Formal name: Serum Magnesium

What is S-Magnesium tested?

This serum magnesium test is the measurement of the level of magnesium in the blood. This test is most common for diagnosing the magnesium deficiency. As you imagined, it calculates the magnesium level in your blood serum. Magnesium is found in the bones. This is essential for a stronger body and healthier physique. Abnormality in the magnesium level can create lots of critical conditions that can affect the functionalities of the kidney or intestines.

When to use the test?

Magnesium is essential for stronger bone structure. The default range of magnesium in the blood is generally 17-22 mg/Dl (0.85-1.10 mmol/L). This test can also be a part of the recommendations for diagnosing the cause of symptoms like, anxiety, weakness, cardiac arrhythmia, irritability, nausea or diarrhea. Too much calcium/potassium or too low level of this mineral can cause the issues.

 

 

1234The test procedure

The test is performed using the blood sample collected from the patient. A needle is inserted in the vein in the arm that extracts a little amount of blood in the ampule. Sometimes, this test is also performed using a urine sample, such as a 24-hour collection.

What the test result means

After performing the test, it will become clear whether it was a lower magnesium level or higher. The lower magnesium level indicates that the person isn’t consuming enough magnesium. It can also be the cause of not absorbing or excreting too much magnesium.

The lower magnesium level is typically the symptom of the following issues –

  • Lower magnesium intake (food habit)
  • Disorder in the gastro intestine (Crohn’s disease etc.)
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Uncontrolled level of diabetics
  • Post-surgery
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Severe burns

If the result is higher than usual, there can be several symptoms of it. This is a rare case and usually the cause of excretion problem or excessive magnesium supplement intake.

  • Kidney failure
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Dehydration
  • Addison disease
  • Diabetic acidosis
  • Hyperparathyroidism

Anything else to know?

Magnesium is generally in the electrolyte tests. The test includes counting of other electrolytes like chloride, sodium, potassium, bicarbonate etc. This evaluation is essential for identifying the person’s electrolyte balance. For example, if the magnesium level is low, then the potassium level is also low in most cases.

For pregnant women, the magnesium level in the blood tends to decrease during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy.

Generally, it doesn’t mean that higher magnesium level is the cause of some issues. Our body always tries to keep the level of magnesium in the blood at a stable rate. It will release magnesium from the bone to the blood if the level is low. That’s why early magnesium deficiency may show normal magnesium level.

There are several drugs that can increase the amount of magnesium in the blood like lithium, some antibiotics, thyroid medicines, aspirin and other products containing magnesium. Drugs that are responsible for decreasing the magnesium level includes diuretics, insulin, laxatives, digoxin etc.

The doctor doesn’t suggest this test so frequently unlike other mineral tests. Doctors suggest especially when a person’s blood contains abnormal calcium level and showing symptoms due to magnesium level imbalance.

 


Formal name: Creatinine

Serum creatinine is a form of test done to ascertain how well the kidney functions. Creatinine is a by product of waste that builds up in the blood from muscle usage.

How is it used?

An s-Creatinine test is a carried to evaluate the kidney’s health. Kidney functions as a waste (creatinine) removal 2that the body produces at a fixed rate daily. Determining the amount of creatinine present in the blood and comparing it with the standard amount would enhance your healthcare personnel to know how good your kidneys are.  Kidneys have nephrons which help to filter waste products present in the blood and they do this via a tiny cluster blood vessel called glomeruli. They filter impurities/toxins from the blood and store them in the bladder where they are being discharged through urination.

Creatinine is constantly eliminated from the body through the help of the kidney. When a high level of creatinine is discovered in the blood, it indicates that the kidney is damaged and not functioning properly.

 

4Why get tested?

This test is very important to determine the working condition of your kidneys; to detect any form of disease associated with the kidney and to monitor treatment stages if being treated for kidney disease. This test is also carried out to determine your overall health status.

When to go for a test?

If you experience symptoms of kidney disease such as swelling in your feet or ankles, dry/itchy skin, blood in your urine, painful urination, muscle cramps, frequent loss of appetite, high blood pressure or lower back pain near the kidneys.

 How do I prepare for a creatinine blood test?

Undergoing a creatinine test does not involve much preparation. Fasting is not paramount but prior to the test, you might be asked to refrain from eating cooked meat and taking some drugs that could increase the level of creatinine in your body thereby altering your test results.

Sample needed?

A blood sample would be obtained through your vein into a specimen tube or a urine sample within the range of 24-hours.

What do my test results mean?

The results obtained vary with gender, health history, age and the method through which the test is been carried out.5 Your result does not necessarily indicate you have kidney dysfunctions as your healthcare provider is the only one who could interpret the results for you.

The level of creatinine for a man tends to be of higher concentration than it is for a woman due to the muscle composition present in the body but found in lower concentration in children.

If you have a high concentration of creatinine, it could indicate the presence of muscle disease, kidney disease, dehydration, diabetes or shock. While a lower concentration might be as a result of muscle loss, protein deficiency in your diet or liver disease.

What else to know?

The s-Creatinine test is important to evaluate renal function because it entails several interesting properties. This test could sometimes be performed with other tests such as comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test or a basic metabolic panel (BMP) to check and correct problems associated with the kidney.

 


CK-MB

Formal name: Creatine Kinase-MB

What is CK-MB test?

2Creatine Kinase-MB is a type of test carried out on a blood sample to determine the level of an isoenzyme of Creatine kinase present in the blood. Creatine kinase (CK) test is conducted to ascertain the level of Myocardial infarction or injury in the body.

What does the test entail?

The body is made up of 3 types of Creatine kinase (CK) which are present in the muscles, heart, tissues and some organs like the brain, uterus and the intestines. CK-MB is released into the blood as a result of injured or damaged heart via the heart muscle cells. A creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) test is used to determine whether the increasing concentration of creatine kinase (CK) in the blood is as a result of heart or muscle damage.  This test could be required by your healthcare provider if you experience symptoms such as dizziness, excessive fatigue, nausea, a discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath, dizziness and extreme tiredness.  This test is commonly employed to detect potential or existing diseases associated with the heart.

 Why go for CK-MB test?3

This test is crucial in determining or detecting the presence of a muscle damage and ill heart; sometimes to determine if you have once experienced a heart attack and also to monitor for subsequent heart damage. This test is required if you experience signs or symptoms of heart dysfunction.

When is it ordered?

CK-MB test is needed when one experience frequent chest pain due to a high concentration level of creatine kinase in the blood and your doctor wants to be sure whether it is as a result of skeletal or heart muscle damage.

How do I get prepared for the test?

There is no special preparation required for this test. Make sure you inform your doctor or healthcare practitioner about the kind of medications you are taking which also includes illegal drugs you might be using.

4Sample needed?

Your blood sample will be collected into a specimen tube using a sterile needle, adequately labeled and sent to the lab for proper examination.

 Are there risks associated with CK-MB test?

Having your blood sample collected with a sterile needle could result in a slight bleeding, bruise and make you feel a light sharp pain when the needle goes down your vein.

What does my test result mean?

The standard normal level of CK-MB in the blood is 5 – 25IU/L for both male and female regardless of age making it undetectable or of extremely low concentration in the blood. A high concentration level of creatine kinase in the blood could indicate you have once experienced a heart attack or heart-related issues. High concentration of CK-MB could also be caused by muscle damage or diseases that cause harm to your muscle thereby affecting your chest.  Kidney failure, some rare chronic muscle disease, alcohol abuse can also alter the CK-MB concentration level.

Is there anything else I am supposed to know?

Heart or skeletal muscle damage contributes majorly to a high CK-MB level.  Your healthcare provider could ask you to go for other tests like an electrocardiogram, or ECG, to determine the electrical activity in your heart.


WHAT IS MALARIA?

Malaria is caused by by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium. 4 species of Plasmodium (Plasmodium vivax, P. ovale, P. falciparum and P. malariae) cause malaria in the human body. The parasite spreads via mosquito bites (female Anopheles). This can be a deadly disease if left untreated.

WHY TEST NEEDED

Malaria is a fatal yet preventable disease. Generally, victims who get bitten by parasite-carrying Anopheles (female) do not show any symptoms until 10-28 days. The first symptoms may include the following.

  • ddfb9af7c8f4db376ea21b443d75c20e--malaria-symptoms-health-care
  • Chills
  • Muscle ache
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache

These symptoms are non-specific, meaning that these can also be found in other diseases. For this reason, the best way to diagnose malaria is through laboratory testing where an expert technologist or technician can distinguish the 4 species of malaria parasites. To identify the parasites, the blood of the patient is collected and examined under a microscope.

 

 

DIAGNOSIS OF MALARIA – HOW IS IT DONE?

A blood sample is collected from the patient’s body through a sharp needle from a vein.

Testing helps to diagnose malaria, to monitor relapses and to determine the parasite’s drug susceptibility. The diagnosis also includes blood smears. Laboratory Technologists and Technicians use thick and thin blood smears to identify any possible malaria parasites in the blood sample. A blood smear is a drop of blood which is spread onto a glass slide.

The presence of Plasmodium confirms malaria. It is also important to detect the species of Plasmodium  as each ones treatment may vary.

WHAT DOES THE MALARIA TEST RESULT MEAN?

MalariaThe test looks for Plasmodium parasites in the blood. The test also determines which species of malaria is present in the body.

If the test results is negative, then you don’t have Plasmodium parasite in the patient’s blood. A positive result confirms that the patient is infected by malaria. The identification of the species is important to determine the risk level. Especially P. falciparum which is the most dangerous.

RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Tests) is another method of identifying malaria by checking the malaria antigens. Malaria parasites produce antigens that can be detected and said to be positive. If the antigens are not present, the result will be negative. Different RDTs identify different antigens. Some antigens are produced by specific parasites whereas other species may produce the same types of antigens (P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae). If an antigen is present, the particles will stick to a band on the RDT that’ll create a visible colored line in the test area.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?

A few notes have to be kept in mind when you are diagnosed with malaria.

The parasites can be found in the blood. However, it is preferable to take a blood sample when the body temperature is rising to mitigate the chances of getting a false-positive.

If the test result does not detect any malaria parasite in the blood and doctor highly suspects malaria, the same test can be performed again after 8-12 hours, or whenever the patient is feeling a high fever.

ADDITIONAL INFO

In some cases, additional tests must be performed for checking complications. Those tests include CBC (Complete Blood Count) also known as Full blood count (FBC) and Blood Chemistry (electrolytes as well as kidney & liver function). The doctor may also suggest G6PD (Glucose-6-phosphate) test. G6PD is an enzyme. People with G6PD deficiency can have hemolysis if Primaquine is prescribed. In this case, Doxycycline is recommended.


Serum-CK (Total Creatine Kinase)

Formal name: Creatine kinase (CK)

WHAT IS S-CK (TOTAL CREATINE KINASE)?

Creatine kinase which could also be known as creatine phosphokinase or phospho-creatine kinase is an enzyme that is produced by tissues found in the brain, heart and skeletal muscles.

HOW IS IT USED?

s-CK (Total Creatine Kinase) test is used to detect and control damaged muscles; it helps to detect ill/dead muscle which eventually leads to enzyme leakage out of the cells, diagnose Inflammatory myopathies such as polymyositis, dermatomyositis, Infectious myopathies, Dystrophinopathies, Becker muscular dystrophy, Rhabdomyolysis, Drugs-induced myopathies resulting from statins, fibrates, colchicines, antimalarials, and cocaine. Enzymes leak out of their various cells into the bloodstream when the cells are ill or damaged. This test sometimes could be employed to unveil a subsequent heart attack with the help of troponin test. s-CK level is found in traces in the bloodstream but the CK level detected to be beyond normal would aid the doctors to determine the muscle that is damaged.

WHY DO YOU NEED THE TEST?

Abnormal concentration of s-CK (Total Creatine Kinase) in the bloodstream could result in various muscular diseases such as acute renal failure, Duchenne muscular dystrophy or heart attack. If you have once experienced chest pain or presently experiencing it, the test is useful in diagnosing a potential attack.  The level of CK in women with X-linked gene are said to be of high concentration for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Also, myositis which is ancreatine-kinase-private-blood-tests-in-london autoimmune disease that brings about severe muscle weakness and damage could be diagnosed with CK test.

WHEN IS IT ORDERED?

When you experience severe muscle pain, weakness or your urine is dark. All these are symptoms of suspected muscle damage.

WHAT IS NEEDED FOR THE TEST?

There is no special requirement needed for the test. A blood sample would be collected from a vein. Please, do inform your doctor if you are using any medication or have any form of allergy before going through the test. You should endeavor to refrain from taking substances like drugs that lower cholesterol, steroids, anesthetics, amphotericin B, also from alcohol, cocaine which could alter CK level.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE TEST.

A blood sample would be collected through your vein into a specimen tube using a sterile needle. You could likely feel a sharp pain as the sterile needle goes in but it won’t last long. The blood sample will be labelled, sent to the lab where it will be properly examined.

WHAT DOES THE RESULTS INDICATE?

CPK-1

  • CPK-1 occurs primarily in the brain and lungs. Elevated CPK-1 levels could indicate:
  • the presence of an injury or bleeding in the brain
  • presence of cancerous cell in the brain.
  • the damage of lung tissue or a seizure.

 

CPK-2

  • CPK-2 occurs mainly in the heart. A high concentration levels of CPK-2 shows:
  • the presence of a heart injury or damage.
  • an inflammation of heart muscles caused by virus or a heart attack.

CPK-3 occurs in the skeletal muscle. The level of CPK-3 shows the presence of:

  • high use of illegal drug.
  • high rate of immobility.
  • could also indicates inflammation.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?

It is paramount that you have it in mind that the result varies and it all boils down to the type of condition/injury. Your medical practitioner will inform you of your results and would be the proper person to tell you the treatment method suitable for you.

 

 


Listeria Outbreak in South Africa

The outbreak of Listeria in South Africa has reached a critical level. According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), this is the biggest outbreak of Listeriosis in South Africa. The bacteria is spreading through cold-stored, processed food all over the country.

Listeria is a genus of bacteria that causes listeriosis. The species of Listeria – Listeria monocytogenes. This disease can be fatal. The outbreak has caused 180 deaths with nearly 1000 cases identified.

LISTERIOSIS SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of listeriosis are common and are found in the other diseases as well. However, with proper diagnosis, the disease can be identified. Listeriosis symptoms include –

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Headachepolony
  • Stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • Balance loss
  • Convulsion

Pregnant women don’t show these symptoms. Instead, they only suffer a mild, flu-like sickness. If not treated in time, listeriosis can be fatal in many cases.

DIAGNOSIS

The diagnosis of listeriosis can be tricky. Generally, doctors would track down the disease by medical history and physical exam. However, the outbreak in South Africa is mostly caused by foods, especially cold meat produced by two specific companies.

If the symptoms are seen, the best solution to identify the disease is by performing a blood test or spinal fluid test. The bacteria affects the nervous system and present in the spinal fluid. The diagnosis can confirm the presence of Listeria.

CAUSE OF OUTBREAK

According to the official statement of the South Africa government, the source of the outbreak is from processed cold meat. The government blamed the “polony” sausage for listeria poisoning. The government also advised people not to take any processed meat. According to South Africa’s Health Ministry, they found the source after several pre-school children became sick after eating polony products that helped in the identification of the meat producers.

Following the announcement, other southern Africa countries like Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia banned importing of meat from South Africa. The latest addition to the list is Zimbabwe. The processed orders are recalled or suspended.

It is believed that the original source of the poisoning was in a factory in the northern city of Polokwane. The factory is the production facility for “Enterprise Food” products. However, the chief executive of Tiger Brands, the company that owns Enterprise label, said that the accusation is not proved; and that there is no link that the factory was the source. Another plant owned by RCL Foods is also suspected of the source.

According to the government’s order, both factories are suspended from producing meat products.

 

TREATMENT

As soon as one shows any of the symptoms, you should consult a doctor or go to your nearest health center. Infected individuals have to be under treatment and others should follow precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

Doctors generally prescribe antibiotics to infected patients. A healthy and completely fit person usually does not require any special treatment. If a pregnant woman is infected, antibiotics according to doctor’s prescription should be taken.

PREVENTION

As for now, the best way to prevent listeria outbreak is to exercise caution. There are several things to remember and do in order to be safe from it.

  • Avoid meat, especially processed meat. The original source of this outbreak is thought to be from polony, so get rid of any packed meat product (produced by the above mentioned factories) in your refrigerator. Shops are already removing banned and suspended products from the stock. If you have any of them in your refrigerator, get rid of it safely. Don’t forget to wash your refrigerator properly afterwards.
  • Cook foods at a higher temperature. Generally, Listeria bacteria cannot withstand temperatures higher than 65°C. There is still a chance of pollution after cooking, so follow necessary steps to protect cooked foods from any further contamination.
  • After handling & preparing any uncooked food, wash countertops, cutting boards, hands and knives properly.
  • Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk or any food that is associated with raw milk present in it.
  • Avoid close contact with farm animals.

As of now, we have to follow proper cautions to stay clear of listeriosis.


Borrelia is a genus of the spirochete phylum. The disease caused by the bacteria is called Lyme disease.

HOW THE TEST WORKS

The lab test detect two types of antibodies – IgM and IgG.

  • Borrelia IgM antibodies are generally detectable in the blood after about 2-3 weeks to the exposure of the bacteria. IgM level increases to the maximum within six weeks and then starts to decrease.
  • IgG antibodies are detectable after several weeks of exposure and reach the max level in about 4-6 months. The level tends to stay high for several years.

Borrelia1The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a recommendation for 2 different methods to detect the antibodies and confirm the diagnosis of Lyme disease. The first one is highly sensitive and can identify Lyme disease in almost all the cases. However, the result is also positive when the person is affected by any other disease like tick-borne diseases or the autoimmune disorder (lupus etc.). Therefore, for confirmation of the findings, the second method is followed.

WHEN IS IT USED?

If a patient shows the symptoms that suggest an infection with Borrelia. It is also important to know whether the patient lived or recently visited places where deer ticks are common. This increases the chance of getting infected by Borrelia.

Here are some common symptoms of Lyme disease.

  • Fever, chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle & joint pains
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache

If  ignored, Lyme disease may cause these problems.Borrelia

  • Severe headaches (meningitis) and neck stiffness
  • Pain and weakness in legs and arms
  • Spells of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Change in sleep patterns, memory loss, and difficulty on concentrating
  • Irregular muscle and joint pain

The patient has to be diagnosed by Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or immunofluorescence (IFA) tests. If the first test result is positive/intermediate, then the second test is performed – Western blot testing.

If the patient is highly suspected of Lyme disease but the reports are negative, then the patient has to be diagnosed again after a few weeks. The healthcare provider also has to be aware that if the patient didn’t have any history of a tick bite or didn’t visit the regions recently, or the symptoms don’t follow up with the typical Lyme disease symptoms, the possibility of Lyme disease can be ruled out.

 

THE TEST RESULT EXPLANATION

IgM Antibody IgG Antibody Western Blot Possible Interpretation
Positive Positive Positive Most possibly Lyme disease, if other symptoms & signs match
Positive Negative Negative Early infection or a false-positive IgM test for cross-reactive antibodies
Negative Positive Positive Previous/late infection
Negative Negative (if IgM and IgG are negative, generally not tested) No infection. Symptoms may indicate other diseases or antibody level is too low to detect
Negative Positive Negative Patient recovered from any recent infection or false-positive IgG test for cross-reactive antibodies

 

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?

Once someone gets Lyme disease, there will be the detectable amount of Borrelia IgG antibodies present in the bloodstream for the rest of the patient’s life.

Borrelia belongs to the bacteria class called spirochetes. Other spirochete diseases can result in a false-positive test, like leptospirosis and syphilis. Other diseases may also cause a false-positive test, like mononucleosis, HIV infection and various autoimmune disorders.