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Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,580
Registered: ‎06-15-2015

Re: Learn what your blood lab results mean . . .

Hi LilacTree,

 

Great advice. Some doctors like to use medical jargon: "within the normal range/normal etc.".  I've shouted from my soap box for decades now, "get numbers and find out (your normal) along with what each one of them mean.

 

Every patient should always ask, even demand if necessary, a copy of every Outpatient blood draw results. What is considered "normal" via a study for many says very little.

 

Hope all is going as well as possible for you and yours. Great thread.

 

 

hckynut(john)

hckynut(john)
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,063
Registered: ‎01-22-2012

Re: Learn what your blood lab results mean . . .


@LilacTree wrote:

. . . make sure the lab sends you a copy, and discuss any results with the doctor.  Most doctors scan the report and only look in the "out of range" or "high/low" columns.

 

Many times the outside number is only one digit off normal and that won't show up in those columns, but are still significant.

 

Just a heads up.


Lab never sends me a copy, and I have to ask for a copy from my doctor. My doctor discusses her lab results thoroughly and discusses everything thoroughly. Unfortunately, I know I do not pay enough smart attention to results. 

Regular Contributor
Posts: 160
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Learn what your blood lab results mean . . .

My lab results are always available online a few days after I've been tested.  I always review them before I have my appt so I can ask any questions, and I print out a copy for reference purposes. Luckily not much has changed recently. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 15,332
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Learn what your blood lab results mean . . .

[ Edited ]

I recently had my annual exam and signed up for my doctor's patient portal.  They put my blood work results on there, which she said were fine.  I like having the Patient Portal but don't find it as easy to navigate as it should be.


Day after day the whole day through, wherever my road inclined, four feet said 'I'm coming with you!' and trotted along behind. Kipling





Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,958
Registered: ‎09-28-2010

Re: Learn what your blood lab results mean . . .

Again, singing the praises of my incredible family Dr..  He always sends me an annotated copy of any test results marking things that have changed from the previous test, what is good, what perhaps needs to be watched.  This man and his staff are just so incredible.  I dread the idea of his ever retiring!  He did actually bring a another Dr on board, who he hand picked because she embraces how he practices medicine.  I've only seen her once, but at least I don't worry as much about my Dr retiring now.

 

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,627
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Learn what your blood lab results mean . . .

I am a strong proponent of always getting, and keeping, copies of your lab reports....especially my thyroid results.

 

I have autoimmune thyroid disease, and still need medication increases at times.  If anyone has thyroid disease, they will understand that "normal" may not be normal for them.


I'm dealing with that right now.  I dealt with hypo symptoms for many months because my numbers weren't far off the mark.  And, even after all of these years, I haven't learned to truly trust what I'm feeling.  Then, this fall my test results showed me in a full blown hypo state.  My doctor increased my meds and I was feeling better within a few weeks.  

 

I went for a retest a few weeks ago.  I was in "normal range."  But, TSH had gone up and my hormone levels had dropped.....AND I was symptomatic again.  I knew I needed another small increase, but my doctor was out of town.

 

I talked to his receptionist who then proceeded to tell me that my numbers were in normal range so he probably wasn't going to increase my meds!!!  If I could have reached her through the phone I would have choked her!

 

I waited an extra couple of days until he got back into town, and he increased my meds!  

 

You really need to be an advocate for your own health.  And, keeping accurate records is part of that.

"I've been here since October 2006. Wow!"
Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,177
Registered: ‎06-28-2011

Re: Learn what your blood lab results mean . . .

I alwlays get a copy of my tests, and yes, I read them line by line.  My doctor's office no longer mails them out, but, instead I pick up copies.  Not a big deal because I only get the tests once each year.  I thought they could no longer mail out the results due to medical guidelines.  What am I missing (be kind!!!)?

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,037
Registered: ‎08-08-2013

Re: Learn what your blood lab results mean . . .

@susankay  Hi:  Why don't you have them faxed or e-mailed to you instead of having to go and pick them up????  It's really not a problem for them.  My doctor's office calls me with the results, goes over everything with me after he has seen them and puts his "circles and arrows" on some of the results - and then she sends it to me.  I have it within minutes..... It shouldn't be a problem.  HTH

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,177
Registered: ‎06-28-2011

Re: Learn what your blood lab results mean . . .

Sophiamarie, I will call the office and see if they will send me an email.  I usually stop in the office when I am in that area, but this sounds much easier.  Good to know that doctors do this!

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,258
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Learn what your blood lab results mean . . .


@scotnovel wrote:

@LilacTree wrote:

. . . make sure the lab sends you a copy, and discuss any results with the doctor.  Most doctors scan the report and only look in the "out of range" or "high/low" columns.

 

Many times the outside number is only one digit off normal and that won't show up in those columns, but are still significant.

 

Just a heads up.


True those that are a digit off may be significant, but keep in mind those ranges represent average numbers.  If someone is a point off  of the high or low  that doesn't necesarily mean there is anything to be concerned about.  That individual's normals just may fall outside of the average ranges.  It is as important to make a comparison over time of your results not just look at one visit in a vacuum.   As a basic example, my normal temperature is around 97.6 not 98.6 which often is considered normal. The result is that I start registering a fever earlier than "normal".   Everyone needs to to understand their normals, not just look at the lab results. 


@scotnovel

@LilacTree

 

The ranges expressed on your lab results may vary from one lab organization to the other and the same goes from hospital system to hospital system.

 

When going to whatever doc that I have, I always take the latest labs, along with the 2- preceding it, because I have several medical issues requiring attention.

 

In "Word" I've made a table which includes: drug/food allergies, meds I'm taking at present with dose, frequency and reason, plus drugs I take PRN.  Additionally, the supplements are listed as well.  On page 2, my surgeries are listed, as well as reason, location - as in city (they always want to know this).

 

When I arrive at the doc's office, I just have to hand them the packet and they're always appreciative of the up-to-date info.

 

***

 

My physicians and I always discuss lab results, without exception.