12 Nov What Kind of Blood Work Is Done for a Physical?
You may need a physical exam for a variety of reasons — whether it is for school, sports, or to annually check-up on your overall health. While there are no complete guarantees of what conditions your doctor will test or examine you for, there are a number of common health aspects that doctors will check in a physical. Blood work is often included as part of a physical, depending on your medical history and the purpose of your exam. Any blood test completed as part of a medical exam will help you gain a better understanding of and help you improve your overall health.
How Often Should You Be Tested?
Ideally, everyone should receive an annual physical in order to learn your current health status and to learn how to take preventive measures for potential health risks. A medical exam is also generally the first step to detecting any serious health conditions early, as well as to become current on your vaccinations. Physicals are also often required before participation in sports, and school systems may also require physicals with varying frequency for students.
Common check-ups and medical exams you may receive as part of your overall physical exam include:
- Updating health history
- Vital sign checks
- Physical examinations (appearance, heart, lungs, head and neck, abdomen, reflexes, etc.)
- Blood tests
Additional screening tests may be performed, depending on your biological gender. For women, common screenings for a physical may include a breast exam, mammogram, pap smear, pelvic and osteoporosis screening. For men, common screenings may include prostate cancer, testicular, hernia and an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening. Not all of these tests will be required as part of every physical, but it’s important to be prepared and understand the benefits of each medical exam and screening.
What Do Blood Tests Tell about Health?
Blood work for a physical exam can test for many health conditions, and they can reveal much about the current state of your health. Blood test results can also help you learn what actions you need to be taking in your daily life to improve or maintain good overall health.
More specifically, blood tests reveal if certain substances in your blood are within a healthy range or if they are present in an abnormal amount. Abnormal results can indicate you may have certain health conditions, but many other daily activities and pre-existing conditions can potentially influence your results as well. This is why it is helpful to get blood work done as part of your annual physical so that your doctor can gain a more comprehensive understanding of your overall health. While blood tests are not enough on their own to definitively diagnose any diseases or conditions, they can point your doctor in the right direction on how to proceed with recommendations or treatment.
Common blood tests for a physical may include:
- Complete blood count (CBC) — Measures different cells and parts of your blood, which can help detect infections, anemia, blood clots, immune system disorders and blood cancers.
- Chemistry panel (complete metabolic panel) — Measures the levels of different chemicals in the blood, which can provide detailed information about your bones, muscles and other organs.
- Lipid panel (cholesterol test) — Measures the different proteins which carry both good and bad cholesterol in the blood, which can help determine your risk for heart disease, heart attack or stroke.
- Blood sugar screen — Measures your blood sugar levels, which can help in the process of diagnosing diabetes.
What to Expect
While stress about getting blood drawn or about potential results can increase anxiety levels in some patients, getting a blood test done as part of your physical exam is nothing to be worried about. It’s important to remember that your doctor will only request a blood test if he or she thinks it is necessary, and the results will help you gain a better understanding of your current health.
Our blog post, “What to Expect During a Blood Exam,” can help you learn how to prepare for a blood test, what are the steps of getting blood drawn, and what to expect after the test. The highlights to remember, though, are that getting your blood drawn is a quick and nearly painless process. While you may experience a brief and slight sting, you should not experience any other discomfort with a trained phlebotomist. Some blood tests may require fasting, but not all tests require it.
During the draw, it’s important to stay as calm as possible in order to improve accuracy and efficiency. Finding a distraction for the few moments of the blood draw can be especially helpful to relax and preoccupy your mind. After your blood test, all you have to do is wait for your results. The turnaround for receiving your results varies by test, so your doctor should be able to give you an approximate timeframe for when to expect them. Once you have received your blood test results, you can talk with your doctor about what next steps — if any — you need to take to improve your health.
Blood Test Results You Can Trust
For reliable and professional blood test services in Central Florida, consider Medical Arts Laboratory. We have served Central Florida communities for over 20 years as a state-of-the-art, full-service clinical reference lab. Contact us to learn more and to schedule your next appointment!