How to Prepare for a Lab Test
Laboratory tests usually examine a sample of your urine, blood, or body tissues. A doctor studies the test samples to determine whether the results fall within the normal range. Since ‘normal’ varies from one person to another, these lab tests refer to a broad range. Several factors, such as the following affect your test results.
- Sex and age
- What you drink and eat
- The medicines you take
Many of these tests require preparation in advance. Your physician will discuss the details with you before any lab test. You must then follow the instructions before undergoing diagnostic tests.
Preparing for a Laboratory Test
Here are some general tips to prepare for a lab test beforehand -
- For glucose and cholesterol tests, you will need to fast for at least eight hours prior to having your blood drawn out unless the doctor advises you otherwise. This means you will be off food and drinks for at least eight hours before the test. You are only allowed to drink water. Once a sample of your blood is drawn, you can resume your normal diet.
- You should drink sufficient quantities of water before a blood test unless asked not to.This will help to keep your blood pressure stable. Most people experience dizziness and fainting during a blood test due to a drop in the blood pressure. You should also keep away from caffeinated drinks or coffee prior to the test, as they cause your body to expel water.
- Do not skip your breakfast unless fasting is required for your testing. Eating a meal will help to keep your blood sugar levels up, make you feel better after blood is drawn, and prevent you from experiencing uncomfortable symptoms like dizziness and lightheadedness. However, if you think you might feel nauseous during the blood test, avoid eating a heavy meal immediately before your appointment.
- If you had been or are currently on blood-thinning medications, tell your physician or healthcare provider before undergoing a blood test. Once your blood is drawn, the healthcare provider will observe the puncture site to ensure that bleeding has stopped.
- It is completely normal to feel a little anxious right before the test. Feel free to discuss with your healthcare provider any concerns you might have regarding the procedure. Relax, and try to keep your mind distracted at the time of testing.
- Eat a healthy snack once you are done with your testing. You may carry something in your bag so you can eat it immediately after undergoing a blood test.
In case of a blood test, you can remove the bandage an hour later. If you notice blood oozing out from the area, apply slight pressure on the wound until bleeding stops, and put on a new bandage. Continue taking your medicines regularly, unless the doctor tells you otherwise. Ask your doctor if you can take mineral or vitamin supplements.
Knowing what to expect during and after a lab test can help you stay prepared for the same in advance. Following these instructions will make the whole procedure easier for you.