Blood works Reference Ranges tool
Published: 25 Jun 2023
Reference range or reference interval usually describes the variations of a measurement or value in healthy individuals.
It is a basis for a physician or other health professional to interpret a set of results for a particular patient. However, usual and optimal levels may differ substantially, most notably among vitamins and blood lipids, so these tables give limits on both standard and optimal (or target) ranges.More specifically, optimal levels are generally close to a central tendency of the values found in the population. However, there are also optimal health ranges that are those that appear to have the optimal health impact on people. For most substances presented, the optimal levels are the ones normally found in the population as well. This may also be called standard range. In contrast, optimal (health) range or therapeutic target is a reference range or limit that is based on concentrations or levels that are associated with optimal health or minimal risk of related complications and diseases. The standard definition of a reference range (usually referred to if not otherwise specified) basically originates in what is most prevalent in a reference group taken from the population. Reference ranges are usually given as what are the usual (or normal) values found in the population, more specifically the prediction interval that 95% of the population fall into.
Therefore, today 'reference range' or 'reference values' are considered the more appropriate terms, for reasons explained on the next page. Most people know that the 'average' heart rate is about 70 beats per minute. If a patient's results are outside the range for that test, it does not automatically mean that the result is abnormal. Take one of the simplest medical indicators of all-your heart rate. Without the proper context, any observation or test result is meaningless. How do you know what a 'normal' heart rate is? We know this on the basis of taking the pulse rate of millions of people over time. You can take your resting heart rate right now by putting your fingers on your pulse and counting for a minute. Tests results-all medical data-can only be understood once all the pieces are together. The term reference values is increasing in use and is often used interchangeably with reference range. The term 'normal range' is not used very much today because it is considered to be misleading. For simplicity, we use the term reference range in this article. The interpretation of any clinical laboratory test must consider this important concept when comparing the patient results to the test 'reference range'.To understand what is normal for you, your doctor must know what is normal for most other people of your age and what you were doing at the time-or just before-the test or observation was conducted. You probably also know that if you are a regular runner or are otherwise in good physical condition, your pulse rate could be considerably lower-so a pulse rate of 55 could also be 'normal.' Say you walk up a hill-your heart rate is now 120 beats a minute. That would be high for a resting heart rate but 'normal' for the rate during this kind of activity. Your heart rate, like any medical observation, must be considered in context.