Glossary of Terms

Allergen – Substance that can cause an allergy.

Anaphylaxis – Severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause skin reactions, low blood pressure and difficulty breathing.

Antibody – You may also see the following terms associated with antibodies: Ig; Immunoglobulin; Immune serum globulin; Immune globulin; Gamma globulin. Antibodies are special proteins produced by your body as a reaction to foreign substances, including viruses and bacteria. The five major kinds of immunoglobulins are A, D, E, G and M.

Chronic – A condition or illness that begins slowly and may or may not get better with treatment. Diabetes and heart failure are examples of chronic conditions.

Confirmation Testing – Laboratory-based testing is done in two steps. The first step is the screening test, which is an immunoassay based test applied to all samples. The second step, known as the confirmation test, is usually undertaken by a laboratory using highly specific techniques and only applied to samples that test positive during the screening test.

Congenital – If you have a congenital condition, it means the condition was present at birth.

Critical Value - A result that is so far outside the normal range that it is likely to indicate an acute risk to the health of the patient.

Dermatitis – Inflammation of your skin.

Enzyme – A type pf protein that speeds up biological reactions, such as digestion. Many enzymes end in "-ase" (e.g., lipase, amylase).

False- Negative – Test or procedure result inappropriately indicating a normal or negative result when, in fact, an abnormal condition is actually present.

False-Positive – Test or procedure result that indicates a positive or abnormal result when, in fact, no abnormal condition is actually present.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – An arrangement you set up through your employer to pay for many of your out-of-pocket medical expenses with tax-free dollars. These expenses include insurance copayments and deductibles, and qualified prescription drugs, insulin and medical devices. You decide how much of your pre-tax wages you want taken out of your paycheck and put into an FSA. You don’t have to pay taxes on this money. Your employer’s plan sets a limit on the amount you can put into an FSA each year.

There is no carry-over of FSA funds. This means that FSA funds you don’t spend by the end of the plan year can’t be used for expenses in the next year. An exception is if your employer’s FSA plan permits you to use unused FSA funds for expenses incurred during a grace period of up to 2.5 months after the end of the FSA plan year.

Health Savings Account (HSA) – Is a medical savings account available to taxpayers who are enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan. The funds contributed to the account aren't subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit.

Funds must be used to pay for qualified medical expenses. Unlike a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), funds roll over year to year if you don't spend them.

Hemolysis – This is when red blood cells disintegrate. This can happen occasionally during the blood collection process.

Inflammation – This is your body’s response to injury and infection. When inflammation is close to the surface of your body it usually leads to redness, tenderness, heat and pain. When the inflammation is internal, you may have a fever, be tired or feel generally unwell.

Pathogen – An organism that causes disease.

Preventive Medicine – The prevention of disease.

Prostatitis – Inflammation of the prostate.

Qualitative test results – These test results are ether positive or negative.

Quantitative test results – These test results expressed as numbers.

Reference range – The range of test values expected for a designated population of individuals, e.g., 95 percent of individuals that are presumed to be healthy (or normal).

Symptom – Evidence of a disease or condition experienced or perceived by a patient.

Toxin – Anything that causes harm to cells in your body. You may also hear the term poison.

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