ZocdocAnswersWhat information does a blood culture show?

Question

What information does a blood culture show?

Will it tell the doctor if my cholesterol is too high? I am overweight and worry about my cholesterol. I am 32.

Answer

Blood cultures are tests that are performed when there is a high concern of a systemic infection in a patient. This involves the drawing of blood and its subsequent transfer into blood culture bottles, which contain a solution that promotes the growth of any organism isolated from the blood. The culture bottles are then incubated in the laboratory and transferred to special plates; if an organism is present in the blood then most often it can be identified as it grows on these plates under a certain set of conditions and nutrients. This information is very helpful to doctors as it can provide more specific information about the type of infection and help tailor antibiotic therapy to target the specific organism. Cholesterol levels are measured by a different type of blood test. This test will measure both the "good" and "bad" types of cholesterol (HDL and LDL, respectively), and triglycerides. Your doctor can review with you your specific cholesterol targets based on your overall health, and can help you come up with a treatment plan to meet your goals if needed. This may involve instituting an exercise program, following a different diet, or starting a medication.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.