These factors can throw off results:
- Running or any high-intensity exercise can cause slight dehydration and show up as kidney insufficiency.
- A sunburn can elevate white blood cell count, which typically signals inflammation.
- Got a sick spouse or child but feel fine yourself? A nonsymptomatic cold virus can raise or lower white blood cell count.
- An improper blood draw can cause a potassium spike; eating too much licorice can make it drop.
- A specimen that sits for too long before testing by the lab can skew blood sugar readings.
Also of interest: How to get patients to ask — and doctors to listen.