What to Expect During Your First Blood Test
Forty-four million Americans go to the doctor each year for an annual well visit. One standard step of a well visit is a blood test.
If you don’t get annual checkups, you probably don’t get blood tests either, but you should.
A blood test is a routine procedure that isn’t frightening, difficult, or time-consuming. If you schedule an appointment for one, you shouldn’t worry.
As you prepare for this visit, here are several vital things to know about a routine blood test.
How to Prepare for a Blood Test
The good news about blood tests is that they typically do not require any preparations. For some, though, you might need to fast.
If you have to fast, you’ll need to go without food and beverages for at least 12 hours. Typically, you can still drink water, coffee, and tea during this time.
You can ask your provider if you need to fast or not. If so, ask what you can consume during this time. Failing to fast will not harm your blood test in any way.
The only difference is that it could affect the levels of things the test checks. The downside is that it can make your test appear that you have unhealthy levels in specific categories, even though this might not be true.
Secondly, you can prepare by trying to relax about it. Getting your first blood test might intimidate you, but it really shouldn’t. It’s a standard procedure that people go through all the time.
How Long the Visit Takes and What Occurs
A blood testing appointment doesn’t take long, which might bring you some relief. Getting the actual test only takes a couple of minutes.
Your appointment will probably begin by filling out some paperwork unless you do this before your appointment. When the nurse calls your name, they’ll be ready to perform the procedure.
The procedure begins by wrapping a tourniquet around your arm. The purpose of this is to restrict the blood flow for a temporary period. They will remove this shortly after the test begins.
Next, they will locate a vein in the inner part of your elbow. When they find a good vein to use, they will insert the needle into the vein and draw your blood.
They keep the needle in your arm for roughly 30 seconds or so. When finished, they remove the needle and place a bandage on the small puncture wound. At this point, you’re finished with the test.
As you can see, this test doesn’t take long, and it’s not complicated or difficult in any way.
The Purpose of Getting Your Blood Tested
You might be wondering, “what happens when you get your blood tested ?” The easiest way to understand the answer to this is by learning the purposes of blood tests.
You can get your blood tested for many reasons, but most people choose one of the following types of tests:
CBC stands for complete blood count, and a CBC test is very common. A CBC test checks the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
These types of things can help doctors diagnose problems such as anemia, leukemia, and infections.
The second type of blood test you can get is a metabolic panel, which typically tests 14 different things in your blood. It checks the levels of calcium, glucose, creatine, and many other things.
People often choose this test when they have issues with their metabolisms or suspect they might have diabetes. A metabolic panel can help diagnose many health issues, and it’s a test you should get once a year.
The third most common test is a lipid panel, which checks your cholesterol levels. Over 102 million adults suffer from high cholesterol, and many people do not even know they have this condition.
Living with untreated high cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and heart attacks. When you get a lipid panel each year, you can monitor your cholesterol levels and take the appropriate actions to treat it if necessary.
The Time It Takes to Get the Results
After completing your test, you might feel nervous as you wait for the results. The good news is that most labs provide the results within 48 hours of the test. Therefore, you won’t have to wait long to view the results.
The blood test results will show you exactly what the lab tested. They will provide the levels of each item in your blood along with the recommended healthy levels.
If you have any levels that are outside of the healthy range, you might want to talk to your doctor about them.
What You Can Learn From the Results
Getting an annual blood test is always a good idea for your health. You might have some health conditions that you don’t even know about, as they might not have any symptoms.
For example, if you have high cholesterol, you probably won’t know because it doesn’t have symptoms. Without a blood test, you’d never know you suffered from this health issue.
Therefore, a blood test can tell you several things. First, it tells you the overall state of your health. If all your levels are within the normal ranges, you are probably a healthy person overall.
Secondly, it can show you your risks. If you have some health risks, you might be able to decrease the risks by making a few lifestyle changes.
Finally, it can reveal health issues that require treatment. If you have diabetes, for example, you will need to start seeing a doctor that treats this disease to receive the proper care you need.
Why You Should Get One Each Year
Getting an annual blood test can help you stay healthy by showing you the potential risks and problems you currently have. If you have never had one, there’s nothing to fear.
You can learn more about blood tests by contacting us. You can also fill out our forms to request an appointment.