Reference Ranges and What They Mean test

Published: 10 Sep 2023

If you need further explanation of your results, you should talk to your health care provider.
Remember, a reference range is merely a guide for your health care provider. Decision limits are values that represent either the upper or lower quantity of an analyte that are consistent with a disease state or indicate a need for treatment.
Blood glucose is an example of an analyte for which decision limits have been established and are widely used by health care providers. We want you to understand what each test on this site is for, but because we can't be aware of all the factors that could affect your test results, we can't interpret the results without more information. We want you to be informed, but we don't pretend to take the place of communication between you and your health care provider. Treatment is required to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and other long-term complications of diabetes.
In this situation, it is a value above a particular limit that provides information rather than a value that falls within or outside a set range of numbers.This remains true even for those tests, such as the components of the basic metabolic panel (BMP), for which we have included reference ranges. He or she will interpret the result in the context of your medical history and current presentation - something that no website is yet able to do.
For a small number of tests, long-term studies of certain disease processes have led to the establishment of decision limits that are more useful than reference ranges in determining clinical outcomes and guiding treatment decisions. For adults in a routine setting in which fasting blood glucose testing is done to detect type 2 diabetes, a fasting glucose level of 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or above, obtained on more than one testing occasion, indicates diabetes.

Through many years of research involving large, diverse populations, these limits have become standardized. In the context of your personal information, you and your provider can use reference ranges as a guide to what your results mean and to help make decisions about managing your health.A few tests do not have ranges, but limits at which decisions are made about whether you are healthy or should be treated. The specific reference ranges that appear on your laboratory report are determined and provided by the laboratory that performed your test.
Reference ranges help describe what is typical for a particular group of people based on age, sex, and other characteristics. An example is glucose testing for diabetes.
Each laboratory establishes or 'validates' its own reference ranges, thus reflects differences that vary from lab to lab.