A blood test is when a sample of blood is taken for testing in a laboratory. Blood tests have a wide range of uses and are one of the most common types of medical test. For example, a blood test can be used to:
- assess your general state of health
- confirm the presence of a bacterial or viral infection
- see how well certain organs, such as the liver and kidneys, are functioning
A blood test usually involves the Practice Nurse taking a blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm, and the usual place for a sample is the inside of the elbow or wrist, where the veins are relatively close to the surface. Blood samples from children are most commonly taken from the back of the hand. The child's hand will be anaesthetised (numbed) with a special cream before the sample is taken. You can find out more about blood tests, their purpose and the way they are performed on the NHS Choices website.
How Do I Get A Blood Test?
If your doctor asks you to have a blood test, please make an appointment at Reception with the Practice Nurse. Blood tests should normally be taken in the morning (before 12 noon) to allow the sample to be taken to the laboratory. When you attend for a test of any kind you will be told how long you should expect to wait for the results. Please bear this in mind and only call the surgery for your result, or make a follow up appointment with the Doctor, after sufficient time has elapsed.
Fasting Blood Tests
Sometimes your doctor may ask for a fasting blood test (usually for cholesterol and/or blood sugar). If you are asked to have one of these tests, please make the appointment with the nurse early in the morning surgery so that you can fast overnight. You should have nothing to eat or drink other than water for at least 14 hours before the blood test and you should also refrain from taking exercise or smoking.
An x-ray is a widely used diagnostic test to examine the inside of the body. X-rays are a very effective way of detecting problems with bones, such as fractures. They can also often identify problems with soft tissue, such as pneumonia or breast cancer.
If you have a X-ray, you will be asked to lie on a table or stand against a surface so that the part of your body being X-rayed is between the X-ray tube and the photographic plate. An X-ray is usually carried out by a radiographer, a healthcare professional who specialises in using imaging technology, such as X-rays and ultrasound scanners.
You can find out more about X-ray tests, how they are performed, their function and the risks by visiting the NHS Choices website.