Why You Need a Lab Test

You may wonder about the many lab tests ordered by your doctors. Are all these tests necessary? Why do physicians seem to order the same tests each year? The truth is simple. Laboratory tests provide healthcare professionals vital information that can assist with important medical decisions.

Check Your Overall Health

Some tests are part of a yearly or routine physical so your healthcare professional can get a clear picture of your health. An example of a general test to get a snapshot of your health is a complete blood count (CBC). These tests might be part of your annual wellness exam because they allow your doctor to track your health over time and detect changes before more serious conditions develop.

Help Diagnose Your Symptoms

If you have symptoms, your healthcare professional may run tests to help determine whether you have a medical condition. This is helpful when there are several medical conditions that could be causing your symptoms. An example is a urine test to see if frequent urination is being caused by a simple urinary tract infection or something more complex, such as diabetes. Once you have a diagnosis, you can begin making treatment or management decisions with your healthcare provider.

Diagnose Medical Conditions That Do Not Have Symptoms

Not all medical conditions have symptoms in the earliest stages of the disease. Lab tests can help diagnose these conditions. An example is cholesterol screening. High cholesterol levels usually do not cause any symptoms but may lead to serious consequences without treatment. Finding these conditions before they have a chance to develop further might prevent serious consequences.

Monitor the Effectiveness of Treatment

Lab tests help your healthcare professional know how you are doing with treatment. An example is a blood test such as prothrombin time, which is administered to see if your anticoagulant medicine is working to keep your blood clotting to the proper level. This allows your healthcare provider to choose and maintain the right treatment for you.