Reference Ranges & What They Mean

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Why are there few reference ranges included on this website?

With all this talk of reference ranges, you may notice that very few are included on this website. There are several reasons we chose not to include them:

1.  For most tests, the reference ranges are specific to the laboratory that produces the test results. Different laboratories use different kinds of equipment and different kinds of testing methods. That means they have to establish their own ranges, and will provide your test result with an accompanying reference range appropriate to the laboratory. The doctor should therefore apply the reference range supplied by the laboratory which performed the test rather than that used by another laboratory or one given in a book.

2.  We want you to be informed, but we can not pretend to take the place of communication with your doctor. We want you to understand what the test is, and how it can be used but because we can't be aware of all the factors that could affect your test results, we can't interpret the results. If you need further explanation of your results, you should talk to your doctor.

3.  The type of units used to report results can vary between laboratories. In Europe most tests are reported in the units defined by the System Internationale such as moles and litres but in the US, the majority of tests are reported in mass units eg milligram (mg) in volumes of decilitres (dL). The misuse of results and units can result in potentially hazardous mistakes.

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