Blood Markers and Risk of Disease: What’s the Link?

Islamabad (11th Dec, 2019): Recent study suggests that readings from routine blood tests can help in identifying people with higher risk of disease and death related to disease(s).

According to a recent study, routine blood work can help identify people with greater risk of contracting diseases and dying as a consequence of those diseases. Up till now, doctors have used blood work results as markers for the immune condition and inflammation.

Over the course of the study, the investigators analysed data from an approximate 31,178 individuals during a period of nearly twelve years under the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey according to the NHANESTrusted sources.

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It was discovered that participants with lower levels of lymphocytes [white blood cells] are more likely to die due to heart related diseases, cancer, respiratory illnesses for instance: pneumonia and influenza, et cetera. Based on the provided data, the analysis highlighted the link between low lymphocytes [a condition called lymphopenia] as well as the higher risk of disease and death which did not vary by age or other common risk factors. However, it was inferred that the predictive power of the low lymphocyte court increased when the research team added two other measures of blood abnormality.

One of the two abnormalities had links with inflammation while the other maintained a connection with the supply of red blood cells.

Moreover, the scientists have studied to great lengths to be able to develop novel biomarkers which can identify people at the highest risk of death and diseases according to study author, Jarrod E. Dalton. He added that they had to take the pragmatic approach in their investigation:

Investigating the predictive power of components of a patient's white blood cell count, which is collected as part of routine blood work during standard health exams.

Jarrod E. Dalton Study Author & Epidemiologist

Based on the study, Dalton and his team have remarked on the increasing availability of drugs which targets the immune system to treat established disease. Furthermore, these treatments either reduce or boost the immune activity depending on the underlying relationship to the disease. However, the researchers have urged that there is a yet “unmet need” for relevant tools and methods to help prevent immune-related diseases in the general population to begin with.

According to the study, approximately twenty to forty percent trusted source of white blood cells are lymphocytes, a shortage of which can lead the body susceptible to infection. While it has been recognized that low lymphocyte count is a strong risk factor for premature death [in people with specific heart valve condition(s)], little to no research has so far been conducted on its value as a general predictor of survival.

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Additionally, the researchers wished to discover whether “the lymphocyte counts could be an effective way to assess the risk of disease and disease-related death in a nationally representative adult population” in the recent study. For this purpose, they performed an analysis of lymphocytes on its own as well as with two added markers: red blood cell distribution width (RDW) and C-Reactive Protein (CRP), respectively.

The RDW, is a measure of how well a human body can produce and maintain a healthy supply of red blood cells while, the CRP is a marker of inflammation. This analysis enabled the research team to link the low lymphocyte count with a reduced survival both on its own and in conjunction with other blood markers, including the RDW and CRP especially. It was concluded on the basis of this analysis that almost twenty percent of the general adult population in the United States alone, appears to have a high risk profile, according to the markers.

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Furthermore, the research team was able to calculate that the chances of high risk profiles dying within the next decade was nearly twenty-eight prevent compared to only four percent for those who were low risk profiles. Thereby, it was inferred that a more extensive investigation should be made possible to understand the biological nature of the link between these blood markers and the disease(s). It is believed that such knowledge could aid in identifying suitable treatment targets.

Moreover, it should be made possible for doctors to use these markers to identify patients with the highest risk of premature death as a part of routinely preventive care and medical screening, respectively.

The complete blood count test is convenient, inexpensive, and — as our findings suggest — may be used to help physicians screen for and prevent disease and disease-related mortality.

Research Team

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