Blood Tests (Phlebotomy)
A blood test involves a sample of blood taken for testing to assess your general state of health.
Your medical practitioner may order a blood test for you to monitor an ongoing condition, to confirm the presence of a bacterial or viral infection, to see how well certain organs such as the liver and kidneys are functioning, to check your blood count, vitamin levels etc.
How is a blood test carried out?
- A blood test usually involves attaching a tourniquet and then gently placing a needle attached to a syringe into one of the veins on the inside of your elbow or wrist.
- You will feel a sharp prick as the needle goes in but this is not particularly painful.
- A sample of blood is then taken and the needle is removed.
- You will be given a cotton-wool pad to put pressure on the site of the injection, which stops any bleeding and should prevent bruising but this can occasionally occur.
- Most blood tests only take a few minutes to complete.
Some blood tests require several samples taken over a period of time. For example, they may be done to check how you respond to a glucose load. The results can help detect health problems in early stages, when treatments or lifestyle changes may work best.
Your doctor may consider other factors to confirm a diagnosis including; your signs and symptoms, your medical history, your vital signs (blood pressure, breathing, pulse, and temperature) and results from other tests and procedures.
What is a routine blood test and why is it important?
Going for a routine blood test at least once a year is an important way to keep track of your overall physical health. Knowing your cholesterol levels could for instance help you to adapt your diet or fitness plans.
Many heart, lung, thyroid and kidney conditions can also be detected at an early stage through blood tests.
A typical routine blood test entails a complete blood count, also called CBC, to count your red and white blood cells, as well as measure your hemoglobin levels and other blood components.