Approximately 956 million people visit their doctor each year, according to the CDC. You can make the assumption that routine laboratory tests, such as blood screens, are just as common. Think about your visits to the doctor in the past. How many times have you had blood drawn in just your lifetime? While you will probably be able to recall at least a handful of times, how much do you actually know about those tests? Maybe it’s time to learn more.
Blood tests are performed for good reason. Doctors can use the information to help diagnose certain diseases and conditions. They can also take a look at how well your organs are doing their job in a minimally invasive, low risk manner; a simple needle stick. Likewise, finding out if you have risk factors for heart disease can be determined through this common type of testing. Another benefit of a blood test is that it can let the doctor know whether your medications are working.
The majority of blood tests do not require preparation, although some may be a fasting blood draw, which means you should not eat anything 8-12 hours prior to the test.
One of the most common blood tests done by doctors is the CBC, otherwise known as a complete blood count. The complete blood count measures some important components of your blood. These include:
- Number of red blood cells
- Number of white blood cells
- Total hemoglobin in blood
- Fraction of blood composed of red blood cells
This test, the CBC, also provides information on:
- The average size of your red blood cells
- How much hemoglobin is in each red blood cell
- The concentration of hemoglobin per red blood cell
- Platelet count
Blood tests are one of the least invasive ways to provide important information in a time-sensitive manner when it comes to health. By knowing a bit more about these types of tests, you can be ask questions and better understand the answers.
In the meantime, if you have a health question, or need a physician referral, contact Central Florida Regional’s Consult-A-Nurse service at 1-800-445-3392. You will reach a nurse or referral specialist who will have answers for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.