severe breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, is linked to a large increase in CK levels.

Lab tests often ordered with a Creatine Kinase Total test:

  • CK-MB
  • Myoglobin
  • Troponin
  • Lipid Panel
  • Hs-CRP
  • Homocysteine
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility

Conditions where a Creatine Kinase Total test is recommended:

  • Endocrine System and Syndromes
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Heart Attack

How does my health care provider use a Creatine Kinase Total test?

A creatine kinase test can be used to detect muscle inflammation or damage caused by muscle illnesses such muscular dystrophy, or to help diagnose rhabdomyolysis if signs and symptoms are present. Other blood chemistry tests, such as electrolytes, BUN, or creatinine, may be conducted in addition to CK. A urine myoglobin test may be requested as well.

Muscle injury can present with few or vague symptoms such as weakness, fever, and nausea, which can also be associated with a range of other illnesses. In these circumstances, a healthcare practitioner may utilize a CK test to detect muscle injury, particularly if the person is taking a statin, using ethanol or cocaine, or has been exposed to a known toxin linked to probable muscle damage. A CK test may be used to assess and monitor muscle damage in those who have been physically injured.

Muscle injury can be tracked using a series of CK tests to evaluate if it improves or worsens. If a CK is increased and the site of muscle damage is unknown, a healthcare provider may order CK isoenzymes or a CK-MB as follow-up tests to differentiate between the three forms of CK: CK-MB, CK-MM, and CK-BB.

The CK test was originally one of the most common tests used to diagnose a heart attack, but the troponin test has mostly superseded it in the United States. The CK test, on the other hand, may be used to detect a second heart attack that occurs soon after the first.

What do my Creatine Kinase test results mean?

A high CK level, or a spike in levels in subsequent samples, often suggests that muscle injury has occurred recently, although it does not identify the location or origin of the damage. Serial test findings that peak and then begin to decline indicate that new muscle damage has subsided, whereas increasing and persistent elevations indicate that new muscle damage has persisted.

Increased CK levels can be detected in a range of muscular disorders caused by a variety of factors. Depending on the severity of muscle damage, people's CK levels may be significantly to severely elevated. Rhabdomyolysis patients may have CK levels that are 100 times higher than usual, and in some cases even higher.

Normal CK levels could mean there hasn't been any muscle injury or that it happened a few days before the test.

Following severe exercise, such as weight lifting, contact sports, or long exercise sessions, moderately elevated CK levels may be observed.

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


Most Popular

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.


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, HbA1c Test, Glycohemoglobin Test, Glycated Hemoglobin Test, Glycosylated Hemoglobin Test, HbA1c Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Whole Blood

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Hemoglobin A1c 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 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.

Lab tests often ordered with a Hemoglobin A1c test:

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

Conditions where a Hemoglobin A1c test is recommended:

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes

How does my health care provider use a Hemoglobin A1c 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.


Description: Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity is a blood panel used to determine iron levels in your blood, your body’s ability to transport iron, and help diagnose iron-deficiency and iron overload.

Also Known As: Serum Iron Test, Serum Fe Test, Iron Binding Capacity Test, IBC Test, Serum Iron-Binding Capacity Siderophilin Test, TIBC Test, UIBC Test, Iron Lab Test, TIBC Blood test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test ordered?

When a doctor feels that a person's symptoms are caused by iron overload or poisoning, an iron and TIBC test, as well ferritin assays, may be done. These may include the following:

  • Joint discomfort
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Energy deficiency
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Suffering from a lack of sexual desire
  • Problems with the heart

When a child is suspected of ingesting too many iron tablets, a serum iron test is required to detect the poisoning and to determine its severity.

A doctor may also request iron and TIBC when the results of a standard CBC test are abnormal, such as a low hematocrit or hemoglobin, or when a doctor suspects iron deficiency based on signs and symptoms such as:

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

What does a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity blood test check for?

Iron is a necessary ingredient for survival. It is a vital component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that binds and releases oxygen in the lungs and throughout the body. It is required in small amounts to help form normal red blood cells and is a critical part of hemoglobin, the protein in RBCs that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it as blood circulates to other parts of the body.

By detecting numerous components in the blood, iron tests are ordered to determine the quantity of iron in the body. These tests are frequently ordered at the same time, and the data are analyzed together to determine the diagnosis and/or monitor iron deficiency or overload.

The level of iron in the liquid component of the blood is measured by serum iron.

Total iron-binding capacity is a measurement of all the proteins in the blood that may bind to iron, including transferrin.

The percentage of transferrin that has not yet been saturated is measured by the UIBC. Transferrin levels are also reflected in the UIBC.

Low iron levels can cause anemia, resulting in a decrease in the production of microcytic and hypochromic RBCs. Large amounts of iron, on the other hand, might be hazardous to the body. When too much iron is absorbed over time, iron compounds build up in tissues, particularly the liver, heart, and pancreas.

Normally, iron is absorbed from food and distributed throughout the body by binding to transferrin, a liver protein. About 70% of the iron delivered is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin in red blood cells. The rest is stored as ferritin or hemosiderin in the tissues, with minor amounts being utilized to make other proteins like myoglobin and enzymes.

Insufficient intake, limited absorption, or increased dietary requirements, as observed during pregnancy or with acute or chronic blood loss, are all signs of iron deficiency. Excessive intake of iron pills can cause acute iron overload, especially in children. Excessive iron intake, genetic hemochromatosis, multiple blood transfusions, and a few other disorders can cause chronic iron overload.

Lab tests often ordered with a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Ferritin
  • Transferrin
  • Zinc Protoporphyrin

Conditions where a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test is recommended:

  • Anemia
  • Hemochromatosis

How does my health care provider use a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test?

The amount of circulating iron in the blood, the capacity of the blood to carry iron, and the amount of stored iron in tissues can all be determined by ordering one or more tests. Testing can also assist distinguish between different types of anemia

The level of iron in the blood is measured by serum iron.

Total iron-binding capacity is a measurement of all the proteins in the blood that may bind to iron, including transferrin. The TIBC test is a useful indirect assessment of transferrin because it is the predominant iron-binding protein. In response to the requirement for iron, the body generates transferrin. Transferrin levels rise when iron levels are low, and vice versa. About one-third of the binding sites on transferrin are used to transport iron in healthy humans.

The reserve capacity of transferrin, or the part of transferrin that has not yet been saturated, is measured by UIBC. Transferrin levels are also reflected in the UIBC.

The iron test result, as well as TIBC or UIBC, are used to calculate transferrin saturation. It represents the proportion of transferrin that is iron-saturated.

Ferritin is the major storage protein for iron inside cells, and serum ferritin represents the quantity of stored iron in the body.

These tests are frequently ordered together, and the results can assist the doctor figure out what's causing the iron deficit or overload.

Additional information about iron

A balance between the quantity of iron received into the body and the amount of iron lost is required to maintain normal iron levels. Because a tiny quantity of iron is lost each day, a deficiency will develop if too little iron is consumed. In healthy persons, there is usually enough iron to prevent iron deficiency and/or iron deficiency anemia, unless they eat a bad diet. There is a greater need for iron in some circumstances. People who have persistent gut bleeding or women who have heavy menstrual periods lose more iron than they should and can develop iron deficiency. Females who are pregnant or breastfeeding lose iron to their babies and may develop an iron shortage if they do not consume enough supplemental iron. Children may require additional iron, especially during periods of rapid growth, and may suffer iron shortage.

Low serum iron can also arise when the body is unable to adequately utilize iron. The body cannot correctly utilize iron to generate additional red cells in many chronic disorders, particularly malignancies, autoimmune diseases, and chronic infections. As a result, transferrin production slows, serum iron levels drop because little iron is absorbed from the stomach, and ferritin levels rise. Malabsorption illnesses like sprue syndrome can cause iron deficiency.

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


Description: A Lactate Dehydrogenase or LD test is a blood test that measure the level of the enzyme Lactate Dehydrogenase in your blood’s serum and can be used to detect a wide variety of disorders including liver disease, kidney disease, infections, and pancreatitis.

Also Known As: LD Test, LDH Test, Lactic Acid Dehydrogenase Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Lactate Dehydrogenase test ordered?

When a health practitioner feels that a disease or condition is causing cellular or tissue damage, an LD level, coupled with other tests such as a comprehensive metabolic panel, may be requested. More specific tests, such as alanine transaminase, aspartate aminotransferase, or alkaline phosphatase, may be used to identify the illness and pinpoint which organs are affected if LD is increased. Total LD levels may be ordered at regular intervals to monitor the course and/or resolution of the acute or chronic issue once it has been diagnosed.

When a person has had muscle damage or injury, or when they have signs and symptoms of hemolytic anemia, LD levels may be ordered.

When a person has been diagnosed with cancer, LD testing may be performed on a regular basis.

When a person exhibits signs and symptoms of meningitis, or when there is an accumulation of fluid around the heart, lungs, or abdomen, this test may be recommended.

What does a Lactate Dehydrogenase blood test check for?

Lactate dehydrogenase is an energy-producing enzyme found in nearly all of the body's cells, with the highest concentrations in the heart, liver, muscles, kidneys, lungs, and blood cells; bacteria also produce LD. This test determines the amount of LD in the blood or other bodily fluids.

In the fluid component of the blood, just a little quantity of LD is normally measurable. When cells are injured or destroyed, LD is released into the bloodstream. As a result, an LD blood level is a non-specific indicator of tissue damage elsewhere in the body. It cannot be used to determine the underlying cause or location of cellular damage on its own. It can, however, be used in conjunction with other blood tests to assist diagnose and/or monitor disorders that cause tissue damage, such as liver or blood diseases, or cancer.

Fluid can accumulate or the components of the fluid present can change when there is damage, inflammation, or infection in a specific area of the body, such as the brain, heart, or lungs. The amount of LD in the fluid could help you figure out what's wrong. When a person has bacterial meningitis, for example, LD levels in the cerebrospinal fluid are usually high. The LD test, in combination with other tests, can be used to detect whether fluid buildup around the heart, lungs, or abdominal cavity is caused by injury or inflammation or by an imbalance of fluid pressure inside blood vessels and blood protein levels. Some fluids that can be analyzed using an LD test are listed in the article on Body Fluid Analysis.

Lab tests often ordered with a Lactate Dehydrogenase test:

  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Haptoglobin
  • Hepatic Function Panel

Conditions where a Lactate Dehydrogenase test is recommended:

  • Liver Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Lung Diseases
  • Heart Disease
  • Heart Attack
  • Anemia
  • Meningitis
  • Pancreatic Diseases
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia

How does my health care provider use a Lactate Dehydrogenase test?

A lactate dehydrogenase test is a non-specific test that can be used to diagnose a variety of diseases and disorders. When cells are injured or destroyed, LD, an enzyme found in practically all of the body's cells, is released from the cells into the fluid portion of blood. As a result, the presence of LD in the blood is a general sign of tissue and cellular damage. In the presence of certain disorders, the amount of LD may also grow in other types of body fluids.

A blood test for LD may be used:

  • As a broad measure of whether or not acute or chronic tissue injury exists and how severe it is
  • To diagnose and track the progression of illnesses such as anemia and severe infections.
  • To aid in the staging, prognosis, and/or monitoring of cancers such as germ cell tumors, lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma, and neuroblastoma, as well as lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma, and neuroblastoma.

Body fluids are subjected to an LD test for a variety of reasons:

  • To aid in the evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid and the differentiation between bacterial and viral meningitis
  • To identify whether the build up of fluid is related to an injury and inflammation or to an imbalance of pressure within blood vessels and the amount of protein in the blood by evaluating other body fluids such as peritoneal, pleural, or pericardial fluid. This information is useful in determining therapy options.

Other fluids that can be tested using an LD test are included in the article on Body Fluid Analysis.

What do my lactate dehydrogenase test results mean?

LD values that are elevated usually indicate tissue damage. As cellular death begins, LD levels normally climb, peak after a period of time, and then begin to diminish. LD levels are raised in a number of situations, indicating that it has a wide tissue distribution.

Elevated LD levels may be seen with:

  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Pernicious anemia 
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • HIV
  • Sepsis
  • Intestinal and pulmonary infarctions
  • Acute kidney disease
  • Acute hepatitis
  • Acute muscle damage
  • Pancreatitis
  • Fractures of the bones
  • Malignancies of the testicles, lymphoma, or other cancers

A high level of LD in the blood may suggest that cancer treatment has failed. A high level is associated with a poorer prognosis for cancer patients. Moderately high LD blood levels may remain in several chronic and progressive diseases. LD levels that are low or normal do not usually indicate a concern. When a high amount of ascorbic acid is consumed, low levels can occur.

Fluids in the body:

  • Cerebrospinal fluid—a high LD implies bacterial meningitis, whereas a low or normal amount indicates viral meningitis is more likely.
  • Pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, or pleural fluid with a high LD is an exudate, while fluid with a low LD is a transudate. Cirrhosis or congestive heart failure are the most common causes of transudates. Exudates can have a variety of causes, and determining the cause usually necessitates additional testing.

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


PIK3CA mutation has been associated with poor prognosis in endometrial, breast and colorectal cancers. Mutations in exons 9 and 20 of PIK3CA ave also been associated with resistance to cetuximab therapy in patients with colorectal cancer.

Increased activity is associated with increased risk of arterial thrombosis, such as with unexplained premature myocardial infarction. As an acute phase reactant, the activity is increased after an acute event. Studies suggest PAI-1 may be a prognostic marker in early stage breast cancer.

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Description: A prolactin test is a blood test that measures the Prolactin levels in your blood's serum, and it is useful in identifying unexplained problems with breastfeeding, menstrual cycles, and infertility.

Also Known As: PRL Test, Prolactin Blood test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Prolactin test ordered?

Prolactin testing may be requested in the following situations:

  • If someone is experiencing prolactinoma symptoms such as inexplicable headaches, breast nipple discharge, and or vision impairment.
  • Infertility or irregular menstrual periods in a woman.
  • A male that has low testosterone or has signs such as diminished sex drive, nipple discharge, or infertility.

When a person has a prolactinoma, prolactin levels may be requested on a regular basis to track the tumor's progress and response to treatment. They may also be ordered at regular intervals to check for the return of prolactinoma.

When a doctor suspects a person has a pituitary condition such hypopituitarism, prolactin levels, as well as other hormone levels like growth hormone, may be requested.

Prolactin concentrations are sometimes measured when a person has an illness or is receiving medication that may impair dopamine production.

What does a Prolactin blood test check for?

The anterior region of the pituitary gland, a grape-sized structure located at the base of the brain, produces prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that promotes lactation and is found in low concentrations in men and non-pregnant women. This test determines how much prolactin is present in the blood.

Dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter, regulates and inhibits prolactin release. Prolactin levels are typically high throughout pregnancy and shortly after childbirth. The hormones prolactin, estrogen, and progesterone enhance the production of breast milk during pregnancy. Prolactin aids in the initiation and maintenance of breast milk supply after childbirth. If a woman does not breastfeed, her prolactin level quickly returns to pre-pregnancy levels if she does not nurse. Suckling by the infant has a vital function in the release of prolactin if she does nurse. The amount of prolactin emitted by the pituitary, as well as the amount of milk produced, have a feedback system.

A prolactinoma, a pituitary gland tumor that generates excessive prolactin production, is a common cause of an unusually raised prolactin level. The most frequent type of pituitary tumor is prolactinoma, which is usually benign. They are more common in women, but they can also be found in men. The size and location of the tumor, as well as the unintended effects of excess prolactin, such as milk production in a woman who is not pregnant or nursing and, occasionally, in a man, can cause problems.

When the anterior pituitary gland and/or tumor grow large enough, they can put pressure on the optic nerve, causing headaches and visual abnormalities, as well as interfering with the pituitary gland's other hormones. Prolactinomas in women can induce infertility and menstrual abnormalities, while in men, they might cause a gradual loss of sexual function and libido. Prolactinomas can cause damage to the surrounding tissues if they are not treated.

Lab tests often ordered with a Prolactin test:

  • FSH
  • LH
  • Testosterone
  • DHEA-S
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • Estrone
  • Estriol
  • Progesterone
  • Androstenedione

Conditions where a Prolactin test is recommended:

  • Pituitary Disorders
  • Infertility
  • Pregnancy
  • PCOS
  • Thyroid Diseases

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Prolactin test?

Prolactin levels can be used for a variety of purposes. Prolactin is a hormone generated by the pituitary gland, and its major function is to assist pregnant and nursing women in initiating and maintaining breast milk production.

Prolactin testing, in combination with other hormone tests, may be used to:

  • Determine what is causing the production of breast milk that isn't related to pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Find out what's causing men's infertility and erectile problems.
  • Determine the reason of a woman's menstrual irregularity and/or infertility.
  • Detect and diagnose prolactinomas, track their therapy, and look for recurrences.
  • Examine anterior pituitary function or any other pituitary problems.

What do my prolactin test results mean?

Prolactin levels in the blood of men and nonpregnant women are usually very low. Prolactin levels must be analyzed according to the time of day they are taken. Over the course of a 24-hour period, the levels will rise during sleep and peak in the morning. A person's blood should be drawn 3 to 4 hours after they wake up.

During pregnancy and while the mother is nursing, a high amount of prolactin is typical.

High prolactin levels can also be noticed in the following:

  • Prolactin-producing and -releasing tumors
  • Eating disorders such as  anorexia nervosa
  • Hypothalamic diseases
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Other tumors and disorders of the pituitary gland

Low levels of prolactin are not normally treated, but they could indicate a general decline in pituitary hormones caused by a pituitary condition such hypopituitarism.

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


Description: Sed Rate is a blood test that is used to measure the rate that red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube. The measurement is based how many cells fall within one hour. This test can be used to determine infection or inflammation.

Also Known As: Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate Test, ESR Test, Sed Rate Test, Sedimentation Rate Test, Westergren Sedimentation Rate Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Whole Blood

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Sed Rate test ordered?

When a condition or disease is believed to be causing inflammation in the body, an ESR may be ordered. Several inflammatory illnesses can be identified using this test. It may be requested, for example, if arthritis is suspected of producing joint inflammation and pain, or if inflammatory bowel disease is suspected of causing digestive symptoms.

When a person develops symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica, systemic vasculitis, or temporal arteritis, such as headaches, neck or shoulder discomfort, anemia, pelvic pain, poor appetite, joint stiffness, and unexplained weight loss, a doctor may recommend an ESR. To follow the development of specific illnesses, the sed rate test can also be routinely ordered.

A health practitioner may wish to repeat the ESR before undertaking a full workup to look for disease.

What does a Sed Rate blood test check for?

The erythrocyte sedimentation rate is a test that evaluates the degree of inflammation in the body indirectly. The test evaluates the rate at which erythrocytes fall in a blood sample that has been placed in a tall, thin, vertical tube. The millimeters of clear fluid present at the upper portion of the tube after one hour are reported as the results.

When a drop of blood is inserted in a tube, the red blood cells settle out slowly, leaving just a small amount of transparent plasma. In the presence of an increased number of proteins, particularly proteins known as acute phase reactants, red cells settle at a faster pace. Inflammation raises the levels of acute phase reactants such as C-reactive protein and fibrinogen in the blood.

An inherent component of the immune system's response is inflammation. It could be chronic, showing symptoms over time with conditions like autoimmune illnesses or cancer, or acute, showing symptoms right away after a shock, injury, or infection.

The ESR is a non-specific indication that can rise in a number of disorders; it is not a diagnostic test. It provides you with a fundamental understanding of whether you have an inflammatory condition or not.

Given the availability of more recent, specialized tests, there have been reservations about the ESR's utility. The ESR test, on the other hand, is commonly used to diagnose and monitor temporal arteritis, systemic vasculitis, and polymyalgia rheumatica. Extremely high ESR values can aid in differentiating between rheumatic diseases. Furthermore, ESR may still be a viable alternative in some cases, such as when newer tests are unavailable in resource-constrained places or while monitoring the progression of a disease.

Lab tests often ordered with a Sed Rate test:

  • C-Reactive Protein
  • ANA
  • Rheumatoid Factor

Conditions where a Sed Rate test is recommended:

  • Vasculitis
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Celiac Disease
  • Lupus
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

How does my health care provider use a Sed Rate test?

The erythrocyte sedimentation rate is a non-specific, very straightforward test that has been used for many years to detect inflammation associated with infections, malignancies, and autoimmune illnesses.

Because an elevated ESR often indicates the presence of inflammation, but does not tell the health practitioner where the inflammation is in the body or what is causing it, it is referred to as a non-specific test. Other illnesses besides inflammation may have an impact on an ESR. As a result, other tests, such C-reactive protein, are routinely paired with the ESR.

ESR is used to identify temporal arteritis, systemic vasculitis, and polymyalgia rheumatica, among other inflammatory illnesses. A notably elevated ESR is one of the crucial test results used to support the diagnosis.

This test can be used to track disease activity and treatment response in both of the disorders mentioned above, as well as several others including systemic lupus erythematosus.

What do my Sed Rate test results mean?

Because ESR is a non-specific inflammatory measure that is influenced by a variety of circumstances, it must be used in conjunction with other clinical findings, the individual's medical history, and the results of other laboratory tests. The health practitioner may be able to confirm or rule out a suspected illness if the ESR and clinical data match.

Without any signs of a specific condition, a single elevated ESR is usually insufficient to make a medical conclusion. A normal result does not, however, rule out inflammation or illness.

Inflammation, as well as anemia, infection, pregnancy, and aging, can cause a moderately raised ESR.

A severe infection with a rise in globulins, polymyalgia rheumatica, or temporal arteritis are common causes of an extremely high ESR. Depending on the person's symptoms, a health practitioner may employ various follow-up tests, such as blood cultures. Even if there is no inflammation, people with multiple myeloma or Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia have extraordinarily high ESRs.

Rising ESRs may suggest increased inflammation or a poor response to therapy when monitoring a condition over time; normal or falling ESRs may indicate an adequate response to treatment.

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


Description: A Vitamin B12 test is a blood test that measures the level of Vitamin B12 in the blood’s serum and is used to detect Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Also Known As:  B12 Test, Cobalamin Test, Vitamin B12 test, Serum B12 Test 

Collection Method: Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: Serum 

Test Preparation: No preparation required. 

When is a Vitamin B12 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, vitamin B12 levels may be ordered. A high mean corpuscular volume implies that the RBCs have grown in size. 

When a person exhibits the following signs and symptoms of a deficit, testing for B12 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, B12 tests may be required. 

Individuals being treated for malnutrition or a B12 or 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 Vitamin B12 blood test check for? 

Vitamin B12 is a member of the vitamin B complex. It is required for the creation of normal red blood cells, tissue and cell healing, and the synthesis of DNA, the genetic material in cells. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that the body cannot make and must be obtained through the diet. 

Vitamin B12 deficiency is detected by measuring vitamin B12 in the liquid portion of the blood. 

A B12 deficiency can cause macrocytic anemia, which is characterized by red blood cells that 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 count are two other test results linked to megaloblastic anemia. 

B12 is also necessary for nerve function, and a lack of it can induce neuropathy, which causes tingling and numbness in the hands and feet of those who are affected. 

B12 deficiency is most commonly caused by a lack of vitamin B12 in the diet or supplements, insufficient absorption, or an increased requirement, such as during pregnancy. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Vitamin B12 test: 

  • Folate 
  • Methylmalonic Acid (MMA) 
  • Homocysteine 
  • Vitamin B1 
  • Vitamin B2 
  • Vitamin B3 
  • Vitamin B5 
  • Vitamin B6 
  • Vitamin B7 
  • Rheumatoid factor 

Conditions where a Vitamin B12 test is recommended:

  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency 
  • Pernicious Anemia 
  • Nerve Damage 
  • Malabsorption 
  • Malnutrition 

How does my health care provider use a Vitamin B12 test? 

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 are essential for the creation of normal red blood cells, tissue and cell repair, and the synthesis of DNA, 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 condition. 

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 serum 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 Vitamin B12 test results mean? 

Normal B12 and folate levels may indicate that a person does not suffer from a deficiency and that the signs and symptoms they are experiencing?are caused by something else. Normal levels, on the other hand, may indicate that a person's stored B12 and/or folate has not yet been depleted. 

A health practitioner may order a methylmalonic acid test as an early sign of B12 deficiency if a B12 level is normal but a deficiency is still suspected. 

A low B12 and/or 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 B12 or folate levels can be caused by a variety of factors. 

Dietary folate or B12 deficiency, which?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. 

Both B12 and 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 are examples of inflammatory bowel disease. 
  • 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, are used. 
  • Increased requirements 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. The need for folate is higher in those who have cancer that has spread or who have chronic hemolytic anemia. 
  • Smoking 

If a person is being treated for a B12 or folate deficit with supplements, normal or higher findings suggest that the treatment is working. 

High amounts of B12 are uncommon, and they aren't routinely evaluated clinically. If a person has a condition such chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm, diabetes, heart failure, obesity, AIDS, or severe liver disease, their vitamin B12 level may be elevated. High B12 levels can also be caused by using estrogens, vitamin C, or vitamin A. 

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


Description: A B12 and Folate test measures the levels of B12 and folic acid in the blood. These results can be used to determine a B12 and/or 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: Vitamin B12 and Folate test, Cobalamin and Folic Acid Test, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B9 Test, Vitamin B12 Test, Vitamin B9 Test, Cobalamin Test, Folic Acid Test, Folate Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is Vitamin B12 and Folate panel 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 B12 and 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, B12 and folate testing may be ordered.

Individuals being treated for malnutrition or a B12 or 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 Vitamin B12 and Folate panel 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 B12 and 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 B12 or 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.

B12 is also necessary for nerve function, and a lack of it can induce neuropathy, which causes tingling and numbness in the hands and feet of those who are affected.

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.

B12 and folate deficiency is most commonly caused by not getting enough of the vitamins through diet or supplements, poor absorption, or increased 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 many years' worth of vitamin B12 and 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. Vegans and their breast-fed infants can suffer from B12 deficiency.
  • Inadequate absorption—the absorption of vitamin B12 is a multi-step process. B12 is normally released from food by stomach acid and then bound to intrinsic factor, a protein produced by parietal cells in the stomach, in the small intestine. After being absorbed by the small intestine and bound by carrier proteins, the B12-IF complex reaches the blood. B12 absorption is hampered if any of these processes are disrupted by a disease or condition.
  • 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 Vitamin B12 and Folate panel test:

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

Conditions where a Vitamin B12 and Folate panel test is recommended:

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

How does my health care provider use a Vitamin B12 and Folate panel 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 Vitamin B12 and Folate test results mean?

Normal B12 and 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 B12 and/or folate has not yet been depleted.

A health practitioner may request a methylmalonic acid test as an early sign of B12 insufficiency if a B12 level is normal but a deficiency is still suspected.

A low B12 and/or 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 B12 or folate levels can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Dietary folate or B12 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.

Both B12 and 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 omeprazole, metformin, methotrexate, and/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 B12 or folate deficiency, normal or higher findings indicate that the treatment is working.

High amounts of B12 are uncommon, and they aren't routinely evaluated clinically. If a person has a condition such chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm, diabetes, heart failure, obesity, AIDS, or severe liver disease, their vitamin B12 level may be elevated. High B12 levels can also be caused by using estrogens, vitamin C, or vitamin A.

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


Description: A Vitamin D test is a blood test used to determine if you have a Vitamin D deficiency and to monitor Vitamin D levels if you are on supplementation. 

Also Known As: 25-hydroxyvitamin D Test, Vitamin D 25-Hydroxyvitamin Test 

Collection Method: Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: Serum 

Test Preparation: Fasting preferred, but not required. 

When is a Vitamin D test ordered?

When calcium levels are inadequate and/or a person exhibits symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, such as rickets in children and bone weakening, softness, or fracture in adults, 25-hydroxyvitamin D is frequently ordered to rule out a vitamin D deficit. 

When a person is suspected of having a vitamin D deficiency, the test may be requested. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in older folks, people who are institutionalized or homebound and/or have minimal sun exposure, people who are obese, have had gastric bypass surgery, and/or have fat malabsorption. People with darker skin and breastfed babies are also included in this category. 

Before starting osteoporosis medication, 25-hydroxyvitamin D is frequently requested. 

What does a Vitamin D blood test check for? 

Vitamin D is a group of chemicals that are necessary for the healthy development and growth of bones and teeth. The level of vitamin D in the blood is determined by this test. 

Vitamin D is tested in the blood in two forms: 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. The primary form of vitamin D found in the blood is 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is a relatively inactive precursor to the active hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. 25-hydroxyvitamin D is routinely evaluated to assess and monitor vitamin D status in humans due to its longer half-life and higher concentration. 

Vitamin D's major function is to assist balance calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium levels in the blood. Vitamin D is necessary for bone growth and health; without it, bones become fragile, misshapen, and unable to mend themselves properly, leading to disorders such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D has also been proven to influence the growth and differentiation of a variety of other tissues, as well as to aid in immune system regulation. Other illnesses, such as autoimmune and cancer, have been linked to vitamin D's other roles. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of the US population has adequate vitamin D, while one-quarter is at risk of inadequate vitamin D and 8% is at risk of insufficiency, as defined by the Institute of Medicine's Dietary Reference Intake. 

The elderly or obese, persons who don't receive enough sun exposure, people with darker skin, and people who take certain drugs for lengthy periods of time are all at risk of insufficiency. Adequate sun exposure is usually defined as two intervals of 5-20 minutes each week. Vitamin D can be obtained through dietary sources or supplements by people who do not get enough sun exposure. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Vitamin D test: 

  • Complete Blood Count 
  • CMP 
  • Iron and TIBC 
  • Calcium 
  • Phosphorus 
  • PTH 
  • Magnesium

Conditions where a Vitamin D test is recommended:

  • Kidney Disease 
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Lymphoma 
  • Cystic Fibrosis 
  • Autoimmune Disorders 
  • Celiac Disease 
  • Malabsorption 
  • Malnutrition 

Commonly Asked Questions: 

How does my health care provider use a Vitamin D test? 

Determine whether a deficit or excess of vitamin D is causing bone weakening, deformity, or improper calcium metabolism. 

Because PTH is required for vitamin D activation, it can aid in diagnosing or monitoring problems with parathyroid gland function. 

Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is absorbed from the intestine like a fat, it can help monitor the health of people with conditions that interfere with fat absorption, such as cystic fibrosis and Crohn's disease. 

People who may not be able to absorb vitamin D adequately or have had gastric bypass surgery should be closely monitored. 

When vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and/or magnesium supplementation is suggested, it can help assess the success of the treatment. 

What do my Vitamin D results result mean? 

Even though vitamin D techniques differ, most laboratories use the same reference intervals. Because toxicity is uncommon, researchers have focused on the lower limit and what cut-off for total 25-hydroxyvitamin D shortage implies. 

A low blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D could indicate that a person isn't getting enough sunlight or dietary vitamin D to meet his or her body's needs, or that there's an issue with absorption from the intestines. Seizure medications, notably phenytoin, might occasionally interfere with the liver's generation of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. 

Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to an increased risk of some malignancies, immunological illnesses, and cardiovascular disease. 

Excessive supplementation with vitamin pills or other nutritional source of vitamin D frequently results in a high level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. 

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


Brief Description: A Vitamin D test is a blood test used to determine if you have a Vitamin D deficiency and to monitor Vitamin D levels if you are on supplementation.

Also Known As: Ergocalciferol Test, Vitamin D2 Test, Cholecalciferol Test, Vitamin D3 Test, Calcidiol Test, 25-hydroxyvitamin D Test, Calcifidiol Test, 25-hydroxy-vitamin D Test, Vitamin D Total Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Fasting preferred, but not required.

When is a Vitamin D test ordered?

When calcium levels are inadequate and/or a person exhibits symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, such as rickets in children and bone weakening, softness, or fracture in adults, 25-hydroxyvitamin D is frequently ordered to rule out a vitamin D deficit.

When a person is suspected of having a vitamin D deficiency, the test may be requested. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in older folks, people who are institutionalized or homebound and/or have minimal sun exposure, people who are obese, have had gastric bypass surgery, and/or have fat malabsorption. People with darker skin and breastfed babies are also included in this category.

Before starting osteoporosis medication, 25-hydroxyvitamin D is frequently requested.

What does a Vitamin D blood test check for?

Vitamin D is a group of chemicals that are necessary for the healthy development and growth of teeth and bones. The level of vitamin D in the blood is determined by this test.

Vitamin D is tested in the blood in two forms: 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. The primary form of vitamin D found in the blood is 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is a relatively inactive precursor to the active hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. 25-hydroxyvitamin D is routinely evaluated to assess and monitor vitamin D status in humans due to its longer half-life and higher concentration.

Endogenous vitamin D is created in the skin when exposed to sunshine, whereas exogenous vitamin D is taken through foods and supplements. Vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 have somewhat different molecular structures. Fortified foods, as well as most vitamin preparations and supplements, include the D2 form. The type of vitamin D3 produced by the body is also used in some supplements. When the liver and kidneys convert vitamin D2 and D3 into the active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, they are equally effective.

Some tests may not differentiate between the D2 and D3 forms of vitamin D and just report the total result. Newer methods, on the other hand, may record D2 and D3 levels separately and then sum them up to get a total level.

Vitamin D's major function is to assist balance calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium levels in the blood. Vitamin D is necessary for bone growth and health; without it, bones become fragile, misshapen, and unable to mend themselves properly, leading to disorders such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D has also been proven to influence the growth and differentiation of a variety of other tissues, as well as to aid in immune system regulation. Other illnesses, such as autoimmune and cancer, have been linked to vitamin D's other roles.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two-thirds of the US population has adequate vitamin D, while one-quarter is at risk of inadequate vitamin D and 8% is at risk of insufficiency, as defined by the Institute of Medicine's Dietary Reference Intake.

The elderly or obese, persons who don't receive enough sun exposure, people with darker skin, and people who take certain drugs for lengthy periods of time are all at risk of insufficiency. Adequate sun exposure is usually defined as two intervals of 5-20 minutes each week. Vitamin D can be obtained through dietary sources or supplements by people who do not get enough sun exposure.

This test has 3 Biomarkers

  • Vitamin D Total which is a combined measurement of Vitamin D, 25-Oh, D2 and Vitamin 25-Oh, D3
  • Vitamin D, 25-Oh, D2 which is a measurement of ergocalciferol Vitamin D, which is Vitamin D obtained through plant sources. 
  • Vitamin D, 25-Oh, D3 which is a measurement of cholecalciferol Vitamin D, which is Vitamin D obtained through animal sources.

Lab tests often ordered with a Vitamin D test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • CMP
  • Iron and TIBC
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • PTH
  • Magnesium

Conditions where a Vitamin D test is recommended:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lymphoma
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Celiac Disease
  • Malabsorption
  • Malnutrition

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Vitamin D test?

Determine whether a deficit or excess of vitamin D is causing bone weakening, deformity, or improper calcium metabolism.

Because PTH is required for vitamin D activation, it can aid in diagnosing or monitoring problems with parathyroid gland function.

Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is absorbed from the intestine like a fat, it can help monitor the health of people with conditions that interfere with fat absorption, such as cystic fibrosis and Crohn's disease.

People who have had gastric bypass surgery and may not be able to absorb adequate vitamin D should be closely monitored.

When vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and/or magnesium supplementation is suggested, it can help assess the success of the treatment.

What do my Vitamin D results result mean?

Despite the fact that vitamin D techniques differ, most laboratories use the same reference intervals. Because toxicity is uncommon, researchers have focused on the lower limit and what cut-off for total 25-hydroxyvitamin D shortage implies.

A low blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D could indicate that a person isn't getting enough sunlight or dietary vitamin D to meet his or her body's needs, or that there's an issue with absorption from the intestines. Seizure medications, notably phenytoin, might occasionally interfere with the liver's generation of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to an increased risk of some malignancies, immunological illnesses, and cardiovascular disease.

Excessive supplementation with vitamin pills or other nutritional supplements frequently results in a high level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

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



Cancer affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives, either directly or indirectly. Breast cancer is an especially prevalent form of this tragic disease.

Invasive breast cancer affects 1 in 8 American women. Although men can develop breast cancer, it is about 100 times more likely to occur in women. Some other risk factors include

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Diet
  • Lifestyle choices

In many cases, this disease proves fatal. However, the chances of a positive outcome are much higher in cases of early detection. This is why many people choose to carry out a mammogram and breast cancer lab tests at regular intervals throughout their lives.

This article will discuss what breast health lab tests are and why they are important. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

What Are Breast Health Lab Tests?

Breast health lab tests are series of blood tests that can determine the health of a women's breasts.

As well as mammograms and self-checks of the breast, blood testing is an effective method of detecting breast cancer. Many different types of tests can help to detect abnormalities within the breasts.

There are three main categories of breast cancer testing that are normally carried out which are screening, diagnostic, and monitoring tests.

Screening refers to tests routinely given to women who are healthy. A diagnostic test is a type of test performed when it's suspected that a woman has breast cancer. Monitoring tests are tests performed when a woman has breast cancer and needs to keep a close eye on her condition.

Benefits of Breast Health Lab Testing

Early detection of breast cancer greatly raises the chances of a person recovering from the disease. Breast health lab testing can help women to be able to catch breast cancer early. It can also help to monitor the severity of an already existing condition.

According to the American Cancer Society, when you detect breast cancer early the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%. This is why early detection is so important.

For some women, regular breast cancer testing is recommended. For example, women who have immediate relatives who have had breast cancer are at a greater risk of developing the disease themselves. Likewise, women over the age of 45 are also at a higher risk and should get tested on a regular basis.

What Type of Breast Health Lab Tests Are Available?

There are several different kinds of breast health lab tests that are available. The two main types Ulta Lab Tests offers are The Breast Health Foundation Panel and The Breast Health Foundation Panel along with Cancer Screening. Each of these panels contains a number of different tests.

ABO Group and Rh Type

This test determines a person's blood type. Possible ABO blood groups include O, A, B, or AB. The Rh refers to an antigen that may or may not be present on the surface of red blood cells; whether a person is RH positive or not can have an effect on response to treatment and tumor progression.

CA 15-3

The CA 15-3 test is also known as the cancer antigen 15-3 test. It is used to monitor response to breast cancer treatment and recurrence of the disease. Conditions other than breast cancer can also cause an elevated CA 15-3 test result.

Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets Blood Test

The CBC test has a number of uses. Aside from detecting the overall health of the body, it can be used to detect certain cancers. It can also help to monitor the body's response to cancer treatments.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

The CMP includes 21 separate measurements. This panel tests how well different body functions are working. When high calcium levels are detected in this test, it can be a sign of breast cancer.

Creatine Kinase Total

This test checks levels of the enzyme creatine kinase in the blood. This enzyme is found in the brain, heart, and musculoskeletal system. High levels of CK in the blood can be a sign of an advanced tumor, among other things.

Hemoglobin A1c

The HgbA1C test measures levels of hemoglobin A1c in the blood. Low levels of this type of hemoglobin can indicate a higher risk of cancer. It is usually used to test for diabetes.

C-Reactive Protein Cardiac (hs-CRP)

The hs-CRP test is used to detect lower levels of C-reactive protein. High CRP levels have been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer. This protein denotes inflammation in the body.

Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity

The TIBC test checks the body's ability to attach itself to iron and transport it around the body. Lower serum iron and total iron-binding capacity can be a sign of cancer. This test can detect if someone has an iron deficiency.

Lactate Dehydrogenase 

This test measures levels of the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase in the blood. This enzyme is involved in energy production. This test can help to measure response to treatment of breast cancer.

Sed Rate by Modified Westergren

The ESR test helps to diagnose conditions associated with acute and chronic inflammation. Breast cancer can be one such disease. It can also help to monitor the progression of a disease.

Vitamin B12

This test, also known as a Cobalamin test, measures B12 levels. It is usually used to confirm a suspected B12 deficiency. However, elevated levels of B12 can be an indicator of cancer.

Ferritin

The ferritin test measures levels of this blood protein in the body. It can detect iron deficiencies. Breast cancer can cause blood ferritin levels to be high.

Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy, Total, Immunoassay

This test checks vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is necessary for proper immune function. Some studies have found links between low vitamin D levels and a higher risk of certain cancers.

Breast Health Lab Panels FAQs

Below are some common questions regarding breast health lab panels, their benefits, and their uses.

Who Should Get a Breast Health Lab Panel?

If you're a woman who exhibits risk factors for cancer or are over the age of 45, you may want to get a breast health lab panel done. You can also use it to monitor your body's response to cancer treatment.

How Is the Panel Conducted?

A phlebotomist at an authorized patient service center will draw your blood and then send it to the nearest national testing facility for the tests to be performed. Then the sample gets taken away for testing. You should receive your results within a couple of days.

Benefits of Breast Health Lab Tests and a Breast Cancer Test

If you have worries about your breast health, you may want to order breast health lab tests or a breast cancer test today. Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate and reliable tests so you can make informed decisions regarding your health.

With Ulta, you'll get secure and confidential results, you don't need health insurance, and you'll always get affordable pricing. Take control of your health and order your breast health lab tests with Ulta Lab tests today.