Cathleen VanattaLaboratory Director
Providing You the Best in Laboratory Services
The Grape Hospital clinical pathology laboratory provides diagnostic testing services to help identify the cause of disease and other medical conditions. On-site technologists analyze blood, urine, culture products, and other body fluids. The Hospital contracts with Nebraska Methodist Health System to provide more comprehensive testing in certain situations and to perform additional tests not needed routinely.|
Understanding Lab Results
Lab tests help your doctor identify issues or watch your body's response to treatment. They can show small changes before problems get serious. Keeping track of your lab results lets your doctor take action as soon as your blood counts change.|
It's a good idea to go over lab results with your personal physician. This helps you learn the "normal ranges" for your own body and better understand your test results. Consider these topics with your doctor:
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
The most common lab test during treatment is called a complete blood count, or CBC. This test measures 3 basic types of blood cells:
Red Blood Cells (RBCs)
RBCs carry oxygen to and carbon dioxide away from the cells in your body. The CBC measures red blood cells in many ways, but the simplest measure is either:
White Blood Cells (WBCs)
WBCs fight infection. There are many types of white blood cells and each fights infection in a special way.
The most important infection-fighting WBC is the neutrophil . The number doctors look at is called your absolute neutrophil count (ANC). A healthy person has an ANC between 2,500 and 6,000.
The ANC is found by multiplying the WBC count by the percent of neutrophils in the blood. For instance, if the WBC count is 8,000 and 50% of the WBCs are neutrophils, the ANC is 4,000 (8,000 x 0.50 = 4,000).
When the ANC drops below 1,000 it is called neutropenia . Your doctor will watch your ANC closely because the risk of infection is much higher when the ANC is below 500.
Platelets help control bleeding. You may bruise or bleed easily when your platelet levels are low. The risk of bleeding goes up when platelet levels drop below 20,000.
When your platelet count is low, your health care team may call it thrombocytopenia.
Another type of blood test looks at blood chemistry. Chemistry panels may also be called by other names, such as metabolic profile or blood chemistry profile. One blood sample can be used to measure many things like:
Certain blood chemistry tests can show how well your organs are working. For instance, liver function studies tell your doctor how well your liver is working. Other tests look at how well your kidneys are working.
Some treatments can cause changes in your body's blood chemistry, such as a drop in the amount of potassium in your blood. Your blood chemistry balance can also be changed by dehydration (not enough fluid in the body), which may be caused by nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Your doctor will do blood chemistry tests if there's concern that you may have any of these problems.
If the tests show that certain electrolytes are too low, your doctor may decide to replace them. If the tests show you are dehydrated, you may be given intravenous (IV) fluids. It's important to get the tests your doctor wants because most of the time you won't have any symptoms until one or more blood chemistry values are dangerously low or high.
Each lab has its own range for what it considers normal values for complete blood counts and chemistry panel results. What's normal for one lab might not be normal for another, so it's important to know what your lab's normal range is when looking at your results. Normal ranges for some tests also vary by age and gender. On most lab reports the normal ranges for each test and a notation telling you if yours is high or low are printed on the lab report, next to your test results.
Results that are high or low usually have the letter (H) or (L) after the number. It may be printed to the side or in a different column to call attention to the abnormal result. Keeping a copy of your past lab results help you and your doctor compare normal value ranges.
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At George C. Grape Community Hospital, we understand that healthcare is evolving. Advancements in medicine and strides in technology are providing local communities access to better healthcare. It is our desire to provide the best care in our region. Our staff will be here to help you and your loved ones when the need arises. The comfort and care of our patients is our major goal.
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