What is the purpose of a blood test?

Blood tests have a wide variety of applications, whether you’re healthy or suffering from a chronic condition. The doctors at Halper Family Medicine may order testing to:

  • Evaluate how well your kidneys, heart, liver, or thyroid are working
  • Discover if you have risk factors for heart disease
  • Diagnose disease, including cancer, diabetes, anemia, and HIV/AIDS
  • Assess your blood clotting ability
  • Check whether medications you’re taking are working
  • Evaluate hormone levels (testosterone or estrogen)

Many of these tests are routine and administered during your annual exam.

Do blood tests hurt?

Blood tests at Halper Family Medicine do require a needle to puncture your skin and go into your vein, usually into your arm, but sometimes all that’s needed is a finger prick. The procedure can cause short-term discomfort and lingering soreness for a few hours but is quick and easy. No real risks are associated with blood draws.

Prior to a blood test, you may be requested to fast 8-12 hours. This depends on the nature of the test and the doctors at Halper Family Medicine will help you know how to prepare.

What are the most common blood tests?

Dozens of screenings utilize a blood test. Some of the most common, however, include:

Complete blood count (CBC)

A CBC is a routine test that helps detect infection, anemia, blood cancers, immune system problems, and issues with clotting. It evaluates the compilation of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. A CBC also measures hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein, hematocrit, or the space your red blood cells take up, and mean corpuscular volume, a measure of the average size of your red blood cells.

Blood chemistry tests

Sometimes referred to as a basic metabolic panel, a blood chemistry test is a group that measures the number of certain chemicals in the blood. It gives your Halper Family Medicine doctor information about how your heart, bones, muscles, kidneys, and liver is working.

Blood enzyme tests

Enzymes control chemical reactions in your body. Evaluation of them can check for heart attack.

Blood tests for chronic disease risk

Blood tests that check your cholesterol can evaluate your risk for developing coronary heart disease. Blood sugar tests can evaluate whether you have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of developing it.

To learn what blood tests you need to stay healthy, call Halper Family Medicine or book an appointment online.