(Extract from The ABC of the laboratory tests of R. Colombo, L. Zacchetti)
All laboratory tests, from routine to specialist ones up to the latest news in laboratory medicine, explained in a simple and understandable way by anyone.
This is the purpose and, we can affirm, also the challenge of this manual, which, according to the authors, wants to be a sort of vademecum for those who go to perform laboratory analyzes. In fact, all of them, some more and some less, constantly perform laboratory tests to check their state of health for diagnostic or prevention purposes.
The report, however, unlike a diagnostic imaging exam (such as ultrasound, for example), which gives an explanation, contains only numerical indices or indicative parameters which, for the layman, are not significant.
Furthermore, an asterisk appears next to the tests whose result is not within the reference values to indicate that something is wrong. How many ask, then, "I have high triglycerides, but what does that mean?" or "the blood count is not normal, then?". Here, then, that this manual has the ambitious goal of becoming a guide and trying to guide you towards a first correct interpretation of these tests, without alarmism and without detracting from the opinion of your doctor, who must in any case be consulted. This manual fills a gap by inserting itself in the middle between the small manuals, which simply indicate the correct reference values, without explaining their meaning, and the large medical treatises, which give a highly scientific explanation and are usable only by professionals. Finally, therefore, a streamlined guide, easy to consult and simple to understand.
The blood test: what it is!
This is a very common expression, used by everyone, but, in reality, if you want to be precise, there is no "blood test", but, rather, "many tests", certainly many hundreds. Depending on the case, the doctor
prescribes some specific ones for prevention or to know the progress of an ongoing disease, to ascertain its presence or to check the effectiveness of a treatment (dietary, hormonal, etc. ), or, again, to see if the use of a drug has not caused any alteration or side effect in the body. This is why it is important to be able to "read" your report without naturally removing the competence of your trusted doctor, who remains the main interlocutor to turn to to discuss and interpret the results of the various tests.
How you do it
The blood test consists of taking a small amount of venous blood, usually from a vein in the arm, but in the case of veins that are too small or hidden in depth, a vein from the back of the hand can be used. Not only is blood sampling not painful, but it does not involve any risk, as today only disposable syringes are used. The amount of blood that is taken depends on the number of tests to be performed, but, in any case, it is always a very small amount and, therefore, not such as to cause any disturbance or feeling of weakness. For most of the tests, the sample must be taken on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning, to prevent the substances contained in the food from altering the results of the tests. In fact, in different foods there are many substances (sugars, fats, proteins, mineral salts, etc.) which, once ingested, pass into the blood from which they are eliminated after some time.
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