Blood Testing

Blood Testing

A blood test is a laboratory analysis performed on a blood sample that is usually extracted from a vein in the arm using a needle, or via fingerprick.

Blood tests are used to determine physiological and biochemical states such as disease, mineral content, drug effectiveness, and organ function. Although the term blood test is used, most routine tests (except for most haematology) are done on plasma or serum instead of blood cells.

Extraction
Extraction
Venipuncture is useful as it is a relatively non-invasive way to obtain cells, and extracellular fluid (plasma), from the body for analysis. Since blood flows throughout the body, acting as a medium for providing oxygen and nutrients, and drawing waste products back to the excretory systems for disposal, the state of the bloodstream affects, or is affected by, many medical conditions. For these reasons, blood tests are the most commonly performed medical tests.
Biochemical analysis
Biochemical analysis
A basic metabolic panel measures sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), magnesium, creatinine, and glucose. It also sometimes includes calcium.
Some blood tests, such as measuring glucose, cholesterol, or for STD screening require fasting (or no food consumption) eight to twelve hours prior to the blood test.
For the majority of blood tests, blood is usually obtained from the patient's vein. However, other specialized blood tests, such as the Arterial blood gas, require blood extracted from an artery. Blood gas analysis of arterial blood is primarily used to monitor carbon dioxide and oxygen levels related to pulmonary function. But, it is also used to measure blood pH and bicarbonate levels for certain metabolic conditions.
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