Understanding Bloodwork

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Jenny S.
Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 80
   Posted 8/26/2008 9:48 AM (GMT -6)   

How do you understand your bloodwork results?  My doc sometimes rattles off a few acronyms, but generally says the results look fine.  How do other folks in this forum know specifics?  Do you request a copy of the bloodwork yourself?  I've never done that because the tests done look like Greek to me. 


Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.



I have Lupus ... Lupus doesn't have me. 

Dx: Raynaud's(2000)·Lupus(2001)

Rx: Pletal 100mg·Norvasc 10mg·Prednisone 5mg·Plaquenil 400mg


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2570
   Posted 8/26/2008 10:01 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm fortunate to have a doctor who explains my bloodwork to me. If you doc starts rattling, I'd stop him and ask to see the lab results and to go over them together. Explain to your doc that you need to understand your lab results. If your doc doesn't have the patience to do that, I'd consider finding another doctor. I believe that I'm paying my doctor to not only treat me, but to educate me so I can better understand my disease and therefore take better care of myself. It is my opinion that a doctor who expects their patients to be totally ignorant and to follow their lead blindly isn't a very good doctor.

An example in my case is that a while back my triglicerides were high so my doctor explained in detail what that meant, how it could harm me in the long term, and what I could do to modify my diet to help control it.. I had no idea that sugar could cause your triglicerides to increase. After a long explanation, I had a better understanding of the situation, even though she prescribed Tricor to control my trigli. Therefore, I continue to watch what I eat. Some docs will tell you your tricl. are high, so take this pill.

Good luck!
Lupus, osteoarthritis, fibro, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines, costocondritis.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, tricor, acifex, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin

Post Edited (PattyLatty) : 8/26/2008 9:04:56 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 8/26/2008 4:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Fortunatly my doctor mails them to me with little notes indicating problem areas. I usually recieve them on Saturday and she calls Monday morning to discuss them. Often times I will have had a chance to research the results.

Having the printouts make it easy for me to look back and track changes. I dont know what all of the results/tests are but I do trust that she is allerting me when necessary.

I am fortunate to be on her case load...Ive had more than a few rheumys that I didnt care for!

I think the website given to me in a post over the weekend was: labworkonline.com
It was helpful. Good Luck!
31 year old mom of 1: SLE, UCTD, FM, Arthritis, Reynalds(?), Migraines, Alopecia, Neuropothy(L:Hand & Foot), Int. Bells Palsey, a bunch of other stuff I don't remember right now and even more labwork I dont understand!
Plaquinil, Trazodone, Lidoderm, Percocet for now...I hate taking the meds!  Refusing any more Prednisone!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 2818
   Posted 8/26/2008 4:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Jenny, you can ask your doctor for a copy of everything. When I get my tests done and go in the office they just run me off a copy up front. I think always rosie has a place where you can find out what your range should be so you can tell weather it's high or low. and by how much but it usually will say on the lab results. They won't give me them unless I ask but it's good to have them. That way you always have them to take to another doctor if you need them.
Possible scleroderma.  stage 4 COPD,  Osteoporosis,osteoarthritis
Prednisone,plaquanil400mg,azythromyacin,vicodin 4x5mg,Evista60mg, Effexor 150mg,Xanax 1.0 x3,Singular,nitro spray, spirivia,aciphex,lasix,inderal,pot.chlor.,B12 
I will never leave you nor forsake you!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1296
   Posted 8/26/2008 4:40 PM (GMT -6)   


Here is a good site to help you understand blood tests.  There are others.  You should also look for articles on lupus that will have specific information on tests and symptoms.


I have done a lot of research on the web and there are dozens of great sites depending on what you are seeking.  Usually start by doing various google searches to find the specific info I want. Here are some good sites:





These are just a few and there are many more.  You will find contradictory information sometimes but that is the nature of lupus and other AI diseases.  Also keep in mind that lab tests can be positive or negative and how you feel is probably more important.  Your labs can be normal but you can feel like hell.

I have a copy of all tests taken since I got sick 3 years ago.  In fact I have some blood work from 20 years ago that showed some telltale signs (mild anemia and low platelets) that indicated what I had before I became symptomatic.  If the doctor does not show the actual results I ask for a copy. 

Hope this helps.


Mixed connective tissue disease (systemic lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis), Raynauds phenomena, Hypertension, Barrett's esophagus.
Meds: prednisone 5mg, 50mg imuran, Lotrel 40/5mg, maxide 37.5/25mg, folic acid, potassium, aciphex 20mg, multi vitamins.
Maintain your optimism and you can beat the odds.
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."  Helen Keller

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