A LAC test measures lactic acid levels in your blood. The substance is produced inside your muscle tissues and red blood cells responsible for providing oxygen to different parts of the body from the lungs.
Uses of a LAC Test
The test detects high levels of lactic acid in the body, which can be life-threatening. It helps with the diagnosis of lactic acidosis before it leads to serious complications. The test can help with the following:
- Finding out if the body tissues are getting enough oxygen
- Diagnosis of sepsis, a life-threatening response to bacterial infection
If doctors suspect meningitis, the test will help determine whether it’s caused by a virus or bacteria.
Causes of High Lactic Acid Levels
The lactic acid content in a normal human body is low. But it can rise due to low oxygen levels. Some reasons behind low oxygen levels in the body are as follows:
- Heart failure
- Strenuous exercise
- Severe infection
- Shock, limiting blood flow to the organs and tissues
Certain medications also lead to the production of more lactic acid in the body. It includes medicines for HIV and a type-2 diabetes medication called metformin.
When Do You Need a LAC Test?
Your healthcare provider will prescribe a LAC test when you have the following symptoms associated with lactic acidosis.
- Muscle weakness
- Vomiting and nausea
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
The test is also recommended when you have symptoms of sepsis, like:
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
Some symptoms of meningitis that make doctors ask you to get this test done are as follows:
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
How to Prepare
Your doctor might prevent you from exercising a few hours before the test. Exercising can temporarily increase your lactic acid levels and provide misleading reports. Even though there are no other preparations required for the test, you must ask your doctor in detail.
LAC Test Procedure
During a lactic acid test, the phlebotomist will collect a blood sample from your vein or artery. A small needle is inserted in the arm to collect blood from the vein. Once the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood is collected in a test tube.
The needle going in and out of your vein might cause a little stinging. Don’t clench your fist during the test because it can temporarily increase lactic acid levels. The entire process of collecting a blood sample for a lactic acid test takes no more than five minutes.
Oxygen content in blood from an artery is higher than that from a vein. Therefore, your doctor might recommend an artery blood test. In this case, the blood sample is usually collected from an artery in your wrist.
A syringe is inserted inside the artery to draw out blood. Sharp pain can be felt with the needle going in and out of the artery. After collecting an adequate amount of blood, the healthcare provider will put a bandage over the site.
You will need to put pressure on the site for 5 to 10 minutes or even longer if you take blood-thinning medications. Drawing out blood from the artery is usually more painful than a vein. You might have bleeding, soreness, and bruising on the spot.
It’s better to avoid lifting heavy objects for one day after the test. All complications will disappear within 24 hours of the test. A spinal tap or lumbar puncture test is used to collect a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid when meningitis is suspected.
Interpretation of LAC Test Results
A high lactic acid content indicates that you have lactic acidosis. You can get two types of lactic acidosis: type A and type B. Conditions causing Type A lactic acidosis include the following:
- Lung disorders
- Heart failure
Type B lactic acidosis is caused by the following:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Strenuous exercise
A spinal tap result for meningitis infection can reveal the following:
- High levels of lactic acid (due to bacterial meningitis)
- Normal or mildly high levels of lactic acid (viral meningitis)
You must get your lactic acid test done at a reliable lab to receive treatment as early as possible. You can book your LAC blood test at Metropolis within an affordable range. The experts at the world-class lab offer accurate results quickly and are trusted by multiple hospitals and healthcare providers.