There are a wide variety of blood tests available to show your doctor what’s happening in your body. When running routine blood work, it’s your doctor’s goal to get as much information as possible by taking the smallest amount of blood possible. The routine blood tests won’t reveal every disease you might have, so your doctor may choose to examine you, and discuss how you’ve been feeling, prior to ordering blood work. The full examination will help your physician decide if additional blood tests are needed. Unless your doctor finds a reason to run additional tests, he/she will likely only run the most common blood tests. Here’s what routine blood work can reveal:
- Your organ health. A simple blood test can check how well your kidneys, liver, thyroid and heart are working
- Some diseases. Diabetes, anemia, coronary heart disease and even cancer and HIV/AIDS can be discovered from blood work
- Your risk factors for heart disease
- The effectiveness of some prescription medicines
- How effectively your blood clots
Non-routine blood tests can reveal some ailments early, when they’re easily treated. For example, you may be feeling overly tired lately. There could be many reasons for this, and a deficiency in vitamin D is one possible cause. This wouldn’t be evident in your routine blood work, but an additional blood test can quickly reveal this issue and allow your doctor to treat it. In this case, the most efficient blood testing would take place after an honest conversation with your doctor about how you’ve been feeling.
This is why some doctors prefer to order blood tests after your appointment, rather than before. It allows them to order multiple tests that may be appropriate at the same time, even tests that aren’t common, but may be needed, while only drawing your blood once. If you prefer to have your testing done before your appointment, discuss this with your doctor.
For help finding a doctor that fits your needs, HCA Midwest Health offers a free health advice and physician referral service, Nurses On-Call. You can speak with a registered nurse 24 hours a day, 7 days per week at 1-800-386-9355. You can also get tips for picking a doctor.