Laboratory tests by type, fields of examination
What fields of examinations exist for laboratory tests?
Various tests could be taken on a sample to set the final diagnose. The following laboratory test types support diagnosing:
- Allergy tests: testing for specific antibodies of respiratory, food, and insect bite (bee /wasp) allergens.
- Autoantibody tests: tests to detect antibodies (autoantibodies) produced by the body against its own cells and tissues. These tests help to diagnose autoimmune diseases.
- Clinical chemistry tests: examines the function and pathological changes of various organs, organ systems, regulatory systems of the human body (eg liver, kidney, muscles, bones, heart, lungs, water and electrolyte household, metabolic parameters).
- Genetic tests: tests for the predisposition to hereditary diseases.
- Hematology tests: examines the composition, abnormal cells, and quantitative abnormalities of the hematopoietic system.
- Hormone tests: by measuring hormone levels, the abnormalities, deficiency states, and functional abnormalities of hormone-producing organs can be examined.
- Immunological tests: an examination of the function of the immune system to detect deficiencies.
- Microbiological tests: detect infectious pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa), by measuring their antibody levels.
- Tolerance tests: laboratory tests that help to assess the function of organs and metabolic processes.
- Tumor marker tests: in case of complaints, the presence of a tumor can be confirmed or ruled out with a tumor marker test, along with imaging procedures.
- Vitamins and oligo-elements: measurement of elements that provide the optimal functioning of the body (eg. copper, zinc).
- Blood coagulation tests: tests for inherited and acquired changes oof the highly complex coagulation system.
- Blood type test
Allergy and intolerance tests
Allergy and intolerance tests help identify the allergen causing the symptoms. Allergy tests can be performed by provocation tests or by blood sampling. In the case of a blood allergy test, allergen-specific IgE is measured. IgE molecules are antibodies belonging to the immunoglobulin superfamily, which are produced by the immune system to recognize and then neutralize foreign substances that have entered the body.
Genetic laboratory tests help determine genetic predisposition for hereditary diseases, which can help us to act against the development of the disease (e.g., lifestyle changes, prevention). A genetic test only needs to be done once in a lifetime because our gene pool does not change over the years.
PCR tests can be performed in case of infectious diseases immediately after infection, allowing diagnosis to be made and treatment to be started in a time.
Hematology and coagulation tests
Hematology deals with diseases of the hematopoietic and lymphatic organs, and hemostaseology deals with the disorders of blood clotting. The most common hematological laboratory tests examine the quantitative and qualitative changes in white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
Blood coagulation laboratory tests check the coagulation of the blood and the function of the enzyme system that regulates blood clotting. . To diagnose diseases that cause increased blood clotting, the D-dimer test is complemented by additional laboratory tests and imaging procedures.
The body’s endocrine glands (hypophysis, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, pancreas, adrenal gland, ovary, testis) produce hormones that affect the functioning of the organs. The examination and treatment of hormonal disorders are performed by specialists in the field of internal medicine, endocrinology, and gynecology.
Immunological laboratory tests can be used to detect the causes of recurrent infections, immunodeficiency diseases, and autoimmune diseases.
Infectious serology tests
By detecting antibodies against various pathogens, we look for the background of acute and chronic infections. With their help, we can show receptivity, the course of the infection, and protection against a pathogen. Serostatus tests before and during pregnancy are very important. (TORCH panel: Toxoplasma, Rubella, Cytomegalia, Herpes simplex, and Varicella).
Clinical chemistry tests
Clinical chemistry tests cover a wide range of laboratory tests.
Includes enzyme tests in the blood, which can be used to look for tissue and cell damage to determine which organ has been injured or damaged (e.g., liver tests include AST, cholinesterase, and LDH).
The laboratory tests of heart disease, mainly the differences in CK, CK-MB, LDH are observed, and in the case of diabetes, the most common tests are glucose (blood sugar) and HbA1c.
In the case of the excretory organ system, like kidney and the urinary tract, urea and creatinine levels are examined, in the case of the digestive system, saliva, gastric juice, pepsin, gastrin, Helicobacter, pancreatic enzymes, absorption and feces, and fecal blood tests are included in the clinical chemistry laboratory tests.
During fat metabolism, fats and fatty substances are built up and disassembled primarily in the liver. Therefore, periodic monitoring of cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL, and HDL levels is recommended. In the case of hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia, the blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels are increased, which increases the risk of atherosclerosis (arteriosclerosis) and cardiovascular disease.
For bone diseases and osteoporosis, the control of calcium, phosphate, and vitamin D levels are the primary testing area.
Medical microbiology examines the pathogens of infectious diseases and organisms found in the normal flora of the human body, as well as the details, manner, and course of host-infection interactions, and the possibility of protection and prevention against them.
Tumor marker tests
Tumor markers are produced by tumor cells. The laboratory tests can detect these in body secretions: blood, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, feces. These tests are recommended if there are any complaints or symptoms that raise the possibility of a tumor.
If the tumor marker test is performed before the tumor therapy, the monitoring of the parameter is suitable for monitoring the effectiveness of the therapy, and for indicating the recurrence of the tumor.
A negative test result (the tumor marker concentration is in the normal range) does not necessarily indicate a tumor-free condition, as a positive result does not necessarily indicate cancer.
In the case of positivity, only further tests can determine the presence of a cancerous lesion. The most common type of cancer, colon cancer screening is also possible with a laboratory test of blood and stool samples (Septin 9).
Please note that the test results do not mean a diagnosis, it is the responsibility of your doctor to evaluate the results and establish the diagnosis.
Clinical urine tests
A urine test could detect kidney function diseases and a number of internal medicine problems. The analysis of urine samples could show urinary tract infections, but the result can also indicate the presence of diabetes or inflammation in the body.
Vitamins, minerals, trace elements tests
A diverse diet could ensure the intake of minerals, trace elements, and vitamins, however, in case of certain conditions or increased stress, additional supplementation may be necessary. Their lack, next to proper nutrition, might refer to an illness.
The colour and texture of the stool could refer to various conditions. In case of an altered function, affecting the digestion (e.g. chronic diarrhoea, sudden weight loss), laboratory faecal examination is required. The results of faecal culture can be used to determine whether the patient has normal flora and also draws attention to the presence of possible pathogens, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.