In this post, as with every post, I have done research in advance, in this case, on blood labs and how to interpret the results. I have also provided recommendations, supported by the medical community, and ones based on my personal experience. You should complement this information with your own experiences and research.
With today’s increasing concerns about health, I recommend that you read this detailed post, and when you are ready, I suggest that you review your last blood lab reports again to see if you understand them better. If not, you should at least be well-equipped to ask your doctors intelligent questions.
I am not a doctor, but I should not have to be to understand my own blood lab reports. They are given to me by my doctor, to assess my health status. But had I not done the research; I would not understand how to properly interpret the reports.
In my experiences, only by exception are doctors willing to spend extra time with me to explain the full report. Also, often I have to make a follow-up appointment just to speak with the doctor in detail about my blood test results, and that’s if they are willing to do so.
Years ago, as part of my ‘Urban-Holistic-Rasta-Metaphysics’ approach to health, I felt that it was my responsibility to understand the reports, how seriously to take its results, and what things to do to ensure accurate tests in the future.
Too often the results were given to me as vital health information but often were never explained. I did not know what the various measurements meant, beyond the information I received about those numbers which were outside of ‘normal ranges’. Hell, they didn’t really explain what ‘normal ranges’ meant.
We are not adequately advised on how to prepare for our blood test to ensure that the results are not skewed by our lifestyle and habits days or hours prior to taking the tests. We are told to fast for lipid and glucose tests but are often unadvised on other factors that can skew blood results or cause false positives.
Friends share Labs with Me Regularly – that’s what inspired this post. I have come to know what the reports generally mean, but I still have to look up things. What’s more important is that I feel a responsibility to be deeply involved in my health. Though I appreciate doctors, I feel that I bear a large responsibility to obtain optimal health. Everything does not rest on doctors.
I am not opposed to modern medicine. I have just evolved to putting it in its proper perspective. I see modern medicine as the answer especially for trauma care, surgery, and for its diagnostics. Modern medicine tests, biopsies, and ‘procedures’ can find shit in you! Sometimes things you wished they’d never looked for.
Where I drop off with modern medicine can be summarized in the following areas of concern:
- Lifestyle – There’s not enough focus and attention given to living a healthy lifestyle.
- Alternative Healing – Almost unanimously it discredits alternative healing, even thousands of years old practices, such as TCM.
- Mind & Spirit – There’s no regard for the impact of Spirituality, a good mental attitude, and relaxation on health.
- Responsibility – It reduces health down to a pill. And, then later several more prescriptions, then serious side effects. It makes treatments so convenient that patients have no responsibility but to take their pills. They never take responsibility for making healthier choices or lifestyle changes. Modern medicine promotes this type of ill thinking. It makes people lazy and makes them believe that common chronic illnesses that they get in older age are ‘normal’. Well, it is normal when you live a prescription drug lifestyle. But it does not have to be normal.
- Money – Modern medicine and pharmaceuticals are motivated by profit. Maybe, the patient’s best interests and health comes second, I hope. It is interesting to note though that no illness seems to get totally cured. This arrangement ensures that modern medicine will have livelong patients, and profits coming in. I cannot get passed this blatant conflict of interest.
I must always remind readers to read our medical disclaimer. I do this not because I don’t believe in the protocols that I recommend. I do it because most alternative healing is not accepted in westernized cultures, and I could be fined for giving what is considered ‘medical advice’.
My perspective, however, is that all healing is not ‘medical’. Some treatments involve diet, lifestyle, spirit, state of mind, and even miracles. You must decide for yourself, but do be actively involved in your health.
5 Ways To Better Understand & Prepare For Blood Lab Reports
Here are recommendations that I follow with regard to taking blood lab tests, of which, I take many, and take them regularly to monitor my own health in addition to what my doctors do. You may have additional bullets to add to this list. If so, please comment.
- Research – Do independent research on what the blood lab reports mean. Ask your doctor questions about specific parts of the report. Use this post to get a general understanding. Read more.
- Prepare – Prepare in advance before doing bloodwork. At best, attempt to have a good healthy two weeks in advance of taking the test. You want to be at your best health when you take the test so that nothing is thrown off. Sleep well, eat well, manage stress, and do mild exercise. Drink plenty of water and stay away from a lot of sugar and alcohol. I recommend fasting, even if the doctors say that you do not have to. Do not risk being prescribed a medication for life because you did not take the test under the best conditions. That would be, like, your fault.
- Download Portal Apps – Get physician apps downloaded on your smartphone to allow you to access lab reports, as well as, communicate and make appointments with your doctors. It will be convenient to have your labs at your fingertips to show to specialists, and for comparison.
- Focus (On Liver, Kidney, Anemia, and Immunity) – All tests are important for revealing your health status. But, if you live a fairly healthy lifestyle and don’t overindulge in eating, sugar, prescription & nonprescription drugs, or alcohol, focusing on your CBC Anemia/Immune), eGFR (Basic Metabolic – Kidneys), and ALT/AST (Comprehensive Metabolic – Liver) is most important (provided that you do not have a specific chronic illness). The ALT and AST tests measure enzymes that your liver releases in response to damage or disease.
- ‘Normal Ranges’ – Don’t automatically be alarmed because your results are not in the ‘normal ranges’. Don’t do anything impulsive. This just means that further investigation is required. perhaps a retest. Perhaps you did something that threw the test off. Maybe the ‘normal range’ did not include your demographics. Use being outside of ‘normal ranges’ as a challenge to make health and lifestyle improvements. There are always improvements to be made before abruptly jumping onto prescriptions.
When is “abnormal” abnormal? Dealing with the slightly out of range laboratory result – W S A Smellie
As many analytes are not normally distributed and exhibit age, sex, racial and other demographic differences, and ranges depend on the type of method, imprecision, and bias, the reference interval is at best a loose approximation of what can be expected in an otherwise healthy population.
On a purely scientific basis, it may seem attractive to try to express all reference ranges in their appropriate age, sex, racial, and other relevant adjusted forms, although the ensuing chaos this may introduce among users makes this option seem impracticable, even if achievable. These difficulties make standardization of existing ranges somewhat challenging.
Many of us do not have ready access to information on the range of factors that influence population reference ranges for all of the analytes we measure, and it would be useful to have a readily available resource when faced with questions of results that are out of range.
Further opportunities could be taken to inform patients and users about the limited clinical relevance of many one‐off out‐of‐range results in otherwise fit patients and to abolish the myth that “out of range” is abnormal. Read More
Our blood composition is amazing!
Blood is a mixture of cells suspended in plasma. Our blood contains water, salts, sugar, hormones, proteins, etc. There are 3 types of cells in our plasma: Red (carries oxygen to cells; eliminates carbon dioxide), White (Defensive cells to fight invaders), and Platelets (plug holes in the vessels). Kevy
Function and composition of human blood.
It’s not always the most comfortable part of your doctor’s visit, but Marissa Roberts, a nurse practitioner with Lee Health, says your blood can reveal a lot about your overall health. “Lab work is kind of part of a puzzle piece and we use that in order to determine what’s going on.”
Blood work typically checks for three things: CBC, metabolic panel, and a fasting lipid panel. “A CBC is a complete blood count, so that’s where we look at your red blood cells and white blood cells. We measure your hemoglobin and your hematocrit to make sure you don’t have any anemia,” said Roberts.
Lab Results, Values, and Interpretation (CBC, BMP, CMP, LFT) – Jul 14, 2019 – MedCram – Medical Lectures Explained CLEARLY
𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗼 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗱𝗲:
- General principals of clinical lab results analysis, assessing lab errors
- Review of the SOAP note and how lab data falls under the objective category
- What normal laboratory values mean, lab trends, lab errors
- Outliers, lab pearls, ordering labs, abnormal lab reports, and more
Instructor: Roger Seheult, MD
Introduction to lab values and normal ranges | Health & Medicine | Khan Academy – Sep 21, 2012 – Khan Academy Medicine
Find out how health professionals use short-hand for labs and the meaning of normal ranges. Rishi is a pediatric infectious disease physician and works at Khan Academy. Created by Rishi Desai.
As a result, this post is a mashup of Jazz Music, Mural Art & Poetry (by me and other poems from around the world). Not sure, but let’s see how this goes for you. Kevy
Before I go any further, I want to remind you that I am not immediately knowledgeable, off the top of my head, on all the topics on which I write.
I am inspired by life events, observations, relationships, family scenarios, web surfing, and National Public Radio (NPR) to create fresh content. In a sense, I provide a service with my posts. I perform the research, give my opinion, and provide you with references to do further research. You are always invited to respond and even share an entire post.
Complete Blood Count / CBC Interpretation (Leukocytosis) – Jul 21, 2019 – MedCram – Medical Lectures Explained CLEARLY
𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘃𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗼 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗱𝗲:
- Causes of leukocytosis
- Steroid use and demargination of WBCs
- Cancer/leukemia and elevated WBCs
- Normal range of WBCs on the complete blood count
- C-Diff and WBC increase on CBC
- Leukocytosis left shift, peripheral smear, bone marrow biopsy
- Infections that cause leukocytosis including coccidiomycosis, allergy, parasites, and more.
- WBC differential including bands, segs, neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, etc.
10 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Your Blood Test – Learn more about your blood test results — and your health by discussing your blood work with your doctor – Jennifer J. Brown, Ph.D. – September 6, 2017
A full understanding of your blood test results can help you make good decisions about your diet and lifestyle. Here are 10 things your doctor may not tell you about your results from blood tests like these unless you know to ask.
- What’s the Good News About My Blood Test Results? Routine blood tests are generally done to look for problems, so if your CBC, blood chemistry and cholesterol results fall within normal ranges, the doctor’s office may not reach out to you about your report.
- ‘Normal’ May Differ Between Men and Women If you compare your blood test results with those of someone of the opposite sex, you may be surprised to find differences.
- ‘Normal’ May or May Not Vary by Age For some tests, such as the hemoglobin test, normal results vary by age.
- A ‘Positive’ Test Result May Not Be Positive News Some blood tests look for diseases by searching for molecular markers in your blood sample. Results are considered “positive” when the test finds the disease marker.
- A ‘Negative’ Test Result Is Usually Good News “Negative” is not the same as “bad” when it comes to blood tests. A negative result means that the test did not detect what it was seeking.
- False-Positive Test Results Are Possible The first screening test for a condition often has to be confirmed by a second, more specific test to find out whether the results are accurate and meaningful for your health.
- False-Negative Test Results Happen, Too Sometimes a test doesn’t pick up evidence of a disease or condition, even though you actually do have it.
- Test Values Can Be Different From Lab to Lab technicians’ reports compare your blood test results with a range that is considered normal for that laboratory. The lab’s reference range is based on test results from many people previously tested in that lab. This normal range may not be the same as another lab’s.
- Abnormal Results May Not Be Due to a Disease A test result outside the normal range of expected lab values does not necessarily mean you have a disease or disorder. Test results can be abnormal for other reasons.
- Mistakes Happen Although mix-ups of blood test samples are rare, they do happen. How your blood sample is handled before it’s analyzed can affect results, too. Read More
Preparing before taking blood tests.
How To Prepare For Blood Test – Recommendations for how to prepare for blood test – Northway Medicinos Centrai
- Avoid drinking or eating anything for 8-12 hours before the test. You may drink only water.
- You should not eat 3 hours before the clinical blood test.
- Eat less fatty and fried food, and avoid alcohol 1-2 days prior to the test.
- Don’t smoke 1 hour prior to the test.
- Enzyme and hormone levels vary depending on the time of day, so these tests should be performed before 10 a.m. unless your doctor indicates otherwise.
- Avoid any physical activity and stress prior to your blood test. It is recommended that you calm down and relax for 10-15 minutes and think about nothing during the withdrawal.
- If you are planning to start using a medication, perform tests before or after treatment, and no sooner than 10-14 days post-treatment. If you are taking any medication, tell your doctor or laboratory specialist.
- Blood testing is not recommended after massage therapy, reflexotherapy, or physiotherapy.
- Women’s hormones fluctuate during the menstrual cycle and these fluctuations can influence the results of hormonal testing. For this reason, during preparation for a sex hormone test, it is necessary to indicate the cycle phase and follow the doctor’s recommendations on which cycle day to choose for testing.
- When testing the blood for infections, it is necessary to take into account the stage of infection development and the state of immunity. A negative test result does not necessarily show that there is no infection. If laboratory test results cause doubts, it is appropriate to repeat the test in 3-5 days. It is best to perform infection tests 10-14 days after the onset of disease when antibody production is the most active.
How to Get the Most Accurate Blood Test Results – University Hospitals – Ohio Medical Group – APRIL 12, 2018
- For Accurate Blood Test Results: Fast – Fasting before a blood test may be common knowledge to most of you. But there are reasons your doctor recommends not eating or drinking. It’s to attain the most accurate blood test results.
- Water Does Not Impact Blood Test Results – Some tests will require you to eat nothing at all, but In most cases, you will be allowed to drink water. Ask your doctor what you’re allowed to drink before your test.
- Don’t Exercise For Accurate Blood Test Results – This may be the only time in your life your doctor may tell you not to exercise. A workout can negatively impact blood test results.
- Alcohol Could Affect Blood Test Results – In general, alcohol the night before should not affect your blood test results. But, if the panel is specific to your liver enzymes, they may be altered. Your best bet is to ask your doctor, or when in doubt, just leave it out.
- Smoking Affects Blood Test Results – To get the most accurate blood test results you should not smoke. Read More
Blood Work Results – Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team – February 26, 2020 – Blood test results explained
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.
After the sample has been analyzed in the lab and the results compiled, a blood test report will in most cases be supplied to the testee. The report details the various components in the blood and at what level they are present. For those from non-medical backgrounds, the reports provided following blood tests can be complex and difficult to decipher. Read More
The Ultimate Guide to Decoding Your Blood Test Results – Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA — Written by Eric Wechter — January 21, 2020
Why blood work results matter
First, let’s talk about why your blood work results are so important. It’s helpful to think of your blood as both an oxygen delivery system and a waste removal mechanism.
Certain organs in your body, such as your liver, kidneys, spleen, and lungs, act as processing stations. Normal values on a lab report indicate healthy organ function and fully operational systems.
It’s important to note that out-of-range test values aren’t necessarily a sign of imminent disease. Trusted Source Normal ranges are established by testing a large group of healthy people.
But those ranges can be influenced by a variety of factors for each person, including age, sex, weight, medical history, medicines, and lifestyle. What’s “normal” for you is best determined by your doctor.
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