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How do you learn common lab work abbreviations?

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Quick Answer

Learn some common lab work abbreviations by studying a glossary of abbreviations, such as those available on NLM.NIH.gov, NewHealthGuide.org or Easy-Immune-Health.com as of 2015. Lab work abbreviations generally denote different types of blood tests and elements therein.

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Full Answer

New Health Guide lists the most common blood test abbreviations, as well as a number of less common ones. Each abbreviation is displayed in the leftmost column, with the definition shown directly to the right. Most of these common abbreviations state the type of test that is being performed. For example, the abbreviation "BMP" stands for "basic metabolic panel." This test looks for various chemicals present in the blood, such as glucose, calcium and electrolytes.

"CK" stands for "creatine kinase." This test measures an enzyme that appears in the body when the heart is injured, and is often administered to heart attack patients to determine the severity of the attack. More uncommon blood tests often look for more specific blood elements. For example, the abbreviation "K" means "potassium." This test specifically measures the level of potassium in the blood.

Physicians and other health care professionals should have a working knowledge of most lab work abbreviations. If you do not understand an abbreviation on your lab work results, ask your doctor for a knowledgeable explanation.

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