Blood tests take longer than other blood tests. They need to be drawn from the vein, which is more painful (and also more likely to cause bruising or other side effects). The most common blood tests are:
Complete blood count (CBC): A blood count is a measure of all the different types of cells and blood cells in the body. It is a routine part of a complete blood count.
Blood glucose level: A blood glucose test is used to check how well the body is using sugar for energy.
Blood chemistries: A blood chemistry test measures the levels of certain chemicals in the blood, such as glucose and electrolytes.
What are the benefits of taking a blood test?
A blood test can help you see how well your body is working and how well it is able to supply your body with energy. It can help your doctor check for disease and make sure you are not in danger of a serious problem. It can also help your doctor tell how well treatments are working.
Blood tests are often part of a full physical exam. They are usually only done if your doctor thinks you need them.
How do I prepare for a blood test?
You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for 8 to 12 hours before a blood test. Tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking.
How is a blood sample collected?
Blood samples are usually collected from a vein in the arm. It is best to have a healthcare provider do the test because they are more accurate than most other people.
To collect a sample:
- First, clean the skin on your arm with an alcohol swab. You may want to use an alcohol swab if there is a lot of skin in the area.
- Then, put an elastic band (or tape) around your arm to keep the vein open.
- If you have a vein that is not visible, a healthcare provider may need to use a small amount of blood from the back of your arm or from a different vein.
- They will tie a small piece of thread (called a catheter) to a vein and guide it into it.
- You may be lying down to get the blood sample.
When the needle is removed, there may be a small bruise or a small amount of blood. This is normal.
What happens after I have a blood test?
You usually can go home after your blood test. The nurse or healthcare provider will give you instructions about what to do.
The nurse or healthcare provider may ask you to do or not do certain things before the test. Tell the nurse or healthcare provider if you are not able to do something.
How do I get a repeat blood test?
It is not common for blood tests to be done more than once. The results of a blood test are usually the same each time.
It is not uncommon for blood tests to be done more than once in a few years. Your healthcare provider may have recommended that you get a different kind of blood test.
If you think you are having a problem with your blood test, talk to the nurse or healthcare provider about it.
What do I do if I have a problem?
If you have a problem, tell the nurse or healthcare provider about it right away.
The nurse or healthcare provider can take any medicines you are taking out of your system before you have the blood test. This is called a “washout period.” Ask the nurse or healthcare provider if you do not understand something.
If you have a problem, do not have a blood test.
What are possible problems from a blood test?
There are no problems that are caused by a blood test.
How should I take care of myself before and after a blood test?
Before you have a blood test:
Do not eat or drink anything for 8 to 12 hours before the test.
- You may be asked to stop taking medicine that contains iron that you are taking for your health.
- You may also be asked not to take aspirin (to reduce the risk of bleeding).
If you are having a blood test to check your blood sugar, you may be asked not to eat or drink anything for 8 to 12 hours before the test. This is called a “washout period.”
After a blood test:
- Do not sit or stand up for at least 15 minutes.
- You may also be asked not to lift anything over 5 pounds for 1 to 2 hours.
- Do not use your arm or shoulder for at least 20 minutes.
- Do not put anything in your eyes.
A healthcare provider or nurse will tell you what to do after you have a blood test.
What do I do the day after a blood test?
Tell the nurse or healthcare provider if you have:
- Any pain, redness, or swelling in the area where the blood sample was taken.
- Any problems with your blood pressure.
What happens after the test?
The nurse or healthcare provider will give you a number to call if you have any problems.
What do I do about my results?
Your results will be available as soon as possible. They may take a few days to be ready.
You will need to keep your healthcare provider informed about what happens. You may ask to speak to the doctor or nurse about the results.
The doctor or nurse may want you to have an appointment to have the results of your blood test. This is called a follow-up test.
The doctor or nurse may ask you to come back in a few days to have more blood work done.
You may need to get a checkup with your healthcare provider to make sure that the test results are normal.
The doctor or nurse may want to do more tests to see if there is something wrong.
What are the risks associated with a blood test?
There are risks with any medical procedure. Be sure to discuss them with the nurse or healthcare provider before the test.
All tests have some risk. Be sure to discuss this with the nurse or healthcare provider.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
- The name of the test or procedure
- The reason you are having the test or procedure
- What results to expect and what they mean
- What the risks are and what they mean
- What the potential benefits and risks are
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