1. Lipid Panel – test for cholesterol. This screening involves several components:
- Total cholesterol
- HDL-high density lipoprotein-the ‘good’ cholesterol
- LDL-low density lipoprotein-the ‘bad’ cholesterol
- Triglycerides-essentially fat globules in the blood
Of note, the HDL + the LDL does not = Total Cholesterol. There is another type of cholesterol as well called VLDL that is part of the equation, but that is beyond the scope of this post.
This blood test must be taken while fasting in order to be accurate. A good time to have your blood drawn is in the morning and don’t eat or drink anything except water after midnight from the night before. This includes creamer in coffee. Creamer in coffee will completely throw off these numbers. Cost of the test—about $200.
2. BMP (also called a Chem 7) – test for:
- Electrolyte level (Sodium, Potassium, others)
- Kidney function (Creatinine and BUN)
- Blood glucose (sugar, it is often elevated in uncontrolled or undiagnosed Diabetes).
Of note, if the kidney function numbers are abnormal, they should be compared to other kidney function numbers taken at a different time—i.e., you will need your current results compared to prior results, or you will need to have your blood drawn again for comparison purposes.
Like the Lipid Panel above, often this blood test is done while fasting—but it does not have to be. The results have to be interpreted a little differently depending on whether the person has eaten or not. Cost of the test—about $100.
3. CMP (also called a Chem 12) - this test is a more extensive version of a BMP and includes the same parts—plus liver function tests. Often CMPs are not necessary, so it is usually more cost effective to do a BMP. Ask your doctor about your options. Cost of the test—about $250.
4. CBC (Complete Blood Count) - this is a test of:
- Red blood cells (carry oxygen)
- White blood cells (fight infection)
- Platelets (help form clots to stop bleeding).