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For some tests, there is no single reference range that applies to everyone.
By far, the most common factors that cause variations in reference values are age and/or sex.
In scanning the page, you see a result that is highlighted as being outside the reference range and you wonder what that means for you.
Some lab tests provide a simple "yes" or "no" answer.
This is something to keep in mind in the following circumstances: It is your provider's job to not only consider that an out-of-range result could be due to the lab change but also to consider how great a change is reflected in the new result and the whether it might actually represent a significant change in your health.
NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board.
This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review.
Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.
Factors affecting lab test results There are a few reasons why a test result could fall outside of the established reference range despite the fact that you are in good health.
Because men have greater muscle mass than women, the reference values for men are higher than for women.
Reference ranges for children who are still growing and developing are often very different than those for adults and may change significantly as they age.
This website, Lab Tests Online, gives information about various tests, including the possible reasons test results may be "abnormal." Three important things to know about reference ranges: While this site can help you understand some of the implications of your test results, the best source of this information is your healthcare provider.
You can use what you learn about your results from Lab Tests Online to talk to your provider, be prepared to ask the right questions during that conversation, and to take an active role in your healthcare decisions.