NOVEMBER 7, 2023 – Nothing is more important than your health and well-being and that of your loved ones. If you have health concerns or display signs of a serious condition, you should seek medical help. When you visit your medical provider, the doctor may recommend getting tests like bloodwork, imaging, or even urine or stool samples.
For timely, accurate results, you can rely on a reputable medical testing lab to provide you with crucial information. At a medical testing lab in Sugar Land, Texas, a variety of testing is available. From these tests, you can receive helpful answers and diagnoses to proceed with proper treatment for your condition.
Testing for COVID-19 became available shortly after the worldwide pandemic hit in late 2019 to early 2020. As testing improved, results became more accurate and came to patients more quickly. Medical testing labs receive tests from doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other facilities that administer the tests. In addition, some testing facilities give and process the tests. Patients may take a COVID test if they experience symptoms, but some people take tests even if no symptoms are present. In the latter case, patients may have been around COVID-positive individuals and want to confirm whether they, too, have the illness.
Labs can give and run different kinds of tests, either by getting saliva or nasal samples. Labs will either use Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests or antigen tests. Antigen tests are accurate and reliable. Results can come as quickly as 15 minutes. However, antigen tests do not always detect the virus as efficiently as PCR tests, particularly when the patient does not have evident COVID-19 symptoms. PCR tests do take longer—between 24 hours and three days—but they effectively identify the virus. These tests are more likely for a medical provider to take and send to a lab than for the lab itself to take the test.
Respiratory Pathogen Testing
It is common for people of all ages to suffer from respiratory illnesses. These conditions range from influenza in its various forms, pneumoniae, and respiratory syncytial to adenovirus, rhinovirus, and human metapneumovirus. Influenza alone affects nearly 8% of all people in the U.S. every year. Between 2010 and 2020, as many as 41 million illnesses in the U.S. were related to the flu. Around 650,000 people around the world die from seasonal influenza every year.
Medical testing labs can give and evaluate flu and other respiratory tests. Lab tests are crucial because they give healthcare professionals the information needed for correct diagnosis. Then, doctors can prescribe the right treatment and help patients cope with and recover from the illness. When medical testing labs take and process tests when a patient has early symptoms, the person is more likely to recover and have better care.
GI Stool Testing
Other common illnesses are those that affect the gastrointestinal processes of the body. Gastrointestinal illnesses include irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, and gastroesophageal reflux. These sicknesses can be painful and result in hospitalizations and interruptions to daily life. It is important for patients to test for these conditions promptly. Luckily, medical testing labs can administer various tests and look for different markers of these and related illnesses.
Labs will typically do two different types of tests: a fecal occult blood test or a stool culture. In a fecal occult blood test, the technician will look for blood in the stool. To do this test, the technician will place a small amount of stool on a card and examine it for any traces of hidden blood. A stool culture is a test that looks for any abnormal bacteria in the digestive tract. If present, the bacteria can cause problems such as diarrhea. It normally takes up to three days for any present bacteria to manifest.
Many employers require that prospective or current employees receive drug testing. Drug tests may also be useful for doctors and other healthcare providers in assessing a patient’s condition and treatment needs. A toxicology test can also show where a patient is taking one drug that could affect another that a doctor has or wants to prescribe. These tests are important when a patient either withholds information about what medication they are taking or has forgotten about any drugs they have used. Moreover, a doctor may order a toxicology test before performing surgery. The results could reveal whether any medicines will adversely react with the anesthesia or other medication administered during the procedure. Of course, a toxicology test will also confirm whether a patient is abusing drugs.
Toxicology tests at a medical testing lab can detect a wide range of drugs in a person’s system. These include cocaine, opiates, marijuana, barbiturates, methamphetamine, PCP, and performance-enhancing drugs. Tests will screen for these and other drugs on whether a person has injected, ingested, or inhaled them. Traces stay in a person’s urine for up to three days after drug use.
In addition, a medical testing lab will also do testing related to a person’s DNA. The results may help show a person’s genetic predisposition to certain conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, hearing loss, and much more. Results can guide doctors in prescribing preventive medication or in monitoring a person’s health and activities more closely. Other DNA tests may be out of curiosity to help a person understand his or her ancestry or track down distant or long-lost relatives.
A lab will do a DNA test by taking a person’s blood or saliva sample. It will take a few weeks for a technician to read the results and provide the information to the patient or healthcare provider.
Medical testing labs play an important role in a person’s health and wellness. Before a doctor can diagnose a medical condition, a test is often necessary. Aside from common imaging tests, laboratory tests are available, which facilities can administer and read. Doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other medical facilities work closely with labs to receive reliable, prompt information and results.