Did you know that nearly 70% of physicians' medical decisions are based on the results of lab tests? To learn more about some medical conditions that require lab testing, and some of the most common lab tests, please review the information provided.
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Laboratory Test information
Allergy and Asthma Testing - Because the symptoms associated with allergies can be caused by other conditions, your doctor is the only one who can determine whether you actually have allergies.
To confirm your diagnosis, your doctor may take a blood sample from you and send it to the laboratory for blood testing. CompuNet has a broad range of allergy tests, including the ImmunoCAP allergy profile test. The ImmunoCAP blood test can test for animal, plant, food, and other allergens such as silk or latex, enabling your doctor to diagnose and suggest appropriate treatment.
Anemia - Anemia is a condition that occurs when the number of red blood cells (RBCs) and/or the amount of hemoglobin found in the red blood cells drop below normal. Anemia can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the extent to which the RBC count and/or hemoglobin levels are decreased. An initial blood test used to diagnose anemia is a Complete Blood Count (CBC). If your doctor suspects that your anemia is due to iron deficiency, she may run several follow-up tests to confirm the iron deficiency.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) - Cardiovascular disease is a major health problem in this country. Cardiovascular disease puts you at risk for serious medical events like a heart attack or stroke. Common factors that put you at risk include smoking, high blood pressure, the amount and type of fat (lipids) in your blood, diabetes, age, body mass index, exercise habits, and family history of cardiovascular disease.
Typically, the first step your doctor takes is to check your lipid levels. Lipids include LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Complete Blood Count (CBC) - A Complete Blood Count (CBC) is a common lab test ordered by doctors to determine your general health status to screen for, diagnose, or monitor any one of a variety of diseases and conditions that affect blood cells like anemia, infection, inflammation, bleeding disorder, or cancer.
Colorectal Cancer - Cancers of the colon and rectum are sometimes referred to collectively as "colorectal cancer." Together, they are the third most common cancers in adults and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women in the United States.
It is recommended that all adults begin regular colorectal cancer screenings when they turn 50. Deciding which screening test to use and how often to perform it depends on a person's individual risk of colon cancer. CompuNet offers several laboratory tests that can detect colorectal cancers including the fecal immunochemical test InSure. The InSure test has an easy to use collection kit and requires no dietary restrictions. Ask your doctor which colorectal cancer screening test is right for you.
InSure is manufactured by Enterix Inc. Laboratory services are provided by CompuNet.
Cervical Cancer - Cervical cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the cervix. The cervix is the narrowed bottom portion of a woman's uterus. Since the introduction of the Pap test, rates of cervical cancer in the U.S. have dramatically dropped. However, in some U.S. populations of women and in developing nations, cervical cancer is still a very serious concern. Cervical cancer continues to be the second most common type of cancer in women after breast cancer.
Both the Pap test and the test for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are effective screening tools for cervical cancer.
The HPV test identifies the presence of certain HPV viruses that can cause changes in the cervix. In some cases, these changes cause few or no problems and disappear without treatment. In other cases, they can, over time, lead to cervical cancer. HPV testing is very important because it is now known that High risk HPV types account for most cervical cancer cases.
Diabetes, Glucose and Glycohemoglobin A1c - Diabetes is a serious disease with potentially severe complications. It is caused by the body's inability to process glucose into energy.
Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is often diagnosed by the age of 30. With Type 1, little or no insulin is produced and the individual relies completely on insulin injections to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult onset diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is more common than Type 1, and its risk factors include obesity, lack of exercise, family history, pre-diabetes, ethnicity (African American, Hispanic American, Native American, and Asian American), high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Prescription Drug Monitoring - For people who suffer from serious and painful chronic medical conditions, pain management drugs like opiates are often prescribed by a doctor. Your doctor may monitor your treatment plan by testing your urine.
Urine drug testing is used to confirm that you are taking your prescribed medication in the prescribed dosage. The test is fast, simple, and will help your doctor safely manage your pain treatment program.
Prostate Screen (PSA) - PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) is a protein made by the cells of the prostate. A PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. Rising or changing levels of PSA may be a sign of a prostate problem, perhaps even one as serious as cancer. Prostate cancer may be effectively treated, if detected early. For the most accurate results, a PSA blood test should be combined with a physical exam by a doctor.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) or Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) - Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also called sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or venereal diseases, are infections caused by organisms that can be transmitted from one person to another through sexual activity and intimate contact. Since many STDs have few or no symptoms, it is possible for a person to have an infection and to infect others without either of them knowing it. For this reason, screening for these infections is important to ensure early detection and prompt treatment. Tests for STDs are recommended as part of routine health screens for sexually active teens and young adults as well as older adults who may be at risk.
One serious STD, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) increases a woman's risk of cervical cancer.
Lab testing is performed to detect some of the most common STDs including Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, HIV, HPV, Trichomonas, Genital herpes (HSV2), Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. For more information, please visit http://www.ashastd.org/.
Thyroid Screen (TSH) - The Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test (TSH) is a blood test used to detect problems affecting the thyroid gland. An under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can cause symptoms like weight gain, tiredness, dry skin, constipation, a feeling of being too cold, or frequent menstrual periods. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause symptoms like weight loss, rapid heart rate, nervousness, diarrhea, a feeling of being too hot, or irregular menstrual periods.
Vitamin D - Vitamin D plays a vital role in the body's ability to maintain strong bones. Recent studies have shown a link between low Vitamin D levels and the prevalence of many cancers such as breast, pancreatic, prostate, and colorectal. Research to study that link is in the early stages.
The best way to know if you are getting enough Vitamin D is to have a lab test that measures Vitamin D.
Additional Information Resources
- Heart Health: American Heart Association: www.americanheart.org
- Diabetes: American Diabetes Association: www.diabetes.org
- Cancer prevention, resources and information: American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org
- National Kidney Foundation: www.kidney.org
- General medical and health information: WebMD: www.webmd.com
- National Institutes of Health: www.health.nih.gov
- Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov
To learn more about individual laboratory tests go to
Lab Tests Online: www.labtestsonline.org
American Clinical Laboratory Association: http://www.labresultsforlife.org/
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