There are thousands of lab tests, and their results can mean different things. For example, if your cholesterol test results show you have high LDL ("bad") cholesterol, your doctor will weigh your other risk factors for heart disease before deciding on treatment. [15], This test measures the volume of nitrogen in the blood. “Low Platelet Count (Thrombocytopenia).” February 8, 2016. Again, getting a copy of your lab results lets you compare your numbers to the normal ranges and makes it easier to ask questions about the results and what they mean. Normal ranges for some tests also vary by age and gender. Some treatments can cause changes in your body’s blood chemistry, such as a drop in the amount of potassium in your blood. Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing. The complete blood count interpretation is done by doctors. Make sure your doctor always uses the same lab to do your tests if possible.

WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Interpretation of thyroid function test results can help you better understand lab test results. Labs may use different types of equipment and tests, and sometimes they set their own reference ranges. Available from: UW Health [Internet]. All rights reserved.

High blood sugar may indicate prediabetes, diabetes, and gestational diabetes. “Blood tests.” January 27, 2016. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Blood Tests [cited 2018 Jun 19]; [about 3 screens]. Keeping track of your results lets your doctor take action as soon as your blood counts change to help prevent many cancer-related problems and cancer treatment side effects. This test measures the body’s chloride levels. This test measures the overall levels of LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood. Interpretation of urinalysis results: the urine test includes the following components: protein, urine pH, white blood cells (WBC), specific gravity, glucose (sugar), ketones, bilirubin, red blood cells (RBC), casts, mucus, bacteria, yeast (fungi) in urine, epithelial cells. A lot of lab test results don’t give clear answers. The report details the various components in the blood and at what level they are present. Do not compare results from different labs. But a few general guidelines can help shed some light. Things that may interfere with the accuracy of a lab test include: Follow your doctor's instructions to make sure that your test results are as accurate as possible.

But you can enter your lab test results online to better understand your medical information. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2018. The American Cancer Society is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The most common lab test that you’ll have done during treatment is called a complete blood count, or CBC.
Your doctor will talk with you about any abnormal results as they relate to you. And each can be harmed by cancer and cancer treatments.

We can even find you a free ride to treatment or a free place to stay when treatment is far from home. The CBC measures red blood cells in many ways, but the simplest measure is either, Hemoglobin (Hgb), the part of each RBC that carries iron  In general, low TSH levels may indicate hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid), and high TSH levels may indicate hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid).

If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use the HealthLinkBC Directory to find hospitals, clinics, and other resources. The range helps show what a typical normal result looks like. Negative: The lab didn’t find whatever you were tested for. The urine specimen is evaluated in three ways: visual exam, chemical exam/urine dipstick, and microscopic exam.

Accessed July 28, 2017. ↩, WebMD. Irregularities are a possible indication of dehydration, adrenal gland disorders, corticosteroids, and kidney or liver disorders. Explaining laboratory test results to patients: what the clinician needs to know. Learn more about these partnerships and how you too can join us in our mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. “Complete blood count (CBC): Overview.” October 18, 2016. “The Ultimate Guide to Decoding Your Blood Test Results.” February 18, 2015. The alanine aminotransferase (ALT) test is a blood test that checks for liver damage. Blood test results explained. Accessed July 28, 2017. ↩, Mayo Clinic. Its volume within the organ can be measured via this test. But some tests give only a clue that must be considered with other information to support a diagnosis, identify a risk, or help choose a treatment. Sodium is a mineral that aids nerve impulses and muscle contractions, as well as balancing water levels. Based on my results, do I need treatment or other tests.

People worried about their health can also use the free Ada app to carry out a symptom assessment. © 2020 American Cancer Society, Inc. All rights reserved. Urinalysis helps to find certain illnesses, for example kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes. When the Hgb and Hct values fall too low, it’s called anemia (uh-NEE-me-uh). If you are concerned that you or a loved one is showing symptoms of high cholesterol, get a free symptom assessment with the Ada app. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2018. Complete blood count (CBC) measures several components and features: red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), platelets, hemoglobin, hematocrit and others. Genes contain information that determines which traits are inherited from parents. Blood test results generally use the metric system of measurement and various abbreviations, including:[2].

Available from: Lab Tests Online [Internet]. If your results fall outside the reference range, or if you have symptoms despite a normal result, you will likely need more testing. Reference Ranges and What They Mean [updated 2017 Dec 20; cited 2018 Jun 19]; [about 2 screens]. Many lab test results are expressed as a number that falls within a reference range.

“Bilirubin Blood Test.” March 3, 2017.

For example, if your results are just outside the reference range, it may not necessarily be a problem. Available from: O'Kane MJ, Lopez B. Please double check the spelling of your username and password. It is also important to understand what the results mean and what factors can affect results. The most important infection-fighting WBC is the neutrophil (NEW-truh-fil).

HealthLink BC, your provincial health line, is as close as your phone or the web any time of the day or night, every day of the year. Making sense of your lab test involves more than just knowing why the test is done. Silver Spring (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Tests Used In Clinical Care [updated 2018 Mar 26; cited 2018 Jun 19]; [about 4 screens].
“Calcium (Ca) in Blood.” Accessed July 28, 2017. ↩, Mayo Clinic.

A false-positive test result may suggest that a person has the disease or condition when he or she does not have it.

AARP [Internet]. Antiphospholipid antibodies. Lab That Provided False Covid Test Results Faces License Threat By . The medical information provided is for informational purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This test helps determine whether inflammation, infection, or an autoimmune disease may be present. Lab test results usually contain a number followed by a unit of measurement, such as 5.5 millimoles per litre (mmol/L). Our CBC calculator is free. The chemistry panel may also show other problems with body function. Calculating this ratio can help determine an individual’s risk of developing a heart disease.

It is possible to have a result that is different than the reference range even though nothing is wrong with you. However, this form of testing is unable to pinpoint the root causes of any irregularities, meaning, if this is the case, further tests will be necessary.[6].

HealthLinkBC Files are easy-to-understand fact sheets on a range of public health and safety topics including disease prevention and immunizations.

Normal ranges for some tests also vary by age and gender. Reference Ranges. If you’re waiting for lab test results to come back or you’re trying to figure out what they mean, the process and all those medical terms and numbers can be confusing. If you’re worried about any of your results or have any questions, call your doctor’s office.

Lab tests are used in many different ways. A reference range may also be called "normal values." That should be in your record, but it’s still a good idea to mention it. It’s also important to follow recommended screening guidelines, which can help detect certain cancers early. Find Support Programs and Services in Your Area, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walks, Measure of RBCs, which carry oxygen and carbon dioxide, Number of platelets. Washington D.C.: AARP; c2015.

Hemoglobin is a protein contained within red RBCs that sends oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. Fasting Blood Glucose Test.

Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team, Updated on February 26, 2020, 1:52 PM UTC, A blood test – sometimes referred to as a blood panel – is a laboratory examination of a blood sample used to check for a variety of things, including the functioning of certain organs (such as the liver, kidneys, thyroid and heart), infections and certain genetic disorders, as well as to assess an individual’s general health.[1].

In the event of a medical emergency, call 911 immediately. For example, the following table shows reference ranges for a sedimentation rate test.

Accessed July 28, 2017. ↩, Newport Natural Health. If you forget and mess up, don’t worry -- just tell your doctor before you do the test.

© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Increased levels of creatinine can be a sign of kidney dysfunction. Help make it a reality. HDL cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein (or good cholesterol), is useful in protecting against heart disease. Irregularities are a possible risk factor for heart disease and other medical conditions. The reference interval varies with age. Your lab report will contain the reference ranges your lab uses.

Some lab tests are used to help diagnose, screen, or monitor a specific disease or condition.

Cancer Information, Answers, and Hope. The units provide a way to report results so that they can be compared.

It is done after a period of fasting, usually of eight hours before the test.

They are made of DNA and are part of a larger structure called the chromosome.

At the American Cancer Society, we’re on a mission to free the world from cancer. The average volume of RBCs, or the space each red blood cell fills, is measured through this test. Thyroid function tests (TFTs) are used to diagnose and monitor thyroid disorders (hypothyroidis, hyperthyroidism). So if you had a test for strep throat, testing positive means you do have strep throat.

Available from: National Cancer Institute [Internet]. The lab then reports results back to you. December 9, 2019, Author: Healthwise Staff Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine, Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine. (2009). Blood sugar levels are easily affected by recent food or drink intake.

URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/how-to-understand-your-lab-results/. You may see something like this on your results: "normal: 77-99mg/dL" (milligrams per deciliter).


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