Blood testing is done for a number of reasons ranging from diagnosing a specific disease to assessing the overall health. There are several blood tests doctor may order at the routine annual medical check-up such as blood cell counts, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels. It is important to understand how blood testing works to ensure that everything goes as it should.
Blood testing is one of the most common medical procedures performed at hospitals and clinics. There are dozens of blood tests that the doctor can order to help in making a diagnosis or to analyze the overall health. Some blood tests are more common than others and the common blood tests are the ones that most people will have at least once in their lives. Some blood testing is done as part of the routine medical check-up.
Blood tests are very routine in which a healthcare professional uses a needle to obtain blood sample from a vein in the arm. The patient may feel a slight prick when the needle breaks through the skin. The injection site may feel tender or sore following the blood draw, but it heals quickly. Bruising is possible at the injection site, but it is typically minor. It is very rare for the injection site to become infected.
It is very important to use a new needle for the collection of blood sample every time. Blood collection needles should not be re-used. Needles that are already used can transmit serious life-threatening infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV (AIDS). Patient should be watch-full and remind the laboratory technician to use new packed needles to draw the blood.
Many blood tests do not require any preparation. If the patient do need to prepare, the doctor will give detailed instructions on how to do this. For example, some blood glucose tests need to fast for approximately eight hours before the test. Some tests may require to change how to take certain medications to ensure an accurate result. Make sure the doctor knows about all the medications patient is taking.
The person doing the blood draw will completely clean and disinfect the site of the arm from where they will draw the blood from. A tourniquet is tied just above the site to allow blood to pool in the area. A new packed needle and syringe is unpacked and then inserted into the vein, allow the blood to collect in a vial and then withdraw the needle from the vein. Obtaining a sample for a blood test takes about two to three minutes.
Results are different for all blood tests and a high or low result is something the doctor will discuss with the patient. The following are some of the most common blood tests that doctors order
- Complete blood count - The complete blood count looks at the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, mean corpuscular volume, hemoglobin and hematocrit in the blood. This blood test is commonly done at the routine annual medical check-up because it provides information about the general state of the person’s health.
- Blood enzyme tests - Blood enzyme testing is done to look at chemical reactions in the body. These tests are commonly used when trying to diagnose a heart attack. In this case, doctors will look at creatine kinase and troponin.
- Blood clotting tests - These tests provide information on how the blood clots by looking at certain proteins in the blood.
- Blood chemistry tests - Blood chemistry testing measures the levels of chemicals in the blood. Chemicals that everyone needs for optimal health include blood glucose, electrolytes, calcium and kidney function markers.
- Heart disease assessment tests - These blood tests measures the cholesterol and triglyceride levels.