Definition: This test shows the amount of erythrocytes (red blood cells) in the total volume of blood. The hematocrit test indicates whether you have high or low values of erythrocytes quantity, which in turn is an indication of an illness. Erythrocytes carry oxygen to the tissues in the body. A sample of your blood is placed in a special centrifuge. Upon rotation of the centrifuge, the blood is layered and three layers are formed.
2. Red blood cells
3. Other blood cells
Then determines what portion of the total amount of blood falls on erythrocytes.
Why your doctor will appoint this test? The calculation of hematocrit is part of the test – complete blood count. The level of hematocrit shows the doctor if you have a particular disease.
A) Low hematocrit may be a sign of:
– Infection, leukemia, lymphoma – due to the increased amount of white blood cells to the reduced number of erythrocytes
– Shortage of vitamins and minerals
– Acute or chronic blood loss
B) increased hematocrit level may be a sign of:
– Disease of the heart or lungs, in which the body produces more red blood cells to compensate the shortage of oxygen.
How to prepare for the procedure? This is a simple blood test that does not need to do anything in particular before the test.
Results: The results of the test are ratio between the total amount of blood cells based on the amount of red blood cells. Normal values are:
1. In men – from 38.8 to 50%
2. Women – 34.9 to 44.5%
The normal values in children under 15 years vary depending on gender and age.
Test results may affect the following factors:
– If you live at high altitude
– Serious blood loss
– Recent blood transfusion
– Severe dehydration
Definition: hemoglobin test shows the amount of hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin is found in red blood cells. Its function is to carry oxygen to organs and tissues and carries out carbon dioxide from organs and tissues.
If the hemoglobin level is lower than normal, this means that the number of red blood cells is reduced. This condition implies the presence of anemia. The causes of anemia may be numerous such as:
If the hemoglobin level is higher than normal, this means that you may have one of the following conditions:
-Polycythemia Vera – a rare blood disorder
-If You highly dehydrated
-If You live at high altitude
Why your doctor will appoint this test? The reasons for the appointment of this test could be several:
1. To assess your overall health – the test of hemoglobin can be part of a complete blood test, which is part of a routine check-up.
2. To monitor the progress of a disease – if you have anemia or polycythemia vera, your doctor will monitor your hemoglobin to monitor your disease and appropriate treatment instituted.
3. To diagnose a particular disease – if complaining of weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath or dizziness, your doctor will want to examine your hemoglobin.
How to prepare for the procedure? If your blood sample is used to test only the hemoglobin, then you can eat and take liquids without any restrictions before the test.
If your blood sample is used for further research, then you will need to watch out what you eat before the test.
Results: If your hemoglobin level is low, then you may have anemia. Anemia can be due to many reasons.
– Iron deficiency
– Lack of vitamin B12
– Lack of folic acid
– Cancer affecting the bone marrow (leukemia)
– Diseases of the kidneys and liver
– Thalassemia – it is a genetic disorder that is characterized by low levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells.
The high levels of hemoglobin can be caused by one of the following reasons.
– Polycythemia vera – a rare blood disorder in which the bone marrow produces too many red blood cells.
– Lung disease
– Severe vomiting
– Excessive exercise
Definition: Amniocentesis is a procedure in which the doctor takes a certain amount of amniotic fluid for examination. Amniotic fluid protects the fetus during pregnancy. Amniotic fluid contains cells and various substances from the fetus.
Why your doctor will appoint this test? Amniocentesis may be appointed for various reasons:
1. In one case, a sample of amniotic fluid is taken in order to establish whether there is a risk of development of certain conditions, such as Down’s syndrome and spina bifida.
2. In more advanced stages of pregnancy, a sample of amniotic fluid is taken to determine whether the baby’s lungs are underdeveloped.
3.Usually, amniocentesis is appointed in order to see the presence of an infection and diseases.
4.Very rarely amniocentesis is used to reduce the amount of amniotic fluid.
5.Amnicentesis can be used to determine severity of anemia in preterm infants, who have Rh-sensitization. Rh-sensitization is a condition in which the maternal immune system produces antibodies against the specific protein found on the surface of blood cells of the babies.
Although amniocentesis can provide valuable information about the condition of the fetus, it is very important to understand the risks of such a procedure.
What are the risks of this procedure?
1.Мiscarriage – when performing amniocentesis in the second trimester, the risk of miscarriage is 1 in 300 and 1 in 500. Studies show that the risk of miscarriage is higher if amniocentesis is performed before the 15th week of pregnancy.
2.The baby could be hurt by the needle – during the procedure itself, the baby can move the foot or the hand and be pricked by the needle. Needle injuries occur rarely.
3.Leak of amniotic fluid – rarely it is observed leakage of amniotic fluid from the vagina after the amniocentesis. If leakage stops, the pregnancy will probably continue normally. It is possible, however, the leakage continue, which will lead to orthopedic problems for the baby.
4.Rh-sensibilization – rarely, amniocentesis can lead to penetration of blood cells in the circulation of the fetus to the mother. If your blood is Rh negative, will give you a drug called Rh-immunoglobulin after the procedure to prevent the production of antibodies against the baby’s blood cells.
5.Infection – rarely amniocentesis can cause uterine infection.
6.Transmission of infection – if you are suffering from hepatitis C, toxoplasmosis or HIV, the baby can be infected by you during amniocentesis.
How to prepare for the procedure? If amniocentesis is performed before the 20th week of pregnancy, your bladder should be full. For this purpose, you should drink plenty of water before the procedure itself. If amniocentesis is performed after the 20th week of pregnancy, your bladder should be empty during amniocentesis.
It’s nice to have a companion to help you after the procedure to get home.
Results: If amniocentesis shows that your baby has a chromosomal or genetic disease that can not be treated, you should decide whether to continue the pregnancy.
If amniocentesis is designed to show the maturity of the baby’s lungs, the results will show whether your baby can be born even earlier than normal.
ANA – test
Definition: This test proves the presence of antinuclear antibodies in the serum. Your immune system produces antibodies that fight various infections. Unlike normal antibodies, antinuclear antibodies often attack the healthy cells in the body. If your ANA – test is positive, it means that your immune system has created antibodies that attack its own cells – an autoimmune reaction. In some cases, the patient can be absolutely healthy and no matter of this the ANA – test could be positive. Your doctor may recommend you to do the test if there are doubts about lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and others.
Why your doctor will appoint this study? ANA – test is done in order to establish the type of autoimmune disease. Although many rheumatic conditions have similar symptoms – such as joint pain, fatigue, fever. ANA – test merely refers to the presence of some autoimmune disease if the test is positive, an additional examination is done for specific antinuclear antibodies which are specific for certain diseases.
How to prepare for the procedure? If your blood test is used only for ANA-screening you can eat food and drink liquids normally before the test itself. But if you do other tests you should do them on an empty stomach. Your doctor will give you exact instructions on what to do before the test. Some medicines can affect the accuracy of the test, so you should tell your doctor what medications you take. For ANA – screening doctors use venous blood.
Results: The presence of antinuclear antibodies means that your test is positive. This does not mean that you are sick. Many people who are not sick have positive test results – particularly women over 65 years. Mononuclease is a disease which is associated with the presence of antinuclear antibodies. Some medications for high blood pressure can trigger the formation of antinuclear antibodies.