Routine blood tests are one of the best ways to keep track of your overall health. Getting a blood test at regular intervals can help you track changes in your body and allow you to make important decisions about your lifestyle and general well-being.
How often should I get a blood test?
Usually, your doctor will suggest that you get a blood test once a year. Often it's convenient to have a blood test at the same time as a routine physical, which is why we offer a blood test as part of our Well Man and Well Woman screenings at our Liverpool, Chester and Wirral locations.
However, this is only a suggestion. There are other reasons that might result in you wanting to get a blood test more frequently. These include:
- If you're experiencing unusual symptoms on an ongoing basis, from fluctuations in weight to fatigue or recurring pain.
- You want to limit the risk of any future health complications, as blood tests can pick up many diseases or conditions in their early stages.
- Blood tests can monitor things like cholesterol, so are useful if you want to optimise your physical health, nutrition or fitness plan.
How do I prepare for a blood test?
Your doctor will advise you as to any specific requirements before you have your test. Depending on the nature of the blood test, you may be asked to avoid eating or drinking anything except water for up to 12 hours. Equally, there may be certain medications or supplements you shouldn't take prior to your appointment. It's important to follow your doctor's instructions, as it might impact the results.
What happens during a blood test?
Usually, your doctor will draw a blood sample from a vein in your arm. The arm is generally the preferred location as it's easily accessible and the veins are relatively near the surface of the skin. Your doctor will draw blood from either the inside of your elbow or your wrist.
To draw the blood, your doctor will apply a tourniquet to your upper arm. This is a tightly fitting band that squeezes your arm, slowing down the flow of blood. As a result, your vein will swell allowing for easier sampling. The doctor will clean the area with an antiseptic wipe and insert the syringe into the vein.
During the procedure, you may feel slight discomfort. When the needle is inserted into the skin, you may feel a scratch or a prick, but it shouldn't cause pain. If you're nervous, let the doctor know so they can ensure you're comfortable.
Once the doctor has drawn the blood into the syringe, they'll remove the needle and release the tourniquet. They'll gently apply pressure to where the sample was taken with some cotton wool to stop any bleeding. Finally, they'll put a small plaster on the mark to keep the area clean.
How will I feel after the test?
You might have heard reports of people feeling dizzy or faint after giving blood. However, having a blood test is very different from giving blood. Only a small amount of blood is taken, so you shouldn't feel any significant side effects. If you're afraid of needles or blood, you may feel a little faint during the test, but make sure you let your doctor know so they can ensure your mind is at ease.
After your blood test, some slight bruising may occur where the needle pierced the skin. This can be uncomfortable but will fade naturally over the coming days.
How will I get my results?
After the doctor takes the blood sample, they will put it into a bottle labelled with your information. This sample will be sent to a laboratory where they will examine the blood. Depending on what they're looking for, they will examine the blood under a microscope or perform chemical testing.
The laboratory will send the results back to your doctor. Depending on the test, the results can be ready that day or within 72 hours. In some cases, it could be longer, but your doctor will advise you as to the timeline.
Sometimes, receiving medical results can be emotionally challenging. As a well-respected family practice, at the Ghosh Medical Group, we pride ourselves on handling patient care with the utmost sensitivity and discretion. If you would like a friend or relative with you when you receive your results, we would be more than happy to accommodate this.
Book your blood test or health screening today
At the Ghosh Medical Group, we offer blood tests at all of our Liverpool, Chester and Wirral locations. Whether you want a blood test as part of your routine physical, or have been experiencing unusual symptoms, we're here to help. We offer the highest quality medical care and patient attention. To enquire about our services, pricing or to book an appointment with one of our doctors, call 0333 200 3338.
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