What Your Blood Can Reveal About You

Your blood provides important clues about how your body is working and can help your doctor identify potential health problems.

“Routine screening blood tests combined with a physical exam give doctors valuable information about a patient’s health and well-being,” says Jessica DeStefano, DO, a family practice doctor with UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates.

Common blood tests explained

While testing may vary based on your medical history, Dr. DeStefano describes four of the most routine blood tests doctors typically order and why the results are important.

Complete blood count (CBC) measures white and red blood cells and platelets, and can show abnormalities in your blood cells, she explains. Results can indicate anemia, an infection, a blood disorder, or other health issues.

Basic metabolic panel (BMP) reveals how well your heart and kidneys are functioning and evaluates your blood glucose levels to screen for prediabetes or diabetes.

Complete metabolic panel (CMP) includes all BMP tests plus tests that show the doctor how well your liver is functioning.

Lipid profile tests measure the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Elevated levels increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke, says Dr. DeStefano.

Fast, easy blood testing services

“UPMC Altoona offers four convenient off-site locations — two in Altoona, and our new locations in Hollidaysburg and Ebensburg — where you can have blood drawn,” says Joe Pufka, administrative director of Laboratory Services at UPMC Altoona. These locations also offer urine sample collection, specimen drop-off, EKG testing, and throat cultures/strep tests. “If your health insurance requires blood samples to be tested at a laboratory other than ours, we can collect the samples and forward them to the appropriate laboratory,” he explains.

You’ll be asked to provide the name of a doctor to receive your test results. Be sure to request a copy of the results for your records, and review them with your doctor to understand what they mean.

If the lab results show any abnormalities, the doctor will likely order additional tests. “For normal test results, my office typically calls the patient with that information. If they have a MyUPMC account, I’ll send them a message,” says Dr. DeStefano.

To schedule an appointment at

UPMC Blair Medical Associates, call 814-947-4300.

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