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10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BLOOD TESTS

Have you ever visited any private blood test clinic in London? You might have, like many others. Private clinics offer a lot of convenience and helps you save time. This post seeks to help you know more about your blood test results. It will also help you know more about your health by discussing your blood test results with your doctor.

A typical routine blood test involves a complete blood count (CBC). This test counts your red and white blood cells and also measures the levels of haemoglobin in your blood. It also checks for other components of the blood. This complete blood count test can be used to detect anaemia, infection, and even leukaemia and other types of blood cancer.

Another common blood test carried out is the basic metabolic panel. This test checks the functions of your liver, your kidneys, and heart. It does this by looking at the levels of glucose, electrolyte, and calcium in your body. In diagnosing heart disease, a lipoprotein panel is used to measure the levels of fats, good cholesterol (HDL), bad cholesterol (LDL), and triglycerides.

Making decisions about your health, diet, and lifestyle becomes easier when you have a full understanding of your blood test results.

Below are 10 things you need to know about your blood tests.

  • Mistakes happen

Although rare, mix up of blood samples do happen. Even how your blood sample is handled before the test can also affect your result. Some samples can be kept in a wrong container, shaken in an inappropriate way, stored at the wrong temperature, or stored for too long. All these can give you an erroneous result.

  • Abnormal result might not be caused by a disease

A test result that is outside the normal range might not mean you have a disease or an infection. There are many reasons for this. For instance, you have a fasting plasma glucose test and you ate or drank something before the test — this can affect your result. Even if you drank alcohol the previous night, it could still affect your result. This is temporal and not evidence that you have the disease.

To avoid this kind of problem, try and talk to a doctor before your tests. Ask if you need to make special preparations before the test.

  • Test values can differ from lab to lab

Laboratory technicians report your result with a range that their lab considers reasonable. The lab’s reference range differs based on test result for many people that have been tested in that lab previously.

A lab’s normal might not be the same normal in another lab. So don’t be surprised when your new blood test differs from the previous ones. The lab might be the reason for the difference.

  • You can get a false-negative result

Sometimes, a test might not pick up the evidence of a disease even though you have it. For instance, a hepatitis C test result can come out negative, but you’ve been exposed to the virus in months pasts.

You can still have the infection and not realise it. Also, those who test for Lyme’s disease during the first few weeks of infection might get a negative result. This happens when your body has not yet developed antibodies for this.

  • It is possible to get a false-positive result

The result gotten from the first test has to be confirmed by a second one. This second one has to be more specific, this would help you know if the first test result is true. An example is the rapid HIV test. In most cases, it is accurate. However, it gives a false-positive on rare occasion. A false-positive result means that the test showed positive but the person doesn’t have the infection.

This happens in certain tests that measure antibodies, and the person can have an immune condition that produces antibodies. This would interfere with the test.

  • A “negative” test result is usually exciting

When it comes to blood test result, negative is different from bad, they are not the same thing. A negative result shows that you don’t have the disease or infection tested for. This type of result is good news.

  • A “positive” test result might not be positive news 

Some blood tests diagnose diseases by checking your blood for molecular markers. Examples of such tests are sickle cell anaemia, HIV, gene tests for cancer, and the hepatitis C test.

When the test finds the disease marker, protein, or antibody it is looking for, the result is considered “positive”. In this case, you have the disease when your result reads positive.

  • “Normal” may or may not vary by age

Some tests such as the haemoglobin test, the normal result vary by age. For instance, for little children, the normal is 11-13 g/dl. For men, the normal is 14-17g/dl, while for women, the normal 12-15 g/dl.

While other tests such as the LDL cholesterol test has a single normal range for everyone, a level less than 100 mg/dl is considered normal for all ages. This means that your age and other risk factors for heart disease may influence the way your doctor reacts if your blood test result is higher-than-optimal levels of LDL cholesterol.

If you are a man over 45 or a woman over 55, and you have diabetes or heart disease, your doctor would advise you to take steps in lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol if it exceeds 100 mg/dl. This can be done by changing your diet and lifestyle.

  • “Normal” may be different for men and women

Don’t compare your test results with someone of the opposite sex. You may be surprised to know of a lot of differences. For instance, the normal reference range for the number of red blood cells in a complete blood count differs in both sexes.

For men, it is between 5-6 million cells per microliter. While for women, it is between 4-5 million.

  • What’s my blood test result saying?

Routine blood tests are carried out to diagnose health problems. So, if your result falls within the normal range, your doctor might not explain much or reach out to you about your result. Your doctor or the clinic may send you a copy of your result without with little or no explanation at all. Even if your result is normal, you have to follow up and discuss your blood test result with your doctor.

You can ask if there have been changes since the last time you took the tests. You can also find out what those changes mean.

You should have these tips at the back of your mind when next you go for a walk in private blood test in london.

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Written by Al James

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