The aim of laboratory medicine is to identify, confirm and exclude the causes of the symptoms of acute or chronic disease. This involves examining bodily fluids, excretions and tissue. These include blood, urine, synovial fluid, effusions, cerebrospinal fluid, semen, stools and cells.
Laboratory medicine is divided into the following fields of investigation: Clinical chemistry: glucose, electrolytes and enzymes, drugs and medicines. Endocrinology: hormones. Haematology: fixed blood components (blood cells) and the coagulation function. Immunology: healthy and pathological defence mechanisms (autoimmune reactions) in the body. Serology: examinations of the liquid components of the blood (serum) such as blood group incompatibility and antibody detection. Microbiology: identification of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Parasitology: identification of parasites (worms, fleas, insects). Molecular biology, genetic analysis: genetic testing and DNA analysis.