Understanding Your Tests

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Index of Tests
Index of Conditions

Like many areas in medicine, clinical laboratory testing often provides few simple answers to commonly asked questions. The issues on topics, such as, reference ranges can be very complex. While we cannot offer the kinds of short, easy answers that we seem to be accustomed to in this information age, we have attempted, in the following articles, to break down the issues in a way that will help you to ask the appropriate questions of your doctor.

Reference Ranges & What They Mean
Test results are usually interpreted based on their relation to a reference range. This article will help to explain what a reference range is, what it isn't, and why test results and references ranges should not be interpreted in isolation.

How Reliable is Laboratory Testing?
Laboratory test results play a crucial role in the decisions our doctors make about our health, from diagnosis to monitoring and prognosis. This article explains the key concepts and practices involved in ensuring the reliability of laboratory tests.

The Universe of Genetic Testing
This article examines the various ways that new research in genetic testing could impact on your healthcare.

The World of Forensic Laboratory Testing
This article explains what forensic testing is, when it is necessary, and dispels some of the misconceptions you may have about this form of laboratory testing.

Collecting Samples for Testing
This article provides an overview of the wide variety of samples that can be taken from the human body to be used for laboratory testing.

Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety
Nobody particularly likes having their blood collected or providing a urine or stool sample, but tests conducted on these samples can provide vital information. This series of articles are designed to help adults, children and the elderly cope with providing a sample for laboratory testing.

Home Testing
As users of health care continue to seek more convenience, particularly among chronic disease sufferers and the elderly, the home testing market is growing rapidly. Here is a glimpse at what tests are currently available, and most importantly the benefits and drawbacks of this type of testing.

Test Preparation: Your Role
One of the most important factors in determining the accuracy and reliability of your laboratory test is you, the patient. This brief article explains your role in the process and ways in which you may need to prepare for your lab tests.

Laboratory Methods
Understanding the method used for a test provides a broader context for understanding your results. This article provides brief explanations of several common laboratory methods discussed on this site.

Cellular Pathology
Cellular pathology involves the study of body organs and tissues (groups of cells). Its roles include determining the cause of certain diseases and the effect(s) that they are having on the body, assisting with the choice of treatment that will be given, aiding in giving a prognosis and determining what may have caused a person’s death.

Validation, use and interpretation
This article offers guidance on what determines whether a laboratory test is valid, how laboratory tests should be used and how results should be interpreted.