Blood Tests: How to Achieve More Accurate Results
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends certain blood tests to check for disease, as well as to see how your organs are working. If you have blood tests scheduled soon, it’s time to start paying attention.
The more accurate your test results are, the better handle your doctor will have on your overall health and well-being. They’ll also be able to detect any subtle changes in your results sooner and get you any treatment you might need.
For better blood test accuracy, keep reading to learn about what you can do before your test to make sure your results are right where they need to be.
Fast Before Your Blood Test
Your doctor will recommend no eating or drinking before your blood test, and it’s for a very good reason. Fasting before a blood test ensures that your results won’t be affected by any food you eat right before your blood is drawn. You’ll usually be asked to fast from anywhere between 8 to 12 hours before your blood test.
Your diet and nutrition prior to your blood test can have a significant impact on your results as the nutrients from the foods you eat are absorbed into your bloodstream. If you eat foods high in cholesterol and sugar right before your blood test, it can show abnormally high blood sugar or an elevated cholesterol result.
In most cases, you’ll still be able to drink water before your test. Water helps with your blood test because if you’re well-hydrated, your veins will be easier to find and draw blood from. Also, dehydration can affect the results of certain kidney function tests as well as your red blood cell levels.
Be Mindful of the Medications You Take
It’s important to realize that certain over-the-counter medications and prescription medications can impact your test results. You’ll need to be sure to tell your doctor about any vitamin supplements you’re taking.
Medications that can affect your test results include:
- Vitamin supplements with biotin can affect cardiac health lab tests
- Herbal remedies can affect test results for therapeutic medications
- Antibiotics can impact urine protein and glucose levels
- Steroids can elevate your cholesterol results
- Tylenol sometimes elevates your blood glucose
It’s important to continue taking your prescribed medications. Your doctor will let you know if you need to temporarily stop any before your blood test.
Watch the Tobacco, Alcohol, and Caffeine
Alcohol can significantly impact your blood test results, depending on how much you consume on a regular basis.
Usually, it’s recommended to stop drinking alcohol at least 48 hours before you have a blood test. This gives your body enough time to process the alcohol and reduce the impact it can have on your blood tests.
If you consume alcohol 2 to 4 hours from when your blood is drawn, it could lower your glucose levels significantly. It can also elevate your triglyceride levels, and liver enzymes and lead your doctor to falsely diagnose you with a condition you don’t have.
Chronic alcohol consumption can also lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Most commonly, you’ll notice your vitamin A, vitamin B12, and thiamine levels are lower than normal. It can also elevate your uric acid level. Uric acid is a chemical your body produces when it has to break down substances called purines, which are found in certain foods and alcohol.
Believe it or not, smoking cigarettes can have a profound impact on your blood test results. When you smoke cigarettes, you have a high level of nicotine in your body which can increase both the red and white blood cells circulating in your blood.
Cigarettes also contain many chemicals and toxins that are harmful to your body. If you’re having blood tests that measure inflammation in your body, you might see these test results elevated.
Remember, fasting before a blood test includes stopping the caffeine too. Many people might think a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage in the morning before a test won’t affect anything, but the opposite is true.
Drinking a lot of caffeine prior to your blood test can affect your results by temporarily increasing your blood sugar. It also affects your hydration, so avoid the caffeine until after your blood test is done.
Don’t Exercise Right Before Your Blood Test
Strenuous exercise puts stress on your body which can trigger certain changes. Intense exercise can cause your body to produce more glucose, which lasts for a few hours after you stop exercising.
Exercise can elevate your inflammatory markers and also your red blood cell count. You might also notice an increase in your cholesterol levels.
Another thing to remember is if you’re a man, activities like riding your bike before a blood test can put pressure on your prostate, which can lead to an increase in your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level.
All in all, it’s best to keep your activity to a minimum and have a relaxing morning on the day of your blood test.
Be Aware of Biological Factors
Your age impacts your test results and results can vary through the stages of your life such as puberty, pregnancy, or menopause.
If you’re over 65, you’re more likely to have results that fall outside the normal range than younger adults do. While you can’t control your age, being aware of these factors can help you to focus on living a healthier lifestyle.
Blood test results can also be affected by your normal biological rhythms. Testing in the morning can produce different results compared to having a blood test in the evening. Due to this, your doctor might recommend that you test at a certain time of the day so it’s essential that you stick to the schedule.
Achieve More Accurate Blood Test Results Today
Now that you know what to do to get more accurate blood results, you can go to your blood test with more knowledge and confidence.
If you’re looking for accurate and reliable blood testing, then Precision Labs is your answer. We offer services for doctor’s offices, home health agencies, and assisted living facilities and can help you with all your blood testing needs.
We also offer flexible service options for all our clients, so make sure you contact us today, and we’ll walk you through the process!