Blood tests are the most common type of medical test with most people having a number of blood tests throughout their lifetime. They can be used in a number of ways such as:
- To examine your general state of health
- To investigate whether you have an infection
- Help to diagnose a condition
- Assess the effectiveness of a treatment or medication
- Evaluate the health of specific organs such as liver and kidneys
- Screen for certain genetic conditions
Blood tests typically only take a few minutes to complete and are carried out by a doctor, nurse or phlebotomist (a specialist in taking blood samples). Some of the most common blood tests include:
A complete blood count (CBC)
A complete blood count is one of the most common blood tests and is often part of a routine check up to evaluate your overall health. The CBC can detect a wide range of disorders and diseases such as anaemia, infection, clotting problems and blood cancers.
Blood chemistry tests
Blood chemistry tests measure amounts of certain chemicals in a sample of blood. These tests provide information to doctors about whether your muscles, bones and organs are working and can help spot abnormalities. You may be told to not eat or drink anything for several hours prior to having a blood chemistry test. Blood chemistry tests may also be called chemistry panels.
Blood enzyme tests
Enzymes are chemicals that help regulate chemical reactions in your body. A blood enzyme test analyses specific enzyme activity. Certain diseases or conditions can stop these enzymes from working or become less efficient. Observing the increase and decrease of enzyme levels can assist the diagnosis of a variety of conditions.
Blood tests to assess heart disease risk
A lipoprotein panel is a blood test that can help determine if you are at risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) before you show any symptoms.
In many cases, general blood tests will not be adequate to reach a diagnosis and additional tests will be necessary. If a person is experiencing symptoms of an illness or infection, they may receive a blood test to diagnose what the issue is. Blood tests assess levels of different chemicals, cells and enzymes in the blood with low or high levels indicating that a person has an illness or infection.
Blood tests are usually carried out in your GP practice or local hospital and involve taking a sample from a blood vessel in your arm. The arm is an appropriate part of the body to use as it can be easily uncovered and provide veins close to the surface such as the elbow or wrist.
The doctor or clinician starts by cleaning the area on your arm where they plan to take the blood sample and putting a tight band around your upper arm, causing the vein to swell and become more visible.
The blood sample is taken by a needle attached to a syringe and inserted into the vein. You may feel a minor prickle or scratching sensation as the needle is inserted but it shouldn’t be painful. When the sample has been taken, the needle and rubber band is removed pressure is applied to the skin for a few minutes, before covering the entry point with a bandage or cotton wool and medical tape.
Recovery and Complications
Only a small amount of blood is taken during the test so you shouldn’t feel any major after-effects. In some cases, people may feel unsteady or light-headed – if you have experienced these reactions yourself, you should inform the person carrying out the test and they will ensure they make you feel as comfortable as possible, both during and after the procedure. You may also receive a small bruise where the needle went in which will last a few days but is usually harmless.
After the sample has been taken, it will be sent to a laboratory where it will be examined or tested with chemicals depending on why it is being checked. You will be informed when your results are likely to be ready and how you will receive them. Some test results will be available the same day while others may not be available for a few weeks.
Blood tests are carried out every day and on the whole is a very safe procedure. It is rare for a blood test to result in serious complications however, as with any medical process, there is a small possibility of complications occurring. These complications could include:
The danger of infection following a blood test is very low as staff are highly trained and regulations are in place to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In rare cases, the entry point where the needle contacted the vein may become infected causing the wound to become inflamed and swollen.
It is normal for there to be bleeding after the blood sample has been taken, however this should stop relatively quickly following once a cotton wool pad or patch has been placed on the wound. In extremely rare cases the wound may bleed excessively and your doctor will steady the blood flow as swiftly as possible. .
Mild bruising surrounding the needle entry point is common following a blood test. In rare cases more severe bruising may develop, either caused by a lack of pressure applied after the needle was removed or damage to the vein when the needle was inserted.
Fainting and dizziness
If you suffer from a fear of needles and injections, it is very common to experience feelings of dizziness during or after the blood test. Usually this will pass after you have had a minute to sit down.
Caused by blood clotting to form a solid lump under the skin, a haematoma is fairly common. The bruising should heal on its own and ice packs will help ease the swelling. If you are experiencing pain, contact your doctor.
Blood tests offer a vital insight into your overall health. They are a good way to catch an illness or disease early and diagnose disorders, as well as monitoring how well your body responds to treatments for a number of conditions.
One Ashford Hospital offers a range of diagnostic blood tests. As we are based in Kent, we are perfectly located for private patients in Maidstone, Dover, Canterbury, Folkestone and all nearby areas.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Blood Tests treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance please do contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Ashford Hospital
Why One Ashford Hospital
- Access to leading Consultants within 48 hours*
- 0% and low interest finance options**
- Competitive fixed-price packages
- Modern purpose-built hospital
- Fast access to diagnostics including CT, MRI, X-Ray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, ensuite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little waiting time for surgery
- Calm, dignified experience
*Dependent on Consultant availability
**Terms and conditions apply
Contact us and find out moreIf you are based in and around Kent, Maidstone, Dover, Canterbury or Folkestone and would like to visit the One Ashford Hospital please click here
Diagnostics & Imaging Pricing Guide at One Ashford Hospital
This is a list of guide prices for some of common Diagnostics & Imaging treatments and procedures.
|MRI Scan from||£390|
|X Ray from||£110|