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Important Lab Tests That You Need to Have Done and Why

Updated: Jun 11, 2022

blood sample tube

Do you know the meaning of all the lab tests that your doctor ordered you to have? Depending on your particular case, some will be needed to assess your current conditions. Others are ordered to check your health in general. Even when you consider yourself a healthy individual, it is possible to detect that something is not working so well with a routine lab test. Having your lab tests done helps your provider to create the best plan of care.

There are tons of lab tests. Some of them check your blood, like the Complete Blood Count (CBC); others check your urine. Some of them need to be fasting, like the Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG); while others don’t. Some tests need special preparation in advance. Others can be done at any time during the day, while some have a specific time in the day to be done. Your doctor will give you the instructions to prepare for your tests. Following the instructions will give more accurate results.

Common Laboratory Tests

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

This is an always-to-be-asked lab test. With a CBC your doctor can assess many things that are happening in your body. For example, it can show if you are having anemia by looking specifically at the Hemoglobin level. It also can show if you are having an infection by looking at the white blood cells. The level of platelets can tell the doctor if you have a coagulation disorder that might need immediate attention. The number of red and white cells can indicate if there is a disorder with your blood components, like leukemia. These are just a few examples; many other diseases or conditions can be detected with a simple CBC.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

Another important test is the CMP. With a CMP your doctor will see how are your body's chemical balance and metabolism. For example, it shows your levels of sodium, potassium, chloride, and carbon dioxide. They can be affected by multiple conditions that go from dehydration to lung diseases. Another component that is measured is calcium. Abnormal levels of calcium can lead to a problem with your parathyroid gland, a malignancy, or problems with your kidneys, among others. The glucose in abnormal levels might indicate a potential problem with diabetes. While abnormal albumin, bilirubin, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) can indicate that something is happening with your liver. Finally, the Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN), tells if there is something wrong with your kidneys. Same as a CBC, these are just some examples of what CMP results can reveal about your health.

Lipid Panel

This test looks at your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. It specifically gives you the levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). When the LDL levels are high, that can indicate a higher risk of heart disease.

Hemoglobin A1C (HgbA1C)

This test gives an average of how your blood sugar has been for the past three months. This can be useful to diagnose diabetes and follow up with blood sugar control. This test is not requested as part of a general exam for non-diabetic patients unless there is an abnormality with blood glucose level in the CMP.

Thyroid Hormones

Abnormal levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3) indicate that something is happening with your thyroid gland. Assessing these levels might lead to a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism, among others.

Vitamin D

Your body needs Vitamin D to help with the absorption of calcium, which is needed for healthy bones. Therefore, this is another important blood test to have. Abnormal levels of Vitamin D can lead, for example, to osteoporosis as a consequence of the low calcium levels.

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)

This is an exclusive test for men. This test helps in the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Urinalysis (UA)

This test checks your urine. The appearance and contents in your urine can indicate if there are problems like infections, kidney stones, diabetes, kidney conditions, or can even point out a malignancy.

These are the main blood tests ordered as part of a general medical checkup. There are many other blood tests, but they are ordered on a case-by-case basis. Your doctor will determine which other lab is needed based on your medical history and current symptoms.

And as always, please stay healthy and come back for the next topic.



This Site cannot and does not contain physician advice. The physician information is provided for general and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of physician advice. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE OR THE MOBILE APPLICATION IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK.

224 views6 comments


I really love this because I always wonder which labs are most important for me to look into. Lately I have really been thinking about ordering some blood tests just to check on my health, so when I do I will refer to this post. :)

Dr. W. Santiago
Dr. W. Santiago
Mar 30, 2022
Replying to

It's good to hear that you will be using this information as reference. Thanks for commenting!


It's so good for us to be informed patients and in the know about our health. This leads to feelings of empowerment! Great post :)

Dr. W. Santiago
Dr. W. Santiago
Mar 30, 2022
Replying to

That is the purpose. Thanks for commenting!


Yanlin Chen
Yanlin Chen
Mar 11, 2022

Easy to understand, I didn't realize there's so many kinds. Thanks for sharing!

Dr. W. Santiago
Dr. W. Santiago
Mar 11, 2022
Replying to

That is the idea, that people understand what is so important for their health. Thanks for your comment.


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