Medical science has progressed to the point where a great deal can be learned from simple blood tests. These days, it seems that there is a blood test for just about everything. The question that should be asked is how often should you have a blood test and what should your blood be tested for?
Blood Tests for Healthy People
If you are a healthy individual, with no present or past health issues, a yearly blood test is recommended. This should be done at the same time that you have your yearly physical, and most physicians will order a standard blood workup at the time of that appointment.
If you are healthy, there is really no reason to have blood tests more often than this. If there is no indication that a blood test is needed, your insurance company will most likely view it as unnecessary – because it is.
Blood Tests for People with Health Problems
It works a bit differently for people who have present health problems as well as those who have had certain health problems in the past. These people may need blood tests more often, but how often will depend on numerous factors, including what the health issue is.
Often, when a person has to take medication, blood may be tested every six to eight weeks to see how the medication is affecting the condition, but the length of time between blood tests may vary depending on your condition, and on the medication prescribed for you.
What Should Your Blood Be Tested For?
While your doctor may request specific blood tests based on symptoms that you have, in the case of an annual physical, he or she will most likely request blood testing that will check for diabetes, thyroid issues, blood electrolytes, and of course a blood count for red and white blood cells. Your cholesterol should also be checked. Depending on your age, your doctor may order additional tests that can be done with a blood sample.
It is also important to understand that some blood tests are done for screening purposes – to catch potential problems early – while others are done for diagnostic purposes – because you have other symptoms of a specific health issue.
Blood only has to be drawn once – and with just one small tube of blood, you can actually be tested for numerous diseases, allergies, and health problems. Blood tests are typically not overly painful, and the blood will most likely be drawn from the bend of your arm – inside the elbow.
July 15th, 2010
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