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Patient Education

Understanding Your Tests

Laboratory tests may be done for many reasons. Tests are performed for routine health screenings or if a disease or toxicity is suspected. Lab tests may be used to determine if a medical condition is improving or worsening. Lab tests may also be used to measure the success or failure of a medication or treatment plan. Lab tests may be ordered for professional or legal reasons.

Many factors affect test results.  Your doctor will consider your age, gender, and race as well as what you eat and drink and what medicines you take. It is important to follow pre-test instructions and to talk with your doctor about your results.

Due to changes in the way your body naturally functions through the course of a day, lab tests may need to be performed at a certain time of day. If you have prepared for a test by changing your food or fluid intake, lab tests may be timed in accordance with those changes. Timing of tests may be based on increased and decreased levels of medications, drugs or other substances in the body.

Lab tests results are often difficult to interpret.  Our lab test glossary will help you understand basic information about how to get ready for tests, how the tests are done and the normal results for the tests. 

Lab Tests Glossary