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Lab Testing

Outpatient Services > Lab Testing > Lab Testing > FAQ > FAQ about Lab Testing

Frequently Asked Questions about Laboratory Testing

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Q. Why does the doctor want to test my blood?

A. Blood tests can help your doctor check for certain diseases and conditions, measure how well your organs are working and determine whether treatment is working. Common blood tests include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC) measures red and white blood cells; platelets, which help clotting; and other components of your blood. It can help detect anemia, infection, dehydration, blood or bone marrow disorders, and other conditions.
  • Basic metabolic panel tests blood chemistry, which provides information about the health of your muscles, bones and organs, such as the kidney and liver.
  • Lipoprotein panel, or lipid panel, tests cholesterol to determine whether you might be at risk for coronary heart disease.
  • Coagulation panel to test your blood’s ability to clot.
  • Blood enzyme tests help diagnose a heart attack.

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Q. Why does the doctor want to test my urine?

A. Your doctor might order a urinalysis to test for a variety of conditions. Most commonly, it is used to screen for early signs of disease, to monitor treatment for diabetes or kidney disease, to check for blood or to diagnose a urinary tract infection.
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Q. Does a lab test provide all the information my doctor needs?

A. Some lab tests, like pregnancy tests, provide clear answers. Most of the time, however, your doctor will consider the test results along with information about your gender, age, medical history, etc.
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Q. What can affect test results?

A. It’s always important to let your doctor know what medications, vitamins and other supplements you take, including herbal preparations. You may need to stop taking them before some lab tests. Some lab tests, such as a lipoprotein panel, require that you stop eating for several hours before the test. Others, such as certain blood sugar tests, require that you eat a meal exactly two hours before the test. Stress, exercise and other factors can also affect test results. If your doctor gives you instructions, be sure to follow them exactly so results are as accurate as possible.
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Q. Can I do the test at home?

A. Home test kits are available for some types of tests, but their reliability varies. Accredited laboratories meet stringent requirements for quality and precision.
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