The most common pathology tests are for detecting diseases. These tests can be used to diagnose the disease and tell if it is in remission or not. The most commonly used pathology tests are ECG, blood pressure and EKG. They are all expensive, time consuming and often not accurate. They also suffer from a number of other issues such as inaccuracy in the interpretation of results, inaccuracy in the duration of test results, and over-interpretation of test results.
In this article, we will discuss the most common pathology tests that are used for diagnosing a wide range of diseases.
The most common pathology tests are:
Full Blood Examination
A full blood examination is a test that is performed to determine the health of the body. It is used for screening and monitoring diseases in the body. In this test, blood samples are taken from the patient and stored in a laboratory for analysis. This test can detect many diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, diabetes and more.
The complete blood test (FBE), also known as the Full Blood Count (FBC blood test) or Complete Blood Count (CBC), provides important information about the numbers and proper development of cells in the blood: red blood cells that carry oxygen, white blood cells that fight infection, and platelets that help blood to clot.
Abnormalities in any of these can tell us a lot about a variety of important conditions including some nutritional factors, medications, and sometimes exposure to toxic substances. Abnormalities in the FBE blood test can be caused by anaemia, infections, some blood cancers such as leukaemias, and some inherited conditions.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Quantification
As part of the thyroid function test, this blood test is done to detect, diagnose, and monitor treatment for thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) or hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone). These disorders can occur spontaneously or as a result of tumors, pregnancy, infections, and sometimes medications.
The test measures the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in the blood. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland and acts as a “messenger,” telling the thyroid gland to start producing hormones. In patients with thyroid or pituitary disease, the messaging system becomes unbalanced.
Thyroid hormones regulate a variety of vital bodily functions, including breathing, heart rate and body weight, temperature, and general energy levels, so it is essential that they are produced at the correct levels.
Basic metabolic panel
A basic metabolic panel (BMP) typically checks the levels of eight compounds in the blood:
- blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
This test may require you to fast for at least 8 hours before having your blood drawn, depending on your doctor’s instructions and what the test measures.
See our table for normal results.
Abnormal results may indicate:
- kidney disease
- hormonal imbalances
Your doctor will perform follow-up tests to confirm a diagnosis.
INR (International Normalized Ratio)
This pathology test is used to check how well the blood-thinning medication, warfarin, is working. People with heart conditions, such as an irregular heartbeat or after heart valve replacement, may need to take this medicine to prevent a stroke. Other people may use warfarin to treat a current clot or reduce the risk of developing a clot in the legs or lungs during risky periods, such as surgery.
The test measures how long it takes for someone taking warfarin to convert one protein (prothrombin) to another (thrombin) compared to someone not taking warfarin. This chemical reaction is vital for the formation of clots. Patients taking warfarin should be tested regularly to monitor the effectiveness of the drug and allow the patient’s physician to adjust dosage levels accordingly. Levels are affected by diet, medications, and changes in general health. High levels may not cause symptoms but increase the risk of spontaneous bleeding.
We have also posted some case studies about pathology students can read these pathology cases as well.
Liver Function Tests
Liver function tests (LFTs) are a group of blood tests that measure certain enzymes, proteins, and substances that the liver makes or excretes. The amounts of these substances in the blood can be affected by liver injury. When done together, these tests give the doctor a snapshot of the health of the liver and can provide a starting point for any other diagnostic tests.
There are many diseases, infections, and lifestyle factors that can cause liver damage, and since a significant amount of liver damage can be present before symptoms appear, pathology is key to early diagnosis and effective treatment. Liver function test is also included in our 5 Common Pathology Tests and Their Results article.