Blood tests are one of the most important ways of diagnosis, since they can determine a wide range of health issues, only by examining a small sample of blood. So if your doctor suspects that something might be wrong with your health, they will most likely need you to get your blood tested.
These type of tests can detect many conditions, including thyroid and cancer issues. The amount of diagnosis it can detect is why blood tests are required so often. But there is still the question: ”How should I prepare for a blood test?”.
Preparation is important since there are many factors that can influence the results of a test and for a more accurate diagnosis, you should do these 8 things before. We all know how nerve wracking it can be, so being informed might help in managing the stress.
Things You Should Do Before Any Blood Test
1. Don’t eat before
Usually, when testing your blood, your doctor will require you to fast a few hours before, typically between 8 and 12 hours. Food may interfere with the outcome of certain types of investigations called ”fasting blood tests”.
For example, testing for glucose and cholesterol requires fasting, because they are closely linked to food and the results will be severely altered.
But make sure you check with your doctor to see if this fasting is necessary or not. At the end of the day, nobody wants to starve for nothing, right?
2. Drink water
Are you allowed to drink water before a blood test? The answer is YES, but many people assume that it affects the results of the investigation. These tests are unaffected by having a little greater or lower quantity of water in your system. You can consume either tap or bottled water, but avoid fizzy beverages.
In fact, for anyone who dislikes this procedure, drinking more water than normal is critical. Why? Dizziness and fainting are caused by low blood pressure, which is a side consequence of dehydration. Staying hydrated will help if you’re prone to fainting when you see blood or needles.
3. Ask if you can take medication
If you’re taking any medication, you should definitely talk to your doctor about them. Certain treatments might cause blood tests to be less accurate, resulting in a misdiagnosis.
Make sure you tell your doctor about all of your prescriptions, including blood thinners, antidepressants, and over-the-counter medications. It will not only prevent you from incorrect blood test results, but it will also prevent further complications during the blood draw. If you’re taking any of the medications listed above, your doctor may advise you to wait between 24 and 48 hours before having blood collected.
If you’re using herbal treatments, there might be a bit of a problem. Vitamins and supplements might affect your test in unexpected ways, so it’s better to stop using them. Bring with you any vitamins or medications you’re taking. It’s something you can show your Med Tech. They’ll keep a record of what you’re taking so the doctor can check it out.
Beyond everything, keep in mind the golden rule: don’t stop taking your prescription until your doctor advises you to. All of your medical records are accessible to your doctor. Plus, if they’re your primary care physician, they’ll know whatever medications you’re taking. And if you’re unsure of anything, just ask.
4. Avoid certain activities
Who would’ve thought that you’re not even allowed to indulge in certain activities? Despite the obvious, such as smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages, doctors often advise you to avoid excessive physical exercises and even sexual activities, since they can compromise the results. Blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers may be affected.
So you should avoid physical activities that require a lot of effort, but if you do, make sure to let your doctor know.
5. Make sure you check the lab’s certification
A variety of places provide laboratory services, including blood work. Most hospitals have a laboratory where you can have tests done. There will be walk-in alternatives in some laboratories, while others might need to you make an appointment.
But the most important aspect that you should definitely take into consideration when choosing where to make your investigations at, is the lab’s certification.
The quality of blood tests and their results is heavily influenced by the lab’s system, operations, and methodology. Though it is impossible to be certain of the quality, one should always seek for reputable and accredited laboratories.
NABL and CAP are two of the most well-known and valued certifications that verify a lab’s quality procedures are followed. You can find out if the lab has these certifications on their official website, but if they don’t have this type of information there, you can simply ask.
6. Schedule the test in the morning
If you’re getting a so-called fasting blood test, make an appointment as early in the morning as possible. Sleeping hours are included in the fasting period, therefore taking a blood test before breakfast will make it easier for you.
Vitamins, proteins, as well as other nutrients, are found in just about everything you eat and drink, and they can trigger temporary spikes or drops in blood levels.
Fasting between 8 to 12 hours ensures that blood test results are clear of these factors, resulting in the most reliable findings possible.
7. Let your doctor know if you are afraid
Fear of needles, commonly known as “needle phobia,” is a common phobia. Roughly 10% of Americans have the same anxiety, which is commonly triggered by blood testing at a young age. It frequently manifests as an aversion to pointed items in general.
While this isn’t particularly bothersome in ordinary life, it does make medical testing uncomfortable and worrisome.
Even though you might consider it foolish, it’s important that your Med Tech knows your situation well and whether you are scared or not.
There are a multitude of ways to make your experience better. In case your emotions take control over your body, they can have a glass of water ready and lay you on your back to avoid fainting or other injuries.
8. Keep yourself warm
It’s critical to heat up the extremity from which blood will be extracted. To stimulate blood flow to the location and make the veins perceptible, many doctors do this before doing a blood test. You can apply a warm compress on the area for ten to twenty minutes.
Before having a blood test, you can dress warmly to raise your body temperature and improve blood flow to your extremities.
The phlebotomist will have an easier time finding your veins, which will shorten your time there.
The proper blood work procedure
For further safety, you must know what the typical procedure should look like and refuse the test if your Med Tech does not follow the proper hygiene measures. To perform the test, the technician or nurse should:
- Clean the region of the arm that they are going to puncture with alcohol;
- Tie a rubber band to your upper arm in order to make your veins more noticeable, and ask you to make a fist;
- Insert a newly opened needle attached to a tube into a vein;
- Remove both the rubber band and the needle after collecting the blood;
- Cover the punctured area with a bandage.
Also, make sure they wash their hands before and use gloves during the procedure.
Blood tests are a good way to check your overall health. They’re also a great method to detect illness or disease sooner, as well as evaluate how your body will react to various treatments. Routine blood tests are performed on many people at least once every year. Consult your doctor to see if any more tests are required to guarantee your health.
Do YOU feel ready for your next blood test? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Next up? You might also want to know: 12 Things You Should NEVER Keep From Your Doctor in order to get the correct diagnosis.