Before doctors can treat someone, they must understand what is causing the illness. By talking with the patient ("taking the history"), examining the patient, and, when necessary, ordering tests (often called laboratory or lab tests), a doctor is better able to determine the illness.
Laboratory tests of blood, cerebro spinal fluid and urine supports to understand the disease process and monitor levels of therapeutic drugs. Some of the tests belong to a regular check-up and provide general information while others are used to identify specific health concerns.
For instance, a blood test can detect a brain or spinal cord infection, blood vessel damage, toxins that may affect the central nervous system, vitamin deficiencies and the presence of antibodies that signal the presence of an autoimmune disease. As well monitoring of therapeutic drugs for example used in treatment of epilepsy and other neurological disorders makes the therapy safer for you because over- or under- dosing are avoided. Congenital diseases as Huntington’s disease can be explored by genetic testing of DNA extracted from white blood cells. Assay of the cerebro spinal fluid, the fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord can help to diagnose meningitis, acute and chronic inflammation or multiple sclerosis. Metabolic and chemical tests can indicate the presence of certain muscle disorders.
Sometimes a lab test will only suggest the possibility of a specific cause and making the diagnosis will require much more judgment.
A lab test also can eliminate a suspected cause, shortening the list of diagnoses to be considered.
Types of Laboratory Tests
- Blood tests
- Spinal tap (Lumbar Puncture)