How to Read Blood Test Results

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How to Read Blood Test Results

When getting your blood tested, you need someone qualified to translate the blood test results for you. However, it’s natural that you are interested in your own blood test results and would like to know what they mean without having someone else to do it for you. Here’s how to decipher the code.

Before Reading the Results

  • Too many people get overly anxious over blood test results because of what they deem to be abnormal numbers. Remember that this article is only a guide to what the results may mean. If there are any numbers that are off the charts, it’s best to consult a professional before taking any course of action.
  • 1 out of 20 lab tests ordered from the same source come back abnormal. This is a normal occurrence, a standard variation of lab errors. That’s why you shouldn’t panic when you get an abnormal report and withhold any course of action until you’ve had your test results looked at by a professional.


Total cholesterol is the shorthand way of looking how your cholesterol levels are. Cholesterol is the fatty substance that comes from meat, eggs, poultry and dairy products. Higher levels means a higher chance of a heart attack. When it’s lower than 200 mg/dL, you’re in the clear. If it’s higher, the doctor will pay closer attention to other factors that contribute to your high cholesterol levels.

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol

LDL cholesterol are made up cholesterol particles that are wrapped in a thin layer of protein. LDL cholesterol’s role is to repair cells, but in higher levels, can cause arterial blockage. Higher levels of LDL can actually cause more trouble as they are closely linked to a number of cardiovascular problems.

If you have a history of heart disease, LDL levels below 100 mg/dL is optimal, while high risk individuals are recommended to maintain a level of 70 mg/dL.

To lower your LDL cholesterol levels, your doctor will probably recommend you to have a healthier diet that incorporates fruits, vegetables and non-fatty food products.

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol

HDL cholesterol is widely regarded as “good” cholesterol although there are still recommended levels to maintain. 60 mg/dL is viewed to be a high level, while lower than 40 mg/dL may mean problems. If you have low HDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may recommend you to take supplemental niacin in your diet.


Common fat that’s found in our blood and body. Normal levels are identified at 150 mg/dL or lower. Higher levels may signal a bigger heart risk.


Creatinine is the waste product that can be detected in the blood. If your kidneys are working properly, your levels should register at 1.3 mg/dL or lower. Higher levels may signal kidney problems.


Common salt in the blood can give clues about your cardiac risk factors. High levels can indicate cardiac arrest risk, while lower levels can point towards heart rhythm irregularities. Normal potassium levels are anywhere between 3.5 and 5 mmol/L.

Doctors may recommend ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers to raise potassium levels and diuretics to lower potassium levels.

Glucose or Blood Sugar

Normal levels of glucose are levels below 100 mg/dL. If your blood results register a level of over 126 mg/dL, you will be diagnosed with diabetes. Levels between 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL are considered to have an elevated risk diabetes, or pre-diabetic.

To lower or remove the risk entirely, doctors will usually prescribe weight loss and exercise.



  1. on March 1st, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    [...] are also several tests for eczema diagnosis, like checking your blood for allergen levels (Learn how to read blood test results) or the skin patch testing, where suspected irritants are applied on the skin to see if there is an [...]

  2. dick letsch said,

    on June 22nd, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    My blood test shows a LY% of 57.0 and lymph of 56 and both are considered high. What does this mean?

  3. Karen Hatfield said,

    on August 11th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I am trying to understand blood test results. What is GGT? Looks like it realtes to the liver and perhaps is linked with cholesterol? My result was 84, high range. My cholesterol was 218, in the high range.

  4. Angy said,

    on March 5th, 2010 at 8:52 am

    If my folic acid test result is 93 does that mean I am no longer low in iron?