As a rule, a blood test is held once a year to check so-called routine parameters.

The aim of this study is to check the function of organs such as liver, kidney, thyroid. In addition, the examination before surgery, for the detection of diseases, preventive examinations but also for therapy control, for example, by determining the drug level is used.
In most cases, the written result of a blood test for the layman is difficult to understand. Here you will find an overview of the most important parameters and their meaning.

Values ​​in the blood test

There are many different values ​​that can be determined by a blood test. In the following, the values ​​are divided into main groups and the most important values ​​of this group are explained.

  • General parameters: including electrolytes, kidney values ​​and lipids
  • Enzymes: especially the liver enzymes but also enzymes of the pancreas
  • Coagulation values
  • Small blood picture: cells of the blood
  • Complete blood count
  • inflammatory factors
  • Blood gas analysis
  • Hormones: including thyroid hormones
  • drug levels
  • Proteins: including antibodies

General parameters


Sodium is a very important salt in our body. It influences the water balance and also plays a decisive role in nerve conduction. Deviations of the values ​​may lead to seizures. Decreased levels may be due to ingestion of diuretics, diarrhea, or increased vomiting. 135-145 mmol / l is the norm.


Potassium forms an important antagonist in our body with sodium. While potassium is mainly in the cell, sodium can be found outside.
Disruption of the potassium balance can cause life-threatening conditions. Potassium has important regulatory functions on the heart and nerves. Consequences of a potassium disorder may be cardiac arrhythmias, muscle cramps or emotional disorders. The frame values ​​are 3.8-5.2 mmol / l.


Calcium or calcium is important for blood clotting, signaling and also for bone formation. Various organs and hormones are involved in the regulation of calcium, such as small intestine, kidney, bone and especially the parathyroid gland. A lack of calcium can indicate a dysfunction of the parathyroid glands. An increase in levels may have been caused by a change in the parathyroid gland, renal failure, vitamin D deficiency or bone tumors. Control values ​​are 2.02-2.60 mmol / l in total calcium.


Chloride is often routinely studied. There may be indications of a pH shift, ie hyperacidity or alkalosis (shift in the basic direction). The standard value is 95-110 mmol / l.


Magnesium is used for diagnosis as it may indicate renal failure at elevated levels. Low scores are usually found in malnutrition, laxative abuse, or a bowel or kidney upset. The standard value is 0.7-1.0 mmol / l.


Phosphate is especially relevant as a component of the potentiator ATP for humans. A deficiency may be associated with weakness and paralysis and may be due to malnutrition, alcoholism or vitamin D deficiency. An elevated level may be the cause of renal insufficiency, just like magnesium. The value should be 0.84 to 1.45 mmol / l.

kidney function

Urea, uric acid, creatinine and creatinine clearance rule out the function of the kidney and its filtration properties. Urea should be between 20-45 mg / dl and creatinine in women between 0.8 and 1.2 mg / dl and in men 0.9-1.4 mg / dl. Increased levels may be due to increased protein intake but may also be an indication of reduced renal function.


LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein) are like the names that indicate lipoproteins. These are responsible for the transport of insoluble fats in the blood. It can be deduced from the relationship of LDL and HDL whether there is an increased risk of arteriosclerosis due to increased lipid levels in the blood. LDL is seen as a positive factor and HDL as "bad" lipoproetein.


liver enzymes

Above all, the transaminases alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) are crucial. In cell damage in the liver, these enzymes are released from the cells and may therefore be a sign of liver inflammation, a liver tumor or alcohol abuse. The values ​​for ALT should be less than 23 U / l and for AST less than 19 U / l at room temperature. Glutamate dehydrogenase is also one of the liver-specific enzymes. Elevated levels are found especially in severe liver inflammation, intoxication or liver carcinoma.

pancreatic enzymes

The most important pancreatic enzymes are lipase, amylase and elastase. These are often used in the suspicion of acute pancreatitis as an indicator, since in this case the Enymkonzentration in the blood is increased. Low values, on the other hand, indicate a functional impairment of the pancreas, which may also be due to chronic inflammation of the pancreas.
Normal values ​​are below 60 U / L for the lipase and below 53 U / L for the amylase.

  • amylase
  • Lipasewert
  • elastase

Coagulation values

INR and QUICK value

The INR (Internationali Normailized Ratio) and the Quick value also known as thromboplastin time, exclude the duration of blood clotting and disorders of the extrinsic pathway (one of the two forms of blood clotting). If coagulation slows, vitamin K deficiency or liver damage may be the cause. Among other things, the coagulation factors are produced in the liver. The quick value is given as a percentage and should be between 70 and 100%. The INR should be around the 1 and is unitary.

Partial thromboplastin time

Partial thromboplastin time (PTT) is one way to measure the second activation pathway of the clotting intrinsic pathway. Extending this time may be a sign of hemophilia or other disorders affecting coagulation. The PTT should be 26-36 seconds.

Small blood picture

Erythrocytes, hemoglobin and hematocrit

The erythrocytes (red blood cells), hemoglobin and hematocrit are examined in the small blood picture. The number of erythrocytes should be between 4.3 to 5.2 million / μl in women and 4.8-5.9 million / μl in men. If the number is low, there may be anemia which can result from either blood loss or iron deficiency. An increase may be due to stress, lack of oxygen or liquid nail. Hemoglobin is the red dye of erythrocytes, which is also responsible for oxygen binding. A deficiency may also be related to iron deficiency. As a rule, women should be 12-16 and men 14-18 g / dl. Hematocrit is defined as the proportion of erythrocytes in whole blood and should be 37-47% in women and 40-54% in men. In case of dehydration and smokers the proportion is increased. In pregnant women and blood loss, however, decreased.


The leukocytes (white blood cells) are also examined in the small blood picture. They are an important parameter for inflammation because they are part of the immune system and in this case occur in increased numbers in the blood. However, they are a nonspecific inflammatory indicator. In case of allergies and gout they may also be elevated, but the most serious are leukemia. Decreased levels occur in viral infections. The standard value is 4-10 thousand / μl.


Platelets (platelets) are important for wound healing and blood clotting. With a reduced number it can thus come to increased bleeding, since the blood clotting is disturbed. 150-400 thousand / μl is the normal number.

Complete blood count

The large blood picture (differential blood picture) differs from the small blood picture only in that in addition a differentiation of the white blood corpuscles is made. Changes in the number and composition of granulocytes as well as lymphocytes can be detected, which allow a more accurate diagnosis. An example would be diseases of the rheumatic type, since eosinophilic granulocytes occur more frequently.

inflammatory factors

One of the most important factors of inflammation besides the previously mentioned leukocytes is CRP (C-reactive protein). It is produced in the liver and released during inflammation or injury. Normally it should be below 0.5 mg / dl. For minor injuries, it may also be around 40 mg / dl. More relevant are strongly elevated concentrations, which indicate an inflammation or an infection.

Blood gas analysis

In the blood gas analysis, the partial pressures of the blood gases, especially oxygen and carbon dioxide, are determined. But also the bicarbonate concentration and the pH are determined by this. A derailment of the acid-base balance can be detected and also possible causes such as hyperventilation or re-sufficiency can be inferred. Especially in diseases of the lungs or the heart, a blood gas analysis is important.


thyroid hormones

One distinguishes among the thyroid hormones, the actual hormones produced by the thyroid, such as thyroxine (T4) and T3 and the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is released by the pituitary gland to release the thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroidism and hypofunction are very common and are mainly diagnosed with blood levels.
It can also be distinguished between primary and secondary disorders, depending on whether the hormone production in the pituitary gland or the thyroid gland is disturbed.
Standard values ​​for T4 are 2.2-5.5 pg / ml, for T3 0.6-1.8 ng / dl and 0.4-2.5 mU / l for TSH.

Other hormones

In addition to the thyroid hormones, the hormones of the adrenal cortex such as cortisol, metabolic hormones such as insulin and the sex hormones can be determined in suspected diseases. Among other things, the diagnostics are relevant for Cushing's disease, diabetes or even if there is a desire to have children.


In addition to the control of laboratory values, the effectiveness of a therapy can be checked.
Also, by taking a blood can be carried out cancer screening / cancer screening. Many forms of prostate cancer (porcine carcinoma) can be detected in the blood for the first time by increasing a so-called tumor marker (PSA = prostate-specific antigen).
In particular, when drug therapy is initiated, laboratory values ​​may change. Some forms of therapy require regular blood count control. Exemplary therapy with Marcumar can be called. This inhibits the coagulation system to make the blood more fluid. To check the effectiveness of the therapy, close blood draws must be performed.


Please note that we make no claim to completeness or accuracy in all our topics. Due to current developments, the information may be out of date.
We expressly point out that existing therapies may never be discontinued, scheduled or changed independently and without consultation with your attending physician.

Introduction to lab values and normal ranges | Health & Medicine | Khan Academy (August 2020).

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