Blood testing can reveal a lot of data about a person’s overall physical well-being, which is why medical professionals recommend that it be done at least once a year during routine health check-ups. It’s also often essential when trying to determine the reasons behind a patient’s health problems.
Why blood testing is important
Sampling blood can help detect various diseases early on, so appropriate treatments can be administered and appropriate lifestyle changes can be made.
Blood testing is an important diagnostic tool because it provides such useful information. Physicians can spot illnesses, even if the patient isn’t showing any symptoms yet. Organs (such as the heart, kidney, and liver) can be monitored to ensure that they are functioning well, plus doctors can also see if patients are responding well to prescribed medicine.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:
“Blood tests help doctors check for certain diseases and conditions. They also help check the function of your organs and show how well treatments are working.”
Meanwhile, the British Heart Foundation further pointed out:
“Blood needs a very precise balance in order for your body to work well. If blood test results are abnormal, it gives the doctors a good indication of how to treat you or prevent problems occurring in the future.”
Different types of blood test
There are various blood tests and they each have their own purpose. Some of the most common ones include:
- Complete blood count (CBC). This test is performed to measure the levels of different blood cells such as red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, and platelets. A CBC is usually done during regular medical checkups.
- Basic metabolic panel (BMP). This one checks the levels of chemical compounds in the blood such as calcium, carbon dioxide, chloride, electrolytes, glucose, potassium, sodium, and others. The test could also be used to detect diabetes and kidney problems.
- Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP). As its name implies, this type of test goes beyond what you can get from a BMP. It also gives you information about different proteins and substances, which can be used in learning more about the liver and in determining some medicines’ side effects.
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV) test. Antibodies of hepatitis C are released into the bloodstream upon infection with the virus, detectable with this test.
- Cardiac enzyme. This test is done when a person has had or is in the process of having a heart attack or is suffering from artery blockage symptoms. Enzyme levels go up following a heart attack so doctors need this test to see if there is a serious problem.
- Lipid panel. Also called cholesterol panel, coronary risk panel, or lipid test, this test is done to measure the amount of fat in your blood, specifically the good cholesterol (HDL) and the bad cholesterol (LDL). This could help detect present or future heart problems.
How blood testing works (and how to prepare for it)
A small amount of blood is taken from the body using a needle. The person drawing the blood will tie an elastic band on the upper arm and then rub alcohol to clean the area. You will also be asked to make a fist so they can find your vein easier. In some cases, testing is done using the finger prick method. Soon, the blood will be processed and analyzed by laboratory technicians.
It often takes several days before results arrive for routine blood tests but lab personnel will immediately contact the doctor if they find any serious problems. In some cases, additional tests may be required such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), a heart scan (coronary calcium scan), or others.
Although most tests do not need any special preparations, some may require you to fast (refrain from eating) for at least 8 to 12 hours. Your doctor will inform you about whether you will need to fast or not before your blood test.
What to do if you’re scared about getting a blood test
The entire blood testing procedure can be completed in as little as three minutes. It is entirely safe and only causes minor pain and discomfort. Getting a blood test can be a nerve-wracking experience for some people, both children and adults, either because they’re scared of needles or do not like the sight of blood.
For the most part, looking away does the trick. Having someone distract you may also be an effective idea. Other than that, you can also tell the person doing the blood test about how you feel so they can help you better. Some clinics use an anesthetic cream to numb the area of the arm before the needle goes in. Again, be sure to let them know ahead of time if you are feeling anxious about blood testing since some might require you to buy and apply the cream before your appointment.
Where to get a blood test
You have several options for this. Generally, you can get your blood testing done by a doctor or a nurse in a hospital or a clinic. Another alternative you can consider is to visit a specialized laboratory that provides the service.
If you’re in New York City or nearby areas, feel free to get in touch with us at Fast Lab by giving us a call at (917) 503-9404 or sending us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re open Mondays through Sundays from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm and we’d be glad to be of help with your blood testing needs.