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Test Result Guide

Specific steps that you should take when reviewing your lab results:

Step 1: Verify that that the results belong to you by checking that your name as well as other identifying data (like your date of birth, address, phone number, etc) are correct on the reporting form. Large national labs run thousands of tests each day and more than one person with your name could have been tested the same day.

Step 2: Verify that data pertinent to proper interpretation of results has been entered correctly – age, gender, fasting or non-fasting state, etc. Obvious and significant age and gender differences will dictate a different reference range based on age and gender. Similarly, whether you have eaten or not affects the expected results of several lab tests. For example, glucose has a different expected result range depending on whether one is fasting or has eaten recently.

Step 3: Look for results that are positive (reactive). This often indicates that the condition
being tested for is present – for instance pregnancy. Of course, that can be good or bad based on your specific circumstances. Likewise, if you are testing for the presence of "hepatitis B antibody" to confirm that the vaccination that you took worked, then "positive" for this antibody is good. If you have never had the vaccination, then the test probably means that you have contracted hepatitis at some point in your life – that is not so good.

Step 4: Note if results are outside the reference range. If so, you will probably want to discuss the test results with your doctor if the cause is not apparent or expected.

Common lab tests and what they measure

The list that follows is a brief summary of commonly ordered lab tests and is not intended to be comprehensive or replace discussion of your results with your doctor.

    Blood fats
    Cardiac risk factors
    Complete blood count
    Waste products

For detailed information about range references and what they mean, click here

© 2010 Mark D. Le M.D.,P.A. Medical Clinic. | Disclaimer