Q:

What are blood tests for?

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Quick Answer

Blood tests are primarily used to help doctors diagnose certain diseases or conditions, according to the National Institute of Health. Blood tests can also help give doctors an idea how certain organs are functioning and how well certain treatments are working.

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Full Answer

Blood tests are one of the more common tests used by doctors, as stated by the National Institute of Health. In fact, many patients get them as part of routine check-ups, just to give the doctor an idea how the body is functioning. Many blood tests require no specific preparation on the patient's part, however, there are a few that may require a patient to avoid eating or drinking for a few hours.

During a blood test, a laboratory technician usually takes blood from a vein in the arm, states the National Institute of Health. However, sometimes a small finger prick is suitable. The process is fast and simple, but it may cause temporary discomfort. After the blood is taken, laboratory workers then analyze it one of several ways. They may use whole blood in order to count blood cells, or they may just test the liquid that carries the blood cells, called plasma. Either way, the results of the test can give one's doctor an idea of which treatments are better for some people and what lifestyle changes need to be made, if any.

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