occult blood screen

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Definition - What does occult blood screen mean?

An occult blood screen is one that tests a sample for the presence of blood. This type of test may be performed on bodily fluids or feces to detect blood that is not observable by visual examination. This test is used to determine if there is excess blood in the digestive tract.

An occult blood screen may also be called an occult blood test.

SureHire explains occult blood screen

While an occult blood test may examine urine, gastric juices, or feces, the most common test is the fecal occult blood test. An occult blood test is often performed when a patient shows signs of low iron or anemia without any visible indication of blood loss. Many different conditions may cause a person to experience bleeding at some point in his or her digestive system. Ulcers, gastritis, colon cancer, and celiac disease are all potential causes of internal bleeding in the digestive tract.

In some instances, a person may test positive for the presence of blood in his or her stool due to respiratory conditions that cause blood to be swallowed. Hemoptysis, or coughing up blood, and epistaxis, bleeding from the nose, may trigger a positive result for an occult blood test.

An occult blood screen may be used to rule out or diagnose an illness. In particular, occult blood tests are sometimes used to screen for colon cancer in individuals over the age of 50, or at least indicate whether further testing should be done.

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