A Beginner’s Guide to Common Laboratory Services

Whenever a person goes to his/her doctor for a check-up, it’s possible that the person would be required to undergo a certain medical test. In the world of medicine, there are a handful of common laboratory services conducted in order to learn whether a patient is in good health or not. These laboratory services can also help a person monitor his/her progress after a surgery. Five common laboratory services offered to complement a doctor’s diagnosis are enumerated below.

1. Amylase Test. This exam is usually conducted when a doctor observes any symptoms of a pancreatic disorder. The pancreas is one place in the body that produces amylase (the other being the salivary glands in the mouth). When the pancreas becomes inflamed, swollen, or is attacked by a disease, amylase is then released into the blood. This test would help detect any presence of amylase in the blood, and thus indicate that there is indeed something wrong with a patient’s pancreas.

2. Basic Metabolic Panel or BMP. This exam is conducted when a patient comes to his/her doctor about any concerns regarding the possibility of having kidney disease or diabetes. A patient will have to fast for 10 to 12 hours and would then go through 7 to 8 tests.

3. Flu Tests. Swabs are made in a patient’s throat, nose, or upper pharynx. This helps doctors know if the flu symptoms being exhibited by their patients are caused by influenza A, B, or other bacteria.

4. hCG or Human chorionic gonadotrophin. This test is conducted on women who suspect that they are pregnant. This is also done to monitor a woman’s pregnancy, or check if there are certain symptoms that the doctor and patient should be aware of that could be harmful to the patients’ pregnancy. A sample of the woman’s urine is usually examined.

5. Pap Smear. Whenever a woman turns 18, she is advised to have this medical exam conducted every year. This helps her in determining if she has any infections in her uterus and/or vagina. This also helps check if she has cervical cancer or not. Sexually active women are also urged to have this exam every year. A few cells in the opening of the woman’s cervix are taken and then analyzed.

These five medical laboratory services are part of the thousands of services that are conducted in hospitals and other diagnostic laboratories every day. One can think of these services as the very backbone where a doctor’s prescription and diagnosis rests on.