Blood: Tests used to assess the physiological and immunological properties of blood

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Abstract

The properties of blood and the relative ease of access to which it can be retrieved make it an ideal source to gauge different aspects of homeostasis within an individual, form an accurate diagnosis, and formulate an appropriate treatment regime. Tests used to determine blood parameters such as the erythrocyte sedimentation rate, hemoglobin concentration, hematocrit, bleeding and clotting times, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, mean cell volume, and determination of blood groups are routinely used clinically, and deviations outside the normal range can indicate a range of conditions such as anemia, pregnancy, dehydration, overhydration, infectious disease, cancer, thyroid disease, and autoimmune conditions, to mention a few. As these tests can be performed relatively inexpensively and do not require high levels of technical expertise, they are ideally suited for use in the teaching laboratory, enabling undergraduate students to link theory to practice. The practicals described here permit students to examine their own blood and that of their peers and compare these with clinically accepted normal ranges. At the end of the practicals, students are required to answer a number of questions about their findings and to link abnormal values to possible pathological conditions by answering a series of questions based on their findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Physiology Education
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2016

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