Nature and Importance of Medical Health Tests

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Medical tests are an integral feature of modern medicine and are a feature that we are all familiar with. Common medical tests like blood tests are not exclusive to those with any specific ailment, but are often recommended as part of a routine health check. There are a wide variety of medical tests, and for the laymen this vast resource of medicine can seem daunting, as it can be hard to sift through the various medical terms, to identify a medical test of relevance to your particular situation.

Importance of Medical Testing

Medical testing is important for a variety of purposes, from being an employment pre-requisite in some instances, to reasons of personal health or for diagnosis. It therefore helps to be familiar with the more common medical tests, and understanding the purpose of these tests can also help you identify and understand them better. Common medical lab tests have a vast scope as they may be used for a variety of purposes and their role may not be restricted to a specific health condition. To simplify this, it would be best to explain the nature of common medical tests on the basis of their use:

Purpose of Common Medical Tests

A medical test may be required to help detect or predict the presence of a disease in an individual, particularly if he/she falls within a risk group. These can be classified as screening tests, and these common medical tests are used to keep a check on disease prevalence, for statistical purposes or to help take preventive action.

  • A medical test that is prescribed to confirm or rule out the presence of a disease in an individual who is suspected to have it is a diagnostic test. Suspicions may arise due to observable symptoms or due to the findings of any preliminary medical testing.
  • Medical testing is also widely used to evaluate the progress of a particular disease or health condition or to examine their response to treatment.

These are however not rigid classifications as many a medical test has more than one specific purpose, and these uses may vary or change depending on the situation. For example, a blood test may be used to record the red blood count to determine if a person suffers from anemia, while the same test may also be used whilst treatment is being provided to monitor the efficiency of the treatment.

Common Medical Tests

Some of the common medical tests that you may be familiar with include blood tests, pathology tests, blood sugar tests, genetic tests, cholesterol tests or endoscopy tests. There are also some common medical tests specifically for women like pregnancy tests or pap smear tests, while there are tests like semen analysis or prostate specific - antigen tests, for men.

While it is true that some medical testing procedures do pose certain health risks and may even require the subject to be anesthetize, most common medical tests like blood tests or pregnancy tests pose little or no direct risk. The best source of any information regarding any medical test that you have been prescribed would however, remain your health care provider.