Blood tests are one of the main medical diagnostic tools, so it could be said that it is one of the most important clinical practices. They consist of a blood count study, which quantifies and evaluates the elements of the blood, and a biochemical test, which studies the chemical substances present in the blood such as iron, sugar or vitamins.
1. Why do you have to go to the analytical tests on an empty stomach?
Fasting for an analysis means not eating or drinking from the night before until the blood test. The reason is that eating and drinking can affect some of the analytical results. The tests that are requested in the analytics that require fasting are the glucose and lipid tests. Glucose tests check the commonly called “blood sugar” which, in scientific terms, is called glycemia. They are normally used to screen for diabetes or to monitor diabetes if you already have it. On the other hand, lipid tests are intended to measure the levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) and cholesterol (a waxy, fat-like substance found in the blood and in all cells of the body). High levels of triglycerides or cholesterol called LDL are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
2. What exactly does it mean to go on an empty stomach?
Fasting (or fasting) is called the act of totally or partially abstaining from eating or drinking, for a certain period. The fasting time for an analysis is eight hours, usually done first thing in the morning so that the fast coincides with the night. For example, if we have an analysis at 8:00 am, we will stop eating food and drinks from 12:00 pm the day before.
3. Can you drink water? And other liquids?
Water is the only drink that can be ingested, since it does not alter the results of the analysis in any way. Drinking a little water when getting up (natural water, without any additives) favors blood extraction.
4. What other tips are important to follow to get tested? There are recommendations such as not smoking, chewing gum or playing sports, for example…
Indeed, it is not recommended to chew gum, play sports or smoke. In the case of chewing gum, the reason is that by doing so, insulin production is activated, the body ceases to be in a state of rest and is activated to carry out the digestive process, even if it is not eating as such. Some chewing gums even incorporate sugar into their content, which would directly alter the results. Sports should not be done, preferably 24 hours before the analysis, since it can modify certain parameters in the blood (variation of red blood cells, bilirubin, potassium, uric acid). Nor is smoking, as it can interfere with the glucose curve and increase the concentration of fatty acids, among other alterations.