Can your doctor see drugs in your blood test?

Your doctor can sometimes see the drugs your blood test is checking for. This is because they are on the machine that is reading the test.

Your doctor might need to explain their view of the results so you understand what they mean. They might also need to explain what the results mean if you have any ongoing problems with your body.

Your doctor might want to do extra tests to help them understand the results. When they do this, they might ask you to go to the lab to have a test done there.

What do the results mean?

The results tell your doctor what drugs you have in your body. They might not be able to tell what you are taking without more information about the types of drugs you are taking.

Drug levels are measured in parts per million (ppm). This is a unit of measurement that refers to the amount of a drug in a sample of blood. The higher the concentration, the more of the drug there is.

For example, the level of an anti-anxiety drug might be 1.5 to 4.5 times the amount in a normal person.

Your blood test results can affect many aspects of your health, including:

  • How quickly you recover from an illness or injury
  • How well you do in school
  • Your chances of getting pregnant
  • Your risk of having a heart attack
  • How well you feel after a surgery
  • How much you can eat
  • How much you should take in your diet

What if my doctor needs more information?

If your doctor needs more information about the results, they will probably ask you to come back for a follow-up visit. This is because the results can take some time to understand.

If the results are positive for any drug, your doctor will want to know if you have any ongoing or previous problems with the drug. This might mean that you should adjust your diet or take another medication to avoid any drug side effects.

Your doctor might also want to know if you have developed a rash or any other unusual side effects.

How are the results interpreted?

Your doctor can interpret your results. They will look for any pattern of results that they think might be related to the suspected drug.

For example, if your blood test result is high for a drug and your doctor identifies a pattern of results, they will look to see if the results are high for the drug you are taking.

What if I have a health problem that the test results could affect?

Sometimes the results of a blood test can affect your health. If so, your doctor will want to know why before he or she can interpret the results.

For example, if a blood test result is high for a drug that you take for a health problem, your doctor will want to know why you are taking the drug. It may help to talk to a doctor or pharmacist.

What if I have more questions?

If you have more questions about your blood test results, you can ask your doctor.

If you don’t have a doctor, or you aren’t sure who to talk to, you can ask your school nurse, school guidance counselor, or teacher. You can also ask your pharmacist.

If you get a prescription for a drug, you can find the directions for that drug in the drug information you can get from your pharmacist.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has more information on how to talk to your doctor about your results.

What if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant?

It is important to tell your doctor if you are pregnant. Sometimes a drug might be harmful to your unborn child.

Some medications can cause birth defects, such as a heart murmur, if the drug is taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Talk to your doctor about your pregnancy. If you are not sure if you are pregnant, ask your doctor to do a test.

What if I have had a blood transfusion?

If you have a transfusion of blood, you may need to have your blood tested. For example, if a blood transfusion was given to treat anemia, the results of your blood test may help the doctor decide if you need to have more treatment.

Blood tests can also be done to check how well your liver is functioning. If there is too much iron in your blood, your liver might not be functioning properly.

Your blood type might also be checked. If you have type O blood, your doctor might find that you need to be treated for a disease called hemochromatosis. This is when you have too much iron in your blood.

The AAFP has more information about how to talk to your doctor about your blood test results.

What if I develop a health problem after taking a drug?

Some drugs can cause a health problem in people who use them. For example, some drugs affect how your blood clot. This might make the drug dangerous.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about any problems that may develop after you start taking a drug.

How do I get the results of my blood test?

Your doctor may send your blood test results to a lab. You should get the results as soon as possible. Sometimes, the lab takes time to get the results.

The lab that does your blood tests, or the lab that sends the results to your doctor, can tell you how to get the results.

The lab will give you a number to call. This is the number that you should use. It might be a toll-free number. If not, it’s usually a number that has a “1” or a “800” in front of it.

For example, the lab might say, “80077733111,” which is the number that you should use for getting the test results.

The lab may also tell you when the results are available. Or, you might be able to get them by email.

The bottom line

Blood tests can help your doctor and other health care professionals know how well your body is working and how well your body is protecting you from harm.

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