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Lab
Common
Reference
Values
Critical Values
Purpose of Test
Abnormal Findings: Elevated
Abnormal Findings: Decreased
Nursing
Considerations
Hct
Male
Female
42-52
36-48
To see how many
RBC are in the
blood
Dehydration, polycythemia, lung
or heart disease
Anemia, recent blood loss,
vitamin or mineral deficits
Pregnancy,
living at a high
altitude
Hgb
Male
Female
14-17.3 g/dL
11.7-15.5 g/dL
To see how many
RBC are in the
blood
Lung disease, dehydration, heavy
smoking, strenuous exercise
Anemia, cancer, cirrhosis
WBC
4.5-11.1
Measure amount
of white blood
cells in the blood
Infection, inflammation, stress
Cancer, bone marrow disorders,
malnutrition
Platelets
140-
400x10^3/microL
Monitor or
diagnose
conditions that
cause too much
bleeding or
clotting
Cancer, infections, iron deficiency
Cancer, anemia, viral infections
Sodium
135-145
mEq/L
Measure amount
of sodium in blood
dehydration, too much sodium
consumption, endocrine diseases
Diuretics, heart, kidney, and
liver problems
Potassium
3.5-5.3 mEq/L
Measure amount
of potassium in
blood
Acute kidney failure, beta
blockers, dehydration
Alcohol use, chronic kidney
disease, diarrhea
Monitor I&O
Calcium
8.2-10.2
mg/dL
Measure amount
of calcium in
blood
Overactive parathyroid glands,
cancer, immobility
Vitamin D deficiency,
hypoparathyroidism, kidney
disease
Certain drugs
may affect
levels
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Magnesium
1.6-2.2 mg/dL
Measure amount
of magnesium in
blood
Kidney failure, excessive laxative
use
Diabetes, poor absorption,
chronic diarrhea
Educate patient
on diet habits
Phosphorus
2.5-4.5 mg/dL
Measure amount
of phosphorus in
blood
Uncontrolled diabetes,
hypocalcemia,
hypoparathyroidism
Poor diets, eating disorders,
alcoholism
Monitor s/s of
low cardiac
output
Cholesterol
< 200 mg/dL
Determine
cholesterol level
and estimate risk
of heart attack
and heart disease
Diabetes, hypothyroidism, lupus
Malnutrition, liver disease,
anemia
Fast before
labs, monitor
and encourage
ambulation,
monitor blood
sugar and
blood pressures
LDL
< 100 mg/dL
Determine risk for
heart disease
Diet high in saturated fat and salt,
lack of physical activity, alcohol
and tobacco
Cancer, hemorrhagic stroke,
depression
Fast before labs
HDL
60 mg/dL
Measures levels of
HDL cholesterol and
chances of reducing
the risk of heart
disease
Hyperthyroidism, chronic alcohol
use
Smoking, obesity, lack of
physical activity
Patient should
not be sick,
may have to
take
medications,
may fast
Glucose
70-100
mg/dL
PreDia: 120-
125
Diagnose/monitor
diabetes, measure
blood sugar level
Diabetes, stress, exercise
Hypoglycemia, strenuous
exercise
Fasting labs
must be NPO
BUN
8-21 mg/dL
5-25
Checks kidney
function, detect
dehydration
Dehydration, kidney disease, kidney
infection, nephrotoxic drugs
Over hydrated
Watch amount
of fluids patient
is getting
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Creatinine
Male
Female
0.6-1.21 mg/dL
0.5-1.11 mg/dL
Renal dysfunction
Acute or chronic renal failure
pregnancy
Red meat
before tests
can cause
higher values
ALT
Male
Female
19-36 units/L
24-36 units/L
Diagnose liver
disease
Hepatitis, liver damage
Frequent exercise, NSAID use
AST
Male
Female
20-40 units/L
15-30 units/L
Diagnose liver
damage or
disease, MI
Heart attack, liver damage
Vitamin B6 deficiency, chronic
kidney disease

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