As you get older, you will find your doctor routinely sending you to have blood test assessments to check your…
- blood sugar,
- HDL and LDL cholesterol, and
- triglyceride levels
as part of the “growing older” process. These are tests everyone will have to take care of at one time or another. As you get the results of these tests, it is essential you know there are particular areas your doctor will not mention. Being aware of this can help give you a better picture of your overall health…
1. The Good News. First, if you are called back by your doctor after having a blood test do not expect to get much in the way of good news. Blood tests typically report problems – places where your blood is standing out from the standard deviations that have become the norm.
As such, if you do not hear a “bad” report on what is worrying you, take that as your cue, it is good news. For instance, if you are worried about a heart attack but your doctor does not make mention of your cholesterol levels, then you are not as badly off as you thought and your cholesterol may be in an okay place.
2. Normal Can Vary. Another point to keep in mind about blood tests is standard can vary between men and women. What is “normal” for one person may not necessarily be normal for another: men and women often see marked differences in their blood test results.
It pays to see the same doctor on every visit. If the doctor is aware of your case history, they can better decipher which results are abnormal and which ones are in a healthy range.
3. There Is Such A Thing As False Positives. Another aspect to keep in mind is false-positives do occur. If you have a test confirming your worst case scenario, you may want to have a repeat test to be sure.
Usually, the testing is accurate, but there is a slim chance this is not the case. The incidence of false positives occurs in tests that measure antibodies when a person has an immune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple myeloma. Since these conditions produce antibodies as well, it is more likely to sway the case into being negative.
4. Test Values Can Be Different From One Lab To Another. One last area to be aware of is testing values are not always consistent from one lab to another. Lab technicians will compare your test results with what is considered normal for their laboratory.
If that laboratory is different from the one you used previously, for instance, this may result in a change in your results without there being a “real” change. It is a smart move to have your blood testing carried out in a regular lab and stick with that lab to save yourself the headache of analyzing minute changes in your results.
Keep these points in mind next time you have a blood test and remember blood tests are measurements used for gauging your health, but your doctor should also be looking at the “big picture.” While blood tests are diagnostic, they should not be diagnostic without awareness.