Manage Your Labs and Diagnostics
Lab tests can give you important clues about your overall health and the state of your long-term disease. Many of these tests should be done shortly after learning you are diagnosed. These initial tests will establish a baseline measure of your immune health and provide an indication of how active your disease is. Follow-up tests will help you to keep an eye out for changes in your health over time and monitor the impact of your individual treatment regimen. As such, it is important to stay on top of your labs and diagnostics using a calendar or another system that works for you. Here are some tips for making the most out of these tests.
Prior to undergoing any tests…
- Make sure you understand:
WHAT tests are being performed
WHY they are being performed
HOW they will be performed
WHEN you should expect to receive results and how you will receive them
ASK questions if you need more information
After tests are performed…
- Set a reminder to follow-up with your healthcare provider, if results are not received in a reasonable amount of time. Remember, your lab results may be the first thing on your mind, but a lower priority for a busy health care provider. Advocate for yourself by ensuring that you receive and understand all lab and diagnostic results. In some cases, this may be best achieved by scheduling an appointment with your provider to review your results in person.
- Your health care provider should always be your main point of contact for interpreting test results, but sometimes it may be helpful to refer to other, readily accessible sources of information as well. Several reputable websites exist to help individuals understand why specific tests are performed and interpret lab results.
- It is your right to obtain and keep copies of all your lab reports (you may have to request these from your health care practitioner’s office, the lab that performed the testing, or your health care system’s online patient portal). It is in your own best interest to obtain and review copies of all lab reports, even if your provider’s office contacts you to say that your test results were normal.