Health should be a priority for everyone regardless of their age. A regular checkup will help you detect any abnormalities early. There are several examinations involved in a routine checkup – a blood test is one.
Regular blood testing is one of the fundamental ways to evaluate your overall well-being. Getting a routine blood test will let you know when there are any changes and help you and your healthcare provider make informed decisions about your health.
An Overview of Blood Tests
Blood tests are done to evaluate how your body manages illness, injury, inflammation, infection, and some types of medications. For your blood to work well in your system, it needs an exact balance. If per-chance, the result of the blood tests is abnormal, it gives a pointer to the doctor to treat you or prevent future health issues.
You can get a blood test done in a hospital, by your GP, or a practicing nurse. If you are undergoing an NHS health check, your blood test is a quick prick test that evaluates your blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
If your blood test result comes out higher than the recommended, you may need to visit your hospital for a comprehensive blood test. Note that all blood test requests in Canada must come through a licensed doctor.
To collect your blood, your doctors will wrap a tourniquet strap tightly around your upper arm. This process helps to make the veins visible. Your doctor will then clean the skin around the vein with a sterile alcohol wipe and a small needle inserted into the vein. The needle will be used to draw blood into a small blood bottle.
Once your blood sample is taken, they are checked for several things, including cholesterol and glucose. These checks help to monitor the risk of heart and circulatory diseases and diabetes.
Also, tests for different chemicals and proteins can show how your liver or kidneys are doing. A troponin test can help your healthcare provider diagnose a heart attack, while a test for brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) can help diagnose a health failure.
How often should you get checked?
Your doctor will recommend your routine blood test around the same time as your yearly physical. But it is advisable to contact your doctor if you have the following symptoms:
- You want to reduce the risk of disease or complications.
- Unusual and persistent symptoms are ranging from fatigue, abnormal weight gain/loss, etc.
- You want to evaluate your health. This will include checking various components in your blood.
Blood Test Result Duration
The duration of your blood test result ranges from a few hours to a few days. Below is an overview of the durations for some blood test will take:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) – 24 Hours
- Basic Metabolic Panel – 24 Hours
- Complete Metabolic Panel – 24 – 72 Hours
- Lipid Panel – 24 Hours.
Essential blood tests
Some of the most common routine blood tests include:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Chemistry (basic metabolic) panel
- Thyroid panel
- Dhea-sulphate serum test
- Complete Metabolic Panel
- Lipid Panel
- C-reactive protein test
- Enzyme markers
- Coagulation Panel
- Sexually transmitted disease (STD)
Average Cost of Getting a Blood Test in Canada
One of the most significant perks of routine blood checks is the early detection of blood abnormalities and potential health problems. Although blood tests are essential and quite necessary, the cost of getting a blood test in Canada without insurance can be quite expensive.
The government usually covers individual diagnostic lab tests for citizens and permanent residents under provincial health insurance – BC Medical Services Plan, OHIP, or Saskatchewan Health Services Card).
The average cost of getting a blood test in Canada at a lab can range between CA$150 for a standard blood test and CA$3,000 for less common bloodwork. The high cost discourages individuals without insurance from getting the blood testing they need. A case like this leads to delayed detection of illness, worsening the prognosis and, in the end, increasing the total cost of treatment.
To make blood testing more affordable, you can order your tests online. Ordering blood tests online is convenient and helps you save up to 85% of lab pricing and the cost of the visit to the doctor.
Although many insurance plans will cover part of the blood test cost, not all tests are covered under all plans. Out-of-pocket cost covers tests that patients think are necessary, but the doctor does not specifically order.
These tests are not covered by insurance to dissuade individuals from making health decisions on their own. Paying out-of-pocket can be a financial burden, hence seeking professional help and trusting their doctors’ judgment.
Online Blood Testing
To take charge of their health, individuals can go online, search the thousands of tests available, and order the specific test they want. Once the test is purchased, the test order is taken to a local laboratory for test running.
Test results are emailed out within 24 – 48 hours of the testing. The email content will include information on the normal range of the test, so those out of the normal range immediately make necessary appointments with their physicians. Online ordering of blood tests are less expensive for people without insurance and people on a high deductible plan.
Blood Test and Fasting
Whether or not you’ll need to fast before your blood test depends on the type of blood test. Your doctor will notify you if you need to do anything to prepare for it.
You can eat and drink before some blood tests, but if you have a fasting blood test, your doctor will instruct you not to eat, smoke or drink anything other than water beforehand.
Fasting for some blood tests is recommended because everything we eat and drink contains nutrients that can cause the related levels in your blood to surge or decrease temporarily.
So, fasting for 8-12 hours before your blood test helps ensure that the blood test results are accurate. Some tests that may require fasting include:
- Cholesterol Tests
- Blood Sugar Tests
- Liver Function Tests
- Kidney Function Tests
- Basic Metabolic Panel
- Glucose Tests
Blood tests give you an overview of your overall health status. They are also an excellent way to detect illness and diseases early or see how your body responds to treatments. Always talk to your doctor to learn if there are other tests you may need to ensure you are safe.