Lab tests are used to monitor your health or diagnose a medical condition.

They can be tricky to interpret, and sometimes, one test result means something different than multiple out-of-range scores.

These numbers are called reference ranges and they give you an idea of what a normal value looks like for a particular analyte or group of analytes.

Inconclusive

When you get abnormal test results, it can be very frustrating. You may feel like you don’t know what to do next, but you need to keep in mind that there are many different factors that can affect a result.

Inconclusive is one of the most common types of test results. It means that a lab cannot decide whether a disease is present or not.

It can also mean that the test was performed incorrectly or not enough information was collected. If you get an inconclusive test result, ask your doctor for a new sample.

A recent study found that inconclusive PSA test results were more likely to lead men to have a risky prostate biopsy. Sah and her colleagues found that 40 percent of subjects who received an inconclusive PSA test result opted to have a prostate biopsy.

Borderline

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that causes impulsive and unpredictable behavior. People with BPD often experience a distorted perception of reality, especially in close relationships. They might misinterpret a person’s feelings to amplify their own negative emotions.

They can also have a hard time deciding what is best for themselves and others, and their feelings may become extreme when they are stressed. They also have difficulty controlling their emotions and may experience suicidal thoughts.

Psychotherapy is the primary treatment for BPD. It teaches skills to help control intense emotions, reduce self-destructive behaviors and improve relationships.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people with BPD identify and change core beliefs and behaviors that come from inaccurate perceptions or problems interacting with others. It can also help reduce mood swings and anxiety symptoms.

Medications aren’t used as the primary treatment for BPD, but a psychiatrist may recommend them to treat specific symptoms or co-occurring mental disorders. They may have side effects and require coordinated care from several medical professionals.

Negative

A negative result means that we did not find any COVID-19 virus in the swab that was taken from your cervix. This is usually good news, but new cell changes can still form later on in your cervix.

Your health care provider may recommend more testing, or that you follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for people with COVID-19, such as staying home and practicing social distancing.

Abnormal test results are not uncommon, as they are a normal part of the way your body works. They are caused by a variety of factors, such as your age, diet, hormonal cycles, physical activity level and alcohol intake.

A positive result tells us that you have the COVID-19 virus. We recommend following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, such as practicing social distancing, wearing a face mask and other precautions to help prevent infection.

Positive

If your blood test results are outside of the reference range, it’s not necessarily a problem. However, if they are far out of the range, you might need to have the test rerun or be seen by a health professional.

In medical practice, it’s common for clinicians to review and interpret abnormal lab test results with a differential diagnosis. This means evaluating each abnormal result with the clinical evidence in the patient’s record to determine whether it is true- or false-positive, and then ordering further tests or consulting with specialists to confirm a diagnosis.

The number of abnormal test results within a patient’s records can be calculated using the mean abnormal result rate (MARR). The MARR is based on pretest probability that laboratory test results will fall outside of the reference range.

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