Blood plays a vital role in every person’s health. It contains cells that deliver nutrients to all parts of the body. In addition, it also contains information about every person’s internal health.
Healthcare providers and professionals order patient’s to take blood tests because the blood says a lot about their current health. Doctors use blood tests to diagnose suspected genetic conditions and illnesses. They can also order patients to take their blood samples as part of their regular check-ups.
Different blood tests are used to determine an individual’s medical condition. It’s also conducted in different ways, and each test result will determine the doctor’s prognosis. Learn more about them in this simple guide discussing what to expect from blood test results.
How blood tests are done
Phlebotomists use two main ways to collect a blood sample. First, they use either the venous or finger-prick method. Here’s what you should expect from both:
- A needle is used to puncture a vein, usually in your arm, to collect a blood sample during a venous blood test. It’s a more invasive way to test a full range of biomarkers, measurable substances that indicate disease, infection, or environmental exposure.
- A lancet is used to prick your finger to collect a blood sample in a finger-prick blood test. It’s less invasive and used when only a small blood sample is needed for the diagnosis.
You can either go to a laboratory or get your blood sample via those two means. If you need help, you can easily search “blood work near me” online to find the nearest facility that can assist in taking your blood sample.
Things a blood test can show
The biomarkers on your blood can tell a lot about your health, depending on the test you take. Here are the things it can show:
- Vitamin and mineral levels
- Cholesterol levels
- Performance of certain organs such as your liver and kidneys
- Thyroid function
- Blood sugar levels and risk of diabetes
- Any genetic conditions
Besides determining any current health conditions, you can also use blood tests to keep track of long-term chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Preparing for a blood test
You can do a couple of things to make your blood test go as smoothly as possible. Hydrating and staying warm are effective ways to prepare for a blood test. Being hydrated makes it easier to collect your blood sample.
You can take a hot shower to stay warm before your blood test. The lab professional taking your blood sample can also make you jump on the spot for a minute to warm your body. These things make it easier to collect your blood sample, especially for finger-prick tests.
Fasting before a blood test
Fasting is usually required before several blood tests. It means you’ll have to refrain from eating or drinking anything except water for a certain amount of time before your test. Doctors commonly order up to 8 to 12 hours of fasting before scheduled blood tests.
Fasting is necessary for some blood tests to prevent food and drinks from affecting their results. For example, having a high-fat meal before a lipid test could cause your triglyceride levels to look higher than normal. Blood test results should be as accurate as possible so doctors can develop a proper diagnosis.
What to expect from blood test results
Many blood tests measure certain levels of a compound, enzyme, or antibody present in your body. Your samples will be compared to a reference range to determine if your levels are within normal limits. These reference ranges differ depending on age, gender, family history, and ethnicity.
Blood tests will help you determine how healthy you are and how you can sustain good health. Abide by your physician’s advice after examining your blood sample analysis to be healthy for a long time.
Though not a medical professional, Hodge Racter knows a lot about health and medical topics, including on-demand modern laboratory services. When not writing, he spends his time with his wife and two dogs.