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Old 07-12-19, 11:35 AM  
bfit
 
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OT: Becoming obsessed with medical test results

I had a blood test for a routine physical. I haven't had a physical for a few years, and this time the lab results are posted online for me to see. All of the results are in the normal range, but some are toward the high end of the normal range, others toward the low end, and others in the middle. I've spent a lot of time searching online for what these numbers mean and I've gotten conflicting and confusing information that hasn't reassured me at all. My actual doctor's appointment isn't for a few weeks although the doctor's office said they would call me if there was anything of concern in the blood test (and they haven't called). My husband says "normal is normal" and to stop worrying. I've never really been a hypochondriac before. Is this just another effect of our "online culture"?
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Old 07-12-19, 12:22 PM  
Lucky Star
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I'd relax and be grateful for "normal range" if I were you.

Now, if you *know* that certain numbers had shifted considerably since your last physical (and considering your last was a few years ago) that might be worth pursuing through conversation with your doctor. But I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 07-12-19, 12:37 PM  
Gams
 
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I agree with your husband and Iím not really sure what you are feeling anxious about. Normal is good - were you expecting all numbers to line up exactly in the middle of the normal range? Thatís not likely to happen. Even some numbers outside the normal range arenít necessarily a cause for concern. I think your results are great!
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Old 07-12-19, 12:51 PM  
Vintage VFer
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You have an upcoming appointment, so you can discuss your concerns at that time. Perhaps make a list of the items that you want to know the most about.

Sadly, the medical system in the US has gone to hell over the past few decades. I blame the insurance companies, plus Americans' propensity for lawsuits.

It is always wise to err on the side of caution with one's health. Doctors nowadays are overbooked, overworked and over-stressed. I make sure to get the full tests results if possible. I check several sites for test reference ranges.

For example, I had unusual back pain last year. My doctor said it was probably just a muscle sprain and was ready to leave it at that. I told her that I had bone loss and was worried that it might be more serious. She then sent me for x-rays and I found out that I had a vertebral compression fracture. The doctor didn't seem concerned, despite the fact that fractures are very serious health issues for older folks. I ended up referring myself to a spine specialist and received better care there.

Ultimately, you and only you are responsible for your health.
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Old 07-12-19, 01:04 PM  
dianestjohn
 
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I really hate the current "post your numbers online so you can obsess over every number" state of health care. I also hate doctors who invite you in to discuss test results and then go over every line pick pick pick pick, this number is a little higher than last time, we'll keep an eye on it, this number could indicate a future problem but probably not, this means jfi;jatijeajifjieajitjej gobbledygook. I am a worrier and I usually go home and google and freak out which leads to more googling etc. I really just want to know is everything ok and if not what should I do. Anyhow, I would not worry WHATSOEVER over results in the normal range. Be happy
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Old 07-12-19, 02:25 PM  
BunnyHop
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfit View Post
... Is this just another effect of our "online culture"?
Yes, I think so.

Somehow having ready access to the test results makes me anxious, even when the results are great.
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Old 07-12-19, 02:32 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage VFer View Post

Ultimately, you and only you are responsible for your health.
I agree wholeheartedly with this. You are your own best advocate. I had to argue with my DH's cardiologist's nurse about the medication he was taking and finally she talked to the doctor and it was resolved appropriately. I think the physicians feel the pressure of the insurance companies not to spend too much time on any one patient, so it pays to be completely be prepared for each appointment to make the best of the time you have with your doctor.

I agree with making a list of those numbers that concern you so you can ask about them, but I also agree that normal is normal and as long as you are within that range please don't worry about being on the higher end of the range. If you aren't having symptoms like what VVFer described, consider it good news!
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Old 07-12-19, 02:47 PM  
bubbles76
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Cataddict.....

why is your cat screaming at you?

On topic - I agree with VVFer. I am actually slightly above normal for my cholesterol and LDL, which is freaking me out considering how well I eat. So I understand where you are coming from.
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Old 07-12-19, 03:34 PM  
CharM
 
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I love having quick access to my results. I'm one who worries when things take so long, so this puts my mind at ease. It's funny because I'm one to obsess over other things, but I don't really obsess over my numbers. As long as everything is normal, I'm ok. But I agree that you should discuss with your doctor the things that worry you.
This post reminds me that I should have my blood tested. It's been a while and I've been feeling "off" lately.

eta: I didn't realize that it had only been a year since my last tests. I thought it had been much longer. I'll hold off on tests/dr visit, in that case, but be aware about how I'm feeling and then decide from there.
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Old 07-12-19, 03:36 PM  
cataddict
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Originally Posted by bubbles76 View Post
Cataddict.....

why is your cat screaming at you?

On topic - I agree with VVFer. I am actually slightly above normal for my cholesterol and LDL, which is freaking me out considering how well I eat. So I understand where you are coming from.
LOL bubbles, actually he is in the middle of a yawn! I happened to take his picture at just the right moment and my gentle baby looks so ferocious!

Yes, I do pay attention to the cholesterol numbers since genetics plays a part in those. The OP is fortunate if those numbers are within the "normal range".

It just occurred to me that I recall seeing my grandmother's written test results from back in the 1980s and her cholesterol was 276 and apparently that wasn't considered an issue. So it appears that what is considered "normal" definitely can change over time.
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