Detailed Findings & Methodology
Health technology company Theranos raised hundreds of millions of dollars from 2003 to 2015 on the promise that its Edison blood-testing machines could do over 240 blood tests with one or two drops of blood.
While the Theranos promise turned out to be too good to be true and founder CEO Elizabeth Holmes has since been charged with massive fraud, blood testing can help detect and diagnose dozens of conditions, including some very serious ones. Hematology– the study of blood — has improved dramatically in recent years. In the past two years alone, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved blood tests that can detect signs of concussion, menopause, and the Ebola virus.
One of the most commonly ordered blood tests is a complete blood count, which measures different blood cell levels and can help detect warning signs for conditions like anemia, infections, blood cancers, and immune system disorders. Another common test is the coagulation panel, which measures blood clots and can help diagnose leukemia, hemophilia, and thrombosis.
The basic metabolic panel is a group of tests that measure different chemicals in the blood and can give doctors information about the blood sugar levels, bones, and heart, kidneys, and liver functions. Another common test is the lipoprotein panel, which tests such substances in the blood as cholesterol and can help show risk for coronary heart disease. There are many more tests that are used when doctors need to investigate further.
To identify 50 dangerous conditions a blood test can help detect, 24/7 Tempo conducted a review of various medical publications such as the nonprofit Mayo Clinic, the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration press announcements.
We chose conditions for which blood tests can either confirm the presence of the disorder or help identify warning signs that prompt further confirming tests. Information on symptoms, confirming tests, and treatment came from the Mayo Clinic and other sources.