Common Lab Tests
As part of a regular checkup, to get a diagnosis, or perhaps to provide a benchmark, your doctor may request one or more laboratory tests. Here is a list of the most common tests ordered and their purposes. Except where noted, all tests are done using a blood sample.
A group of 7-8 tests used as a screening tool to check for conditions like diabetes and kidney disease. You may be asked to fast for 10 to 12 hours prior to the test.
Determines general health and screens for disorders such as anemia or infections, as well as nutritional status and toxic substance exposure.
This group of 14 tests gives your doctor information about:
- your kidneys
- your liver
- your electrolyte levels
- your acid/base balance
- blood sugar
- blood proteins
Your doctor may order this test to determine the cause of inflammation, or to help diagnose and follow the course of joint or muscle pain.
Used to determine whether flu-like symptoms are due to influenza A or B, or to other causes. Testing may be done using a nasopharyngeal swab, nasal aspirate or wash, or a throat swab.
Used to identify blood glucose level, and to screen for, diagnose, and monitor diabetes, pre-diabetes, and hypoglycemia. If you are diabetic, glucose levels should be monitored up to several times a day.
Used to monitor a person’s diabetes and to aid in treatment decisions, this test is usually performed with the first diagnosis and then 2 to 4 times per year.
This test determines if you are infected with HIV. It should be performed three to six months after you think you may have been exposed to the virus.
Your liver is the second largest organ in your body. It converts the food you eat into energy and nutrients and filters waste from your blood. The liver panel checks the health of your liver and can help diagnose liver damage or disease. This test can be used to diagnose hepatitis or other liver-related conditions.
This group of tests can determine risk of coronary heart disease, and may be a good indicator of whether someone is likely to have a heart attack or stroke, as caused by blockage of blood vessels.
If you show symptoms of Lyme disease, your doctor may order this test to see if you have been exposed to Borrellia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
This test is performed annually after a diagnosis of diabetes or hypertension to screen for a possible kidney disorder. It can be done using a random, timed, overnight, or 24-hour urine sample.
If you have symptoms of mononucleosis, including fever, sore throat, swollen glands, and fatigue, your doctor may order this test to make a diagnosis.
Should be performed annually for women who are over the age of 18 and/or sexually active, to screen for cervical cancer and certain vaginal or uterine infections. Cells are removed from the cervical area for testing.
Used to check how well prescribed blood-thinning medications (anti-coagulants) are working, or to help detect and diagnose a bleeding disorder.
This test is most often ordered to help evaluate your risk of excessive bleeding prior to a surgical procedure, or to monitor heparin anticoagulant therapy.
This test can be used to learn about the health of your reproductive organs. It can also be performed after a vasectomy to determine if the operation was successful. A semen sample is collected in a sterile, wide-mouth container provided by the lab.
This test is performed to screen for and diagnose thyroid disorders, or to monitor treatment of hypothyroidism.
This standard test is usually performed on admission to a hospital or as part of an annual physical. It may also be done if you have symptoms relating to abdominal pain or blood in the urine. One to two ounces of urine are required.