We’re out for blood. Want to know why? Blood tests can tell us more about what’s happening in a person’s body then almost anything else. So adding one to your routine physical makes all kinds of health sense.
“It is absolutely remarkable how much information you can get out if a couple simple lab tests,” said Nathan Boland, a lab technician in our Lab and Pathology Services department.
The three most common tests, usually included with physicals, are:
- Complete Blood Count, which checks red blood cells, white cells, and platelets. It lets doctors know when their patients might be suffering from cancer or any form of blood disease—anemia, for example.
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, which checks liver function, kidneys, and electrolytes, including glucose, potassium, chloride, and sodium levels.
- Lipid Panel, which checks cholesterol and triglycerides.
Those three blood tests will cover a considerable amount of common problems. Beyond those, there are gender-specific tests that can, for example, determine prostate health in men—they are recommended after age 50—and hormone levels in women.
OK, so now that you’re on board with getting a blood best, maybe you’re wondering how much they cost and if they’ll be covered by insurance. The answer is that insurance often covers routine blood tests, including the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. More good news is that if you do pay out of pocket, the Gateway Hancock Health laboratory is set up to offer high-value, affordable labs and it also accepts most major insurance plans. And Gateway is convenient, too—it’s open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Another big question, especially for people who don’t have munch experience with blood tests, is whether getting the procedure hurts. It can be a little uncomfortable, but it usually doesn’t hurt, said Boland. And some lab tests require fasting for a short period of time, generally overnight, so you might earn a big breakfast when it’s over.
“I try my best to make it as painless as possible, but there will usually be some amount of discomfort,” said Boland. “In some rare instances, certain people have a tendency to feel lightheaded, and in those cases, we will offer them juice or something to eat.”
But getting blood drawn takes only a few minutes, from start to finish, and the tests greatly improve the information your doctor has to work with as she or he guides your healthcare. Not only that, but we take pride in our ability to deliver affordable test results to everyone in 36 hours or less. So, sure, we’re out for blood, but only because we care about making your health possible!
Gateway Hancock Health, which offers convenient, high-quality immediate care and affordable labs and imaging, is located at I-70 and Mount Comfort Road. The lab is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit hancockregionalhospital.org/gateway/ or call 317-462-5544.