Lab reports provide important information about your health status. They also tell you whether you are at risk for developing certain conditions.
Lab tests are used to monitor certain aspects of our health. They measure things such as electrolytes, cholesterol levels, glucose levels, liver function, kidney function, thyroid functions, etc. There are several types of lab tests. Some of them include CBC (Complete Blood Count), CMP (Chemistry Profile), ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) and Liver Function Tests.
Abnormal blood test reports can indicate various medical issues. This may include conditions like anaemia, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, renal failure, diabetes mellitus, etc. If you notice any changes in your body or notice any symptoms related to these diseases, seek immediate medical attention.
Your blood test results came back, and they were abnormal. Is this cause for panic? In this article, we explore what an abnormal blood test report means, how you can minimize abnormal blood results and how to understand your blood test results better.
There are several routine blood tests you can take to measure your health. Having a good understanding of your results can help you make better choices when it comes to diet and lifestyle.
While some tests will help diagnose or screen for specific diseases or conditions, other tests give a more general overview of how well your body is functioning. These tests can provide valuable insight into your general health.
Blood consists mainly of white and red blood cells and platelets. When these components are within an abnormal range it could signify the presence of various health problems. Abnormal blood counts may indicate an underlying disease, but they are often treatable. Always check with your healthcare provider about what your blood test results mean.
In most cases, there's no need to worry about getting an abnormal result. However, if the results are concerning, talk to your physician immediately. Also, try to stay calm. A positive attitude can go a long way in helping you deal with normal blood test results.
The following tips can help you minimize abnormal blood test results. Make sure to follow all precautions mentioned below before taking any medication.
1. Know What Normal Range Means
Most labs use ranges to define the average values for each component of blood. For example, the normal range for hemoglobin is 12 - 16 gm / dl. This means that the average person has between 12 and 16 grams of hemoglobin in every 100 ml of blood (or 1 teaspoon).
2. Don't Skip Tests
If you skip testing, then you might not know whether something is wrong until it's too late. The only exception to this rule would be when you're pregnant.
3. Take Care Of Yourself
Eat healthy foods. Try to avoid junk food and unhealthy snacks like fried chicken nuggets and chips. High fat intake reduces your energy levels which further leads to fatigue. If you feel tired, try to get enough sleep.
4. Exercise Regularly
Physical exercise increases your heart rate and therefore helps in increasing your metabolism. It also stimulates your endocrine system, making your body release hormones that improve your overall health.
5. Reduce Stress
Stress can lead to increased production of cortisol, a hormone that interferes with many bodily processes including digestion and immunity. So, reduce stress by practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation.
Your blood test results will tell you where your numbers fall within a reference range of normal values or results. These normal ranges are what is considered normal for a large group of healthy people. In other words, a normal result is a result that falls within the range of what is considered a typical result for healthy people.
Because normal is based on large population ranges, you may get a result outside of these ranges and still be healthy. These normal ranges cannot take into consideration other factors or unique influences on a person's results. If your blood test results come back as outside of the normal reference range, you will need to have more tests done for a more accurate picture.
On the other hand, some people who are sick may receive blood test results that are within the normal range.
Some common causes of abnormal blood test report include:
Anemia occurs when your blood doesn’t contain enough oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Common types of anemia include iron deficiency anemia, thalassemia and sickle cell anemia.
Leukocytes are white blood cells that fight infection. Leukemia is cancer of the bone marrow, which produces blood stem cells. Because leukemia usually begins in the bone marrow, bone marrow biopsy and aspiration are necessary to confirm diagnosis.
Thrombocytes are small, round cells that form clots to stop bleeding at injury sites. Low platelet count indicates low platelets which makes you prone to excessive bleeding.
Neutrophils are one type of white blood cell. Neutropenias occur when there are fewer neutrophils than normal. They can be caused by chemotherapy drugs used for treatment of cancers and certain infections.
5. Hemolytic Anemia
Hematocrit is a measurement of how much red blood cells are present in blood. A high hematocrit level indicates presence of excess amounts of red blood cells and therefore an increase in total amount of blood. When someone has a hemolytic anemia, their red blood cells break apart and leak out into the bloodstream
Several factors other than illness can influence the result of your blood tests. These include certain foods and drinks, medicines, exercise, stress, and differences in lab procedures.
Some routine blood tests look at blood glucose and triglyceride levels which are affected by when you last ate. While the fasting baseline is 8 – 12 hours, having a snack late at night before an early morning test could put your lipids or glucose levels out of range.
While a high level of the muscle enzyme creatine phosphokinase can signal a muscular or heart disease, it may also indicate that you have worked out just before your blood sample was collected.
A high level of the liver (bone) enzyme, alkaline phosphatase, is a common sign of certain cancers or liver disease. But these levels can be raised if you are recovering from a broken bone or if you are an adolescent.
It is important to note too that reference ranges may vary slightly from one lab to another. So, depending on the lab, your results may show at the high or low end of normal or out of the normal range. It is easy to jump to conclusions but rather discuss your results with your primary healthcare provider.
An abnormal blood test report on its own isn't conclusive. Rather look at and compare your results to previous tests. If there is a sudden change from your normal range or an out-of-the-ordinary spike, then there may be some reason for concern.
It is important to have regular blood tests to monitor your health. Avoid skipping routine blood tests and have a check-up every year even if you feel fine. Your doctor can get a better and clearer picture of your health trends with a proper record of blood markers.
With Lab Me, you can easily establish your baseline normal. With the convenience of at-home blood testing and tracking, every blood test you get is placed in a graph so you can see how it is trending. Stock traders wouldn't make a decision based on one day of trading data. Neither should you or your healthcare professional.
Don't base your health on a guess. Here are the most popular at-home blood tests that can help you make more informed decisions.
Normal ranges are an indicator of what blood looks like for 95% of the population but this normal can vary according to sex and age.
The normal reference range for the number of red blood cells in a complete blood count is 5–6 million cells per microliter for men. The normal range for women is between 4 and 5 million per microliter. The normal level of hemoglobin test in the hemoglobin test is much lower for children (11–13 grams/deciliter) than for adult men (14–17 grams/deciliter).
Lab results are based on reference ranges. These ranges are based on what would be considered normal for 95% of the population. But many healthy people fall outside of that normal range. What is normal for one person may not be for someone else. When looking at your blood test results you want to know what is normal or abnormal for you. And knowing your baseline normal will give you a better indication if something is out of that range.
Lab Me allows you to select a blood test that best suits you, perform the test at home, and mail it back to our labs for highly accurate results delivered to your computer or phone in a way that you understand. Learn more here.
Lab Me is easy to use with top-level encryption, state-of-the-art sample collection, and laboratory analysis.
It benchmarks your information and interprets the normal range according to your health. It helps avoid wrong diagnoses and missing issues. The best part of this program is that it works on machine intelligence so your doctor can easily help you and provide recommendations to provide the best possible result. Your data will help this engine to detect if you are at higher risk for a serious event. It helps manage the complete blood history of families or keep track of loved ones. You can get quick second opinions by sharing reports with doctors.
All you need to do is order a test kit from Lab Me, perform it at home and mail it back. It takes less than 3 minutes and gives insight at speeds that conventionally aren’t feasible.
Abnormal blood tests aren't reason to always panic. Let Lab Me help you to understand the difference.
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