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Understanding Your Lab Test Results

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Thank you for choosing Hunt Regional Lab Solutions

We want to personally thank you for choosing us to provide your laboratory testing. The following explanation will help guide you as you review your lab test results.  It is recommended that you follow up with your regular physician no less than annually for a well checkup.

If you would like to view your recent lab results online through myHuntHealth, enroll or log in to our patient portal, here.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our program manager Bonnie-Jean Stewart, MT, at bstewart@huntregional.org or our technical and sales supervisor Becky Murphy, MT, at bmurphy@huntregional.org or 903-408-1810.

Thank you again for choosing our laboratory services.

Guide to Reviewing Your Lab Test Information

Blood Type Test - The results of blood typing will tell you if you are group A, B, AB, or O and if you are Rh negative or positive depending on what antigens are present on your red blood cells. The results will tell the physician treating you what blood or blood components will be safe for you to receive. The results will also tell a pregnant woman whether she is Rh positive or negative and whether she may be a candidate for receiving Rh immune globulin to prevent her from potentially developing antibodies against her fetus’ blood cells.

Blood Pressure Check - Blood pressure is the force exerted against the blood vessel walls (arteries) when the heart pumps. It is one clue to the health of the heart and blood vessels. Blood pressure measurements help professionals tell if a person has HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (hypertension) or certain other conditions. High blood pressure is a constant elevation of blood pressure above normal. If untreated, it can lead to heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.  When a person’s blood pressure is measured, two different numbers are recorded. The top number is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is contracting or pumping blood (SYSTOLIC pressure), the bottom number is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxed, or refilling with blood (DIASTOLIC pressure). The systolic and diastolic readings are used together to report a person’s blood pressure: 120/80 is an example of how it is written. The systolic pressure changes in healthy adults. Systolic pressures above 140 are usually above normal. Also, diastolic pressures above 90 are usually above normal. However, a systolic reading above 140 or a diastolic reading above 90 does not always mean that a person has high blood pressure. Nervousness and other factors can produce a misleading reading. Some people have blood pressure readings as low as 90/40 which can be normal for them. Age, sex, body build and ethnic background affect a person’s normal blood pressure. See your doctor for readings that are consistently above or below normal. The most important means of lowering high blood pressure is through medically supervised treatment. Your doctor may prescribe medication to control your blood pressure. He/she may also suggest other things that could help, such as changes in exercise level, diet and lifestyle.  Reducing high blood pressure can lower the risk of associated medical problems. If you do require medication you will need to have your blood pressure taken routinely as suggested by your doctor.

Body Fat - Weight alone is not a clear indicator of good health because it does not distinguish between pounds that come from body fat and those that come from lean body mass or muscle. Carrying too much fat is a condition called obesity, and puts a person at risk for many serious medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes and even certain forms of cancer. In fact, obesity contributes to at least half the chronic diseases in western society. Overweight means an excess of total body weight based on population averages for heights and body frame sizes. Athletes and very muscular people may be overweight, but that does not mean they are over fat. Obesity means an excess of body fat regardless of weight.

Body Mass Index (BMI) -
BMI is a measure of an individual’s ratio of weight to height.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.  People who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing particular diseases and health conditions including hypertension; dyslipidemia; type 2 diabetes; coronary heart disease; stroke; gallbladder disease; osteoarthritis; sleep apnea and respiratory problems; and some cancers including colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. To calculate your body mass index, divide your weight in pounds (lbs.) by your height in inches (in.) squared and multiply by 703. The standard weight status categories associated with BMI ranges for adults are shown in the table below. For highly trained athletic individuals or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, this is not necessarily an accurate method to determine your body fat. Whatever your BMI, talk to your doctor to see if you are at an increased risk for disease and if you should lose weight. Even a small weight loss (just 10% of your current weight) may help to lower the risk of disease.

Recommended Body Fat Percentages by Age Groups

Sex

Health

19-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

Male

Excellent

Good

Fair

Poor

10.80%

14.90%

19.00%

23.30%

12.80%

16.50%

20.30%

24.40%

14.50%

18.00%

21.50%

25.20%

16.10%

19.40%

22.60%

26.10%

17.50%

20.50%

23.60%

26.90%

18.60%

21.50%

24.50%

27.60%

19.30%

22.70%

25.70%

29.00%

19.80%

24.50%

26.90%                         

30.50%

Female

Excellent

Good

Fair

Poor

18.90%

22.00%

25.00%

29.60%

18.90%

22.10%

25.40%

29.80%

19.70%

22.70%

26.40%

30.50%

21.00%

24.00%

27.70%

31.50%

22.60%

25.60%

29.30%

32.80%

24.30%

26.60%

29.70%

33.10%

26.20%

27.90%

31.20%

34.70%

27.40%

30.70%

34.00%

37.30%


BMI WEIGHT STATUS

Below 18.5 - Underweight

18.5-24.9 - Normal

25.0-29.9 - Overweight

30.0 and above - Obese


CBC (Complete Blood Count) -
Complete blood count is a method of counting the cells and measuring the components in the circulating blood. White Blood Cells (WBC) are responsible for defense against infection; Red Blood Cells (RBC) and Hemoglobin (HGB) are responsible for supplying oxygen to the tissues; Platelets (PLT) are involved in the blood clotting mechanism.  A decreased Hemoglobin, Hematocrit (HCT) and/or Red Blood count could indicate anemia and should be evaluated by your physician. Your physician should evaluate an extremely elevated or decreased White Blood Count or platelet count.

Mean Cell Volume (MCV) - The average volume within red cells.

Mean Cell Hemoglobin (MCH) - The average content of the Hemoglobin of red cells.

Mean Cell Hemoglobin Concentration (MHCH) - The average concentration of Hemoglobin in a given volume of packed red cells or Hematocrit (HCT).

Basophil (BASO) - The white blood cell that increases in response to parasitic infections and allergic reactions.

Eosinophil (EOSIN) - The white blood cell that increases in response to parasitic infections and allergic reactions.

Lymphocyte (LYMPH) - The white blood cell that fights viral and some bacterial infections by direct attack or the production of antibodies.

Monocyte (MONO) - The white blood cell that increases during a variety of conditions including severe infections. It removes debris and microorganisms by phagocytosis.

Neutrophil (NEUTR) - The white blood cell that increases in response to bacterial infection. It removes and kills bacteria through phagocytosis.

Phagocytosis -
A process by which a white blood cell envelopes and digests debris and microorganisms to remove them from the blood.

Glucose (GLU) - A measure of the sugar levels in your blood. High values are associated with eating before the test and/or diabetes. If your value is over 200, even if you had recently eaten, consult your physician. Even if you know you have diabetes, it is important to report an elevated blood sugar level to your physician.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) - A waste product that is in the liver and is excreted by the kidneys. High values may mean that the kidneys are not working as well as they should. BUN is also affected by high protein diets and/or strenuous exercises, which raises levels, and by pregnancy, which lowers levels.

Creatine (CREAT) - A waste product. The amount present is affected by the quantity of protein you eat. High values require medical evaluation, especially in conjunction with high BUN levels. Low values are probably not significant.

Electrolyte Panel - An electrolyte panel is frequently ordered as part of a routine physical, either by itself or as components of a BASIC METABOLIC PANEL. The electrolyte panel measures the main electrolytes in the body: sodium (NA), potassium (K), chloride (CL), and bicarbonate (sometimes reported as total CO2). They help move nutrients into and wastes out of the body’s cells, maintain a healthy water balance, and help stabilize the body’s pH level.

Calcium (CA) - Calcium is controlled by the parathyroid glands and the kidneys. The mineral is found mostly in bone but is also important for normal cellular activity. Elevated calcium should be evaluated by your physician. Calcium is important for neuromuscular condition and blood coagulation (clotting).

Total Protein (TP) - Total protein measurements can reflect nutritional status and may be used to screen for and help diagnose kidney disease, liver disease, and many other conditions. Sometimes conditions are first detected with routine testing before symptoms have begun to appear. If total protein is abnormal, further tests must be performed to identify which specific protein is abnormally low or high so that a specific diagnosis can be made.

Albumin (ALB) - Albumin testing is used in a variety of settings to help diagnose disease, to monitor changes in health status with treatment or with disease progression, and as a screen that may indicate the need for other kinds of testing. An albumin test may be ordered as part of a liver panel to evaluate liver function, along with a creatinine and BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) to evaluate kidney function, or along with a pre-albumin test to evaluate a person's nutritional status.

Albumin/Globulin Ration (A/G) - This is a calculated ratio of albumin to globulins termed the A/G ratio. Normally, there is a little more albumin than globulins, giving a normal A/G ratio of slightly over 1. Because disease states affect the relative changes in albumin and globulins in different ways, this may provide a clue to your doctor as to the cause of the change in protein levels.

Total Bilirubin (TBIL) - In adults or older children, bilirubin is measured to diagnose and/or monitor liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis, or gallstones. Patients with sickle cell disease or other causes of hemolytic anemia may have episodes where excessive RBC destruction takes place, increasing bilirubin levels.

Alkaline Phosphatase (ALKP) - The alkaline phosphatase test (ALKP) is used to help detect liver disease or bone disorders. In conditions affecting the liver, damaged liver cells release increased amounts of ALP into the blood. This test is often used to detect blocked bile ducts because ALP is especially high in the edges of cells that join to form bile ducts.

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) - The alanine aminotransferase (ALT) blood test is typically used to detect liver injury. It is often ordered in conjunction with aspartate aminotransferase (AST) or as part of a liver panel to screen for and/or help diagnose liver disease. AST and ALT are considered to be two of the most important tests to detect liver injury, although ALT is more specific than AST.

Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) - The blood test for aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is usually used to detect liver damage. It is often ordered in conjunction with another liver enzyme, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), or as part of a liver panel to screen for and/or help diagnose liver disorders. AST and ALT are considered to be two of the most important tests to detect liver injury, although ALT is more specific than AST.

Cholesterol (CHOL) - A fatty substance our bodies need to make cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, bile acids and the protective sheath around nerve fibers. High values have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in some people.

Triglycerides (TRIG) - Fats in the blood. This value may be affected by the number of hours since your last meal, and may be high if you ate within ten hours prior to the test.

HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol - HDL, the GOOD cholesterol, is a protein found in serum containing relatively more protein and less cholesterol and Triglycerides. It is thought to pick up cholesterol and transport it for removal from the body. The higher the HDL value, the lower the risk of coronary disease.

LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol - LDL is called the bad cholesterol because it deposits cholesterol (called plaque) on the walls of the arteries. The condition is called arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol can indicate risk for heart disease, so your LDL-C result is evaluated with respect to the upper limits that are desired for you. According to the National Cholesterol Education Program, if you have no other risk factors, your LDL-C level can be evaluated as follows:

* Less than 100 mg/dL - Optimal
* 100-129 mg/dL - Near optimal, above optimal
* 130-159 mg/dL - Borderline high
* 160-189 mg/dL - High
* Greater than 189 mg/dL - Very high

Estimated CHD Risk - A mathematical calculation obtained by dividing the serum cholesterol by the serum HDL cholesterol value. Individuals with ratios of 4.5 or higher have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and should be evaluated by their physician.

A1c - A1c, also known as glycohemoglobin, is for monitoring glucose control. The A1c test evaluates the average amount of glucose in the blood over the last two to three months. The higher the concentration of glucose in the blood, the more glycated hemoglobin is formed. This test is used to monitor diabetes treatment in someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes. It helps to evaluate how well their glucose levels have been controlled by treatment over time. A1c is currently reported as a percentage, and it is recommended that diabetics aim to keep their A1c below 7%. The report for your A1c test also may include an estimated Average Glucose (eAG), which is a calculated result based on your A1c levels. The purpose of reporting eAG is to help you relate your A1c results to your everyday glucose monitoring levels. It should be noted that the eAG is still an evaluation of your glucose over the last couple of months. It will not match up exactly to any one daily glucose test result. The American Diabetes Association has adopted this calculation and provides a calculator and information on the eAG on their web site. In screening and diagnosis, some results that may be seen include:

* A non-diabetic person will have an A1c result between 4% and 6%
* Diabetes: A1c level is 6.5% or higher
* Pre-diabetes (increased risk of developing diabetes in the future): A1c is 5.7% - 6.4%

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) - PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood. Because PSA is produced by the body and can be used to detect disease, it is sometimes called a biological marker or tumor marker.

TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) - (uTSH) or Thyrotropin is the primary test for diagnosis of thyroid failure and to monitor therapy in individuals with thyroid conditions.

Drug Screen (Urine) -
If a result is positive during initial drug screening, then it means that the person has a substance in his body that falls into one of the drug classes and is above the established cutoff level. If the sample is confirmed as positive after secondary testing, such as positive for marijuana, then the person has taken this drug. In some cases, this result can be tied to a window of time that the person took the substance and roughly to the quantity, but, in most circumstances, that information is not necessary. Interpretation of when and how much drug was consumed can be challenging because the concentration of many drugs varies, as does their rate of metabolism from person to person. If the drug or drugs is not present or is below the established cutoff, then the result is usually reported as "not detected" or "none detected." A negative result does not necessarily mean that the person did not take a drug at some point. The drug may be present below the established cutoff, the drug may have been already metabolized and eliminated from the body, or the test method does not detect the particular drug present in the sample.

Urinalysis -
Urinalysis results can have many interpretations. Abnormal findings are a warning that something may be wrong and should be evaluated further. Generally, the greater the concentration of the atypical substance, such as greatly increased amounts of glucose, protein, red blood cells or white blood cells, the more likely it is that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Fecal Immunochemical Test - The fecal immunochemical occult blood test checks for hidden blood in your stool. Fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) are most often done as part of a routine examination. The tests are used primarily as a screening tool for early detection of colon cancer. They are recommended to be done annually beginning at age 50 (by the American Cancer Society and other major organizations) or as directed by the doctor based on a person's family medical history. Most people who have them performed do not have symptoms. A doctor may sometimes order an FOBT when someone has unexplained anemia that might be caused by bleeding in the digestive tract.

Rapid Plasmin Reagin (Syphilis Testing) -
A positive test indicates that you have either a current or past infection. However, a negative test does not always mean that you do not have syphilis. Antibodies may not be able to be detected for up to three months after exposure to the bacteria, and the antibodies remain in the body for years. If you have had a past infection with syphilis and were treated, your test results could still be positive.

Chlamydia Urine Screen (Should not void for 2 hours before collection) - A positive test indicates an active infection that requires treatment with a course of antibiotics. A negative test means only that there is no evidence of disease at the time of the test. It is important for those who are at increased risk of infection to have screening tests performed on a regular basis to check for possible exposure, especially since re-infection is common, particularly among teenagers. If you are infected, your sexual partner(s) should also be tested and treated as well.

Pregnancy Test (Urine) - During pregnancy, women will have a positive test indicating the presence of hCG in their urine. In non-pregnant women, hCG levels are normally undetectable (negative).

Vitamin D - this vitamin helps regulate the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, and (to a lesser extent) magnesium. Vitamin D is vital for strong bones. It also has important, emerging roles in immune function and cancer prevention. Deficiencies at any stage of life can have devastating consequences. Similarly, vitamin D toxicity resulting from overmedication can cause serious hypercalcemia. Vitamin D consists of two bioequivalent forms: Vitamin D2, which is obtained from vegetable sources (dietary sources, supplements); and Vitamin D3, which is derived from both endogenous (synthesized from cholesterol through sun exposure) and exogenous (animal diet) sources. Vitamin D deficiency is more common than previously believed, especially among adolescents, women, and the elderly. For example, studies have shown that more than 50% of the institutionalized elderly and an equal proportion of women of any age undergoing treatment for osteoporosis have inadequate levels of vitamin D1. While treatment with vitamin supplementation is easy and inexpensive, many affected individuals go undiagnosed and untreated.

High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein - Increased high sensitivity C-reactive protein values are a reflection of inflammation in the body and are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular events. It also has been shown that hs-CRP, when added with abnormal total cholesterol, LDL and HDL levels, as well as the Framingham 10-year risk score, increases the amount of cardiac risk predicted. Note: C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute-phase reactant. In other words, it will be elevated in any situation where there is infection or inflammation. A single test for high sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) may not reflect an individual patient's base hs-CRP level. Repeat measurement may be required to firmly establish an individual's base hs-CRP concentration. The lowest of the measurements should be used as the predictive value.