As patient self-education grows with access to information online, more people are taking charge of their health by buying their own blood tests that they can access online without visiting a doctor. Large blood testing networks located all over the United States make it easy for empowered and educated patients to find a lab location near them where they can have their blood drawn or provide a urine or saliva sample. Discounted Labs makes it easy for those consumers to buy and interpret their blood test results so that they can have more educated discussions with their physicians.

After people buy their own blood tests and received their results, it is sometimes difficult to make sense of what high or low blood test values mean when compared with the “normal” ranges provided by blood testing companies. Searching on the Internet may only give people a limited explanation of the health consequences of these high or low blood test values. We will attempt to include the most common blood tests, their ranges and meaning of high or low values in the following article to save people time in their search for next steps.

Note: Consult your health care provider to get explanations about your blood test results and how he or she uses them to diagnose and treat your condition. The information below is not meant to provide medical advice or guide any treatment decisions and it is only intended as an educational tool to enable you to have an educated discussion with your health care provider.

We will review 40 of the most common lab tests that people buy through direct-to-consumer lab testing companies like DiscountedLabs.com.

1. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT, SGPT)

Alanine aminotransferase is an enzyme made by your liver. It's important to test this substance to determine whether your liver is infected or not.

This test is sold as part of a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP test)

Normal AST range:

  • 10-55 U/liter for males
  • 10-55 U/liter for females

High ALT, SGPT

  • The liver cells might be seriously damaged, to the point of necrosis
  • It might be a sign of extensive trauma to the liver, left heart failure, cirrhosis, or jaundice
  • Might also be a sign of muscular dystrophy, fatty liver, myocardial infarction, and liver tumors
  • ALT can increase in people engaging in regular resistance exercise with weights and machines as muscle fibers are broken up by exercise

Low ALT, SGPT

  • Low values of ALT indicate pyridoxal phosphate deficiency that can result in various health complications including epilepsy

2. Albumin

Albumin is one of the most important proteins in the human body. It helps to carry nutrients to various tissues and it prevents blood vessels from leaking fluids.

This test is sold as part of a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP test)

Normal albumin range

  • 1-4.3 g/dl for men and women

When Albumin blood test is high

  • It might signify severe dehydration. It's not possible to increase albumin levels naturally. The only way albumin concentration might get higher is if plasma water decreases significantly

When Albumin blood test is low

  • This is a sign of acute or chronic inflammation
  • Albumin levels might drop if the liver has problems synthesizing this protein properly, so it might indicate liver damage
  • The transportation of bile acids and metal ions might be affected if the albumin levels get too low

3. Alkaline phosphatase ALP (adults)

Alkaline phosphatase is also known as ALP and it's found in different tissues in the body. This enzyme is mostly present in the bones and liver. It plays a vital role in bone formation and mineralization.

This test is sold as part of a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP test)

Normal Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP_

  • 45-115 U/liter for males
  • 30-100 U/liter for females

When ALP blood test is high

  • It might be a sign of biliary obstruction or liver diseases such as hepatitis or cirrhosis
  • Sign of bone disorder or even renal problems
  • In some cases, it might indicate thyroid issues

When ALP blood test is low

  • It might signify nutritional deficiencies such as a lack of vitamin B12, magnesium or zinc
  • Might be caused by severe anemia

4. Androstenedione (adult)

Normal Androstenedione ranges

  • 50-250 ng/dl for men and women

This is a precursor of major sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. Testing for this hormone is necessary in conjunction with other hormonal tests to determine the levels of testosterone or estrogen in the body. Androstenedione is produced by the gonads and adrenal glands.

When Androstenedione blood test is high

  • Elevated levels might indicate a gonadal tumor, especially when the levels exceed 500 ng/dl

When Androstenedione blood test is low

  • This might signify a dysfunction of the adrenal glands such as adrenal insufficiency
  • It might signify ovarian or testicular failure if the levels are too low

5. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST, SGOT)

Aspartate aminotransferase is an enzyme found in most tissues in the human body, particularly in the liver and the heart. It has multiple functions in the human body and abnormal levels usually indicate a liver problem.

This test is sold as part of a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP test)

Normal AST or SGOT ranges

  • 10-40 U/liter for men
  • 9-25 U/liter for women

When AST or SGOT blood test is high

  • This could be a sign of liver cell necrosis or obstructive jaundice
  • It might also signify hepatitis or a liver problem caused by drugs and medications
  • Since this enzyme is found in the muscles, it might be a sign of skeletal muscle, inflammatory disease or even heart failure
  • AST or SGOT may also be increased by resistance exercise

Normally, the levels of aspartate aminotransferase should be low. Problems appear when these levels get very high due to organ failure or inflammation.

6. Bilirubin, direct

Bilirubin is a yellow substance involved in the process of cleaning organic waste from the body such as dead red blood cells, etc. It is excreted in the bile and urine and it consists of direct and total bilirubin. When doing a blood test, your results might indicate the levels of direct and total bilirubin as both of these are important to diagnose certain diseases.

This test is sold as part of a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP test)

Normal direct bilirubin range

  • 0-0.4 mg/dl for men and women

When bilirubin blood test is high

  • It might signify a biliary tree obstruction, cholestasis, and damage to the hepatic cells
  • The patient might have the Dubin-Johnson syndrome which is characterized by an increase of direct bilirubin in the liver
  • The patient may be taking a liver toxic medication or supplement/herb
  • The patient may have hepatitis A, B, or C

When bilirubin blood test is low

  • Low levels of direct bilirubin are usually not a cause of concern. These levels might be temporarily lowered by caffeine consumption or barbiturates

7. Bilirubin, total

This is the total amount of bilirubin enzymes in your body, including direct and indirect ones. Low levels of total bilirubin are not a problem in most cases. You should see a doctor when these levels are elevated as they can signify different types of damages to your organs.

Normal total bilirubin range

  • 0-1.0 mg/dl for men and women

When total bilirubin blood test is high

  • It might be a sign of neonatal physiological jaundice
  • High levels might be caused by damage to the hepatic cells caused by toxins or inflammation
  • It might be a sign of biliary tree obstruction
  • See item 4 for more

8. Calcium

Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It's directly involved in the mineralization and growth of bones and it ensures that teeth remain in good condition.

Normal calcium range

  • 5-10.5 mg/dl for men and women

When calcium blood test is high

  • This might be a sign of hyperparathyroidism, bone disorders, malignant disease such as metastatic carcinoma of breast and kidney, etc
  • Your blood might contain too much vitamin D which leads to intoxication
  • Acromegaly or dehydration

When calcium blood test is low

  • It might be a sign of hypoparathyroidism or chronic kidney failure
  • Might be caused by a deficiency of vitamin D or magnesium
  • The patient might have acute pancreatitis, anemia or problems with the pituitary gland

9. Carbon dioxide, C02 total

Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of the food metabolization process. This gas is released into the bloodstream when cells are broken down in simpler substances. The blood full of carbon dioxide returns to the lungs where this gas is eliminated through respiration.

Normal carbon dioxide CO2 range

  • 24-30 mmol/liter for men and women

When carbon dioxide CO2 blood test is high

  • It might be a sign of respiratory acidosis resulted from a poor gas exchange in the body
  • Can also be caused by metabolic acidosis, especially if it's accompanied by multiple episodes of vomiting

When it's too low

  • It might signify tubular acidosis of the kidneys
  • Might be a sign of loss of alkaline fluids through the intestines or compensated respiratory alkalosis

10. Chloride

Chloride forms when the element chlorine gains an electron. This is an important electrolyte that helps to maintain cell homeostasis or balance.

Normal chloride range

  • 100-108 mmol/liter for men and women

When chloride blood test is high

  • It might be caused by metabolic acidosis, especially when it's accompanied by loss of fluids caused by diarrhea
  • It can also be caused by severe dehydration or a problem with the kidneys such as renal tubular acidosis or acute renal failure
  • Hyperparathyroidism can also cause chloride levels to increase

When chloride blood test is low

  • It might be caused by too much vomiting or prolonged episodes of diarrhea
  • Low levels can also be caused by gastric problems such as gastric suction or gastric secretion
  • Excessive sweating or respiratory acidosis can also make the chloride levels drop significantly

11. Cholesterol

Cholesterol is one of the most common substances tested by physicians all over the world. This substance lines up the interior of your blood vessels and arteries. It's necessary for making new cells and hormones, but too much of it can be a problem. Cholesterol is made by the liver, but it can also be taken from foods.

Normal cholesterol ranges

  • The ideal level is less than 200 mg/dl
  • The upper limit is 200-239 mg/dl
  • High is anything above 239 mg/dl

When cholesterol blood test is high

  • It might be a sign of pancreas dysfunction, but it can also be caused by gout, hypothyroidism, chronic renal failure or extrahepatic cholestasis
  • Can be caused by alcoholism or anorexia nervosa as well as acute intermittent porphyria
  • Might facilitate the development of atherosclerosis that can lead to various cardiovascular diseases

When cholesterol blood test is low

  • This might signify lipoprotein deficiency or the necrosis of liver cells
  • Can also be caused by malabsorption of nutrients as well as malnutrition
  • It might be associated with mental retardation, rheumatoid arthritis or obstructive lung disease

12. Creatinine

Creatinine is a byproduct of creatine and it's produced by the muscles, especially after a strenuous workout. It's eliminated from the body by kidneys through urine. This test is part of the CMP panel.

Normal creatinine range

  • 6-1.5 mg/dl for men and women

When creatinine blood test is high

  • Too much creatinine in the body might be a sign of renal failure or kidney dysfunction
  • Hyperthyroidism can also be a cause of too much creatinine building up in the body as well as acromegaly
  • Eating too many meals containing meat can increase the level of creatine and creatinine in the body
  • Certain supplements like creatine can increase creatinine blood levels

When creatinine blood test is low

  • This might be a sign of excessive muscle loss, probably caused by muscular dystrophy
  • It can also be a sign of liver problems or a lack of protein in your diet

13. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Sulfate (Adult)

DHEA sulfate is a steroid produced by the adrenal cortex in both males and females. It influences the activity of sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.

Normal DHEA ranges

  • 10-619 µg/dl for men
  • 12-535 µg/dl for premenopausal women
  • 30-260 µg/dl for postmenopausal women

When DHEA blood test is high

  • It might cause anxiety and depression feelings in women during menopause

When DHEA blood test is low

  • It might be a sign of psoriasis or hyperlipidemia in men and women

14. Estradiol (Ultra-Sensitive)

Estradiol is one of the most common female sex hormones. It's responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle in women and plays an important role in the libido of a man as well. It is responsible for maintaining healthy bone density in men and women. This hormone also starts the development of secondary female sexual characteristics such as breasts, hip enlargement, etc. More information about: the role of estradiol in men

Normal estradiol ranges

  • Less than 50 pg /ml in men (however, men with high testosterone may have higher estradiol since 0.4% of T aromatizes to estradiol)
  • Less than 59 pg /ml in postmenopausal women
  • 50-145 pg/ml in women during the Menstruating Follicular Phase
  • 112-443 pg/ml during the midcycle peak
  • 50-241 pg/ml during the luteal phase

When estradiol blood test is high

  • Gynecomastia might appear in men with too much estradiol and low testosterone. This means the development of breast tissue in males
  • For young girls, it might be a sign of an early puberty
  • It might be caused by different types of tumors in the testicles or ovaries
  • Hyperthyroidism for both men and women
  • High testosterone doses may increase estradiol in men.

When estradiol blood test is low

  • It might signify the onset of menopause in women
  • It might signify hypopituitarism or hypogonadism in men
  • Usually associated with the Turner syndrome which happens when the woman has just one X chromosome instead of two
  • Can be caused by the polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that might lead to infertility in women
  • Low estradiol can be caused by the overuse of aromatase inhibitors like anastrozole.

15. Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

FSH is produced by the anterior pituitary gland. It's responsible for pubertal maturation and it works together with the luteinizing hormone to ensure the optimal functioning of the reproductive system.

Normal FSH ranges

  • 0-12.0 U/liter for men
  • 0-20.0 U/liter for women during Menstruating Follicular phase
  • 0-26.0 U/liter for women during the ovulatory phase
  • 0-12.0 U/liter during the luteal phase
  • 0-153.0 U/liter for postmenopausal women

When FSH blood test is high

  • In women, FSH might be a sign of menopause or having the polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • It might also signify a chromosomal abnormality such as the Klinefelter's syndrome in men and the Turner syndrome in women
  • High levels of FSH in men might also be a sign of poorly functioning testicles or testicular damage caused by alcohol abuse
  • In children, excessive FSH might be a sign of starting puberty

When FSH blood test is low

  • It might be a sign that the pituitary gland and other vital hormone control centers in the brain are damaged by trauma or a tumor
  • The woman might not produce eggs and the man might not be able to produce sperm
  • The patient lives a very stressful life as stress can drastically alter FSH levels
  • Men or women on hormone replacement therapy may have low FSH due to shutdown of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPGA) axis.

16. Globulin

Globulins are a category of proteins produced by the human body. Some of them are produced by the liver while others are made by the immune system to fight different types of bacteria and viruses.

Normal globulin range

  • 6-4.1 g/dl for men and women

When globulin blood test is high

  • It might be a sign of cirrhosis, chronic liver diseases or hepatitis

When globulin blood test is low

  • This might indicate lymphoproliferative disorder or the installment of various autoimmune diseases

17. Glucose, fasting

Glucose is basically the amount of sugar you have in your blood. The entire human body uses glucose as a fuel source, but too much of it can be a problem (diabetes). This test is part of the CMP panel.

Normal fasting glucose range

  • 70-110 mg/dl for men and women

When glucose blood test is high

  • This might be a sign of diabetes, increased insulin resistance, increased epinephrine, pancreatic disorders or endocrine problems
  • Very high values are commonly associated with acute myocardial infarction, kidney disease or chronic liver disease

When glucose blood test is low

  • Although rare, low glucose values might be caused by a tumor that makes the pancreas produce too much insulin
  • It might also be a sign of serious liver disease or renal disorders

18. Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT)

GGT can be found in many tissues in the body, particularly in the liver. This is an enzyme that helps doctors diagnose liver diseases with better accuracy.

Normal GGT ranges

  • 1-94 U/liter for males
  • 1-70 U/liter for females

When GGT blood test is high

  • High levels are associated with liver diseases such as alcohol-induced liver disorders, inflammation or even cirrhosis
  • Very high levels of GGT might signify a post hepatic obstruction or obstructive liver disease

When GGT blood test is low

  • This can be a sign of hypothyroidism or hepatoma
  • It might also indicate prostate or pancreas cancer

19. Growth Hormone, GH (resting)

The growth hormone stimulates cell production and regeneration in the human body. It is produced in a pulsatile fashion and most of it is secreted during periods of deep sleep.

Normal growth hormone range

  • 2-5 ng/ml for men and women

When GH blood test is high

  • Too much growth hormone can cause gigantism in children or acromegaly in middle-aged adults. Both these conditions are characterized by excessive growth of the bones in the hand and feet. It can be caused by growth hormone therapy or a GH producing pituitary tumor.

When GH blood test is low

  • Growth hormone deficiency might be present at birth and caused by a poorly developed pituitary gland
  • Later on in life, too little growth hormone might signify a tumor or serious disorder with the pituitary that prevents it from secreting growth hormone normally

20. Hemoglobin A1C

Hemoglobin a1c is also known as glycated hemoglobin and it measures your average blood sugar levels from the last 2 to 3 months. Although it's not an efficient indicator of diabetes, hemoglobin a1c can be used to monitor its evolution over time.

Normal A1C range

  • 8-6.4% for men and women

When A1c blood test is high

  • Increased levels of this substance are associated with hyperglycemia in adults

Having low levels of hemoglobin a1c is usually not a cause of concern. This can happen if the patient consumes little to no sugar over an extended period of time or fasts for more than 12-24 hours.

21. High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol, HDL

HDL cholesterol is also known as "good cholesterol". It is usually calculated and interpreted in combination with either total cholesterol values or LDL cholesterol. Studies indicate that for every 5% decrease in HDL, the risk of coronary artery disease increases by 25%. The HDL test is part of the lipid panel.

Normal HDL ranges

  • Over 40 mg/dl for men
  • Over 50 mg/dl for women

When HDL blood test is high

  • Although too much HDL is a rare occurrence and shouldn't be a problem, it can increase the risk of serious heart disease in people who already had a heart attack

When HDL blood test is low

  • Especially if the triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels are high, a low HDL cholesterol can significantly increase the risk of heart disease such as arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, etc.
  • The use of higher dose testosterone or anabolic steroids can decrease HDL.
  • Obesity and sedentary lifestyle are known to contribute to low HDL.

22. Insulin

Insulin is a substance produced by the pancreas to help stabilize blood sugar levels. This substance acts as a "key" that opens up the cells in your body, allowing them to absorb glucose and use it for energy production.

Normal insulin range

  • 2-20 U/ml for men and women

When insulin blood test is high

  • Too much insulin can be caused by a pancreas tumor that triggers an increased secretion
  • Might also be a sign of insulin resistance syndromes or endogenous hyperinsulinemia

When insulin blood test is low

  • This can be a sign that diabetes type 1 was treated improperly

23. Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH)

LDH is an enzyme found in all living cells and organisms. It can be used as a marker for tissue breakdown.

Normal LDH range

  • 110-210 U/liter in men and women

When LDH blood test is high

  • It might be a sign of myocardial or pulmonary infarction as well as cellular injury
  • High LDH levels are also associated with nonviral hepatitis, lymphoma, sickle cell disease or hemolytic anemias
  • Very high levels usually signify a host of conditions such as megaloblastic anemia, hyperthermia, hypoxia, extreme shock or renal diseases

Low levels of LDH are rare and usually not a cause of concern.

24. Lipoprotein(a) Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol, LDL

LDL cholesterol is considered to be the "bad cholesterol" and it's usually measured in conjunction with HDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. The LDL test is part of the lipid panel.

Normal Lipoprotein a LDL ranges

  • 0-30 mg/dl for men and women
  • Less than 130 mg/dl is desirable
  • 130-159 mg/dl is considered a high risk
  • Anything greater than 160 mg/dl is considered to be a very high risk

When LDL blood test is high

  • It might be a sign of premature coronary heart disease as well as hyperlipoproteinemia 
  • It might lead to hypothyroidism, anorexia nervosa, hepatic obstruction or Cushing’s syndrome

When LDL blood test is low

  • Very low levels of LDL cholesterol occur rarely, but they might signify cancer or hemorrhagic stroke. It can also be caused by very high doses of statins.

25. Iron

Iron is an important element in the human body. It helps with the production of red blood cells and prevents the onset of anemia, a condition characterized by permanent fatigue and lack of energy. Iron also helps to transport oxygen to the various cells and tissues in the body.

Normal iron range

  • 45-180 ug/dL for men and women

When iron blood test is high

  • This might indicate conditions such as hemolytic anemias, poisoning with lead, acute leukemia, hepatitis or a deficiency of vitamin B6
  • Too much iron can also be associated with hemochromatosis and nephritis
  • Taking higher doses of iron supplements can also cause high iron

When iron blood test is low

  • This can signify severe anemia, acute or chronic infection in the body, carcinoma or hypothyroidism
  • Low amounts of iron in the blood are also associated with nephrosis, shortness of breath, paleness, and heart palpitations
  • Other causes of low iron are frequent blood donations, or internal bleeding.

26. Luteinizing hormone (LH)

The luteinizing hormone (LH) plays a vital role in the reproductive organs for both men and women. It affects the menstruating cycle of a woman and for men, the luteinizing hormone binds to the Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone.

Normal LH ranges

  • 0-12.0 in men
  • 0-15.0 for the follicular phase of a menstruating female
  • 22-105 for the ovulatory phase
  • 6-19 for the luteal phase
  • 16-64 for postmenopausal women

When LH blood test is high

  • In men, too much LH in the bloodstream might be a sign of testicular dysfunction or a LH producing adenoma. In women, this can indicate ovarian failure or ovarian dysfunction.

When LH blood test is low

  • Very low levels of LH might indicate dysfunction of the pituitary gland in both men and women
  • Low LH can also be caused by hormone replacement therapy in men and women.

27. Magnesium

Magnesium is an important element in the human body. It helps to process glucose in the bloodstream, it supports the immune system, it keeps neurological system function well, it keeps bones strong, and it also ensures a steady heartbeat.

Normal magnesium range

  • 4-2.0 meq/liter for men and women

When magnesium blood test is high

  • This can be a sign of an uncontrolled diabetes mellitus as well as renal insufficiency or dehydration
  • Too much magnesium can also be associated with the Addison's disease, hypothyroidism or autoimmune diseases such as lupus

When magnesium blood test is low

  • A magnesium deficiency can be characterized by muscle cramps, excessive fatigue, and osteoporosis, among other conditions.
  • Conditions and medications that increase the risk of magnesium deficiency include gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, advanced age, type 2 diabetes, use of loop diuretics (such as Lasix), treatment with certain chemotherapies, and alcohol dependence.

28. Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH)

Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH) and MCH Concentration (MCHC): the amount or concentration, respectively, of hemoglobin in an average red blood cell. Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) is a calculation of the amount of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin inside your red blood cells (RBCs). A high MCHC indicates an increased level of hemoglobin in your RBCs.

Normal MCH range

27.5 and 33.2 picograms (pg) per cell

When MCH blood test is high

A high MCH indicates an increased level of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein, in your RBCs. Increases can be associated with anemia. Often, increased MCH occurs in conjunction with a high mean corpuscular volume—or large red blood cells-which suggest macrocytic anemia. High MCH can also be linked to low blood levels of B-12 or folate.

When MCH blood test is low

A low MCH indicates that you have a decreased level of oxygen-carrying protein in your red blood cells. Decreases can be associated with certain types of anemia. Often, decreases occur in conjunction with low mean corpuscular volume—or small RBCs—which suggest microcytic anemia. Hypochromic anemia, resulting from hemoglobin deficiency, can be a possibility as well.

29. Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV)

Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV) is the average size, or volume, of individual red blood cells.

Normal MCV range

80–100 femtoliters

When MCV blood test is high

A high MCV indicates large, or macrocytic, RBCs. A high MCV is associated with specific varieties of anemia and can indicate a deficiency in vitamin B12 or folic acid. It can also be elevated is come patients with sleep apnea.

When MCV blood test is low

A low MCV indicates small, or microcytic, red blood cells. A low MCV is associated with anemia, and can indicate an iron deficiency, chronic illness or the hereditary disease, and thalassemia.

28. Phosphorus, inorganic (adult)

Phosphorus is the second most common mineral in the body. It makes up for about 1% of a person's weight and its main role is to help in the formation of bones and teeth. The highest levels of phosphorus in the bloodstream usually occur in the morning and they gradually drop to lower levels in the evening.

Normal phosphorus range

  • 6-4.5 mg/dl for men and women

When phosphorus blood test is high

  • This can be a sign of intoxication with vitamin D, bone tumors or even leukemia
  • Too much phosphorus might also be a sign that some bones are healing inside the body as well as hypoparathyroidism or renal failure
  • In some cases, it can be associated with respiratory acidosis or pulmonary embolism

When phosphorus blood test is low

  • You might experience severe fatigue, muscle weakness, and lack of energy
  • It might contribute to the development of joint pain or bone disorders

29. Potassium

Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes help to transport electrical impulses to and from organs and tissues. Potassium is not produced in the body, so it must be taken from various foods such as bananas, nuts, beans, whole grains, and lean meats.

 

Normal potassium range

  • 4-4.8 mmol/liter for men and women

When potassium blood test is high

  • This is also known as hyperkalemia and it's usually associated with a poor excretion of potassium through the kidneys
  • It can also be a sign of anorexia nervosa, dehydration, tissue damage or hemolysis
  • The most common cause of high potassium is kidney disease.
  • Some blood pressure medications can increase serum potassium
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Injuries that cause severe bleeding
  • Some rare diseases can cause high potassium

When potassium blood test is low

  • This might be a sign of an adrenal disorder such as the Cushing syndrome
  • Low potassium (hypokalemia) has many causes. The most common cause is excessive potassium loss in urine due to prescription medications that increase urination. Also known as water pills or diuretics, these types of medications are often prescribed for people who have high blood pressure or heart disease.

30. Progesterone

Progesterone is produced in the ovary and it plays a vital role in maintaining a pregnancy. It also plays an important role in brain function in men and women and it can be used as a medication to treat different hormonal disorders. It's important to note that the levels of progesterone in a woman's body vary throughout the month, depending on her ovulation phase. The progesterone levels skyrocket if the woman is pregnant.

Normal progesterone ranges

  • Less than 1 ng/ml for men
  • More than 1 ng/ml for a female during the follicular phase
  • 3-20 ng/ml during the mid-luteal phase

When progesterone blood test is high

  • If the woman is not pregnant, this can be a sign of an ovarian problem such as an ovarian cyst or ovarian cancer. If the woman is pregnant, high levels are normal
  • High progesterone can also be caused by hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

When progesterone blood test is low

  • Low progesterone levels in women are usually associated with infertility problems and might lead to poor ovarian function
  • Low progesterone in men may be caused by testosterone or anabolic steroid use. It can be linked to sleep issues and anxiety.

31. Prolactin

Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. It influences the lactation process, but it also plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system. In some cases, it can also influence the behavior of the individual.

Normal prolactin ranges

  • 0-15 ng/ml for men
  • 0-20 ng/ml for premenopausal women
  • 0-15 ng/ml for postmenopausal women

When prolactin blood test is high

  • In men, too much prolactin might lead to impotence, galactorrhea, low libido, and even infertility. It can be caused by pituitary adenomas (tumors). High prolactin can decrease testosterone production and cause erectile dysfunction. It can also cause nipple discharge in some men. Caution: Blocking prolactin may cause heart issues.
  • In women, too much prolactin might interfere with the ovulation process and reduce the secretion of estrogen and progesterone

When prolactin blood test is low

  • Although very rare, this might reduce the production of milk in women who just gave birth. It might also be a sign of a poorly functioning pituitary gland
  • Low prolactin in men can be caused by higher doses of cabergoline or other prolactin antagonists.

32. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)

The prostate-specific antigen is a type of protein produced by both healthy and unhealthy prostate tissue. It acts as a marker for detecting prostate cancer as well as monitoring the recurrence of prostate-related diseases like prostatitis.

Normal PSA range

  • 0-2.0 ng/ml for men under 40 years of age
  • 0-4.0 ng/ml for 40 years old men or older

When PSA blood test is high

  • It might be a sign of prostatitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • A high PSA level might also be caused by vigorous exercise or surgery
  • In some cases, high PSA levels are associated with prostate cancer

When PSA blood test is low

  • It might indicate prostate tumors, but usually, more tests are required to confirm the diagnosis

33. Protein, total

Protein is one of the most important nutrients in the human body as it directly impacts cell regeneration and repair. Different types of proteins can be used as fuel and they help with the development of muscle tissue and new human cells.

Normal protein range

  • 0-8.0 g/dl for men and women

When protein blood test is high

  • Too much protein in the bloodstream might be associated with anabolic steroid use
  • High serum protein can also be a sign of insulin progesterone, epinephrine or corticosteroids preparations

When protein blood test is low

  • This can signify malnutrition, malabsorption syndrome or a chronic liver disease

34. Sodium

Sodium is another important electrolyte in the body. It helps to keep the cell fluid balance at normal levels and it performs other important body functions.

Normal sodium range

  • 135-145 mmol/liter for men and women

When sodium blood test is high

  • This can be a sign of Cushing's syndrome
  • Too much sodium might also be a sign of increased renal sodium retention in hyperaldosteronism

When sodium blood test is low

  • Also known as hyponatremia, too little sodium in the blood might signifies diuretics abuse, salt-losing nephropathy or excessive sweating
  • Low sodium might also be caused by excessive vomiting or diarrhea

35. Somatomedin C (insulin-like growth factor I , IGF-1)

IGF-1 plays a vital role during childhood and it can have anabolic effects in adults. This hormone acts like insulin as it helps to control the blood sugar level. It's produced by the liver and it can be influenced by growth hormone. It increases with hunger as Ghrelin is produced by the stomach.

Normal IGF-1 ranges

  • 182-780 ng/ml for people between 16 and 24 years
  • 114-492 ng/ml for people between 25 and 39 years
  • 90-360 ng/ml for people between 40 and 54 years
  • 71-290 ng/ml for people older than 54 years

When it's too high

  • This might be a sign of acromegaly, especially if the growth hormone levels are also high. This may be caused by a pituitary tumor.
  • High IGF-1 can be caused by high growth hormone therapy doses.

When it's too low

  • Low IGF-1 might be caused by hypothyroidism, liver disease or uncontrolled diabetes. It can slow down height in children.

36. Testosterone, total

Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone. It starts the development of primary and secondary sex characteristics in pubertal boys and it helps to produce sperm in adult men. It is linked to libido, lean body mass, and motivation in men and women. You can find a cheap testosterone test on discountedlabs.com

Normal testosterone ranges (depends on laboratory)

  • 270-1070 ng/dl for men
  • 6-86 ng/dl for women

When testosterone blood test is high

  • This can be a sign of high testosterone doses.
  • In women, it can be caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or high testosterone doses.

When testosterone blood test is low

  • It can lead to hypogonadism and low sex drive in men
  • It can be caused by illness, head injuries, opiate or anabolic steroid use, exposure to environmental toxins, high prolactin caused by pituitary adenomas, testicular dysfunction, malnutrition, certain medications, or low LH produced by the pituitary gland.
  • In women, low testosterone can be caused by illness, ovarian or adrenal dysfunction, opiate or anabolic steroid use, excessive exercise, and other factors

37. Testosterone, Free

Free or unbound testosterone makes up for about 1% to 2% of the total testosterone people have in their bodies. This type of testosterone is not bound to proteins such as albumin or sex hormone-binding globulin. It is responsible for most of the functions attributed to testosterone (libido, mood, etc.)

Normal free testosterone ranges

  • 0-40.0 pg/ml for males between 20 and 40 years
  • 0-35.0 pg/ml for males between 41 and 60 years
  • 0-28.0 pg/ml for males between 61 and 80 years
  • 6-3.1 pg/ml for females between 20 and 40 years
  • 4-2.5 pg/ml for females between 41 and 60 years
  • 2-2.0 pg/ml for females between 61 and 80 years

When free testosterone blood test is low

  • It's usually associated with hypogonadal symptoms in men and women.
  • Low free testosterone is usually caused by low total testosterone, or by high sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).

When free testosterone blood test is high

  • High free testosterone is usually caused by high total testosterone (high TRT doses), anabolic steroid use, or low SHBG.

38. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)

The TSH is produced by the pituitary gland. It directly stimulates the thyroid and makes it secrete different types of thyroid hormones that are involved in energy production and other metabolic processes.

Normal TSH range

  • 5-5.0 U/ml for men and women (some physicians treat based on a range of 0.5-2.5)

When TSH blood test is high

  • High TSH levels can mean your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism, especially when it's associated with fatigue, depression, and constipation
  • High TSH can also be caused by iodine supplementation

When TSH blood test is low

  • It might be a sign of an overly active thyroid or hyperthyroidism. It can be accompanied by irregular heartbeats, nervousness, and muscle weakness
  • Low TSH can be caused by thyroid hormone replacement

39. Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3)

Hormonal production of the thyroid gland is constituted of thyroxine or T4 (80%) and triiodothyronine or T3 (20%). In the circulation, whole T4 originates from thyroid secretion but most of T3 (80%) is produced outside the thyroid from T4 deiodination. Conversion of T4 to T3 may be influenced by various conditions and circulating T3 is a less reliable reflection of thyroid hormone production than T4. In blood most of T4 and T3 is bound to binding proteins and only 0.02% of T4 and 0.3% of T3 is free. Because of their higher diagnostic performance, free T4 (FT4) and free T3 (FT3) measurements have superseded total (free + bound) hormone determination.

Free T3 – measures the free T3 hormone levels. This test can be really useful for finding out what amount of active thyroid hormones are available for the thyroid receptor sites. Free T3 blood test is high in hyperthyroid conditions and low in hypothyroid conditions. May also be high in thyroid toxicosis.

Free T4 – used to measure the amount of free or active T4 in the blood. High with hyperthyroidism, low with hypothyroidism. The drug Heparin can also cause elevated free T4 as can some acute illness. It’s also high in an overdose of thyroid hormone.

Normal total T4 range

  • 5-10.9 g/dl for men and women

When T4 blood test is high

  • Too much thyroxine is commonly associated with hyperthyroidism

When T4 blood test is low

  • This can be a sign of a poorly functioning thyroid gland or hypothyroidism

40. Thyroid Antibodies

When these antibodies are present, it means that your immune system is attacking your own tissue. When your body produces thyroid autoantibodies it could create a hypo- or hyper- thyroid state.

They may also be elevated if there is thyroid cancer. Some antibodies can attach to TSH receptors, but they don’t cause a response in the thyroid.

These people will complain of low thyroid symptoms, but the TSH might not change at all. In other cases, the antibodies bind to receptor sites and cause the thyroid to be overactive. Here you will see high T4, low TSH and high antibodies.

There are 3 autoantibodies that are tested. The first 2 are the most common:

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPO Ab): This antibody is the one that is usually high in autoimmune thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s. It is also known as microsomal antibody.

Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb): These aren’t seen high as often as TPO Ab. They are usually ordered when thyroid lab results seem strange because these antibodies can interfere with thyroid hormone production. TgAb is also used to monitor progress after surgery for removing the thyroid in thyroid cancer.

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