Tips to Help You Understand Your Blood Test Results Better

Tips to Help You Understand Your Blood Test Results Better


CBC is the shortened form of complete blood count, a common blood test to count both the RBCs (red blood cells) and WBCs (white blood cells) in your blood. Apart from that the test also measures the level of haemoglobin and some other components present in the blood. According to experienced doctors associated with the Blood London – a reliable walk-in clinic for private blood tests at Harley Street in London – say that CBC also helps uncover a list of severe medical conditions including anaemia, certain infections and even blood cancer.  

Other than CBC, another common blood test is the basic metabolic panel test. It checks your heart, kidney and liver functions by measuring the levels of glucose, electrolytes and calcium present in your blood. The lipoprotein panel test measures the level of accumulated fat in your blood. This covers taking complete stock of both good and bad cholesterols (HDL and LDL respectively) as well as triglycerides.

Results of comprehensive blood tests help you choose the right diet and lifestyle.

But doctors usually don’t tell certain things about your blood test results unless you ask categorically. You must be wondering what those things are? Read on to know more.

Tell me the positive things about my blood test report

Doctors prescribe routine blood tests to diagnose specific health issues. So when your cholesterol, CBC and other things show normal in the test, a doctor’s office may not feel like voluntarily sharing that information with you. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ask the doctor, nurse practitioner or the nurse to give you a detailed outline of your blood test report to stay abreast with your latest health condition.  

‘Normal’ test reports may vary with genders

When you compare your blood test result with that of someone of the opposite gender, you are bound to come across differences. The normal range of red blood cells in a complete blood count test is between 5 and 6 million cells in per micro litre (mL) blood for men, whereas for women it is between 4 and 5 million for women.

‘Normal’ test reports may also vary with age

The normal range of many common blood tests, like haemoglobin count, varies with time. When children are concerned, normal haemoglobin level is within the range of 11 to 13 grams/decilitre. It shifts within the range of 14 to 17 g/dl for men and 12 to 15 g/dl for women. However certain other tests, like LDL cholesterol, reading less than 100 mg per decilitre is considered okay irrespective of an individual’s age.  

A ‘positive’ test result is not to be taken positively

Certain blood tests detect molecular markers in your blood sample to ascertain diseases. These include sickle cell anaemia test, hepatitis C test, HIV test to name a few. These test results are considered positive when the test successfully identifies the disease marker, which can be a particular protein, antibody or DNA. Therefore a ‘positive’ test result is not to be taken in a positive stride under all conditions. ‘Positive’ in these cases shows you have developed the particular disease or health disorder.

A ‘Negative’ test result is good in usual cases

Unlike a ‘positive’ test result is not always positive, a negative test result is usually good in many cases. A negative test result means the test failed to detect the specific disease-making antibody, protein or DNA in your blood. So you don’t need to undergo any treatment and are free to enjoy life.

Both False-positive and False-Negative test results are likely 

False-Positive: The initial screening for a specific medical condition must be confirmed by a second screening test. These confirmation tests include more precise and specific procedures. A suitable example here is the rapid HIV test. In majority of cases it offers accurate results and very seldom gives a false-positive report, i.e. the result shows positive but the individual actually does not have the disease. This occurs because the test counts antibodies. Those particular antibodies may also develop in your system under certain other medical conditions.

False-Negative: In some cases it is also possible that a test fails picking up the evidence of a particular medical condition or disease in your blood but in reality you have already developed it. This happens frequently with hepatitis C test. Even in cases of Lyme disease if you take the test within the first few weeks of being exposed to the infection, the results will come negative. The result will come positive once your body has developed the specific antibodies.    

Abnormal test results not necessarily mean you have a disease

Diseases cannot be blamed every time for an abnormal test result. While taking a fasting plasma glucose test, you may have munched on something just before the test. or you may have drunk a little of your favourite whiskey or rum the night before the test. Such incidents of carelessness do occur and as a result you show abnormal test results although you don’t have the disease, point out doctors at a renowned private blood testing clinic in London. In order to avoid this type of problems get the necessary instructions from your doctor well in advance and follow them strictly.    

Lastly, you have to leave margins for error.  Mistakes and errors are very common things in every aspect of life and medical tests are no exception. When your blood sample is not correctly handled, shaken improperly, stored at wrong temperature, stored too long or not collected in the right type of container, errors in test results are obvious.

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