What Can I Prevent By Using Clinical Biochemistry?
Prevention of disease using clinical biochemistry is both by screens, to identify those at risk, and by interval assessments to prevent further disease progression.
The following, among other blood and non-blood tests, are screens used for identifying those at risk:
- Fasting glucose: For diabetes and the hemoglobin A1c to judge how severe it has been over the previous months when the screen is positive.
- Genetic screen for mutations: Such as the BRCA I and II, predict those at risk for ovarian, uterine, breast, and gastrointestinal cancers; CA-125 for ovarian cancer, carcinoma embryonic antigen (CEA) for other types of gynecological malignancies, and PSA for prostatic cancer.
- Blood tests for amyloid beta: Using spectrometry, to screen for those at risk for Alzheimer disease, even decades before any onset is suspected.
- In pregnancy: Amniotic fluid can be evaluated to determine lung maturity for a pre-term infant who may benefit from early delivery necessary due to maternal illness. Noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) can screen for Down syndrome and can even reveal the gender of a baby during pregnancy.
- Testing for allergens: Via ELISA and RAST testing is used to detect allergies, but can also screen those at risk for life-threatening anaphylactoid reactions.
- Biochemical identification of HPV in Pap smears: Can prevent pre-cancerous conditions (dysplasia) from progressing into cervical cancer.
- Antibody screens: Are useful both to prevent blood transfusion reactions and to indicate which patients may need immunizations to prevent specific contagious diseases. They are also used to confirm successful immunization or the need for boosters.
- Titers of blood concentrations: Can be used to screen for infectious diseases such as syphilis, but can also prevent further progress by alerting the physician when titers plateau or rise, indicating when treatment failure with one treatment modality calls for another.