What Does That Lab Test Mean?

Diagnostic laboratory testing is a whole field of study dedicated to providing detailed information about the body’s inner workings. Each result puts a physician closer to the inclusion or exclusion of a diagnosis. Results can pinpoint infection, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and cardiac disease to name a few. Without this lab work, the physician is not able to correctly gain insight into the patient’s condition.

Lab testing can be done on any type of specimen from the human body. There are tests for blood, urine, stool, tissue, and sputum. The most basic blood samples run are a complete blood count and a comprehensive metabolic profile. The blood count can tell if you are anemic, have an infection, or if you have a cancer or blood disorder, such as leukemia or sickle cell anemia. The metabolic profile looks for diseases, such as diabetes, liver, or kidney disease.

Which Test Will My Doctor Order?

The number and types of tests your physician orders will be based on your presenting symptoms and on his primary suspicions. If he suspects you have a urinary tract infection, he may order a urinalysis and urine culture as well as a complete blood count. Many people have to go periodically to have basic lab work done as a precaution to side effects of medications checking for liver or kidney damage as well as to monitor the progression of their illness.

Can an Urgent Care Center Perform My Testing?

While urgent care services are not outpatient testing sites, you can have many of your basic tests done there if you are experiencing a pressing illness or injury. The basic blood tests, sexually transmitted disease tests, urinalysis, drug testing, rapid strep, and pregnancy testing, to name a few, can be done at an urgent care center. Your doctor will give you a full exam before ordering any testing. In addition to lab work, vaccinations and physicals can be obtained at an urgent care center.