Few of us enjoy being jabbed with needles, but a blood test is an important indicator of how healthy you are. A blood test usually involves taking blood samples from a blood vessel in your arm. Your arm is used because it can be easily covered up after a blood sample is taken.
The usual place that blood is taken from is the inside of your elbow or wrist, where your veins are close to the surface and easy to find.
You should have a blood test done at least once every year, to check for any health issues. Doctors use blood tests to evaluate different things regarding your health and may request that a blood test is done to check for specific issues.
Blood tests help doctors to:
- Check how well your organs like your heart, lungs and kidneys are functioning.
- Determine whether you may be at risk for heart disease.
- Decide if the medication you’re taking is working.
- Assess how well your blood is clotting.
- Do checks for symptoms of diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, coronary heart disease and anaemia.
Your blood is made up of several kinds of cells, compounds, salts and certain proteins. The biggest liquid portion in your blood is called plasma, and the remaining part is serum which can be used to find out how your immune system fights diseases.
All the different parts of your blood can measure and check for various issues that you wouldn’t think a blood test could help your doctor see.
Your blood will indicate:
Your dehydration levels
As an average adult, you are made up of 50-65 percent water, so it’s no wonder that dehydration could cause health problems. Dehydration could put stress on your heart, increase fatigue and make it difficult for you to think clearly.
If your nutrients and minerals are balanced
Nutrients play a big role in the healthy functioning of your body. Deficiencies in critical minerals like magnesium can result in body odour, constipation, muscle cramps, insomnia, headaches, and fatigue. Blood tests can pick up defects like this, so it’s important to have your annual blood test.
Whether you have allergies and triggers
Your annual blood test is also a way to check if you have allergies and its triggers.
If you have an infectious disease
A blood test is the best way to detect infectious diseases early, which will make treatment more effective. The most common conditions that blood tests are used to check for are sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, HIV/AIDS, herpes and Hepatitis B, and C. Blood tests can also be used to check for other infectious diseases which are hard to detect like tuberculosis.
If you’re pregnant
If you are unsure about whether you are pregnant or not, a blood test is the best way to confirm it. It can also check if you are at risk for pregnancy-related diseases and conditions like gestational diabetes.