CPOE.org Blood Testing
Blood testing, or “blood work”, is an important tool doctors and other health professionals use to:
- Diagnose a variety of diseases and conditions such as anemia.
- Monitor other diseases and conditions including diabetes and high cholesterol.
- Determine whether a prescribed medical treatment is working.
- Determine whether your liver, heart and other organs are functioning properly.
- Check the status of your immune system.
Common Blood Tests
The following are some of the most common blood tests.
- The CBC: The CBC, or Complete Blood Count, measures the various cells in your blood including red and white cells and platelets.
- The Basic Metabolic Panel: The BMP measures the level of various chemicals in your blood such as calcium, electrolytes and glucose.
- The Blood Enzyme Test: There are several different kinds of Blood Enzyme Test that are often used to determine if you’ve had a heart attack or suffered damage to your heart muscle.
- The Blood Clotting Test: This test looks for too much or too little clotting in the blood.
- Cholesterol and Triglyceride Tests: As the name implies these are used to determine your cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
Blood Testing: What to Expect
During the blood test, a Phlebotomist will take a sample of your blood. This process is known as “drawing blood”. The Phlebotomist will use a small needle to draw the blood from a vein in your arm. The blood will be collected in a small vial. The whole process will usually only take a few minutes, and as the needle is inserted you may feel like you are being pinched.
In some instances your doctor may need to measure oxygen levels in your blood. If that is the case blood will need to be drawn from an artery instead of a vein. The Arterial Blood Test may produce a little more pain than a standard blood test, but that pain should subside soon afterward.
Preparing for Your Blood Test
There are no special preparations you will have to make in the run-up to your blood test, other than possibly having to refrain from eating or drinking for several hours prior to the test. Your doctor or healthcare provider will inform you of any such requirements.
Blood Test: Risks
Thousands of blood tests are performed every day without incident. The only real risk is that you may experience a bit more pain than the average person, but even then it should be minimal and pass quickly. There may also be minor bruising at the spot where the needle is inserted.
As we mentioned earlier the Arterial Blood Test is usually a little more painful than a standard blood test and will likely produce some soreness and bruising at the spot where the needle was inserted. Other than that you may be instructed to not engage in strenuous activity for 24 hours after the blood is drawn.
Blood testing is an important diagnostic tool that can provide invaluable information regarding the state of your health. The entire process is quick, safe and very low risk.