Haematology is the specialty involved in the diagnosis and management of a wide range of malignant and benign disorders of the red and white blood cells and platelets.
Haematology tests can evaluate a variety of blood conditions, including anaemia, infection, clotting disorders, inflammation, haemophilia, blood and leukaemia. Tests may be regular or routine and or they may be used to diagnose serious conditions in urgent care. In many cases, blood test results can give an accurate assessment of body conditions and how internal or external influences affect a patient's health.
Clotting is the process that stops excessive bleeding when you cut yourself. However, the blood that moves through vessels should not clot. When such clots form, they can travel through your bloodstream to the brain, lungs or heart, lungs, or brain. These clots can cause a stroke, heart attack, or even death.
Coagulation testing measures the blood's ability to clot and how long it takes to clot. Testing can help your doctor or healthcare practitioner assess your risk of excessive bleeding or developing clots somewhere in your blood vessels.
Full blood count testing is a routine test that evaluates three components found in red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. There are various reasons for taking a full blood count test, but common reasons include detecting infection, anaemia and some cancers.
An increase in red blood cells in the body can occur with stress, anxiety and dehydration or bone marrow failure, to name a few conditions. Decreased blood cells can occur from chemotherapy treatments, chronic inflammatory diseases, blood loss and some types of cancer.
White blood cells help the body's defences to fight disease and illnesses. Knowing how many white cells are in the blood can prove to be very valuable for treating and diagnosing a wide range of conditions. An increase in white blood cells is common in people suffering from anaemia or infection.
Haemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen to the body's tissues and organs. It also transports carbon dioxide from your tissues and organs back into your lungs.
The body needs sufficient Haemoglobin for oxygen to travel throughout the body. Haemoglobin is essential to life, but it can increase or decrease due to a number of illnesses. Conditions like dehydration, Congestive Heart Failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can cause an increase in haemoglobin levels. On the other hand, blood loss, anaemia, liver disease and lymphoma can result in a decrease.
Hematocrit refers to the ratio of blood cells to plasma. Plasma is the fluid component in blood. HCT tests are usually carried out when hydration levels and anaemia are suspected of causing health problems. HCT levels can be affected in a similar way to haemoglobin levels. If anaemia is suspecteds doctors may test red blood cells, haemoglobin and hematocrit at the same time.
Platelets are responsible for blood clotting. Without platelets, blood would continue to flow from a wound and would need immediate medical care to stem the flow. Increased platelet levels can result from inflammatory conditions such as trauma, acute infection and a number of malignant cancers. Decreases in platelet levels can occur from anaemia, coagulation disorders such as sickle cell anaemia, alcohol toxicity and infection.