How Do You Read Blood Lab Results?

To read lab results for blood tests, note the blood trait that is being tested, such as red blood cells, white blood cell or platelets, and then check if the quantitative result for that trait is within the noted normal range, explains the American Cancer Society. Sometimes, lab results include an added note for unusual results. For example, a letter “H” beside a result may mean that the levels are abnormally high, according to Lab Tests Online.

Depending on the purpose of the testing, a lab test may focus on a number of different blood traits. One common test is a complete blood count, notes the American Cancer Society. A CBC test measures the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in the blood. Lab results for this type of test include abbreviations and amounts for each type of cell.

The abbreviation “Plts” stands for platelets, explains the ACA. Platelets are the cells that allow blood to clot, thereby preventing excessive blood loss in the case of minor wounds. A healthy person should have a platelet count of at least 20,000. If the number next to the abbreviation “Plts” on a lab result is lower than 20,000, it may be accompanied by a letter “L,” meaning “low,” notes Lab Tests Online.

In some cases, such as in pregnancy tests, blood work is simply testing for the presence of certain compounds in the blood. Lab results for this type of test may include a qualitative result indicating either a negative or positive, according to Lab Tests Online.