Children may be equipped with a robust innate immune system, but it doesn’t mean they are not vulnerable to diseases and disorders that can have a detrimental impact on their growth, development, and overall health and well-being. That is why aside from routine well-child exams, your pediatrician may, from time to time, recommend blood tests—to keep track of your child’s health and look for potential risks early, when diagnosis and intervention are most effective.
Let’s explore a few of the important pediatric blood tests and learn about their purpose as well as what medical conditions they can detect.
Complete Blood Count
Complete blood count (CBC) measures the different components of your child’s blood, including red blood cells (RBCs), hemoglobin, hematocrit, platelets, and white blood cells.
Your pediatrician may order a CBC for a variety of reasons, including:
- To diagnose blood disorders (e.g., leukemia)
- To assess how much blood your child has lost (if they are bleeding)
- To confirm or rule out infection
- To pinpoint the underlying cause of fever, bruising, weight loss, fatigue, and/or weakness
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) checks for the amount of 14 different substances in your child’s blood: glucose, sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonates, chlorides, creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN), albumin, bilirubin, total protein, alkaline phosphatase, alanine aminotransferase, and aspartate aminotransferase
This type of test essentially helps your pediatrician assess your child’s blood sugar level and body fluid balance as well as how well their kidneys and liver are functioning.
A lipid panel test measures the amount of good and bad cholesterol (HDL and LDL), triglycerides (type of fat that stores unused calories), and the total cholesterol in your child’s blood.
Your pediatrician may order a lipid panel if your child has risk factors for early-onset heart disease: obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and family history. The results of the test can help your pediatrician devise the best dietary and lifestyle strategies to mitigate your child’s risk for heart disease.
Allergy Blood Test
Though not the gold standard for allergy diagnosis, an allergy blood test will likely be recommended if your child is too young to undergo skin testing.
Allergy blood tests are used for detecting at least 10 of the most common environmental allergy triggers (e.g., pet dander, grasses, molds, dust, etc.). Allergy blood tests are also helpful in pinpointing food allergens, many of which can trigger a severe, potentially life-threatening reaction (anaphylaxis).
The results of your child’s allergy blood test help your pediatrician determine the best intervention to keep allergy flare-ups at bay.
Trusted Pediatricians in Purchase, NY
At BridgeSpan Medicine, our board-certified pediatricians, who are best known for their nurturing and compassionate approach to care, gladly work alongside parents to provide them with all the knowledge and resources necessary to empower them to make wise health decisions for their children.
We offer a broad range of on-site services— including lab tests for cholesterol, diabetes, and many other conditions—as part of our commitment to providing comprehensive health care for the children in the communities we are privileged to serve.
To schedule a consultation with one of our pediatricians, call our office today at (914) 698-5544 or use this appointment request form.