Archive for June 16th, 2009

Meaning and Interpretation of Medical Tests

June 16th, 2009 No comments

How many times have you gone to the doctor and had tests ordered, gotten the results back, and still aren’t sure what they mean? Sadly, this is commonplace. Most people lack medical knowledge to understand their own care well, and time-pressured doctors often don’t have the time to educate their patients about their own health. Even when you have a helpful doctor and are reasonably well-informed about your health, you might forget what your doctor said or lose your notes or get two tests confused with each other.

Trying to understand some of my own medical test results recently, I ran across a couple of websites that are really helpful for explaining hundreds of the most common medical tests, both by test name and by medical conditions related to the tests. I also found many helpful articles on understanding “optimal ranges” for certain tests that are vastly different from the “reference ranges” used by labs and doctors.
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