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Reviewed 11/19/2021

Laboratory tests

True or false?

Laboratory tests help your doctor monitor your health and identify new issues as early as possible. But how much do you know about lab tests? Test your knowledge with this true or false quiz.

1. You only need a lab test if you are sick.

False. Laboratory tests are part of routine care. Lab tests can help your doctor identify changes in your overall health. One use of lab tests is to check cholesterol levels. Screening tests can also check whether you are at risk of developing a certain condition.

2. You shouldn't need any help understanding your lab results.

False. Every lab test is different. Some give you a positive or negative result. Others provide a number. The best person to talk to about your results is your doctor. They know you and your medical history and can help you better understand your results.

3. Lab tests are safe and accurate.

True. Laboratory tests go through a strict approval and regulation process to make sure they are safe. While they are also highly accurate, you can get inconclusive results in some cases. If that happens, your doctor may repeat the test or recommend a different one.

4. You may have to fast before a test.

True. Some lab tests require that you fast for 8 to 12 hours beforehand. You may have to avoid certain activities, foods or medications the day before. Always ask your doctor how you should prepare for any lab test.

5. There's no good way to deal with feelings of anxiety about a lab test.

False. Feeling anxious about a lab test is common. Thankfully, some simple tips can help you relax. Try deep breathing or counting silently to 10. You may also want to bring a friend or family member for support. Talking to someone during the test may also provide a helpful distraction.

Visit our Healthcare topic center to learn more about how to make the most of regular healthcare checkups.

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Sources: National Cancer Institute; National Institutes of Health 

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