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Lab Test Explanations

Albumin: Albumin is a type of protein in the blood which is an overall index of nutrition. The albumin level is decreased when the diet is deficient in protein. The albumin level may also be decreased in kidney disease.

ALP (Alkaline Phosphatase): Alkaline Phosphatase is an enzyme found in bone and in the liver. It is a useful enzyme in detecting diseases of these organs. The alkaline phosphatase level may be somewhat higher during adolescence and in pregnant women.

ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase): ALT is an enzyme found primarily in liver cells.

AST (Asparate Aminotransferase): AST is an enzyme in various cells throughout the body. Injury to cells containing AST causes the release of this enzyme into the blood. AST is found primarily in the muscle, liver and heart.

BUN (Blood Urine Nitrogen): BUN is a waste product from ammonia by the liver. The urea nitrogen is removed from the blood by the kidneys and excreted. High values may be found when the kidneys are not working well. A high protein diet or strenuous exercise may raise the BUN. The BUN may be low in pregnancy and severe liver disease.

Calcium (Total Calcium): The calcium level is controlled by the parathyroid glands and the kidneys. Calcium is found mostly in the bones; it Is very important for normal cellular activity.

Chol (Cholesterol): Cholesterol is a type of fat in the blood which has been associated with heart disease in some people.

Cl (Chloride): Chloride is closely associated with sodium which is regulated by the kidneys and the adrenal glands. Chloride is important in the maintenance of the correct pH of the body and of the cells.

CO2 (Bicarbonate Ions): The bicarbonate ion is changed to the gas CO2 in the lungs and exhaled. The concentration of bicarbonate ions in the blood is affected by the body pH, the kidneys, and the lungs.

Creat (Creatinine): Creatinine is a waste product which is excreted by the kidneys. Low values generally are not significant.

DLDL (Direct Low Density Lipoprotein): Often referred to as "bad cholesterol." The higher the number is, the higher the risk for heart disease.

Glucose (Blood Sugar): The blood sugar may be elevated if one has eaten before the test or in diabetes.

HDL (High Density Lipoprotein): HDL is a type of fat in the blood which is measured along with the total cholesterol. It is referred to as the "good cholesterol." Studies have shown that the higher the level of HDL cholesterol, the lower risk of developing heart disease.

Hematocrit: The hematocrit is directly proportional to the number and size of red blood cells in the blood.

Hemoglobin (Hb): Hemoglobin is contained in the red blood cells and it is used for transporting oxygen to the tissues. A low hemoglobin level is indicative of anemia.

Iron: The concentration of iron in the serum varies throughout the day. Although iron is used by the body to produce hemoglobin and thus prevent anemia, it is not a screen for anemia. The hemoglobin and hematocrit values should be used for ruling out anemia.

K (Potassium): Potassium is closely regulated by the kidneys. It is important for the proper functioning of muscles and the heart. Diuretics and digitalis affect the potassium concentration.

MCV (Mean Corpuscular Volume), MCH (Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin) and MCHC (Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration): These red cells are used by your physician in evaluating anemia. These tests are generally of no significance in the absence of anemia.

Na (Sodium): Sodium is regulated by the kidneys and adrenal glands. Sodium is important in the function of muscles and cells. Sodium levels may be affected by diuretics or steroids.

Phos (Phosphorus): Phosphorus concentrations are controlled by the kidneys and indirectly by the parathyroid glands in association with calcium metabolism.

PLT (Platelets): Platelets are blood cells that help your blood clot.

Protein (Total Protein): The protein level is the sum total of albumin and globulin in the blood. The globulin level is obtained by subtracting the albumin level from the protein level. Globulin is the "antibody" portion of the protein and is important for immunity.

RBC (Red Blood Cell): This is an actual count of the red blood cells per unit volume. The RBC value is used in calculating hematocrit.

Trig (Triglycerides): Triglycerides are a fat in the blood which is affected by what you have eaten. Triglycerides remain elevated up to 12 hours after eating.

Uric AC (Uric Acid): Uric acid is excreted in the urine by the kidneys. High uric acid levels are associated with arthritis, gout, kidney disease and the use of some diuretics.

WBC (White Blood Cell): The white blood cells are active in fighting infection and may be elevated in the presence of an infection.