Proper preparation before your medical laboratory tests can help you achieve the desired and reliable test results. Eventually, the correct analysis will be a useful reference for the evaluation of the underlying health conditions. For instance, the result of glucose analysis will only be valid when the person follows the fasting procedure prior to the tests.
In order to avoid such problems, make sure you follow the instructions given by the doctor. Moreover, you should consider the laboratory services with advanced equipment, and provides accurate and efficient test results Some centralized medical facilities offer comprehensive clinical laboratory services that include microbiology, chemistry, urinalysis, immunology, hematology, and other related tests that are accessible and convenient to clients.
Before going to a clinical laboratory, read on the three essential things to consider prior to the submission or collection of samples for testing.
1. Follow All Instructions
All of the laboratory analysis comes with a set of direction to be followed by the individual scheduled for tests. Though, there’s no standardized requirements for all the medical tests as some particular tests need fasting for hours while some don’t. However, for tests without fasting requirements, feed yourself with a regular diet before going to the testing laboratory.
Here are some of the laboratory tests that require advance preparation:
This test can either be random or fasting tests. For fasting tests, you’re not allowed to eat or drink except water within eight hours before the test. If possible, schedule the test first thing in the morning so that fasting duration is covered during the sleep time. Yet with the random glucose test, you’re allowed to feed prior to the test.
It’s important to inform the doctor about the medications you’re on, because certain drugs may affect blood glucose levels.
Generally, the test requires the patient to fast, consuming only water for 9-12 hours prior to the test. Experts believed that fasting before the test provides the most accurate results because the recent food consumption may affect the number of low-density-lipoproteins (LDL). More importantly, inform the doctor if you’re taking medication like statin because it may also affect the test results.
Fasting isn’t necessary before the test and you can consume any food normally to get an accurate result. However, some drugs induce the increase of creatinine levels that may cause kidney damage and interfere with the results. Moreover, it’s best to tell your doctor if you’re taking these drugs to take consideration during test result interpretation.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Aspirin or Ibuprofen
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Antibiotics like cephalexin and cefuroxime
Urinalysis requires some preparation ahead of the tests. It’s imperative to drink water to provide enough urine samples but drinking excessive amounts of water may result in an incorrect diagnosis. You may drink one or two extra glasses of fluid that includes juice or milk if the diet allows.
As it’s clear, fasting isn’t required in the test. Yet, it’s important to inform the doctor of the supplements or medications you’re on as it may affect the results. Some of these factors include:
- Vitamin C supplements
- Anthraquinone laxatives
The test doesn’t require fasting but certain things should be considered before the test. The levels of cortisol vary throughout the day and it has peak amounts in the morning. That’s the reason why doctors usually request the test first thing in the morning.
Furthermore, some factors may increase cortisol levels that include estrogen-containing drugs, synthetic glucocorticoids, and during pregnancy. While some tend to decrease the level of cortisol such as phenytoin and drugs containing androgens.
Other factors like illness and physical and emotional stress may affect the cortisol levels due to the increased production of Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) by the pituitary gland during a stress response. Hence, it’s essential to stay calm and avoid stressful circumstances since it may interfere with the results.
2. Be Honest
If in case you failed to follow the prescribed instructions before the test, despite your best intentions, it’s best to be honest with your doctor in this regard. Of course, no one wants inaccurate results that provide false information.
If possible, share the relevant things to the doctor to have better assessment:
- List of recent medications you’re taking; including herbal supplements and over-the-counter drugs.
- The time you took the last medication.
- List of pain or symptoms you’re experiencing.
- Results from any relevant tests.
- Medical and surgical history.
- A copy of an implanted device like pacemaker or defibrillator.
3. Be Thorough
Some tests don’t require special preparations. Don’t assume anything; unless you’re explicitly informed of the instructions to follow. Better yet, ask your doctor for clarification to ensure you’re preparing in the correct manner.
Furthermore, certain behaviors may influence the results of the tests. These include dehydration, excessive exercise, overeating, and in some cases even sexual activity. There’s a possibility that doctors will refrain the individual from doing things before the test depending on the lab test requested.
The aforementioned tips may help in providing you the best diagnosis of the health condition, considering accurate and efficient results. With the correct assessment, doctors can prescribe the appropriate medication.