Blood Tests (Phlebotomy)
Blood tests can be used in a number of ways, such as assessing your general state of health, helping to diagnose a condition, assessing the health of certain organs or screening for some genetic conditions.
Most blood tests only take a few minutes to complete and the healthcare professional who arranges your blood test will tell you whether there are any specific instructions you need to follow before your test such as avoid eating or drinking anything, apart from water (fasting) for up to 12 hours or to stop taking a certain medication.
It's important to follow the instructions you're given, as it may affect the result of the test.
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
A blood pressure test is a simple way of checking if your blood pressure is too high or too low. Blood pressure is the term used to describe the strength with which your blood pushes on the sides of your arteries as it's pumped around your body. High blood pressure (hypertension) can put a strain on your arteries and organs, which can increase your risk of developing serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Low blood pressure (hypotension) isn't usually as serious, although it can cause dizziness and fainting in some people.
A blood pressure test is the only way to find out if your blood pressure is too high or too low, because most people won't have any obvious symptoms. Having a test is easy and could save your life, you can ask for a blood pressure test if you're worried about your blood pressure at any point.
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a simple test that can be used to check your heart's rhythm and electrical activity. Sensors attached to the skin are used to detect the electrical signals produced by your heart each time it beats, these signals are recorded by a machine and are looked at by a doctor to see if they're unusual.
ECGs are often used alongside other tests to help diagnose and monitor conditions affecting the heart such as arrhythmias, coronary heart disease, heart attacks and cardiomyopathy. They can be used to investigate symptoms of a possible heart problem, such as chest pain, suddenly noticeable heartbeats (palpitations), dizziness and shortness of breath.
Cervical Screening Test
A cervical screening test (previously known as a smear test) is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the womb from the vagina. Detecting and removing abnormal cervical cells can prevent cervical cancer. For more information, please review the pages on NHS choices.
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