What do blood test results mean?
From time to time your GP or cardiologist may perform a full blood test to influence their decision making in relation to your treatment and/or medication.
There is quite a bit of information in the results. Below are some blood test results explained, which may relate to your rehabilitation journey with us at Heart 2 Heart.
Haemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your all your body’s tissues. It also transports carbon dioxide from your organs and tissues back to your lungs.
We are interested in your haemoglobin levels at Heart 2 Heart as it can influence your exercise capacity. Regular aerobic exercise will increase your haemoglobin levels. This is because the muscle cells will need more oxygen when doing activities so there will be adaptation in binding oxygen in the blood. Good nutrition can also improve haemoglobin levels.
If a haemoglobin test reveals that your haemoglobin level is lower than normal, it means you have a low red blood cell count (anaemia). Anaemia can have many different causes, including vitamin deficiencies or excessive bleeding.
If a haemoglobin test shows a higher than normal level, there are several possible causes, for example, dehydration.
Normal ranges: 13.0 – 18.0
Urea and Creatinine
Urea is made when protein is broken down in your body. Urea is made in the liver and passed out of your body in the urine. Urea figures show how well your kidneys are working.
Normal ranges: 2.0 – 7.0
Creatinine is a waste product in your blood that comes from muscle activity. It is normally removed from your blood by your kidneys, but when kidney function slows down, the creatinine level rises.
Normal ranges: 59 – 104
Potassium and Sodium
Potassium and sodium concentrations play an important role in the electrical signal functioning of the heart’s thick muscle, known as the myocardium.
Potassium is a mineral in your blood that helps your heart and muscles work properly. The body gets potassium through food. A potassium level that is too high or too low can potentially weaken muscles and change your heartbeat.
Normal range of Potassium: 3.5 – 5.0
Hyperkalaemia is when there are higher than normal potassium levels in the blood. Mild cases may not produce symptoms and may be easy to treat. However, an above normal level of potassium if left untreated can interfere with proper electric signals in the heart muscle and can lead to different types of heart arrhythmias.
Sodium is a type of electrolyte. Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals that help maintain fluid levels and the balance of chemicals in your body called acids and bases. Sodium also helps your nerves and muscles work properly.
Normal range: 135 – 145
A complete cholesterol test or ‘lipid profile’ includes the details of all the four types of fats (lipids) in your bloods.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in your blood. High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Total cholesterol is the sum of your blood’s cholesterol content. Total cholesterol should be below 5 mmol/L.
HDL cholesterol is a type of “good” cholesterol that protects your heart. Think ‘H’ for ‘Healthy’. The target level for HDL cholesterol is above 1.0 mmol/L. Exercise can help to increase your HDL levels.
LDL cholesterol is a type of “bad” cholesterol. A high LDL level may increase your chance of having heart and circulation problems as it sticks to the walls of your arteries, making it harder for blood to pass through. You should aim to keep your LDL cholesterol below 1.4 mmol/L.
Triglyceride is a type of fat found in your blood. A high triglyceride level along with high levels of total and LDL cholesterol may increase your risk of heart disease. Target levels of triglyceride is below 0.7mmol/L.
Fasting Glucose/Blood Sugar
This test is important as it determines whether you are at risk for developing diabetes.
A fasting blood sugar level less than 5.6 is normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 5.6 to 6.9 is considered prediabetes. If it is 7 mmol/L or higher on two separate tests, you have diabetes.
If your blood sugar levels are on the higher side, your GP may speak with you to suggest necessary dietary or lifestyle changes.
If any of your results are outside your normal ranges, we recommend asking your GP what to do to best control them to get your results within the target range.Learn more about Heart 2 Heart