What Is the Normal Range for Lab Test Results?

Alexis Bryan
Alexis Bryan23 Aug 2022
Reviewed and Fact Checked ✔️

Lab tests are an important part of preventive health care even if you are healthy. There are general and targeted lab tests to look into many indicators of health including organ function, diet, metabolism, illnesses, diagnosis of diseases.

Most doctors recommend yearly lab testing to monitor your general health. Mira offers four essential health panels you can order for same-day testing. No doctor visit required. Mira members can also receive $49 routine blood work, $25 lipid panels, $99 STD panel, $19 A1c, and $35 Vitamin D test - no hidden fees. Read on to learn more about how to interpret your lab test results.

Common Lab Tests

Depending on your age, symptoms, and family medical history, your doctor may recommend various lab tests to get a better idea of your current health status or diagnose diseases. If you are obese, have diabetes, smoke, or have other significant underlying health conditions, doctors may order more specific lab tests. Some baseline lab tests are explained below:

  • Complete Blood Count: A complete blood count (CBC) test checks for levels of different components of every major cell in your blood. CBCs look at white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and plasma.
  • Basic Metabolic Panel: Basic metabolic panels (BMP) assess electrolyte balance, as well as liver and lung function. Basic metabolic panels include 8 specific tests: glucose, calcium, sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine. Your doctor may ask you to fast for 10-12 hours before the test to get the most accurate results.
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) includes the same tests as a basic metabolic panel with the addition of liver panel tests. The liver panel includes 6 tests to look at proteins and liver enzymes. If you have a known liver condition, your doctor may suggest a comprehensive metabolic panel over the basic metabolic panel.
  • Lipid Panel: Lipid panels test for both high-density lipoprotein (HDL), “good” cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), “bad” cholesterol. A lipid panel assesses your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

Getting regular lab testing is an important way to manage your health and catch any diseases before they progress. Henry Harrison from BlueBiology explains, “If you are looking to reduce your risk of certain diseases and complications, then regular blood tests may be the answer for you. Standard blood tests have the ability to catch warning signs of a variety of diseases during onset. Cardiovascular disease, liver failure, and kidney conditions and diabetes can all be diagnosed and confirmed through blood testing.”

Lab Test Results

Lab test results are shown as a set of numbers called a reference range, which is the “normal” range results should be in for healthy individuals. If your lab test results are outside of the reference range, don’t panic. “Abnormal” results do not necessarily mean there is something wrong, but rather something to discuss with your doctor. It may be okay if some of your lab results are out of the reference ranges due to medications you are taking, family history, or pre-existing medical conditions. 

Below are some other terms that may appear on your lab results: 

  • Negative or normal means the disease or substance being tested was not found in the test.
  • Positive or abnormal means the disease or substance being tested was found in the test.
  • Inconclusive or uncertain means there wasn't enough information in the results to diagnose or rule out a disease. If you get an inconclusive result, your doctor will probably recommend you get additional tests.
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Alexis Bryan

Alexis Bryan MPH, is a recent graduate of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She is passionate about increasing access to care to improve health outcomes. Outside of work, she loves to travel, read, and pay too much attention to her plants.

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