But the test is typically not painful, and the process takes just a few minutes.
Blood tests are among the most common types of diagnostic tests for good reason. A phlebotomist uses a needle to takes a sample of your blood, usually from a vein in your arm. Check if you need to do anything to prepare for it. Many patients can check their blood test results in secure online patient portals.
From checking your cholesterol levels and thyroid function to diagnosing infections, diseases and other conditions, blood tests are often the first step in diagnosing dozens of conditions.
Your doctor typically orders blood tests for you during a physical, checkup or screening for a specific condition, including heart disease, thyroid disease, cancer, diabetes and sexually transmitted infections.
Blood tests are very safe. You may feel a slight prick when the needle is inserted into the vein. The small amounts of blood drawn for the test can help your doctor check for a wide range of issues.
If your doctor recommends a blood test, be sure you understand what the test measures.
Blood tests that can determine your risk of heart disease
Your individual risk of heart disease is determined by several factors, such as your age, family history, and other medical conditions. Based on your age, family history, and risk factors, you may also need additional blood tests to determine your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (including heart disease and strokes).
In people experiencing heart symptoms, different, more specialized tests can determine if there is an immediate heart problem or if there has been heart damage. During routine medical visits, your physician may recommend you get standard blood tests to check your overall health. Ideal levels are usually set based on large research studies. We will discuss these tests in more detail here, along with the "ideal level" for each of these tests. When you see a healthcare provider, they may order certain blood tests to help determine your cardiac risk, including:
Lipid profile, including blood cholesterol levels and triglycerides
High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)
Along with a detailed medical history and physical exam, these blood tests can help paint a picture of your overall heart health and risk for cardiovascular disease. Below, we'll identify which blood tests can give insights into your heart health and when they are useful. Since lab values can differ slightly from lab to lab, and because every "body" is different, it is important that you discuss your results with your healthcare provider so you can know what your blood test results mean for you and your health.