It is a good health practice to get you tested with a good quality pathology service center. The diagnostic tests are an accurate snapshot of your health and help your doctor in giving you the right kind of treatment. More beneficially, these laboratory tests actually help prevent a small illness from ballooning to malignant proportions.
Here is information on laboratory tests, from the collection to the interpretation of results:
- Collection – A technician or phlebotomist collects blood sample by injecting a needle and drawing out blood from a vein in your arm. Of course, if it is not a blood test always, it can be some other specimen that can be up for testing like urine or a throat swab. After the sample is collected in a container, it is labelled with the name and other pertinent information, and sent for laboratory tests and analysis. You do not even have to go to the pathology department to give your blood sample; there are convenient options for ‘home sample collection’.
- Fasting for Blood Test– The Fasting Plasma Glucose Test is often asked along with Complete Blood Count (CBC) test by doctors to check glucose/sugar Ideally, you should avoid taking any food or drink (except water) 9 to 12 hours before the test. Some people believe that one should not have water in case, you are fasting but that is just a myth. Drinking water actually helps the phlebotomist in drawing out blood easily. So, if you drink water, it becomes easier for the phlebotomist to locate veins. Further, you can also urinate easily, which aids you in providing the sample for a urine test.
- Processing – In the case of blood, the liquid portion is separated and the cells undergo analysis from the lab specialists. There are different labs that analyse your blood for different reasons. For instance, the chemistry section of lab tests your blood for chemicals and substances that can cause a disease; for instance, checking for cholesterol in the sample. The haematology section of laboratory testing analyses the different blood cells and their functioning. The microbiology test looks for infection caused by bacteria, fungi etc. For instance, an analysis of the urine test to check for urinary tract infection is the function of the microbiology section of the pathological lab. The virology laboratory tests analyse your blood for viral infections, including HIV and respiratory infections. The immunology department looks into checking how your immune system is working.
- Reporting or results – The results are collated, reviewed and entered into the computer systems of the diagnostic services The pathology department head or a consulting doctor at the lab reviews the results, check them and puts her signature before the data is entered into a computer system. As a customer, you can view the results of these lab tests online too.
- At the doctor’s office – The doctor goes through your diagnostic tests report and gives his or her views. Usually, if there are things that are beyond normal readings, they are marked in bold font. The doctor at the pathology department may also include her conclusions at the end of a page. If there are certain findings that do not seem normal, the doctor will prescribe medications or ask you do a few other diagnostic tests.
Diagnostic tests are immensely useful for the doctor to prescribe the right kind of treatment. With increasing awareness among people, there is a progressive thought which underscores the adage – prevention is better than cure. Take charge of your health; do not hesitate to go for a health check at the nearest diagnostic center.