Standard Pathology Tests and What They Reveal about Your Health
Millions of pathology tests are ordered yearly for Americans that cover many conditions and diseases, from cancer diagnosis to cholesterol checks. Our experts on diagnostic dermatopathology in Pittsburgh, PA, offer the following information on standard pathology tests people have performed and what the tests are looking for.
Liver function tests
These are blood tests to measure substances, proteins, and enzymes excreted or produced by your liver. Liver injury can affect the levels of these substances in your blood. These tests allow a physician to assess your liver health and have a place to start for any additional diagnostic testing. Many lifestyle factors, infections, and diseases can damage your liver, and your liver can be damaged significantly before you show symptoms. Therefore, pathology is essential for early diagnosis and effective treatment for liver problems.
Complete blood count
A complete blood count or CBC gives physicians essential information about blood numbers and correct cell development in your blood. White blood cells fight infection, while red blood cells carry oxygen and platelets and help clot. In addition, abnormalities in a CBC panel can provide essential information about specific conditions, including medications, nutritional factors, and toxic substance exposure. These blood test abnormalities can be caused by infections, anemia, and blood cancers like leukemia or other inherited conditions.
This pathology test is performed when a physician suspects you have too much or too little iron in your blood. Iron is required to develop adequate numbers of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body. Anemia can result from low iron levels where your body does not have sufficient red blood cells, leading to a lack of energy or fatigue. Iron deficiency reflects poor absorption, poor dietary intake, or excessive iron loss from bleeding. This makes it vitally important to determine iron deficiency causes, as they may indicate the presence of disease.
Iron overload, or having too much iron in your blood, will increase the risk of many severe conditions, like heart failure, liver disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Until tissue damage begins occurring, iron overload is asymptomatic. Therefore, you can prevent severe damage through early diagnosis. The harmful effects of too little or too much iron in the blood are easily treatable, especially when early detection is made possible through pathology testing.
Thyroid stimulating hormone quantification or TSH
This blood test is performed as part of a thyroid function test to monitor and diagnose thyroid disorders like hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. These disorders can spontaneously or occur due to infections, pregnancy, tumors, or medications. This test accurately measures the number of thyroid-stimulating hormones in your blood. The pituitary gland produces TSH and causes your thyroid gland to produce hormones. Therefore, there is an unbalanced messaging system in patients with pituitary or thyroid disease. Thyroid hormones regulate a wide range of bodily functions, including heart rate, body weight, temperature, breathing, and energy levels. So, your body must produce the hormones at adequate levels for good health.