Lab tests play one role in your health
care. But while it is an important role, in most cases lab tests don't provide
all the information your doctor needs to make a diagnosis or treatment
Unless the test results are clear-either you are
pregnant or you're not-your doctor will rarely make a decision or diagnosis
based only on the results of a lab test. Instead, he or she will use the
results of your tests along with information about your health, gender, age,
and other factors.
Making sense of your lab test involves more
than just knowing why the test is done. It is also important to understand what
the results mean and what factors can affect results. Sometimes test results
can be affected by when you last ate or exercised, your age, and medicines or
herbal supplements you're taking.
Although lab test results may
not provide all of the information that your doctor needs, the tests help him
or her make a diagnosis. Understanding your results will help you and your
doctor discuss the next step in your diagnosis or treatment.