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A lab test has become a very important and powerful diagnostic tool for doctors - may it be risk assessment, confirming his clinical judgment, diagnosing infections, cancers, treatment follow up or effect of drugs or hormone imbalance etc. In short we all will need lab test some time or the other. In this web page, we have tried our best to give you correct general information. Some information may vary depending on the protocol followed by the laboratory you may visit.

General Questions

The post lunch sugar test is done at 2 hours of starting your regular lunch. For eg. If Mr.Shah has started his lunch at 12.00 noon he needs to complete his blood collection at 2.00 pm. Mr.Shah will require to reach the lab at 1.50 pm, i.e. 10 minutes early to avoid registration delays. Also Mr.Shah cannot have any food after finishing his lunch for 2 hours. He can have water and his medicines.

You do not have to stay fasting before all lab tests!
The few important blood test/test panels which require fasting are

  Test Fasting period
  Blood Sugar Fasting test(Plasma Glucose) 8 hours
  Lipid profile(Cholesterol-total, HDL, LDL and Triglycerides test) 12 hours
  Metabolic test Panel- SMA 12+2, Pacer 20, Auto-14 etc. 12 hours
  Renal(kidney) Function test 8 hours
  Hypertension Profile, Diabetes Profile, Obesity Profile, etc 12 hours
  All Health Check-ups, Complete Body Profile 12 hours
  Uric Acid 8 hrs recommended by some clinicians.

The American Heart Association warns against quick cholesterol tests you find in malls and health fairs/camps because fasting is imperative to obtaining an accurate result.

Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Take any medication that your doctor prescribed to you except for corticosteroids, estrogen or androgens, oral contraceptives, some diuretics, anti-psychotic medications including haloperidol, some antibiotics and niacin. Please consult your doctor for confirmation. Try and take early morning appointment for your test and after performing the blood draw for your test, you can take these prescribed medicine.
Do not smoke, drink any other liquid than water or exercise during your fast. Even chewing gum is off-. Any of these elements can adversely affect your test results.

The post lunch sugar test is done at 2 hours of starting your regular lunch. For eg. If Mr.Shah has started his lunch at 12.00 noon he needs to complete his blood collection at 2.00 pm. Mr.Shah will require to reach the lab at 1.50 pm, i.e. 10 minutes early to avoid registration delays. Also Mr.Shah cannot have any food after finishing his lunch for 2 hours. He can have water and his medicines.

After completing your registration(5-20 minutes) it usually takes 5-15 minutes for completing your blood draw. But depending on your test requirements the time may vary. In case you have additional after lunch blood test you may have to come back to the lab. If you have additional ECG, X-ray and other imaging test the usual time taken may be 30 minutes to 2 hours. For health check-up you may usually spend upto 1-2 hour in the morning and 1-2 hour in the afternoon at the lab. For some test like FNAC, 2-D ECHO cardiograph and PAP smear a prior appointment is necessary.

In general there is no recommended age for health check-up. Health check-up is recommended for all adults from age of 18 years onwards. Most of the health check-ups today will include
--Common blood tests like CBC, Blood sugar, Urine routine examination
--Preventive test check-up panels assessing risk of certain disease e.g. heart disease, cancer
--Assess general status of important organs like liver, kidney and thyroid gland
--Diabetes monitoring
--Arthritis tests
--Radiology test like X-ray chest/Sonography of abdomen test and ECG check-up
--Check for nutritional deficiencies

Hormone test do not require fasting. The baseline level for most of the hormones in the body is in the morning. Though majority of these tests can be done at any time, morning time is preferred. Some tests like Cortisol, Insulin, etc. may have to be done at the exact time prescribed by your doctor.

The common test for detecting thyroid gland problem is called Thyroid function test which includes
--Free T3, Free T4 and TSH(Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) tests or
--Total T3, Total T4 and TSH(Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) tests.

These tests can detect wether you have hypo-thyroidism(Slow working thyroid gland) or Hyper-thyroidism(Fast working thyroid gland). Also the Thyroid antibodies test is useful to rule out autoimmune thyroid problems
For suspected thyroid problems Thyroid 7 profile which includes all important test for thyroid gland can be performed.

 

you wish to screen yourself for HIV infection the usual screening test is called HIV sceening test. As this screening test can some times give false results, if this test is positive you will require to do a confirmatory HIV Western-blot test. In case of negative result it is recommended to do a follow up screening test after 3-4 months. A more better and gold standard test for detecting early infection is called HIV PCR qualitative test for detecting HIV DNA or RNA. These test will be positive after 1-2 days after infection with HIV.

 

simple terms means low Blood Hemoglobin. Hemoglobin within Red Blood Cells(RBCs) is responsible for carrying oxygen to the various body organs. In general if you have low hemoglobin you will look pale, feel tired easily, you may feel breathless or fatigued easily and many other symptoms. Also you are predisposed to getting frequent infections

The few common test for anemia are :
--Complete blood count : for finding out your Hemoglobin levels
--Retic count: for finding out your bone marrow status(Bone marrow produces blood cells)
--Iron studies: to rule out Iron deficiency common cause of anemia
--Vit. B12 and Folic Acid tests: to look for nutritional deficiency causing anemia
--Hemoglobin Variants or Hb Electrophoresis test: to look for hemoglobin defect like Thalassemia.
--Stool routine examination: to look for occult blood and parasites in stool.

The recommended test for anemia called Anemia profile covers all the above mentioned tests.

The most important lab test for osteoporosis screening is Vitamin D3 test. This test will indicate whether you have deficiency of this vitamin or not. If you are deficient in Vit. D3 you are predisposed to osteoporosis. You will than require to consult your doctor for further evaluation and treatment.
To screen for Osteoporosis, Osteoporosis profile which includes bone tests like Calcium, Phosphorus and Alkaline phosphatase along with Vitamin D3 can be performed.

Yes, Lab test can help you find out your biochemical risk for heart disease. Apart from lifestyle and hereditary risk factors there are biochemical risk factors that may predispose you to heart disease. A comprehensive biochemical risk assessment of Coronary heart disease can be done by performing a Coronary(Heart Attack) Risk Profile which covers tests like Lipid profile, Apo-lipoproteins, Lipoprotein(a), Homocysteine, D-Dimer all of which if abnormal are risk factors for coronary heart disease.

Vitamin B12 is one of the important vitamins of the Vitamin B complex. It’s deficiency leads to Hematological or blood abnormalities and Neurogical (Nerves) abnormalities.
Vitamin D3 is not only important for bones but is now also been shown to take some part in autoimmune disease, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
In our country the deficiency of Vit.B12 and Vit.D3 is very common and widespread. Hence it is important for you to detect these deficiencies and take corrective steps

Usually clean plastic container for these tests are provided by the laboratory. It is always preferable to collect urine/stool samples in these containers rather than using home cleaned containers. For urine and stool culture test lab will provide special sterile containers.

In case of urine routine and culture tests the best sample for testing is the morning urine sample. The urine is collected after cleaning private parts and allowing some initial urine to pass(Mid-Stream urine sample).In case you have symptoms of Urinary tract infection like fever, burning pain, increased frequency of urination- urine spot sample can also be collected for testing. 50 ml or more of urine should be collected for testing whenever possible. Test samples should be transported to the lab as soon as possible within one hour of collection.

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