Applying the established normal values for common laboratory tests to elderly patients may present a problem for the clinician. The aging process affects many of the body's physiologic functions, causing some obvious and some subtle modifications in laboratory values. Thus, proper delivery of health care to the elderly depends in part on the physician's ability to detect when an abnormal test result is significant. This article discusses hemoglobin, hematrocrit, ESR, and liver and renal function tests. Part 2, to be published in a subsequent issue, will discuss endocrine tests.
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