Quest Diagnostics near me for easy and affordable labs & bloodwork.

Quest Diagnostics near me lab results for cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid, HIV, testosterone, fertility, and more.
Find the best cash price for labs and bloodwork from Quest Diagnostics near me including lipid panel, HbA1c, Complete Blood Count, Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone Test, and more.

Quest Diagnostics - Hemoglobin A1c lab test

Quest Diagnostics or other certified lab visit to complete an A1C blood test, which measures the amount of hemoglobin in your blood.
  • Hemoglobin A1c lab test

Quest Diagnostics - Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test

Quest Diagnostics or other certified lab visit to complete a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, which evaluates thyroid function or detects symptoms of a thyroid disorder.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test

Quest Diagnostics - Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)

Quest Diagnostics or other certified lab will complete a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) may include the following tests: BUN (blood urea nitrogen), creatinine, bilirubin, ALP (alkaline phosphatase), ALT (alanine transaminase), AST (aspartate aminotrasferase), total protein, albumin, electrolytes, calcium, glucose.
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)

Quest Diagnostics - Complete blood count (CBC)

The complete blood count (CBC) is a group of tests that evaluate the cells that circulate in blood, and can evaluate your overall health and detect a variety of diseases and conditions.
  • Complete blood count (CBC)

Quest Diagnostics - STD testing

Quest Diagnostics or other certified Lab test to complete a comprehensive STD panel, which includes: HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis B, hepatitis C

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Are there any risks to blood testing?

Blood tests are routine procedures that are safe and relatively quick. You may experience some pain - usually described as a pinch - as the needle is inserted into your arm.

After your blood is drawn, the puncture site may be sore or lightly bruised, but these complications are generally minor and will go away within a few days.

If you experience lasting pain or bleeding, or if the puncture site begins to heavily bruise, talk to your doctor.

What tests are included in a standard health panel?

A standard health panel is a routine blood/ urine test that uses various types of analysis to determine your overall health, and diagnose any infections or diseases that may be detected. The most common tests performed during a standard health panel include:

- Complete blood count

- Comprehensive metabolic panel

- Lipid panel

- Thyroid panel

- Blood clot tests

- Urinalysis

What are these tests used for?

More on the tests included in a standard health panel:

Complete blood count (CBC): A complete blood count (CBC) is a common blood test that evaluates your overall health by measuring several components of your blood, including:


  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells
  • Hemoglobin
  • Platelets

Abnormalities in these blood levels may indicate the presence of an underlying health condition such as:


  • Anemia
  • Bone disorders
  • Malnutrition (such as vitamin or mineral deficiencies)
  • Infections
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Leukemia and lymphoma
  • Sickle cell anemia

Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP): A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) measures 14 different substances in your blood to give your doctor important information about your body's chemical balance and metabolism. CMPs measure the levels of:


  • Albumin
  • Blood urea nitrogen
  • Calcium
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Chloride
  • Creatinine
  • Glucose
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Total bilirubin
  • Total protein
  • Liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and aspartate aminotransferase)

A test of these levels can help doctors check several body systems such as:


  • Liver and kidney function
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Blood protein levels
  • Acidity in the blood
  • Electrolyte balance
  • Metabolism

CMPs check the same substance balances as a BMP, as well as levels of enzymes that are made by the liver (alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and aspartate aminotransferase). Levels of bilirubin - a waste product made by the liver - are also tested to determine how well your body is filtering red blood cells. High levels of bilirubin may indicate liver or bile duct problems (such as cancer or gallstones).

Comprehensive metabolic panels are especially important for individuals who are managing a chronic health condition (such as diabetes), or who routinely take prescription medication that may affect the function of the liver and kidneys.

LIPID PANEL: A lipid panel is a group of tests that measures cholesterol and other fats in your blood. These results can then be used to help assess your risk of heart disease or stroke. Your doctor may recommend a lipid panel if you have a family history of heart disease or stroke - or if you have any conditions that may increase your risk of heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity, high total cholesterol, and more.

Lipids are fat molecules in the blood. They act as energy stores and chemical messengers in the body. A lipid panel measures levels of 3 different lipids, as well as your total cholesterol levels:


- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: Commonly known as “bad cholesterol”, LDL will build up and clog the arteries. Excess levels of LDL cause plaque in blood vessels, which can obstruct and slow blood flow. If this plaque build-up occurs in the blood vessels around the heart, it can lead to coronary artery disease.

- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: Known as “good cholesterol”, HDL carries cholesterol through the body and deposits it back into the liver, which removes these fatty molecules from the body.

- Triglycerides: When you eat, your body converts any unneeded calories into triglycerides - a molecule that is stored in fat cells. In between meals, these molecules are converted into energy. Eating more calories than you burn can result in a build-up of triglycerides, which can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Lipid panel testing is especially important for individuals who have risk factors of heart disease and coronary artery disease. Risk factors include:


  • Family history of heart disease or high cholesterol
  • Being overweight/ obese
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Lack of physical activity/ cardiovascular conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Unhealthy diet
  • History of high cholesterol

Thyroid Panel: Thyroid panel tests are used to determine the levels of T3 and T4 hormones in your blood. Low amounts of these hormones indicate an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), where excessive levels of T3 and T4 indicate an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

A comprehensive thyroid panel will evaluate your thyroid function with 3 different tests:

- TSH test: A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test is a lab test that evaluates how well your thyroid is working by measuring your thyroid-stimulating hormone. Your doctor may recommend a TSH test if you're experiencing symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, including anxiety, weight gain/loss, tiredness, hair loss, irregular menstrual periods, changes in your heart rate, puffiness, and more.

- T4 Test: A thyroxine (T4) test measures the level of T4 in the blood.

- T3 Test: A triiodothyronine (T3) test measures the level of T3 in the blood.

Blood Clot Tests: Also known as a coagulation panel, this test measures protein levels in the blood that affect clotting.

Blood clotting helps stop bleeding when you get a wound, but may also lead to blockage in an artery or vein. This can cause a stroke, heart failure, or heart attack. Your doctor may order a coagulation panel if they suspect you may have a condition that affects your body’s normal blood clotting functions. Conditions that may be diagnosed through a coagulation panel test include:


  • Hemophilia (a bleeding disorder that may result in spontaneous bleeding)
  • Thrombosis (blood clots causing a blockage in blood vessels)
  • Liver disease
  • Vitamin K deficiency

If you are currently taking blood-thinning medication, your doctor may schedule regular blood clot tests to reduce your risk of spontaneous or uncontrollable bleeding.

Urinalysis: Commonly known as a urine test, this exam employs a microscope visual examination, as well as a dipstick test to identify possible infections in the urinary tract. Dipstick tests, specifically, check the chemical balance of urine to measure levels of:

- Acidity: Excessive acidity (ph) levels in the urine may indicate a kidney or urinary tract disorder.

- Protein: Large amounts of protein in the urine may indicate a kidney disorder, as the kidneys are responsible for filtering these substances out of the urine.

- Glucose: Elevated sugar levels in the urine are usually an indication of prediabetes or diabetes.

- White blood cells: White blood cells in the urine are a common indicator of infection.

- Bilirubin: Bilirubin is a waste product from the breakdown of red blood cells in the liver. The presence of this substance in urine may indicate a liver disorder.

If a microscope exam is performed, your urine will be checked for the presence of:

- White blood cells: White blood cells in the urine are usually an indicator of infection.

- Red blood cells: Red blood cells in the urine are a common sign of a kidney disorder, bladder cancer, or an infection of the urinary tract.

- Pathogens: Bacteria, viruses, parasites, or yeast in the urine may indicate the presence of an infection in the urinary tract, kidneys, or liver.

- Crystals: Uric crystals are a common indicator of kidney stones,

How do I prepare for a standard health panel?

Most blood testing requires little to no preparation. Some tests, such as the comprehensive metabolic panel or the lipid panel require you to fast for 8-12 hours before your appointment. Talk to your health care provider about the proper preparation for your test.

What happens during a standard health panel?

Most blood tests are performed at a primary care office, often as a part of a routine yearly check-up.

During your appointment, your arm will be wrapped in a band to push blood into the veins of the arm. This makes it easier to insert the needle that will be drawing blood from that area. You may feel a slight pinch as the needle is inserted into your arm, but this sensation should pass within a few seconds. The needle draws blood from a vein in your arm, depositing it into a vial or test tube. Some individuals or tests may require multiple tubes to be filled.

After the needed about of blood has been drawn, the needle will be taken out of your arm and the puncture site will be cleaned and bandaged. The blood will then be sent to a lab for testing and analysis.

If your doctor has ordered urinalysis, you will be asked to deposit a predetermined amount of urine into a small vial for testing. You will be asked to go to the bathroom, where you begin urinating into the toilet. After a second, fill the vial with the ordered amount of urine, then finish urinating into the toilet. You will then give this vial to your primary care provider, who will send it to the lab for testing.

You will get your results for most tests in 1-3 business days. A complete metabolic panel may take longer, due to the amount of testing needed. Depending on the results of your blood test, your health care provider may request follow-up testing to provide a definitive diagnosis of any health conditions or diseases they may detect.

What is a comprehensive metabolic panel?

A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) measures 14 different substances in your blood to give your doctor important information about your body's chemical balance and metabolism. CMPs measure the levels of:


  • Albumin
  • Blood urea nitrogen
  • Calcium
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Chloride
  • Creatinine
  • Glucose
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Total bilirubin
  • Total protein
  • Liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and aspartate aminotransferase)

A test of these levels can help doctors check several body systems such as:


  • Liver and kidney function
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Blood protein levels
  • Acidity in the blood
  • Electrolyte balance
  • Metabolism

What is a basic metabolic panel?

A basic metabolic panel (BMP) measures 8 different substances in your blood to give your doctor important information about your body's chemical balance and metabolism. BMPs measure the levels of:


  • Blood urea nitrogen (waste produced by the kidneys)
  • Calcium (helps determine kidney function)
  • Carbon dioxide (determines lung and kidney function)
  • Chloride (helps determine electrolyte balance)
  • Creatinine (a byproduct of kidney function, helps determine kidney health)
  • Glucose (determines blood sugar levels)
  • Potassium (helps determine sodium content)
  • Sodium (determines water/ salt balance)

A test of these levels can help doctors check several body systems such as:


  • Kidney function
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Blood protein levels
  • Acidity in the blood
  • Electrolyte balance
  • Metabolism

Why do I need to get a CMP?

Comprehensive metabolic panels are usually done during your routine yearly check-up. Just as other parts of the check-up test your blood pressure, eye and skin health, and other crucial health factors, a CMP gives doctors a clearer sense of your internal - and overall - health.

Comprehensive metabolic panels are especially important for individuals who are managing a chronic health condition (such as diabetes), or who routinely take prescription medication that may affect the function of the liver and kidneys.

What are some health conditions a CMP can help doctors diagnose?

Abnormalities in the level of some of these substances can help doctors detect and diagnose health conditions that may be difficult to point out without blood work. Some examples of health conditions that a CMP can help detect include:


  • Heart disease
  • Kidney & liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Blood pressure
  • Nutrient imbalances
  • Dehydration

Depending on the results of a CMP test, you may be asked to undergo follow-up testing for a more accurate diagnosis. This is commonly done if your provider suspects that you may be experiencing heart disease, kidney and liver disease, or diabetes.

What are some health conditions a BMP helps doctors diagnose?

Abnormalities in the level of some of these substances can help doctors detect and diagnose health conditions that may be difficult to identify without blood work. Some examples of health conditions that a CMP can help detect include:


  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Blood pressure
  • Nutrient imbalances
  • Dehydration

Depending on the results of a BMP test, you may be asked to undergo follow-up testing for a more accurate diagnosis. This is commonly done if your provider suspects that you may be experiencing heart disease, kidney disease, or diabetes.

What is the difference between a comprehensive and basic metabolic panel?

Basic metabolic panel testing checks the blood levels of:


  • Blood urea nitrogen
  • Calcium
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Chloride
  • Creatinine
  • Glucose
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

BMPs are primarily used to check electrolyte and blood sugar levels, and your body’s acid-base balance.

CMPs check the levels of these substances, as well as enzymes that are made by the liver (alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and aspartate aminotransferase). Levels of bilirubin - a waste product made by the liver - are also tested to determine how well your body is filtering red blood cells. High levels of bilirubin may indicate liver or bile duct problems (such as cancer or gallstones).

Your doctor may order a CMP or BMP based on your health history and needs.

What tests are included in a comprehensive male panel?

Specific tests performed for a comprehensive male panel may vary depending on the brand of test or clinic, but common forms of testing include:

Total testosterone: This test measures the levels of testosterone in the blood. Testosterone helps regulate body fat, muscle mass, bone mass, red blood cell count, sperm count, and libido. Excessive levels of testosterone can lead to an increase in cholesterol, hardened blood cells, and prostate problems. Low levels of testosterone can affect reproductive health, fertility, and other natural functions (such as strength, energy, and fat storage).

Dihydrotestosterone: Commonly known as DHT, this hormone is commonly converted from testosterone as a man ages. Excessive levels of DHT may indicate an enlarged prostate (known as benign prostate hyperplasia).

Estrone & estradiol: Commonly known as “female” hormones, excessive levels of estrone and estradiol can lead to obesity, breast enlargement, and prostate problems.

DHEA-S: DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands to promote the production of testosterone and estrogen. DHEA levels decrease with age, but are commonly supplemented during hormone replacement therapy to counteract the symptoms of low testosterone or low estrogen (depending on whether you are a man or woman).

PSA: Prostate-specific antigens are proteins created by the prostate gland. Elevated levels of PSAs in the blood can indicate a prostate condition (such as benign prostate hyperplasia) or prostate cancer.

Complete blood count (CBC): A complete blood count (CBC) is a common blood test that evaluates your overall health by measuring several components of your blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, and platelets. This can help doctors diagnose infections, autoimmune disorders, anemia, and other health conditions.

Lipid Panel: A lipid panel is a group of tests that measures cholesterol and other fats in your blood. These results can then be used to help assess your risk of heart disease or stroke. Your doctor may recommend a lipid panel if you have a family history of heart disease or stroke - or if you have any conditions that may increase your risk of heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity, high total cholesterol, and more.

Thyroid Panel: Thyroid panel tests are used to determine the levels of T3 and T4 hormones in your blood. Low amounts of these hormones indicate an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), where excessive levels of T3 and T4 indicate an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

Vitamin D: A vitamin D 25-hydroxy test is a simple blood test used by doctors to measure vitamin D levels in the blood. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 41% of American adults have vitamin D deficiency. This can lead to bone and muscle pain, increased risk of infection, and fatigue.

PSA Test: The prostate-specific antigen test is a simple blood test used to evaluate the levels of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a man’s blood. PSAs are protein cells that are produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate. While PSAs are most prevalent in semen, small amounts of the protein cell circulate through the body via the bloodstream. Increased levels of PSA may indicate the presence of cancer cells in the prostate, or other conditions affecting the gland.

Why do I need a comprehensive male panel?

Comprehensive male panels are used to check levels of hormones and certain substances in your blood. These tests can help diagnose low hormone levels in older men, as well as health conditions like thyroid problems, high cholesterol, and prediabetes (if glucose is tested).

These panels can also help individuals monitor their hormone levels while undergoing hormone replacement therapy. Excessive levels of testosterone and estrogen can produce adverse effects. Checking these levels can help you and your doctor keep these hormones balanced. Imbalance hormone levels can lead to symptoms such as:


  • Decreased sex drive
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Decreased strength
  • Fatigue
  • Increased blood pressure/ risk of heart disease
  • Increased body fat
  • Obesity
  • Bone loss/ osteoporosis
  • Mood changes (such as depression or irritability)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about a comprehensive male hormone panel. The earlier you can detect hormone imbalances, the earlier you can begin hormone replacement therapy. This can prevent symptoms from worsening.

What is a comprehensive female panel?

A comprehensive female lab panel is a series of blood tests used to check the hormone levels and overall health of a woman. The specific types of tests that are conducted during this panel vary depending on the clinic or at-home testing brand that you elect to use.

What tests are included in a comprehensive female panel?

Specific tests included in a comprehensive female panel may vary depending on the brand of test you receive, but common forms of testing include:

Complete blood count (CBC): A complete blood count (CBC) is a common blood test that evaluates your overall health by measuring several components of your blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, and platelets. This can help doctors diagnose infections, autoimmune disorders, anemia, and other health conditions.

Lipid Panel: A lipid panel is a group of tests that measures cholesterol and other fats in your blood. These results can then be used to help assess your risk of heart disease or stroke. Your doctor may recommend a lipid panel if you have a family history of heart disease or stroke - or if you have any conditions that may increase your risk of heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity, high total cholesterol, and more.

Thyroid Panel: Thyroid panel tests are used to determine the levels of T3 and T4 hormones in your blood. Low amounts of these hormones indicate an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), where excessive levels of T3 and T4 indicate an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

Thyroid-stimulating hormone test: A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test is a blood test used to measure levels of TSH in the blood. This helps doctors determine how well the thyroid gland is working. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that lies below your Adam’s apple in the front of the neck. The gland is responsible for the production of the triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones, which regulate your body’s metabolism. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain and acts as a stimulant for the thyroid gland. If thyroid hormone levels are too low, TSH will be produced by the pituitary gland to provoke hormone production from the thyroid gland. If thyroid hormone levels are high, your pituitary gland should produce less TSH.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: A comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) measures 14 different substances in your blood to give your doctor important information about your body's chemical balance and metabolism. CMPs measure the levels of:


  • Albumin
  • Blood urea nitrogen
  • Calcium
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Chloride
  • Creatinine
  • Glucose
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Total bilirubin
  • Total protein
  • Liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and aspartate aminotransferase)

A test of these levels can help doctors check several body systems such as:


  • Liver and kidney function
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Blood protein levels
  • Acidity in the blood
  • Electrolyte balance
  • Metabolism

Progesterone: Progesterone is a steroid hormone that is released from the ovaries to help regulate estrogen, the menstrual cycle, and the early stages of pregnancy. An imbalance of progesterone and estrogen can lead to weight gain, fibroids, increased cancer risks, ovarian cysts, and bone loss (osteoporosis).

Estradiol: Estradiol helps regulate the menstrual cycle, as well as maintain the health of the female reproductive system.

Hemoglobin A1c Lab Test: Also called A1c, HbA1c, or glycated hemoglobin, this test measures the average amount of blood sugar (also called glucose) attached to your hemoglobin over the past three months. Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. An HbA1c test is generally used by doctors to check for diabetes or prediabetes in adults.

Total testosterone: This test measures the levels of testosterone in the blood. Testosterone helps regulate body fat, muscle mass, bone mass, red blood cell count, sperm count, and libido. Excessive levels of testosterone can lead to an increase in cholesterol, hardened blood cells, and increased body hair. Low levels of testosterone can affect reproductive health, fertility, and other natural functions (such as strength, energy, and fat storage).

DHEA-S: DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands to promote the production of testosterone and estrogen. DHEA levels decrease with age but are commonly supplemented during hormone replacement therapy to counteract the symptoms of low testosterone or low estrogen (depending on whether you are a man or woman).

Vitamin D Test: A vitamin D 25-hydroxy test is a simple blood test used by doctors to measure vitamin D levels in the blood. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 41% of American adults have vitamin D deficiency. This can lead to bone and muscle pain, increased risk of infection, and fatigue. Additionally, vitamin D plays a crucial role in protecting the body from conditions such as:


  • Cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Bone loss

Your doctor may recommend a vitamin D 25-hydroxy test if you are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. People at risk of a vitamin D deficiency include:


  • Older adults
  • Individuals with dark skin
  • Individuals who do not receive much sun exposure
  • Individuals managing obesity
  • Individuals with osteoporosis, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease
  • Individuals who have had gastric bypass surgery

Why do I need a comprehensive female panel?

Comprehensive female panels are used to check levels of hormones and certain substances in your blood. These tests can help diagnose low hormone levels in older women, as well as health conditions like thyroid problems, high cholesterol, and prediabetes (if glucose is tested).

These panels can also help individuals monitor their hormone levels while undergoing hormone replacement therapy. Excessive levels of sex hormones can produce adverse effects. Checking these levels can help you and your doctor keep these hormones balanced. Imbalance hormone levels can lead to symptoms such as:


  • Heavy or irregular periods
  • Weight gain
  • Osteoporosis (weak or brittle bones)
  • Hot flashes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Acne
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Uterine bleeding
  • Infertility
  • Excessive body/ facial hair growth
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Thinning hair or hair loss

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about a comprehensive female hormone panel. The earlier you can detect hormone imbalances, the earlier you can begin hormone replacement therapy. This may prevent symptoms from worsening.

What is a complete blood count?

A complete blood count (CBC) is a common blood test used by doctors to screen for a variety of conditions including:


  • Anemia
  • Bone disorders
  • Malnutrition (such as vitamin or mineral deficiencies)
  • Infections
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Leukemia and lymphoma
  • Sickle cell anemia

A CBC evaluates your overall health by measuring several components of your blood, including:


  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells
  • Hemoglobin
  • Platelets

Abnormalities in these blood levels may indicate the presence of an underlying health condition. In some cases, your provider may adjust any medication you may be taking in light of the results of your CBC.

Unlike other labs and blood tests, CBCs do not require fasting before your appointment.

What are normal ranges for a CBC?

Normal, healthy ranges of a blood cell count for adults over the age of 15 are:

Red blood cell count

Men: 4.7 to 6.1 million cells per microliter (mcL) Women who aren’t pregnant: 4.2 to 5.4 million mcL

Hemoglobin (The protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen)

Men: 13.0 - 17.0 g/dL (grams per deciliter) Women: 11.5 - 15.5 g/dL (grams per deciliter)

Hematocrit (Concentration of red blood cells) Men: 40 - 55% Women: 36 - 48%

White blood cell count

3,400 to 9,600 cells/mcL

Platelet count

Men: 135,000 to 317,000/mcL Women: 157,000 to 371,000/mcL


If your results show numbers outside this range, you may be asked to come back to your health care provider’s office for follow-up testing. A CBC is not a definitive test, meaning it is not the sole method doctors use in diagnosing medical conditions. In some cases, numbers just outside the “normal” range of healthy blood counts in otherwise healthy individuals may not be a cause for concern. Similarly, individuals undergoing cancer treatment or pregnant women may produce blood count numbers outside these ranges. In these cases, a doctor may adjust treatment or medication to balance blood levels.

What is a thyroid panel?

A thyroid panel is a series of blood tests that help determine whether or not your thyroid gland is functioning properly. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that lies below your Adam’s apple in the front of the neck. The gland is responsible for the production of the triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones, which regulate your body’s metabolism. Thyroid panel tests are used to determine the levels of thyroid hormones you have in your body.

What blood tests are performed during a thyroid panel?

A comprehensive thyroid panel will evaluate your thyroid function with 3 different tests:


- TSH test: A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test is a lab test that evaluates how well your thyroid is working by measuring your thyroid-stimulating hormone. Your doctor may recommend a TSH test if you're experiencing symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, including anxiety, weight gain/loss, tiredness, hair loss, irregular menstrual periods, changes in your heart rate, puffiness, and more.

- T4 Test: A thyroxine (T4) test measures the level of T4 in the blood.

- T3 Test: A triiodothyronine (T3) test measures the level of T3 in the blood.

Other blood tests that may be performed during a thyroid panel include:

- Thyroid antibody test: This test measures levels of thyroid antibodies that are produced to determine whether or not the immune system is mistakenly creating antibodies to attack the thyroid gland. By doing this, thyroid antibody tests can help detect underlying autoimmune causes of hyper/hypothyroidism such as Grave’s disease or Hashimoto’s disease.

- Thyroglobulin: This test measures the thyroglobulin protein, which is produced by the thyroid gland or thyroid cancer cells. A thyroglobulin test can help detect inflammation of the thyroid gland- especially in patients who have had their thyroid gland removed due to thyroid cancer.

What conditions does a thyroid panel help detect?

Thyroid panel tests are used to determine the levels of T3 and T4 hormones in your blood. Low amounts of these hormones indicate an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), where excessive levels of T3 and T4 indicate an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

Detecting an under or overactive thyroid can help doctors diagnose thyroid-related disorders such as:


- Thyroid cancer

- Goiter: An enlargement of the thyroid gland which can cause pain, hoarseness, swelling, and dizziness.

- Hashimoto’s disease: An autoimmune disorder that attacks cells in the thyroid gland, resulting in hypothyroidism.

- Thyroiditis: Inflammation of the thyroid, which can result in hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

- Grave’s disease: An autoimmune disorder that results in hyperthyroidism.

What is a TSH test?

A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test is a blood test used to measure levels of TSH in the blood. This helps doctors determine how well the thyroid gland is working. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that lies below your Adam’s apple in the front of the neck. The gland is responsible for the production of the triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones, which regulate your body’s metabolism. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain and acts as a stimulant for the thyroid gland. If thyroid hormone levels are too low, TSH will be produced by the pituitary gland to provoke hormone production from the thyroid gland. If thyroid hormone levels are high, your pituitary gland should produce less TSH.

Why would I need a TSH test?

Levels of TSH in the blood can help doctors determine the function of the thyroid gland. High levels of TSH might mean an underactive thyroid, whereas low levels of TSH may indicate an overactive thyroid. This test helps doctors detect and diagnose possible thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

What happens during a TSH test?

A blood sample is taken to measure TSH levels. To do this, your doctor will insert a small needle into a vein in your forearm. Before the needle is put into your skin, the area will be sanitized. You may feel a pinch as the needle punctures your skin, but this discomfort should subside within a few seconds.

Blood drawn from your arm is deposited in a small vial or tube. Once the desired amount of blood is taken from the arm, the puncture site will be cleaned and bandaged. The vial will be given to the lab for analysis.

TSH tests are quick and do not require sedation. You will be cleared to leave the clinic and resume your daily activities once the testing is finished.

You should receive the results of your TSH test within 1-3 days of your appointment. Your primary care provider will inform you of the results of the analysis. Depending on the findings, you may be asked to come back to the clinic for follow-up testing to definitively diagnose any thyroid conditions. Thyroid cancer, for instance, requires a biopsy or diagnostic imaging test (such as a CT or X-ray scan) before treatment can begin.

The results of a TSH test do not necessarily indicate a hormone condition. TSH levels correspond to levels of T3 and T4 in the blood. Because of this, you will likely be asked to undergo further testing before you are diagnosed with a thyroid condition. TSH tests are commonly performed in tandem with other thyroid tests as a part of a comprehensive thyroid panel. These tests measure various determinants of thyroid function, such as T3 and T4 levels. Comprehensive thyroid panels are commonly performed for individuals at risk of a thyroid condition, or for individuals taking medication that affects thyroid function - such as lithium.

What is a T4 test?

Thyroxine (T4) is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that lies below your Adam’s apple in the front of the neck. The gland is responsible for the production of the triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones, which regulate your body’s metabolism and growth. T4 tests are used to determine the levels of the thyroxine hormone you have in your body. Too much or too little T4 can indicate a problem with your thyroid gland such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

What is a lipid panel?

A lipid panel is a group of tests that measures cholesterol and other fats in your blood. These results can then be used to help assess your risk of heart disease or stroke. Your doctor may recommend a lipid panel if you have a family history of heart disease or stroke - or if you have any conditions that may increase your risk of heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity, high total cholesterol, and more.

A lipid panel test is performed by taking a sample of blood via a finger prick. This blood is sent to a lab to measure lipid levels in the blood.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends that adult men should receive a lipid panel test every 1-2 years between the ages of 45-65. Women should be tested every 1-2 years between the ages of 55-65. Adults over the age of 65 should receive a lipid panel test every year.

Children usually receive a lipid panel test once between the ages of 9-11 and every five years after that.

More frequent testing may be recommended if you are at risk of coronary artery disease. Common risk factors include:


  • Family history of heart disease or high cholesterol
  • Being overweight/ obese
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Lack of physical activity/ Cardiovascular conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Unhealthy diet
  • History of high cholesterol

If you experience one or more of the risk factors listed above, talk to your health care provider about how often you should undergo lipid testing. The test is quick and relatively painless and plays a crucial role in detecting heart and arterial diseases.

What happens during a lipid panel?

Before your appointment, you may be asked to fast for 9-12 hours. Usually, this means no food or water for the ordered period of time. Because of this, it is generally recommended that you undergo a lipid panel test right away in the morning. After your test, you will be cleared to eat and drink.

During the test, blood will be drawn via a needle inserted into your arm. An elastic band will be wrapped around your upper arm to encourage blood flow. A lipid panel requires a small amount of blood, which will be deposited into a vial or tube for testing. After this, the needle will be removed and the puncture site will be cleaned and bandaged.

Some individuals may experience mild dizziness or lightheadedness after getting their blood drawn. Once the test is over, you can eat and drink normally. It is recommended that you bring a snack and some water with you if you think you may become lightheaded. Eating and hydrating can help reduce these sensations.

What do my results mean?

Your provider will discuss the results of your lipid panel with you but for reference, see below:

Total Cholesterol - lower is better:

  • Below 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is considered healthy.
  • 200 to 239 mg/dL is borderline high.
  • 240 mg/dL is high.

HDL (Good Cholesterol) - higher is better:

  • 60 mg/dL or higher is best -- High HDL levels protect against heart disease.
  • 40 to 59 mg/dL is a healthy level of HDL.
  • Less than 40 mg/dL is low, which can increase risk of heart disease.

LDL ("bad cholesterol") - lower is better:

  • Less than 100 mg/dL is ideal, especially for individuals who have coronary heart disease.
  • 100 to 129 mg/dL is optimal for individuals at risk of coronary artery disease.
  • 130 to 159 mg/dL is OK for individuals with little risk of coronary artery disease
  • 160 to 189 mg/dL is high.
  • 190 mg/dL or more is very high

Triglycerides - lower is better:

  • 150 mg/dL or less is desirable.
  • 151 to 200 mg/dL is borderline high
  • 200 to 499 mg/dl is high, which increases your risk of heart disease
  • Over 500 mg/dl is very high.

What is a blood type lab test?

A blood type lab test is a simple and routine blood test used to determine your blood type. These tests are commonly performed before an individual gets a blood transfusion, or to check a pregnant woman’s blood type.

Blood type is determined by certain protein markers - known as antigens - on red blood cells. The presence of the Rh antigen specifically, determines whether or not you have a positive or negative blood type.

How does the lab determine your blood type?

Once the vial or tube containing your blood is given to the laboratory, blood containing the A and B antibodies will be mixed with it. Blood cells that stick together after exposure to an antibody is reacting to the foreign blood type.

Your blood may also be checked for the Rh antigen. If your blood contains this protein, you have a positive blood type. Conversely, the lack of the Rh antigen indicates that you have a negative blood type.

Blood type tests are routine, and your results should be forthcoming shortly after your appointment. In most cases, this may take only a day or two.

Blood type tests rarely require a follow-up appointment. If you are pregnant and your doctor determines that you have a different Rh content than your developing baby, you may be asked to schedule a follow-up appointment. This condition is known as Rh incompatibility and can cause serious adverse reactions.

What is a testosterone lab test?

A testosterone level test helps determine the amount of testosterone a male’s body is naturally producing. If an individual is undergoing hormone replacement therapy, this test can also help monitor hormone levels to track the efficacy of hormone supplementation.

Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is crucial to development, especially during puberty. Low testosterone - also known as male hypogonadism - occurs when the testes do not produce enough testosterone, resulting in a hormone deficiency. Low testosterone causes different symptoms, depending on the person and their age.

Low testosterone may be present at birth or develop over years. Genetically male fetuses may experience underdeveloped genitals as a result of low testosterone. Young males with low testosterone may experience delayed puberty or underdevelopment during puberty unless the condition is treated.

Age is a common cause of low testosterone. After the age of 30, a man’s body begins to produce less testosterone. Over time, this leads to a gradual reduction in testosterone levels. Nearly 40% of men over the age of 45 experience low testosterone levels. Aside from natural aging, other causes of low testosterone include:

  • Injury to the testicles
  • Chemotherapy
  • Pituitary disorders such as a pituitary tumor
  • Klinefelter syndrome (a condition in which a man is born with an extra X chromosome)
  • Kallman’s syndrome (the abnormal development of the hypothalamus gland, which regulates hormone production)
  • Hemochromatosis (too much iron in the blood)
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Inflammatory conditions such as sarcoidosis or tuberculosis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Medications such as opioid pain medication or hormone replacement drugs
  • Anabolic steroid use
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol abuse

What is a testosterone test used for?

Testosterone levels may be evaluated for diverse reasons. Your doctor may order a testosterone level test to:


  • Determine the cause of low sex drive in men and women
  • Diagnose infertility in men or women
  • Diagnose erectile dysfunction in men
  • Diagnose early or late puberty in boys
  • Detect warning signs of testicular cancer
  • Determine the cause of excessive body hair or muscle mass in women
  • Diagnose irregular menstrual periods in women

Low testosterone in men may result in symptoms such as:

  • Low sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • A decrease in muscle mass and strength
  • A decrease in facial/ body hair
  • Osteoporosis (decrease in bone mass)
  • Development of breasts

Excessive levels of testosterone in women may result in symptoms such as:

  • Acne
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Increased facial and body hair
  • Deepened voice
  • Weight gain

What does a PSA test check for?

A PSA test helps determine the amount of prostate-specific antigen cells in your blood. An increased level of these cells may be linked to prostate cancer. However, PSA levels may also rise as a result of noncancerous prostate conditions such as:

- Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH): BPH is an enlargement of the prostate. A man’s risk of developing BPH increases with age. BPH only causes symptoms in about half of diagnosed cases and does not lead to prostate cancer.

- Prostatitis: An infection of the prostate, prostatitis occurs when bacteria in urine leaks into the prostate. This can cause pain, flu symptoms, and difficulty with urination.


Because several benign conditions can cause a rise in PSA levels, these tests are rarely used to diagnose prostate cancer. If your doctor has ordered a PSA test, and the results show an increased level of PSA cells, you will usually be ordered to undergo a biopsy and transrectal ultrasound before you are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

What is a PSA test?

The prostate-specific antigen test is a simple blood test used to evaluate the levels of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a man’s blood

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder in men. This gland helps contribute fluid to the semen, which helps sperm travel through the urethra and toward an unfertilized egg.

PSAs are protein cells that are produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate. While PSAs are most prevalent in semen, small amounts of the protein cell circulate through the body via the bloodstream. Increased levels of PSA may indicate the presence of cancer cells in the prostate, or other conditions affecting the gland.

What is an iron test?

An iron blood test checks the level of iron in your blood. Iron is a mineral that is absorbed into the body through foods such as spinach, red meats, fortified cereals, or seafood. Iron helps your body make red blood cells which carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of the body. Iron also helps maintain muscle, bone marrow health, and organ function.

Several tests measure iron levels in the blood:

- Serum iron test: This test measures the amount of iron in the blood.

- Serum ferritin: This test measures how much iron is stored in the body. When blood iron levels are low, your body will pull from these stores of the mineral as supplementation.

- Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC): A TIBC test measures the levels of free transferrin present in the blood. Transferrin is a protein that carries iron through the blood. Transferrin free from iron may indicate low iron levels.

- Transferrin test: A transferrin test measures transferrin levels in the blood.

Your doctor may recommend or order an iron test if they suspect that you have an excessive or deficient level of the mineral in your blood. This can help diagnose conditions such as iron overload (excess iron) or anemia (low red blood cell counts caused by chronic iron deficiency).

What do the results of an iron test mean?

Iron tests are used to diagnose high or low levels of iron in the blood. An imbalance of mineral levels may be caused by supplementation, diet, or conditions such as pregnancy. Abnormal iron levels may also be caused by health conditions that require treatment.

Low levels of iron in the blood may be caused by conditions such as:

- Anemia: Anemia is defined as a low red blood cell count. Anemia makes it difficult for red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to various parts of the body, resulting in fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and a rapid heart rate.

- Thalassemia: Thalassemia is an inherited condition that involves low levels of hemoglobin - a substance that helps red blood cells carry oxygen. Thalassemia may cause anemia and may result in symptoms such as slowed growth, fatigue, dizziness, and weakness.

Excessive levels of iron in the blood may be caused by conditions such as:

- Dangerous iron supplementation: Taking too much iron can lead to toxic side effects that cause abdominal pain, joint pain, fatigue, and weakness.

- Hemochromatosis: A inherited disorder that causes your body to absorb too much iron from the food you eat. Excessive levels of iron may cause liver disease, heart problems, and diabetes.

Talk to your doctor about treatment options if you are diagnosed with mineral imbalances. Do not start taking iron supplements, or discontinuing the use of prescribed supplements, until you are instructed to do so by your doctor.

What is a hemoglobin A1c lab test?

Hemoglobin A1c Lab Tests, also called A1c, HbA1c, or glycated hemoglobin is a test that measures the average amount of blood sugar (also called glucose) attached to your hemoglobin over the past three months. Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Doctors generally recommend getting an HbA1c every three months if you are managing a chronic condition like diabetes. That's because three months is the average lifespan of a red blood cell.

An HbA1c test is generally used by doctors to check for diabetes or prediabetes in adults. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, an HbA1c can help you and your doctor evaluate and manage your condition.

What does an HbA1c test screen for?

Diagnostic HbA1c tests are used to determine blood sugar levels - the critical factor in diabetes diagnosis. The results of an A1c test are given as percentages. These correspond to your blood sugar levels.

- Below 5.7%: A1c levels that are below 5.7% indicate healthy blood sugar levels. This means you are not currently at risk of developing diabetes.

- Between 5.7-6.4%: This range indicates prediabetes, a serious health condition. Prediabetes requires immediate treatment to manage blood sugar levels and prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes.

- 6.5% or higher (after 2 separate tests): Blood sugar levels higher than 6.5% indicate that you have developed diabetes. Doctors will order two separate A1c tests to conclusively test dangerous blood sugar levels. If both tests come back with blood sugar levels at over 6.5%, they will begin treating you for diabetes.

For individuals already managing diabetes, doctors will aim to keep blood sugar levels under 7%. Blood sugar levels over 7% may require an adjustment in your treatment plan.

What is a GGT test?

A gamma-glutamyl transferase test measures the levels of the GGT enzyme in the blood. GGT is found in organs and tissues throughout the body but is most common in the liver. While experts do not have a definitive explanation for the role GGT plays in the body, high levels of the enzyme may indicate liver and bile duct-related disorders.

GGT tests are rarely performed to diagnose a liver condition. Rather, if you are exhibiting signs of liver problems, your doctor may order a GGT test as a preliminary screen for conditions such as:


  • Liver cancer
  • Viral hepatitis: an infection of the liver that causes inflammation and organ damage
  • Biliary obstruction: A blockage of the bile ducts - the tubes that carry bile from the liver
  • Bone disease
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Pancreas problems (such as pancreatitis)

What do the results of a GGT test mean?

GGT levels often correspond with liver damage. The more GGT is in the blood, the more significant liver damage is likely to be. High levels of GGT may indicate health conditions such as:


  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis (liver scarring)
  • Liver cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Acute alcohol abuse
  • Medication usage (anti-seizure drugs, for instance, have been shown to increase levels of GGT)

High levels of GGT will not indicate the specific condition you may have. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may order a follow-up alkaline phosphatase test (ALP) to measure the levels of the alkaline phosphatase enzyme in your blood. High levels of ALP and GGT indicate that your symptoms are related to a liver disorder and not a bone disorder. High levels of ALP and low levels of GGT indicate that your symptoms are related to a bone disorder and not a liver disorder.

Discuss your results with your doctor - as well as any medications you are taking or additional symptoms you are experiencing - to determine the most appropriate follow-up test for you.

What is a vitamin D hydroxy test?

A vitamin D 25-hydroxy test is a simple blood test used by doctors to measure vitamin D levels in the blood. According to the National Institutes of Health, roughly 41% of American adults have vitamin D deficiency. This can lead to bone and muscle pain, increased risk of infection, and fatigue. Additionally, vitamin D plays a crucial role in protecting the body from conditions such as:


  • Cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Bone loss

Your doctor may recommend a vitamin D 25-hydroxy test if you are at risk of vitamin D deficiency. People at risk of a vitamin D deficiency include:


  • Older adults
  • Individuals with dark skin
  • Individuals who do not receive much sun exposure
  • Individuals managing obesity
  • Individuals with osteoporosis, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease
  • Individuals who have had gastric bypass surgery

How do I interpret the results of my vitamin D test?

Vitamin D levels in the blood are measured in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl).

In general, 25-50 ng/dl of vitamin D in the blood is considered healthy and normal. Vitamin D levels below 25 ng/dl are considered deficient.

Low levels of vitamin D in the blood may indicate that you are either not absorbing the mineral properly, are not eating a diet with enough vitamin D, or are not getting enough exposure to the sun. This is usually treatable with supplementation or lifestyle changes.

Excessive levels of vitamin D (over 50 ng/dl) usually indicate the overuse of vitamin D supplements. It is nearly impossible to have excessive levels of vitamin D in the blood from sun exposure or diet. An excess of vitamin D can lead to vitamin D toxicity, which may cause nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, and kidney failure. Your doctor will discuss treatment options with you if it is found that you have too much vitamin D in your blood.

What is a PT/INR test?

A prothrombin time test is a blood test used to evaluate blood clotting. INR stands for international normalized ratio, a calculation that expresses the results of the time test.

Prothrombin is a protein made by the liver to assist in blood clotting. Blood clotting helps stop bleeding when you get a wound, but may also lead to blockage in an artery or vein. This can cause a stroke, heart failure, or heart attack. Your doctor may order a coagulation panel if they suspect you may have a condition that affects your body’s normal blood clotting functions. Conditions that may be diagnosed through a PT/ INR test include:


  • Hemophilia (a bleeding disorder that may result in spontaneous bleeding)
  • Thrombosis (blood clots causing a blockage in blood vessels)
  • Liver disease
  • Vitamin K deficiency

In addition to screening for these blood clotting conditions, a PT/INR test is commonly ordered for individuals who take blood-thinning medication such as warfarin. Warfarin is prescribed as a treatment for blood clots.

What is a PT/INR test used for?

A PT/INR test is used to evaluate your body’s blood clotting function. This test is commonly ordered to:


  • Monitor the efficacy of warfarin - a medication that is prescribed to treat blood clots
  • Diagnose the cause of abnormal blood clotting
  • Diagnose the cause of any unusual bleeding
  • Evaluate your body’s blood clotting ability before surgery
  • Check for liver disease
  • Screen individuals waiting for liver transplants

What do the results of a PT/INR test mean?

Individuals who are currently taking warfarin will receive their results through INR levels.

Low INR: A low INR ratio means that you may be at risk for dangerous blood clots.

Excessive INR: A high INR ratio (above 3.0) means that your blood clots too slowly, possibly increasing your risk of dangerous bleeding disorders.


Depending on your INR results, your doctor may choose to alter your warfarin prescription dosage.

For individuals who are not currently taking warfarin, results for a PT test are commonly given in seconds. The average time for healthy individuals’ blood to clot is about 10-13 seconds. If your results show that it took longer for your blood to clot, you may have a bleeding condition. If the results are below this average, it means that your blood clots more quickly than normal.

An abnormal clotting time may indicate a condition such as:


  • A vitamin K deficiency
  • Liver disease
  • Inadequate levels of proteins that help the blood to clot
  • Blood-thinning medication usage

How often should I get tested for STDs?

If you are experiencing any symptoms related to an STD, or suspect exposure, it is important to get tested. If left untreated STDs such as gonorrhea can cause a host of issues, including infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and urethritis. Pregnant women should also note that gonorrhea can cause an ectopic pregnancy or can even lead to a miscarriage.

It is also good to note that even if you have received an STD treatment before, you are still at risk for reinfection if you are exposed to a sexual partner that has gonorrhea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following groups get tested annually:

Sexually active women under the age of 25

Women over the age of 25 with multiple sexual partners

Gay or bisexual men

Individuals with HIV

People who have been forced to have sexual activity against their will

Pregnant women should be tested early in the pregnancy because an STI infection can lead to low birth weight, premature labor, or result in a miscarriage. The CDC also recommends that teens and adults ages 13 to 64 get tested for HIV at least once.

Testing varies depending on the type of STI you have. Chlamydia and gonorrhea usually involve a urine or swab test, while other types of STIs including syphilis and genital herpes may require blood tests.

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What is an HBV test?

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The virus is commonly passed through sexual contact, sharing needles, and pregnancy (mothers passing the virus to unborn children). Hepatitis B will usually be cleared from the body within 6 months of infection, but individuals with weakened immune systems may experience a chronic infection that can lead to liver scarring and cancer.

The hepatitis B test is a routine blood test that checks the blood for the presence of the HBV virus. This test may be ordered if you are exhibiting signs or symptoms of liver damage. Additionally, an HBV test may be recommended if you are healthy, but at risk of contracting HBV. HBV screening tests are recommended for the following individuals:


  • Pregnant women
  • People who are living with someone who has been infected with HBV
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who have multiple sexual partners
  • People who have been previously diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection
  • People who have been diagnosed with hepatitis C or HIV
  • People who use IV drugs
  • People with liver disease
  • People over the age of 60 with diabetes
  • People who have traveled from countries where hepatitis B is common

The CDC estimates that nearly 1.4 million Americans have been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B. About 3,000 Americans die from the infection every year. If you suspect that you may have been exposed to the HBV virus, contact your health care provider right away.

What happens during an HBV test?

Most HPV tests are performed at a primary care office. If your doctor suspects that you may be experiencing symptoms of an HBV or a liver condition, they may order that you take an HPV test to screen your blood for the presence of the hepatitis B virus.

If you are undergoing an HBV test in a primary care clinic, your blood will be drawn for testing. During your appointment, your arm will be wrapped in a band to push blood into the veins of the arm. This makes it easier to insert the needle that will be drawing blood from that area. You may feel a slight pinch as the needle is inserted into your arm, but this sensation should pass within a few seconds. The needle draws blood from a vein in your arm, depositing it into a vial or test tube. Some individuals or tests may require multiple tubes to be filled.

After the needed about of blood has been drawn, the needle will be taken out of your arm and the puncture site will be cleaned and bandaged. The blood will then be sent to a lab for testing and analysis.

You will get your results for most tests in 1-3 business days. Depending on the results of your blood test, your health care provider may request follow-up testing to provide a definitive diagnosis of any health conditions or diseases they may detect.

What do the results of an HBV test mean?

HBV screens frequently employ three separate tests:

- HBV surface antigen test: This test checks for the presence of HBV in the blood. A positive result means that the virus was detected in your blood, and you are contagious. A negative result means no trace of the virus was detected in the blood and you are not contagious.

- HBV core antigen test: This test also checks for the presence of HBV in the blood. A positive result means that HBV was detected in the blood, where a negative result indicates that no HBV was detected in the blood.

- HBV surface antibody test: This test determines your immunity to HBV. You may be immune due to vaccination, or because you have recovered from an HBV infection and your body has developed the antibodies to fight off the disease. A positive test means that you do exhibit immunity to HBV, where a negative test shows that you are not currently immune to the disease.

What is an HIV lab test?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a viral infection that damages your body’s immune system. HIV is transmitted through sexual contact or contact with infected blood. Pregnant women may pass this disease to their unborn child, or through breastfeeding. HIV is the early stage of the infection that may progress to become AIDS. If left untreated, HIV usually develops into AIDS within 8-10 months - once the virus has severely damaged the immune system.

HIV/ AIDS dramatically affects your body’s ability to fight infection. Individuals managing AIDS may become fatally ill from a disease that causes mild symptoms in healthy individuals.

Deaths caused by HIV/ AIDS have decreased in the last 10-20 years, however, the disease is still deadly if left untreated. Early detection can help you and your doctor slow the progression of the illness through medication.

No HIV test can detect HIV immediately after exposure. The tests used to diagnose HIV are usually employed within 10-90 days after infection. If you believe you may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours, contact your doctor to schedule a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) appointment. PEP involves taking medication for 28 days after possible exposure to prevent HIV. You may elect to undergo PEP if:


  • You had unprotected sex with someone who may be infected, or if the condom broke during sex
  • If you have shared needles, syringes, or injection equipment (most common in narcotic drug users)
  • You have been sexually assaulted

If you are worried that you may have been exposed to the HIV virus, talk to your doctor about scheduling a test to diagnose the disease. Specific instructions for timing and preparation will be given depending on your symptoms, and the timing of your exposure.

What are the different types of HIV tests?

HIV is commonly diagnosed through blood or saliva testing. If you suspect that you may have been exposed to HIV, but receive a negative test result, it is recommended that you receive a second test several days or weeks after your first test. HIV is sometimes indetectable depending on the test and the timing window after your exposure.

Before undergoing HIV testing, tell your doctor when you think you may have been exposed. This can help them determine the appropriate test for you.

The most common types of HIV tests are:

- Antigen/ antibody test: Antibody tests examine blood or saliva for specific protein cells that are produced as a reaction to viruses or bacteria. It may take several weeks for your body to produce these antibodies, so this test is most accurate 2-6 weeks after infection. Blood drawn from a vein may produce results more quickly (18-45 days after exposure) than blood drawn from a finger prick (18-90 days after exposure).

- Antibody test: This test is most accurate 3-12 weeks after exposure. Like an antigen/ antibody test, this procedure tests the blood or saliva for the presence of specific antibodies to detect infection. Antibody tests may be performed at a primary care clinic, or at home. At-home testing may take longer to produce results as you will be required to ship the blood or saliva sample you collect at home.

- Nucleic acid test: A nucleic acid test uses blood drawn from a vein to detect the presence of the virus in the blood - unlike the tests detailed above which check for antibodies. A nucleic acid test can usually detect HIV within 10-30 days after exposure, earlier than the antibody and antigen tests above.

Before scheduling an HIV test, talk to your doctor about when you think you may have been exposed to the HIV virus. This can help them determine which type of test is right for you.

What if I receive a positive result?

If you have received a positive result from your test, your doctor may order a second test to definitively confirm that you have been infected with the HIV virus. These tests include:

- Viral load test: Also known as an HIV RNA test, this test measures the levels of the virus in your blood. This test can help determine how long you have been infected and monitors the efficacy of early-stage HIV treatment.

- CD4 T Cell Count: CD4 T Cells attack the HIV virus in the blood. When the count of these white blood cells drops below 200, the HIV virus has begun to develop into AIDS.

If you have been diagnosed with HIV, or suspect you may have been exposed to the virus, it is important that you inform your recent sexual partners so that they can begin treatment too. Even if your partner exhibits no signs or symptoms, it is very likely that they have also been infected, and require treatment. While these can be uncomfortable conversations to have, keeping your sexual partners informed can help them detect the disease early and treat the condition with maximum efficacy.

What if I receive a negative result?

It may take some time for an HIV test to detect the presence of the virus. Just because you have received a negative result from your first test does not mean that you do not have HIV. It is recommended that you receive a second test after the window period of your first test to confirm whether or not you have been infected. The window period is the timeframe when a test can accurately detect the presence of the HIV virus. For instance, the window period for a nucleic acid test is 10-30 days. If you receive a negative result from this test, it is recommended that you receive a second test after that 30 day period.

If you have taken a second test after the window period of your first test and have received negative results, it is likely that you do not have HIV. During this time, you should abstain from unprotected sexual contact or sharing needles and syringes. This can reduce your risk of contracting or spreading the virus while you are waiting for your diagnosis.

What are chlamydia and gonorrhea tests?

sexually transmitted diseases. Both of these diseases are caused by a bacterial infection spread through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Women may pass gonorrhea to an unborn child if they have not been treated for the condition while pregnant.

In many cases, chlamydia and gonorrhea cause little to no symptoms. This makes it difficult to tell whether or not you have been infected with the bacteria that cause these diseases. Because of this, it is important to undergo screening for gonorrhea or chlamydia if you think you may have an infection, or if you are at an increased risk of contracting one of these diseases. These STDs can cause serious complications if left untreated.

Who should be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea?

Chlamydia and gonorrhea commonly affect younger individuals (ages 15-24). The CDC recommends that sexually active women under the age of 25 receive yearly tests for both of these infections. Other individuals who are at an increased risk of these diseases - and who should receive yearly testing - include:


  • Men who have sex with men
  • Men or women who have multiple sexual partners
  • Men or women who engage in unprotected sex
  • Men or women who have previously been diagnosed with an STD
  • Men or women who have sex with a partner diagnosed with an STD
  • Men or women who have been diagnosed with HIV/ AIDS

What do the results of chlamydia/ gonorrhea tests mean?

A positive result from either of these tests indicates that you have been infected with either chlamydia or gonorrhea. A negative test indicates that no infection has been detected.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea tests are routine procedures, and you should receive your results within a few days of your appointment. If you performed the tests at home, the results may take longer. If you have not heard from your health care provider after 3-5 days, you may call the clinic to ask about the status of your test, and whether or not results have been determined yet.

How do doctors test for syphilis?

Syphilis is diagnosed through blood testing. Because symptoms may not show up - especially in the early stages of the infection - lab tests are required to definitively detect the condition. The blood tests most commonly used to diagnose syphilis are detailed below:

- Rapid plasma reagin (RPR): This blood test checks the blood for the presence of syphilis antibodies. These proteins are produced by the body to combat a foreign substance - such as the syphilis bacteria. The presence of syphilis antibodies may indicate an infection.

- Venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL): This test also checks the blood for the presence of syphilis antibodies.

What happens during a syphilis test?

Syphilis testing can be performed at a primary care clinic. If your doctor has elected to test your blood, a small needle will be inserted into your arm to draw blood from the veins in the forearm. You may feel a slight sting or pinch as the needle is inserted, but this pain is generally short-lived.

After the appropriate amount of blood has been drawn and deposited into a test tube, the needle will be removed, the puncture site cleaned and bandaged, and your blood will be sent to the lab for testing.

Advanced cases of syphilis may require a test of spinal fluid drawn from the back. For this test, you will be asked to sit or lie on your side on an examination table. Your doctor will apply a numbing gel to the back and inject anesthesia into the skin of the back to minimize pain felt during the procedure. Once the area is totally numb, a thin, hollow needle will be inserted in between the vertebrae of the spine. After the needle has been inserted between these bones, your doctor will draw a small amount of spinal fluid from the area. This takes around 5 minutes. Afterward, the puncture site will be cleaned and bandaged.

You may be asked to remain on your back for an hour or two to prevent headaches or adverse side effects. Your doctor will offer direction about whether or not this should be done at the clinic or at home.

Neither of these tests requires sedation, so you are usually cleared to go home after the exam. If you have had spinal fluid drawn from your back, you may be asked to stay at the clinic for an hour or so to prevent any side effects.

You should hear back from your primary care provider regarding your results within a day or two. If you have not heard from your doctor after 3-5 days, get in touch with the clinic to ask about the status of your test.

Will I need a follow-up appointment for my syphilis test?

Follow-up testing may be required to definitively diagnose syphilis. The antibodies tested in the exams detailed above may be produced without the presence of syphilis bacteria. Because of this, your doctor may request a second blood test to confirm a positive (meaning you likely have been infected with the bacteria) or negative (no evidence of bacterial infection) result.