Lifelabs in Canada offers free online results of blood tests, which can panic people who don’t know what the results mean! Platelets, white blood cell counts, monocytes, creatinine, thyroid function – it’s all Greek to us normal non-medical folk.
I got my blood tested on Friday morning, and had all the results Saturday afternoon. The results didn’t come from the doctor; rather, the lab gave me a reference number and said I could check online.
I checked my blood work online…and started to panic. I don’t know what any of it – high platelets, low red blood cells, thyroid stuff – means! Worse, every website I checked had different interpretation and information.
So, I came up with a few tips for getting your blood work results online without panicking or diagnosing yourself with a rare blood disorder or other disease.
How does this relate to getting pregnant, infertility, or fertility treatments? Because before fertility doctors do anything, they order blood tests. Day One, Day Three, and almost every day in between – the blood work seems never ending.
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And, on to the results of your blood work…
What Do My Blood Test Results Mean?
“Laboratory tests check a sample of your blood, urine or body tissues. A technician or your doctor analyzes the test samples to see if your results fall within the normal range. The tests use a range because what is normal differs from person to person.
Many factors affect test results. These include:
- Your sex, age and race
- What you eat and drink
- Medicines you take
- How well you followed pre-test instructions
Your doctor may also compare your results to results from previous tests. Laboratory tests are often part of a routine checkup to look for changes in your health. They also help doctors diagnose medical conditions, plan or evaluate treatments, and monitor diseases.” ~ from MedlinePlus.
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How Not to Panic – Online Blood Test Results
Don’t take your blood work results at face value
To get an accurate reading of your blood test – and to properly diagnose a medical condition – you need to talk to your doctor. Don’t ask strangers online to interpret your laboratory results! For instance, many men post their sperm test results here, and ask me what it all means. Instead, they need to get an interpretation of their test results directly from their doctor.
Your blood test results are affected by your medications, your previous test results, and other factors. Thus, someone who doesn’t know your health history can’t give you an accurate interpretation of your results.
Consider not searching the internet for interpretation of test results
The results of my blood work included abnormally high monocytes and platelets, and abnormally low ferritin (iron). So, I searched the internet with these questions: “what does high platelet count mean?”; “causes of high monocytes in blood”; “how to increase iron in diet”; and “what do I do with the online results of my blood test??!!”
I found a few sites with information, but I took them with a grain of salt. For instance, one health site said that high platelets aren’t a big deal; low platelets are far worse. But another website said that high platelets are an indication of a serious health condition that I can’t remember the name of. Which is it for me? I don’t know…so what’s the point of searching for a diagnosis online?
Remember that blogs and forums are personal experience
Don’t panic if you search for your blood results online, and find other people who had the same results and also have serious medical conditions! The blogger next door could have high monocytes, like my test results indicate, and could have a serious case of cancer. That doesn’t mean I have cancer!
To read your blood test results online without panicking, you need to remember that every individual is different. Don’t take what you read on forums or blogs as your truth, or an indication of your health. Instead, take a deep breath, live for the moment, and wait for your next doctor’s appointment.
Call a nurse
In Canada – and in British Columbia specifically – we have BC HealthLink. It’s a free service from the government, which has nurses “on call” 24 hours a day. The nurses don’t actually come to your home, but they do answer questions on the phone. If I was truly freaked out about my blood test results, I’d give them a call. I’m a little freaked out, but not enough to talk to someone about it yet. I’m too tired – which is why I went for the blood work in the first place!
If your province or state offers health information by phone, call and talk to someone in person. That’s far better than guessing your diagnosis based on internet searches.
Remember who the best person is to explain your test results
“The doctor who is familiar with the patient’s medical history and current condition is in the best position to explain test results and their implications,” say the folks at the National Cancer Institute. “Patients are encouraged to discuss questions or concerns about laboratory test results with the doctor.”
For some people, it’s best not to search for what your test results mean. Maybe it’s even better not to check the online results of your blood work.
Whether you get online results depends on your health condition and medical history…if you need to monitor your blood for a specific reason and you know what your results mean, then of course you should stay on top of it. But, if you’re like most people – like me – and you get blood tests every couple of years, then maybe it’s better to leave the interpretation to the experts.
Are you panicking because of your online blood test results? Comments welcome below…
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