Posted on December 12, 2019

Category: Urgent Care General

Laboratory tests are extremely helpful in the medical world. Sometimes they’re a great tool for maintaining good health and preventing disease, but they can also help with diagnosing conditions by checking samples of blood, urine and body tissues.

If you think you could benefit from a lab test, due to your family’s history, your lifestyle or the environment in which you’re living, don’t put it off. Getting tested is a sure way of gaining the information you need about your body and sets you on the path toward a healthy life.

If you are scheduled to have a lab test, here are some things to consider.

What’s a Lab Test?

It’s important to know the purpose of lab tests before diving into the details. Medical lab tests can help detect a condition, define a diagnosis, plan treatment, verify treatment is working or monitor conditions over time.

Lab tests are comprised of a range of components, because normal results differ from person to person. Factors that may affect your test results include:

To get an accurate interpretation of results, your test is usually compared to previous results. Among all the variables that can influence medical decisions, laboratory tests are some of the most important and frequently used. Laboratory test results may influence as much as 70 percent of medical decision-making.

Next, we’ll dive more deeply into the four main reasons for ordering a laboratory test. Some reasons may intersect within each other, but their main goal is to offer more insight into the patient’s health.

Diagnoses

Diagnostic lab tests are chosen with high specificity and result in a definitive diagnosis. Medical diagnoses can explain a person’s symptoms and medical signs. While symptoms are experienced by the patients themselves, medical signs are different and are discovered by physicians during medical examinations. This can include measured high blood pressure or an aliment unnoticeable by the patient, such as a rash or dilated pupils.

It’s important to have a diagnostic test in order to detect potential problems as early as possible, before symptoms have time to develop into serious conditions. Again, lab test results can also rule out a diagnosis.

Monitoring

Monitoring is an important aspect of laboratory tests and is predominantly used for testing for drugs. Not all drug levels need to be monitored, but these tests are used to monitor blood levels of drugs that run a fine line between being effective and toxic. In other words, too much of a drug can be harmful to a patient—that’s why monitoring is important.

Another reason for lab tests is to monitor how conditions are acting while patients are on medication. In some cases, health professionals may need to re-evaluate the use of specific medication due to new results in lab tests. Monitoring can also let the evaluators know that conditions are gone and that the patient is healthy.

Screenings

Screening tests are extremely valuable, because they can detect possible common problems. These can include typical tests such as colonoscopies, pap tests and cholesterol measurements. A screening may also be used to better understand previously unclear, ambiguous or perplexing results. They’re used to show if your results fall within normal ranges.

Research

Laboratory testing is an important part of the medical field. Research can help determine how new strands of diseases act and react to particular treatment. Data received can play an important role in identifying and coming up with new treatment for diseases, cancers and other medical conditions. The more we know about our bodies, the better we can learn about and treat sickness. During research, it’s important that all lab tests be interpreted within the context of the patient’s overall health. They also should be compared to other lab tests in order to get the most accurate reading.

Common Tests

There’s a variety of common ailments that may require laboratory tests. These might include anything from diabetes to heart disease. A large number of lab tests revolve around a patient’s blood.

Lab tests, along with other physical exams and screenings, help give a complete picture of a patient’s overall health. If you are in need of a medical lab test, skip the lines and get the help you need right away. At Sioux Falls Specialty Urgent Care, get your lab tests done and interpreted on your time.