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Total protein test

What is this test?
Protein Total Blood Test measures the amount of two major proteins albumin and globulins in the blood. Proteins are essential for the proper functioning and growth of the body’s cells and tissues. Albumin is a protein made by the liver which helps in keeping fluid from leaking out of blood vessels. It is the most abundant protein in the blood. Globulins are produced in the liver and also by the immune system to fight against foreign substances. It helps in blood clotting and fighting against infection. Globulins can be divided into 4 categories. They are alpha 1, alpha 2, beta, and gamma globulins.

This test is one among many tests used to evaluate your liver and kidney function. Your doctor may ask to perform this test if you have an existing liver disorder or if you experience any signs and symptoms of liver damage such as yellowing of skin or eyes, dark colored urine, nausea and/or vomiting, itchy skin, lack of energy, weight loss, pain and swelling in the abdomen etc. You may also be advised to perform this test if you have an existing kidney disorder or if you experience any signs and symptoms of kidney damage such as a reduced amount of urine, shortness of breath, weight loss, swelling of legs, ankles, and feet, weakness, confusion etc. Few more additional tests may also be performed along with this test to assess your liver and kidney function.

This test may also be recommended to you by your doctor as part of your regular checkup and to diagnose certain conditions such as autoimmune disorders, or certain types of cancer. Your doctor may ask to perform this test during the comprehensive medical panel (CMP) or if you experience any signs and symptoms of nutritional problems such as weakness, weight loss, lack of hunger, extreme tiredness etc.

If you have a family history of liver or kidney problems, your doctor may ask you to perform this test on a 6-monthly basis or a yearly basis. Patients with liver or kidney disorders should perform this test on a regular basis, as instructed by the doctor.

If the test results fall in the normal reference range generally no medical intervention is necessary.

If the test result shows low protein levels in the blood may indicate a problem with liver or kidney function. Signs and symptoms of liver damage are yellowing of skin or eyes, dark colored urine, nausea and/or vomiting, itchy skin, lack of energy, pain and swelling in the abdomen etc. Signs and symptoms of kidney damage are a reduced amount of urine, shortness of breath, swelling of legs, ankles, and feet, weakness, confusion etc. Decreased protein levels in some individuals may also be a sign of severe malnutrition, a condition where lack of enough nutrients in the body due to a poor diet. Low levels are also seen in individuals where there is no proper intestinal absorption of nutrients due to certain intestinal disorders such as celiac disease (a condition where ingestion of gluten results in damage in the intestine) or inflammatory bowel disease.

If the test result shows high protein levels in the blood may indicate infections or inflammation such as HIV, viral hepatitis B or C, or autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. Increased protein levels in some individuals may also be a sign of certain types of cancer such as Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, or malignant lymphoma. If you get abnormal test results it can be due to dehydration, or use of certain medicines.

If you have higher or lower than normal levels of proteins in blood consult your doctor for further instructions. Based on the test results, your doctor may advise appropriate medical treatments, lifestyle modifications, or further diagnostic tests.

Precautions: Some medicines that may interfere with the protein test results are insulin, steroids like prednisolone, cortisone, anabolic steroids like testosterone, androgens, etc.

Also known as Serum Total Protein Blood, Sr. Total Protein Blood, Protein Total, Serum Total Protein, Sr. Total Protein.
Test Preparation
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Protein Test. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Protein Test.

No specific preparation is required for this test. However, if it is performed along with any other blood tests, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours.

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Understanding Your Cholesterol Test Results
Your health care provider may send you for cholesterol tests, either as a part of a standard check-up or because he or she suspects you may be at risk for developing heart disease. But do you know what the cholesterol test results actually mean? Read on to learn how to interpret the numbers.

Why Do I Need a Cholesterol Test?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. But you take in more cholesterol from certain foods, such as those from animals. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up in the walls of your arteries (as "plaque") and eventually harden. This process, called atherosclerosis, actually narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to travel through the vessels.

Unfortunately, high cholesterol doesn't cause symptoms. In later stages of atherosclerosis, though, you may suffer angina -- severe chest pain from lack of blood flow to the heart. If an artery gets totally blocked, a heart attack results. A routine blood cholesterol test is a far better way of finding out what your cholesterol level is.

What Does a Cholesterol Test Measure?
In addition to measuring the total cholesterol in your blood, the standard cholesterol test (called a "lipid panel") measures three specific kinds of fat:

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL). This is the "bad cholesterol," the main cause of plaque build-up, which increases your risk for heart disease. In general, the lower the number, the better. But LDL cholesterol is only one part of a larger equation that measures a person's overall risk of having a heart attack or stroke. For years, guidelines focused on specific target numbers for individuals to achieve to lower their risk. The most recent guidelines focus on a person's overall risk and, based on that risk, recommend a certain percentage of LDL reduction as one part of a strategy for preventing serious heart and vascular problems.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL). This is the "good cholesterol." It transports bad cholesterol from the blood to the liver, where it is excreted by the body. Your HDL is another part of the equation that identifies the risk of a cardiovascular event. In general, the higher the number the better, although, as with LDL, the emphasis has shifted from specific target numbers to strategies for reducing the overall risk.
Triglycerides. Another type of fat in the bloodstream, triglycerides are also linked to heart disease. They are stored in fat cells throughout the body.

What Do Cholesterol Test Numbers Mean?
If you have a lipoprotein profile, it's important to look at all the numbers from the cholesterol test, not just the total cholesterol number. That's because LDL and HDL levels are two primary indicators of potential heart disease. Use the information below to interpret your results (with the help of your doctor, of course). This will help you get a better idea about your risk for heart disease.

Total blood cholesterol level:

High risk: 240 mg/dL and above
Borderline high risk: 200-239 mg/dL
Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol levels:

190 mg/dL and above represents a high risk for heart disease and is a strong indicator that the individual can benefit from intensive treatment, including life style changes, diet, and statin therapy for reducing that risk.

For LDL levels that are equal to or less than 189 mg/dL, the guidelines recommend strategies for lowering LDL by 30% to 50% depending on what other risk factors you have that can affect the health of your heart and blood vessels.

HDL cholesterol:

High risk: Less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 mg/dL for women
Very high risk: 500 mg/dL and above
High risk: 200-499 mg/dL
Borderline high risk: 150-199 mg/dL
Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL

How Do I Prepare for My Cholesterol Test?
If your doctor recommends a "non-fasting" cholesterol test, the lab will look only at your total cholesterol (and sometimes your HDL) numbers. For that test, you merely need to show up at the lab and have some blood drawn. If your doctor suggests a "fasting" cholesterol test (also called a "lipid profile"), the lab will analyze your levels of LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. For that test, you will need to fast nine to 12 hours before the blood test.

Sometimes a doctor will ask you to do a non-fasting cholesterol test first. Depending on the results, he or she may then send you back for the more complete lipid profile.

How Will My Doctor Use Results From My Cholesterol Test?
After reviewing your blood test, The doctor will also consider other risk factors you might have for heart disease, including:

Your family history
Age
Weight
Race
Gender
Diet
Blood pressure and whether or not you're being treated for high blood pressure
Activity level
Smoking status
History of diabetes
Evidence of elevated blood sugars
Then, your doctor will talk with you about your level of risk and the potential benefit to be derived by taking steps that include changes in your level of activity and diet as well as using medication to improve your cholesterol levels in order to reduce your overall risk.

How Often Should I Have A Cholesterol Test?
The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends adults age 20 years or older have a cholesterol test every five years. People who are at risk for heart attack or heart disease or who have a family history of either should be checked more often.

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Total Body CT Scanning is a new diagnostic technique that uses computer tomography to help identify potential problems and diseases before symptoms even appear.

What can the scan reveal?
A Total Body CT (TBCT) can provide a "snapshot" of the body's anatomy, giving the physician a clear and detailed look inside the body. The Total Body CT scan analyzes three major areas of the body: the lungs, the heart, and the abdomen/pelvis. The lung CT can detect early, potentially malignant nodules. In the heart, the scan can detect aortic aneurysms and calcium deposits within plaque in the coronary arteries. In the abdomen/pelvis area, the scan can identify kidney stones and some cysts, enlarged lymph nodes, large abdominal masses, abdominal aneurysms, an enlarged spleen, a fatty liver, limited masses, and large pelvic masses.

For high-risk individuals, the proposed benefit of having a TBCT Scan lies in the potential of early detection and treatment. As an educated consumer, you need to weigh the benefits against any potential risks of having a TBCT scan. Take into consideration your individual circumstances, including risk factors and family history. High risk factors may include:

An individual or family history of coronary artery disease
An individual or family history of abdominal aneurysm
Being 45 years old or older
Smoking at least on pack of cigarettes a day for at least 10 years regardless if you no longer smoke
History of high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure
Being overweight
An inactive lifestyle
Concerns about abdominal and/or pelvic disease

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What Is Tonometry?
Tonometry is a quick and simple test that checks the pressure inside your eyes. The results can help your doctor see if you're at risk for glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a disease that boosts the pressure inside your eyes. It can cause blindness. Early screening can help protect your eyesight and slow down vision loss.

Why Do I Need This Test?
Your eyes are filled with different fluids that keep them healthy. New fluid is constantly being made and old fluid drained out. But if this drainage system gets plugged, the fluids build up. That causes the pressure inside your eyes to rise.

Sometimes the pressure is caused by an eye injury or trauma. Once your eye heals, everything may go back to normal. But some people have a drainage system that doesn't work like it should.

Over time, high pressure inside your eye can damage your optic nerve, which sends images from your eyes to your brain. Left untreated, it can cause glaucoma.

Since the disease doesn't always have symptoms, regular eye exams are a good idea. Your eye doctor will check your eye pressure by doing a tonometry test. She can also track any changes in pressure over time.

Anyone can get glaucoma, but your odds are higher if you:

Are over 40
Have a family member with glaucoma
Are African, Hispanic or Asian
Have had an eye injury
Are far-sighted or near-sighted
Have been told your corneas are thin in the middle
Have diabetes
Get migraines
Have high blood pressure
Have circulation (blood flow) problems
What Happens During a Tonometry Test?
Your doctor can check your eye pressure a couple of different ways:

Tonometer. After special numbing drops are put in your eye, your doctor gently holds this pencil-shaped device against the outside of your eyeball. The reading tells how well your cornea pushes back.
Puff of air. Your doctor could also use an instrument that blows a small puff of air at your eye while you look into a light. This also measure the pressure inside your eyeball.
Both these methods are painless and only last a few seconds. If your doctor does the puff of air test, you may feel a small amount of pressure against your eye.

Your doctor will share the results with you right away.

What Do the Results Mean?
Eye pressure is different from person to person. Normally, it lies somewhere between 12-22 mmHg (millimeters of Mercury). Most people diagnosed with glaucoma have an eye pressure above 20 mmHg.

If your eye pressure is high but your optic nerve looks normal, you may have what's called ocular hypertension.You might not have any symptoms, but this could lead to glaucoma over time.

Some people with ocular hypertension never end up with glaucoma. Others develop it even though their eye pressure falls within a normal range. Because of this, tonometry is only part of a complete eye exam. These results, along with other vision tests, help your doctor get a better idea of your eye health. She'll also talk to you about your health history and any symptoms you're having.

If the test shows you have high pressure in your eyes, your doctor may keep a close watch on it by having you come in for regular testing. Or, she could decide to lower the pressure by prescribing eye drops that you'll take every day. They'll help protect your optic nerve from future damage and, in the long run, could save your sight.


What Is a TSH Test?
A TSH test is done to find out if your thyroid gland is working the way it should. It can tell you if it's overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism). The test can also detect a thyroid disorder before you have any symptoms. If untreated, a thyroid disorder can cause health problems.

TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone and the test measures how much of this hormone is in your blood. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland in your brain. This gland tells your thyroid to make and release the thyroid hormones into your blood.

The Test
The TSH test involves simply drawing some blood from your body. The blood will then be analyzed in a lab. This test can be performed at any time during the day. No preparation is needed (such as overnight fasting). You shouldn't feel any pain beyond a small prick from the needle in your arm. You may have some slight bruising.

In general, there is no need to stop taking your medicine(s) before having your TSH level checked. However, it is important to let the doctor know what medications you are taking as some drugs can affect thyroid function. For example, thyroid function must be monitored if you are taking lithium. While taking lithium, there is a high chance that your thyroid might stop functioning correctly. It's recommended that you have a TSH level test before starting this medicine. If your levels are normal, then you can have your levels checked every 6 to 12 months, as recommended by your doctor. If your thyroid function becomes abnormal, you should be treated.

High Levels of TSH
TSH levels typically fall between 0.4 and 4.0 milliunits per liter (mU/L), according to the American Thyroid Association. Ranges between laboratories will vary with the upper limit being between 4 to 5. If your level is higher than this, chances are you have an underactive thyroid.

In general, T3 and T4 levels increase in pregnancy and TSH levels decrease.

Low Levels of TSH
It's also possible that the test reading comes back showing lower than normal levels of TSH and an overactive thyroid. This could be caused by:

Graves disease (your body's immune system attacks the thyroid)
Too much iodine in your body
Too much thyroid hormone medication
Too much of a natural supplement that contains the thyroid hormone
If you're on medications like steroids, dopamine, or opioid painkillers (like morphine), you could get a lower-than-normal reading. Taking biotin (B vitamin supplements) also can falsely give lower TSH levels.

The TSH test usually isn't the only one used to diagnose thyroid disorders. Other tests, like the free T3, the free T4, the reverse T3, and the anti-TPO antibody, are often used too when determining whether you need thyroid treatment or not.

Treatment
Treatment for an underactive thyroid usually involves taking a synthetic thyroid hormone by pill daily. This medication will get your hormone levels back to normal, and you may begin to feel less tired and lose weight.

To make sure you're getting the right dosage of medication, your doctor will check your TSH levels after 2 or 3 months. Once she is sure you are on the correct dosage, she will continue to check your TSH level each year to see whether it is normal.

If your thyroid is overactive, there are several options:

Radioactive iodine to slow down your thyroid
Anti-thyroid medications to prevent it from overproducing hormones
Beta blockers to reduce a rapid heart rate caused by high thyroid levels
Surgery to remove the thyroid (this is less common)

Dr. Shrikant Tile
Dr. Shrikant Tile
MBBS, Gynaecologist, 10 yrs, Pune
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Dr. Sayali Shinde
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Dr. Rahul Devle
BHMS, Homeopath Family Physician, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Nitin Desai
Dr. Nitin Desai
BAMS, Ayurveda Panchakarma, 22 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sadashiv K. Deshpande
Dr. Sadashiv K. Deshpande
BHMS, Homeopath, 40 yrs, Pune
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