Suppose you’re seeing a doctor because of chest pain. Do you think he or she will immediately say, “Don’t worry, it’s not a heart attack!”?
Of course not. While a doctor’s priority would be to establish that you are indeed not experiencing a heart attack, he or she won’t stop there. Your doctor will make a differential diagnosis to determine what’s causing the pain in your chest.
To do that, your doctor will note your symptoms, perform a physical examination, ask for your medical history, and order medical tests. Now, if the cause is still not clear by the time he or she receives your lab results, your doctor may order additional tests to arrive at a final diagnosis.
Speaking of medical tests, here’s a look at the most common ones ordered by physicians.
Diagnostic imaging tests include x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and so on. Digital x-rays allow doctors to view images of bones in an instant. However, x-rays aren’t just for orthopedic issues such as broken or dislocated bones.
An x-ray can also detect lung conditions such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. It can also diagnose certain tumors and masses. Meanwhile, a CT (computerized tomography) scan provides a more comprehensive image. Doctors order this test to identify cancer, blood clots, the source of infection, etc.
Last but not least is an MRI or magnetic resonance imaging. Besides diagnosis, an MRI can show the severity of an injury or disease. For example, a neurologist may order one to see if there’s fluid buildup or bleeding in the brain.
Especially for victims of an accident or medical malpractice, it’s essential to know the results of these tests so they can claim compensation for their injuries. You can read on here to find out more.
2. Body Fluid Analysis
Analyzing urine, blood, fluid within a joint, and so on is one of the most common ways to diagnose a health condition. A blood sugar test, for instance, measures the level of glucose in a patient’s blood.
Usually, a doctor will order this test if he or she suspects diabetes. Other types of blood tests are cholesterol tests, kidney function tests, and liver function tests.
Diagnostic tests that involve a viewing tube or endoscope fall under endoscopy. Examples include coloscopy for examining the anus and gastroscopy for checking out the stomach.
Sometimes, an endoscopy procedure requires an incision. For example, in laparoscopy, a surgeon will cut below a patient’s belly button. He or she will then insert a tube with a camera to look at the abdominal organs.
When a doctor suspects cancer, he or she will perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Biopsies involve the removal of tissue samples, which are then sent to a pathologist. If abnormal cells are found, it’s often a sign that a patient has cancer.
5. Other Medical Tests
ECG, EEG, pulmonary function tests are other medical tests ordered by doctors to diagnose illnesses.
In children or fetuses, genetic testing is one way to determine if they’re at risk of developing a disorder. Some adults may also choose to get genetic testing to see if they’re likely to develop certain diseases (e.g., cancer).
Want to Know More About Diagnostic Tests?
Now that you’ve learned about some medical tests, do you still have concerns about the procedures your doctor wants you to undergo?
There are also tons of information online that can help you. For more health articles like this, check out our other posts.