A blood test is an essential diagnostic tool that doctors or other healthcare professionals can use to identify or rule out a variety of health issues.
Many acute and chronic health conditions impact one or more blood components. With a simple blood test, healthcare professionals can make accurate diagnoses or determine whether further investigations are needed before treatment.
Below, we have covered the five most common reasons you might need a blood test. Click here to learn how often you should get a blood test performed.
1. Routine Health Check-Ups
Blood tests form part of your annual routine check-ups. Alongside physical examinations and vital sign tests, healthcare professionals can use your blood test results to identify potential problems, risk factors, and metabolic issues.
Abnormalities in the blood often show up in the early stages of diseases. Regular blood tests at annual check-ups enable early diagnosis and treatment, improving your long-term prognosis.
2. Disease Diagnosis and Screening
Alongside other medical innovations and diagnostic tools, blood tests are a common tool that doctors use as part of their diagnosis and screening processes to check for various diseases. Blood markers can indicate chronic issues like diabetes, kidney disease, hormonal imbalances, and cancers.
Blood tests can also show the levels of inflammation in the body, which may be indicative of infections, poor lifestyle, infections, and injuries.
3. Pre-Operative Assessment
If you’re going for a surgical procedure, the multi-disciplinary team at the hospital or private practice will take blood tests beforehand to assess your overall health. Blood tests are also helpful for ruling out potential risks and minimizing surgical complications.
With your blood test results, the surgeons and anaesthesiologists can make informed decisions to provide safe and appropriate care during the procedure.
4. Allergy Testing
Blood tests are great for detecting allergies, such as gluten, pollen, or medication allergies. When you have an allergic reaction (small or large), the levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) rise, and this can be seen in your bloodwork.
Blood work is used as part of an allergy test called the radioallergosorbent test (RAST). You may have to undergo this test if you have contact dermatitis, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), or anaphylaxis. These health issues may present with a range of symptoms, including coughing, eczema, headaches, hives, itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, and a sore throat.
If your blood test shows significant allergies, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for expert advice on how to manage your allergies and avoid triggers to maintain your health.
5. Treatment Monitoring
Often, doctors use regular blood tests as a way to monitor progress during treatment. For example, if you’re taking ongoing medications, your blood results might alter based on whether the drugs are effective.
Blood work is also necessary to maintain your safety and prevent undesirable results or side effects when you’re undergoing treatment.
Blood markets are particularly important to monitor if you’re on anticoagulants, immunosuppressants, or antibiotic medications. If blood markers are out of the normal range, your doctor may adjust the dosage of medication or switch you to a new drug altogether.