What is AFP Blood Test? Why and When To Opt For It?

What is an AFP Blood test?

AFP blood test, otherwise, also known as Alpha Fetoprotein Test is a type of blood test that measures the level of AFP present in the blood. This test is basically a part of Triple Screening or Quad screening test that is performed during the second trimester of pregnancy. The test is also performed or useful for those patients who are not pregnant.

Primarily, AFP is produced by the yolk sac, GI tract, and liver of an unborn baby or fetus. The substance circulates around the fetal and in the maternal blood.

Why is the test ordered?

In general, AFP blood test comes under a routine screening test that is to be performed by the expectant mother during the second trimester of the pregnancy. The test helps the doctor to know the exact date of the pregnancy. The test is a part of the quad screening test and is ordered to examine the level of – Human chthonic Gonadoprotein (HCG) and Estriol and Inhini, types of hormones produced by the placenta.

AFP blood test is specially ordered to those patients or mothers who are at an increased risk of having children with birth defects. Apart from them, it is also important for women who are 35 or older, have a family history of experiencing congenital disabilities, consume harmful drugs during their pregnancies, have a history of suffering from diabetes problems.

However, for non-pregnant women, An AFP blood test is ordered to diagnose and monitor certain types of liver conditions such as liver cancer, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, etc. Along with liver disease, these test also helps to examine other types of cancers such as ovarian cancer, testes cancer, biliary tract cancer, stomach, and pancreas cancer, etc. The test needs no special preparation and possesses no threat to life.

How to interpret the results?

For men and non-pregnant women, the normal value should be less than 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood. If the AFP level is high in a non-pregnant woman, it may indicate the presence of cancers or liver diseases. If one is pregnant, then having a high AFP level shows a neutral tube defect in the developing baby. While on the other hand, if the AFP is low, it may indicate that the foetus might be having some chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, etc.

If the woman is expecting twins or triplets, the Afp level may vary to a great extent. A highly or abnormally increased AFP reading can occur due to the death of the foetal .

However, it is also imperative to note that an abnormal level doesn’t always mean birth defects of the baby. It is always directed to consult the doctor and perform various types of relevant diagnostic tests to confirm the results.

Breast Cancer Test for Genetic: What are The Types of Blood Markers?

Breast cancers in women and have become very common nowadays. Though there is a host of factors that lead to breast cancer but the most common is the ‘Genetic Factor’. Researchers have witnessed that be it is breast cancer or ovarian cancer; heredity has a major role to play in this. Most of the inherited incidents of breast cancer are associated with two types of abnormal genes – Breast Cancer Gene 1 (BRCA 1) and Breast Cancer Gene 2 (BRCA 2). Women who inherit a mutation in either of the genes from their parents are at an increased risk of developing cancer in the breasts. A breast cancer test for genetic involves blood test for BRCA1 and BRCA2.

For diagnosis, doctors usually order a special type of blood test known as Blood Marker Test. Protein and Circulating tumour cells are the two types of protein markers that are measured. Blood marker tests are performed before the treatment and help to diagnose breast cancer. It assesses whether the cancer is responding during and after the treatment. Breast cancer test cost can be expensive depending on the type of genetic test and involves minimal or no risk.

Types of Blood Markers

There are several types of breast cancer testing guidelines that doctors usually follow. Along with the guidelines, they also use various types of blood markers. The 5 most commonly used blood markers include –

  • CA 15.3 – This test is performed to examine Breast and Ovarian cancers.
  • TRU-QUANT and CA 27.29 – It is performed when the doctors become almost 90% sure that breast cancer is present.
  • CA 125 – This test helps to determine the presence of ovarian cancer, breast, and ovarian can recurrence.
  • CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen) – It is a type of marker that detects the presence of colon, lungs and liver cancers. It also determines if the breast cancer cells have travelled to other parts of the body.
  • Circulating tumour cells – Circulating tumour cells break off from cancer and travel to the bloodstream. High circulating tumour cells counts indicate that the cancer cells are gradually spreading to other parts of the body.

Prevention 

If one has already suffered from this fatal disease and tends to develop BRCA mutation, it means that the patient is at a greater risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer in future. Some types of preventive measures that one should opt for are –

  • Performing preventive or prophylactic mastectomy or removal of both the breasts. This process reduces the risk of breast cancer to about 90%.
  • Performing preventive or prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy or removal of both the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
  • Taking hormonal therapy medicines. These drugs lower the risk of breast cancer in women.

Karyotype Test – An Important Test to Evaluate Chromosomal Disability

Karyotype is a blood test that is performed to identify and evaluate the size, shape and the number of chromosomes present in the sample of the body cells. The absence of chromosomes or presence of extra chromosomes in the body can cause several types of growth and development disorders. The three major types of Karyotype disorders are – Klinefelter syndrome (XXY), Turner Syndrome (X) and Down syndrome (Trisomy 21).

Why is Karyotype test done?

Karyotype test is performed to –

  • Find out whether any chromosomal changes can be passed on to the child.
  • Find out whether any chromosomal defect is preventing a woman from becoming pregnant or causing miscarriages.
  • Find out if the foetus has any chromosomal disability or any birth defects.
  • Determine the appropriate treatment options for certain types of cancers.
  • Identify the gender of a person by checking the presence of Y chromosome.

How to prepare for the test?

Before performing the test, it is suggested that one must consult the doctor about the need for this test, its risk factors and how it will be performed. This will help the patient to understand the importance of this examination. Since karyotype test results can have a profound impact on the life of the patient, therefore, it is highly recommended to go for a specialist, who specializes in genetic, known as a geneticist or genetic counsellor. Only a specialist can help the patient to make well-informed decisions.

How is the test performed?

Karyotype test is done by using a blood sample taken from a vein of the arm. During pregnancy, the test is performed on a sample of amniotic fluid or the placenta.

Cells are taken from foetus – In this, the cells are collected from the foetus with the help of amniocentesis or chronic villus sampling.

Samples taken from bone marrow – For performing a karyotype test, sometimes, sample of cells are taken from bone, arrow aspiration.

What does abnormal test result mean?

An abnormal test result indicates that there are more than or fewer than 46 chromosomes present in the blood. The size and shapes of the chromosomes are abnormal in nature. It also indicates that a pair of chromosome may be broken or inappropriately separated. A Karyotype test cost is inexpensive in nature and possesses minimal or no threat to life.

Karyotype test sometimes also performed as a part of an annual health checkup package.  If you a resident of Indore and looking for good health checkup packages in Indore, opt for the annual packages offered by Dr Lal PathLabs at the most budgeted price range!

World Health Day 2017 – Depression: Let’s Talk!

Every year, April 7 marks the anniversary of the foundation of the World Health Organization (WHO), and hence, it is celebrated as the World Health Day. The day draws the attention of the masses towards the importance of world health and how we, as individuals, must take care of our health in order to reduce the mortality rate and enhance life expectancy rate. World Health Assembly was first held in the year of 1948 in Geneva by WHO where it decided to dedicate April 7 as World Health Day. Numerous events related to specific themes are organized every year on this day on a national and international level in order to spread awareness about prevailing global problems and how they must be dealt with.

Since its establishment, WHO has addressed many serious health issues, including chickenpox, polio, smallpox, tuberculosis, and leprosy. This year, World Health Day focuses on depression – its anatomy, implications, complications and treatments.

World Health Day 2017 Theme – Depression: Let’s Talk!

Depression is a serious medical illness wherein an individual feels sad and gloomy for a persistent period, loses interest in activities that he/she normally enjoys and becomes incapable of carrying out day to day chores. In addition to this, people with depression syndrome experience symptoms such as loss of energy, a change in the appetite, sleeping less or more, reduced concentration less, anxiety, restlessness, feeling worthless, guilty, and even hopelessness.

Globally, about 350 million people belonging to all ages, suffer from this fatal illness. It typically causes mental anguish and impacts a person’s ability to think straight along with losing interest in carrying out basic activities.

Depression is treatable in nature, with or without the use of medicines. It asks for proper intervention and support of a specialized physician along with friends and family members. The WHO campaign focuses on adolescents, women of childbearing age, people above the age of 60 years. With this global campaign, WHO wishes to raise awareness about depression as sometimes warning signs or symptoms are misjudged or overlooked by family and friends.

Objective behind celebrating World Health Day

Primary objectives behind the celebration of World Health Day every year are as follows:-

  • To increase the awareness about various symptoms, causes and prevention’s of high blood pressure, and other related common diseases and infections.
  • To furnish detailed knowledge on how to prevent oneself against various diseases and their complications.
  • To encourage vulnerable groups to frequently go for check-ups, know about any potential illness that’s likely to affect them in future and take necessary care to avoid the complication.
  • To promote self-care among masses.
  • To motivate health and medical authorities worldwide to make efforts in creating fit and healthy environments in their nation.
  • To protect the families residing in disease-prone areas.
  • To enlighten the travelers and send them messages regarding how to stay protected against vector-borne diseases.

World Health Day essay focuses on increasing awareness amid people regarding diseases, infections, and conditions surrounding them. It encourage people to take charge of their lives – eat healthy, exercise regularly, steer away from uncanny activities such as excess smoking, alcohol consumption, depression, drug over doze, etc., and promote a hale and hearty lifestyle.

Early Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer stands for a chronic condition wherein the cells of the ovary begin to retaliate – multiply at an exceptionally uncontrollable rate and form a tumor. The tumor, if bursts, can spread other parts of the body and increase the intensity of the disease. Ovaries of two reproductive glands of the female human system and are responsible for the production of ova or eggs. Early symptoms of ovarian cancer often serve as warning signals sent by the body to the brain. However, these symptoms are vague and easy to mix with other ailments.

Early Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer

As stated above, initial signs of ovarian cancer can be easily ignored as they’re too similar to many other illnesses. These early symptoms include:-

  • Experiencing abdominal bloating, pain, and pressure
  • Feeling of fullness after eating area the abnormal area
  • Facing difficulty in eating
  • Increased urination sessions
  • Increased urination urges

Other signs include:-

  • Fatigue
  • Experiencing indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Pain in the back
  • Feeling constipated
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Experiencing pain during intercourse

Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

In most cases, cysts develop in the ovaries during cancer. While these do not cause any noticeable symptoms and if they do, they disappear on their own. In the case of large a large cyst, the following symptoms can be noticed.

  • Pain in the pelvic region that spans from the lower back down to the thighs
  • Pain in the pelvic area during menstruation cycle
  • Experiencing pain during intercourse near the pelvic area
  • Painful bowel movements or pressure on the bowels
  • Tenderness of the breast, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms similar to those experienced during pregnancy
  • Pressure on the bladder which increases the stances of urination throughout the day.

In most ovarian cancer symptoms lower back pain is a common factor which must not be avoided at all. However, the intensity of these vary from one stage to another. While signs of the presence of cancer in the ovaries during stage 1 are minimally visible, ovarian cancer stage 3 symptoms are the most prominently visible.

Ovarian Cancer Test

To detect ovarian cancer a physician orders a series of tests. These are as follows:-

Imaging Test – During this ovarian cancer test, images of the abdomen and pelvis are obtained. The images are studies for detecting the existence of a tumor, its size, shape, and structure.

Blood Test – This aids in detecting a protein known as CA 125 which is typically found on the surface of the ovarian cancer cells.

Biopsy – A surgery is done to remove a sample of tissues and abdominal fluid to confirm or deny the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

All You Need To Know About Serum Blood Test

Albumin is a protein produced by the liver that carries vital nutrients and hormones and circulates them to different organs and tissues of the body. This type of protein is extremely essential to maintain the growth and repair the tissues. If a person has low albumin content and suffers from various symptoms alike- fatigue, unexpected weight loss, swelling around eyes, stomach, legs, etc. it is highly suggested to get a Serum Albumin Test or Serum blood test done at the earliest. Every diagnostic center in Kolkata is highly equipped with all sorts of modern machines and equipment that help to churn out 100 percent accurate test results.

Why to perform a Serum blood test?

A serum blood test measures the amount of albumin present in the blood. An abnormal level of albumin indicates that the kidneys or the liver are not functioning properly. The test is used as part of an examination called liver panel and checks for the presence of creatinine, blood urea nitrogen and pre-albumin in the blood. The test is ordered when the doctor suspects a particular health condition that is affecting the functioning of the liver.

How to prepare for the test?

There is no special preparation for a serum albumin test. However, it is important to consult with the doctor if one is under medications like anabolic steroids, insulin and growth hormones. The doctor might suggest to stop or change the dosage of the medicines before the test.

Serum blood test for pregnancy

Serum blood test for pregnancy measures the presence of chorionic Gonadotropin (Hcg) hormone in the blood sample of the mother.

How are serum blood test results interpreted?

Serum blood test normal value ranges vary slightly among different laboratories. Typically, the value for serum blood test varies between 3.4to 5.4g/dl. The test usually comprises of a series of tests that evaluates the functioning of liver and kidneys. Therefore, a doctor looks at the entire test results, determine the underlying cause of the symptoms as mentioned earlier and then make the accurate diagnosis. The normal values of various components present in Serum blood test involve-

  • Creatinine- 0.8 to 1.3 mg/dl
  • Blood urea nitrogen- 8-21 mg/dl
  • Ferritin- 1300 ng/mL in men, 12-150 NG/ml in Women.
  • Glucose- 65-110 mg/dl.

A low level of albumin content in the blood indicates a number of serious health conditions such as- lover disease, inflammation, shock, malnutrition, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, etc. If the serum blood test results show a low level of albumin content in the blood due to liver diseases, the doctor may order some additional tests to determine the particular type of liver diseases such as- hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular necrosis.

Leukemia Test – Types, Symptoms and Tests Involved

Leukemia is a type of cancer that typically begins when the blood cells of the body turn hostile or malignant in nature. When an individual is detected with leukemia, his/her body’s bone marrow starts to produce abnormal white blood cells called the leukemia cells. These abnormal cells disrupt the normal functionality of the WBCs, grow at a much faster rate and outnumber the normal blood cells. This leads to the development of many serious problems in the body including anemia, bleeding and related infections. Abnormal leukemia cells, over the time, spread to other parts of the body and lead to failure of organs as well. A leukemia test aids in diagnosing the presence of malignancies and also the stage of cancer.

Types of Leukemia

Typically there are four main types of leukemia. These are as follows:-

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

Apart from these, other or rather rarer types of leukemia include myelodysplastic syndromes, myeloproliferative disorders, and hairy cell leukemia.

Symptoms of Leukemia

Symptoms of leukemia vary from one person to another and also the type of leukemia one has developed. However, common signs and symptoms are as follows:-

  • Chills or fever
  • Persistent weakness and fatigue
  • Frequent or severe infections
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Swollen lymph nodes or spleen
  • Enlarged liver
  • Unexpected bleeding or bruising
  • Recurring nose bleeding
  • Appearing of tiny red spots on the skin
  • Excessive sweating especially at night
  • Tenderness or pain in the bones

Leukemia Test

Most physicians are able to detect leukemia with a regular or routine blood test even before the patient starts to witness its symptoms. However, there are cases wherein physicians may have to order a series of tests for checking the presence of the cancer type.

  • Physical examination – This involves looking for physical signs of leukemia such as swelling of the lymph nodes, enlarged liver, appearance of tiny red spots on the skin, etc.
  • Blood Test – This involves sending a sample of the patient’s blood to the laboratory for the detection of presence of malignancies, or abnormal WBCs or platelets therein.
  • Bone Marrow Test – Here, a sample of the bone marrow is extracted using a long, thin needle. The sample is then sent to the lab for biopsy and detection for existence of malignant cells there.

Leukemia test results are generally out for a physician’s analysis in about 24 hours from the time of submission of the testing sample to the laboratory.

Leukemia Test Online

Today, most pathology labs and diagnostic center in Jaipur and other cities across India offer the advantage of booking a leukemia test online. This enables the working class to keep pace with their help despite their busy life schedule. Leukemia test cost is minimal. But, its cost may vary from one pathology lab to another due to the use of different testing equipment and techniques.