CareNow® - June 21, 2018

It's not uncommon for your doctor to recommend you get blood work done from time to time.

However, most people aren't clear on what a blood test actually entails.

The lab tests your doctor orders will likely depend on several factors, including:

  • Age
  • Medical History
  • Family History
  • Lifestyle

CareNow® urgent care is a great choice for performing blood work and testing seven days a week, without even needing an appointment!

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How Often Should You Have Blood Work Done?

blood work vial and report

While there are no required blood panels during an annual physical exam, your doctor may order:

  1. A Complete Blood Count Test
  2. A Chemistry Panel

Having a complete blood count test can pick up on early signs of many possible disorders such as anemia, which can cause you to feel tired and listless.

  • A basic metabolic profile tests a number of elements in your blood, including:
  1. Blood sugar (or glucose)
  2. Calcium
  3. Electrolytes
  4. Creatine
  5. Kidney function.

A comprehensive metabolic profile (a CMP blood test) screens for everything that the basic profile does.

  • It actually is better than any other blood test. It includes testing of:
  1. Cholesterol levels
  2. Protein levels
  3. Liver function

In Your Twenties

doctor reviewing care with a patient

It's important to get your cholesterol checked, starting when you're 20. If your cholesterol is normal, you can repeat every five years.

However, if you have a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol or currently have unhealthy levels, you should get tested annually.

During your 20s, you should also get your blood sugar checked and be tested for HIV.

  • High Cholesterol

You've heard that you should limit your cholesterol intake to maintain a healthier lifestyle, but how do you know if you have high cholesterol?

There are no symptoms, so the only reliable way to find out is to get tested.

  • Heart Disease

This silent killer sneaks up on unknowing men and women, carrying no symptoms and greatly increasing your heart disease risk.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, makes the heart work harder than normal, damaging your arteries and causing a number of health complications.

When you get your blood pressure measured, the top number is called the systolic pressure and the bottom number is the diastolic pressure.

  • Blood Sugar

Checking your blood sugar levels is very important when it comes to testing for diabetes.

Knowing your blood sugar levels can help you take control of your life if you're headed down an unhealthy path that includes obesity

When you carry excess weight, your heart has to work harder and your blood pressure and cholesterol levels may rise.

You already know that these factors are heart disease risks, so a key part of lowering your risk is to manage your weight.

Beyond Your Twenties

female doctor helping patient with blood work

As you get older, it's important to know what's coming in terms of getting blood work done so you can be prepared.

  • In Your Thirties

Your doctor will repeat the same tests you had in your twenties, but will also check your thyroid function.

Checking your thyroid function is very important since an overactive or under active thyroid can trigger a laundry list of symptoms.

Some symptoms of your thyroid not functioning properly can include:

  1. Weight gain or loss
  2. Depression
  3. Anxiety
  4. Skin problems such as eczema
  • In Your Forties

Continue with the blood work started in your 20s, but incorporate a cardiac blood test to check for your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

This test is especially important if you have high cholesterol, a family history of heart disease or art overweight.

A cholesterol test is highly recommended for those with a family history.

  • In Your Fifties

In addition to your routine blood tests started at age 20, you should also include a vitamin D check.

  • Why? Nearly 75% of women are deficient, leaving their bones at risk.

Chronic vitamin D deficiency also leaves women at a higher risk of breast cancer and other conditions.

Why Routine Blood Work Is Important

doctors studying blood sample

Getting your blood work done regularly is key to a healthy life.

By using the results from your blood work, a doctor can determine how well your organs are functioning.

This includes the health of your kidneys, liver, thyroid and heart.

Some diseases blood work can also detect are:

  1. Cancer
  2. HIV
  3. Diabetes
  4. Anemia
  5. Certain heart diseases can also be diagnosed by routine blood work.

What Can You Expect?

doctor taking patient blood pressure

Know before you go!

  • Before The Test

A typical blood test will only take a few minutes.

While most don’t require any special preparation, some blood tests do require fasting.

If you are asked to fast before your blood test, you should not eat any food for 8 to 12 hours before the test.

Your doctor can inform you on how to prepare for your blood test.

  • During The Test

Blood is typically drawn right from a vein in the arm using a needle. Some tests only require a finger prick.

While some people get nervous about the needle, others are more fearful of seeing the blood.

If this is the case for you, you should look away while blood is being drawn.

  • After The Test

Immediately after the blood is drawn, the technician will ask you to lightly apply pressure with gauze where the needle was inserted so the bleeding stops.

It's recommended that you keep a bandage on the area for several hours.

Depending on the type of test, you may get results within minutes, although most tests at least a few days.

Certain tests can take up to a few weeks.

What Will Your Test Reveal?

doctor reviewing results with patient

A routine blood test will show if your blood levels fall within a normal range.

If your levels fall outside the normal range, it could be a result of a disorder or a disease.

Other factors that can affect your blood levels are:

  1. Physical activity level
  2. Alcohol intake
  3. Medications
  4. Routine blood work can also reveal blood glucose levels and cholesterol levels.

Getting routine blood work is essential to diagnosing a number of diseases and conditions.

Although some diseases and medical problems can't be diagnosed via blood work, knowing your numbers can help both you and your doctor learn more about your health.

Where To Get Blood Work Done

carenow urgent care facility

If you are in need of blood work, routine or otherwise, consider visiting your local CareNow®.

Additional blood tests offered by CareNow® include:

  1. Thyroid tests
  2. Hormone tests (normally recommended during a well women’s exams)
  3. STD tests
  4. Cholesterol screening

Make sure to utilize Web Check-In® to wait from the comfort of your home before your visit!

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Disclaimer: Patients health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.