Patients

Know Before You Go

Lab Testing Should Be Easy

Whether you’re a first time visitor or a longtime friend, we’re here to answer any questions you have about your visit, your results or your health. We know you’re here for answers and we want to make the process as pleasant and painless as possible.
 

Giving a Blood Sample

Before the Draw

Fortunately, many lab tests don’t require any special preparation. Simply walk into one of our Patient Centers whenever it’s convenient for you and we’ll be ready to help you.

Some tests may require fasting, which means you’ll have to refrain from eating or drinking anything (except for water) before giving your sample. Your healthcare profesional will let you know if you need to fast. 

 
During the Draw

Your sample may be drawn from a vein in your arm using a needle, or it may be taken from your fingertip with a device called a lancet. How blood is taken will depend on the type of blood test you need.

No matter the type of draw, our phlebotomists are highly trained to make sure the experience is as comfortable as possible for you. If you have special considerations or have had any problems giving a sample in the past, please let us know. 

There are steps we can take to make you feel as comfortable as possible. 

 
After the Draw

Once your sample is collected, you should be fine to go about your day. A few people may experience slight bruising where the sample was taken, but it should fade within a few days.


Fasting for Blood Tests

Depending upon the specific blood test, you may be asked to fast for up to eight to twelve hours prior to your appointment. Fasting means not eating anything or drinking anything except water prior to your blood draw. 

Please contact your healthcare profesional if you’re uncertain fasting is needed.  It’s important not to wait until the day of your appointment to ask if you should fast, as it may necessitate rescheduling your appointment. 

It’s also important not to smoke, chew gum (even sugarless) or exercise prior to your blood draw. These things can rev up your digestion, and that can affect your results.

 

Why do I have to fast before certain lab tests?

Nutrients and ingredients in the food and beverages you consume are absorbed into your bloodstream and could impact factors measured by certain tests. Fasting improves the accuracy of those tests.
 

Why is water okay to drink while I’m fasting?

Water hydrates your veins. Hydrated veins are easier to find.  Drink plenty of water before having any blood test.
 

What types of blood tests require fasting?

Glucose testing that checks blood sugar levels and tests that determine your cholesterol, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels usually require fasting. Other lab tests may require fasting, which is why you should ask your doctor. If you think fasting might be a problem for you, schedule your appointment for the early morning and bring a snack for after the appointment.
 

I have a question about my results. What should I do? 

You should talk to the healthcare profesional who ordered the test. This person will have the most complete picture of your health based on your physical exam, medical history and the results of your lab tests.

For more information on laboratory testing visit labtestsonline.org.