How to Read Diagnostic Tests

A kind of medical test that is performed to help in the diagnosis and detection of a disease, measure its progress or recovery and the confirmation that a patient is free from the disease is called a diagnostic test. Not all diagnostic tests are invasive, some are merely a part of a physical examination only requiring the hands of a skilled medical practitioner and can be performed in the clinical environment, while others require extensive and high-end equipment that is often operated by medical technologists. Diagnostic tests done for the detection of a serious illness require tissue samples or body fluids that are sent off to the laboratory for further analysis.

Do an initial assessment of the signs and symptoms you are currently experiencing. For example, difficulty in urination, burning sensation upon urination, back pains and fever, which are some of the common symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

Study the organ system the diagnostic test was indicated for and understand its purpose through reading materials such as medical and nursing books, reliable Internet websites and the like.

Note the normal values of each item stated in the examination, by writing them down on paper.
For example:
Specific Gravity: normal range is within 1.002 to 1.0028; this detects the concentration of the urine. A small amount of protein or ketoacidosis are noted with slight elevations of this range.
pH: Normal range is 4.8 to 7.5; below 4.8 indicates acidity while more than 7.5 indicates alkalinity.
Ketone Bodies: should be absent.
Proteins: should be negative.

Obtain a copy of the diagnostic test result.

Go through each of the parts included in the exam.

Take note of the increased and decreased values.

Relate the abnormal values with the implications you have observed and the signs and symptoms you are experiencing.
For example: An abundant presence of leukocytes, pus and bacteria in the urinalysis result indicates a urinary tract infection.

A kind of medical test that is performed to help in the diagnosis and detection of a disease