Select Page

personalhealthdefinitions (Lab studies)

Laboratory studies, explanations of


Following are explanations of the significance of various laboratory studies, listed alphabetically:

  • Albumin (3.8-5.2): Albumin is the largest portion of total blood protein.  Decreased blood albumin may indicate many disorders, including poor nutrition and advanced liver disease.
  • Alkaline phosphatase (30-125 u/l): Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme found primarily in the liver and bones.  Elevated levels may indicate the presence of bone or liver disorders.  The enzyme activity is also increased following fractures and in growing children and pregnant women.
  • ALT, alanine aminotransferase 0-45 u/l): Alanine aminotransferase is an enzyme found in the liver and rises with liver disease.
  • AST, aspartate aminotransferase (0-33 u/l): Aspartate aminotransferase is an enzyme found in the liver and in cardiac and skeletal muscle.  AST may rise in liver, heart, and muscle disorder, but also following strenuous and lengthy exercise.
  • Bilirubin, total (0.2-1.5 mg/dl): Bilirubin is a breakdown product of red blood cells.  Abnormally high total bilirubin levels may occur in individuals with liver and gallbladder disease, and may cause jaundice.
  • BUN, blood urea nitrogen (9-27 mg/dl): Blood urea nitrogen is an end product of protein metabolism.  BUN levels rise in kidney disease.
  • Cholesterol (140-199 mg/dl): Cholesterol is one of the major lipids or fats in the body.  High levels indicate an increased risk of heart disease.  Levels can be controlled with diet, exercise, and medications.
  • Cholesterol to HDL ratio (<5.0): The ratio of cholesterol to HDL cholesterol is another indicator of heart disease risk.  A ratio of 5 or less is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
  • Creatinine (0.7-1.5 mg/dl): Creatinine is a metabolic product released from muscle tissue and excreted from the kidneys, and may rise in kidney disease.
  • Fructosamine (1.2-2.0 mmol/l): Fructosamine measures average blood sugar concentration over the past two to three weeks and may rise in uncontrolled diabetes.
  • GGT, gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (0-65 u/l): Gamma glutamyl transpeptidase is a liver enzyme.  It may rise with alcohol consumption, certain medications, and liver diseases.
  • Globulin (2.1-3.9 g/dl): Globulin is a major component of  blood proteins.  Abnormal levels, both elevated and decreased, may indicate infections, allergic states, immune disorders and other diseases.
  • Glucose, blood glucose (60-109 mg/dl): Glucose is the  main source of energy for living organisms.  Glucose rises with diabetes mellitus and with many other illnesses.
  • HDL cholesterol (35-80 mg/dl): Elevated high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) is associated with decreased risk of heart disease.
  • LDL cholesterol (0-129) mg/dl): Elevated low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
  • LDL/HDL ratio (0.9-5.3): LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio is an indicator of heart disease risk.  The lower the ratio, the lower the risk.
  • Protein, total protein (6.1-8.2 g/dl): Protein in blood includes two major components, albumin and globulin.  Protein levels fall in chronic disease, malnutrition and cancer.
  • PSA, prostate-specific antigen (<4.0 ng/ml): Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing in males can detect prostate abnormalities including cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia.  Early detection is the key to successful treatment and reduced mortality.
  • Triglycerides (0-150 mg/dl): Triglycerides are fats (lipids) that provide a reserve of energy. Increases in triglycerides may indicate heart disease risk.  Triglycerides can rise with obesity, diabetes and alcohol consumption.
  • Urine laboratory results:
    • Creatinine (27-260 mg/dl): creatinine is a metabolic product released from muscle tissue and excreted by the kidneys, and is used to measure urine concentration.
    • Glucose (none in gm%): glucose is not normally seen in urine, but may occur in diabetes and other illnesses.
    • Granular casts (none lpf): granular casts indicate kidney disease.
    • Hemoglobin screen (none): hemoglobin in the urine may indicate kidney or urinary tract disease, but may also occur in normal conditions such as during menstruation.
    • Leukocyte screen (none): Leukocyte esterase is an enzyme in white blood cells.  When present in urine it may indicate infection of the kidney or urinary tract, including the bladder.
    • Protein (0-30 mg%): urinary protein elevations may indicate the presence of kidney disease, but levels vary with urine concentration.
    • Protein to creatinine ratio (0.0-0.2 mg/mgcr): Protein to creatinine ratio may help determine whether protein is elevated due to kidney disease or urine concentration.
    • Red blood cells (0-4 hpf): the presence of red blood cells in urine may indicate kidney disease.
    • Specific gravity (1.003-1.035): specific gravity is used to measure urine concentration.
    • White blood cells (0-9 hpf): the presence of white blood cells in urine may indicate a urinary tract infection or inflammation.

Click here to return to the Medical section
Click here to return to the ‘Personal’ section index