Arranging for Blood Tests

People with IBD know that blood tests do not stop following the initial diagnostic work-up.   Blood tests are an important part of ongoing follow-up in order to monitor your progress.[1] Due to regulations in every state except Arizona, patients must have their doctor request any lab tests. You will need a prescription or doctor’s order to have any lab test done.  To  get tested, you will need to contact your doctor to find out your options for getting any lab tests. Check your insurance before your scheduled appointment to know if the prescribed blood test is covered.[2]

Once your gastroenterologist has determined if you need blood work, you may have several options for getting the blood work done.  These options may be to have the blood test done right at your gastroenterologist’s office, or if your gastroenterologist does not have on-site blood testing, you can take the prescription for your blood test to a hospital or an independent blood testing lab.  It is fairly common for patients to end up going to a specific lab that specializes in collecting blood work.  The lab will either analyze your blood on site or send it to a central location.  In either case, the results will be sent to your gastroenterologist. Also, you can ask for a copy of the results to be sent directly to you.  If you want  to know the results of your blood work be sure to ask to have a copy of the results to be sent to you.

In most cases, the results of your blood work should be ready within five days.  Your gastroenterologist will most likely discuss the results of your blood work at your next scheduled office visit.  Do not be afraid to ask any questions concerning your blood work.  No matter how well your gastroenterologist knows you, ultimately you have the right to ask questions.[2]

Before having your blood test, an important tip is to drink plenty of water.  Drinking water before a blood test will make for a smoother blood draw.  Blood is about 50% water, so the more water you drink, the plumper your veins will be making it easier for the lab technician to locate your veins and draw blood.[3]

            Lastly, experts agree that blood testing should be considered as part of routine global assessment at each visit for patients with asymptomatic IBD.  Complete blood count, liver profile and renal function should be conducted every 3 to 12 months to monitor IBD treatment.[4]  A complete blood cell count (CBCC) test will provide you and your gastroenterologist with a good general measure of disease activity and possibly of iron deficiency or vitamin deficiency.[5]

 

Sources:

[1] Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Diagnosing and Managing IBD. Available at: http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/resources/diagnosing-and-managing-ibd.html

[2] Quest Diagnostics. Scheduling at test. Available at: https://www.questdiagnostics.com/

home/patients/scheduling-test/request-test.html

[3] One Medical: Getting a blood draw. Available at: https://www.onemedical.com/

blog/live-well/blood-draw-faq/

[4] Papay P, et al. Optimising monitoring in the management of Crohn’s disease: A physician’s perspective. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis 2013;7:653-669.

[5] Cappello M. and Christian Morreale G. The role of laboratory tests in Crohn’s disease. Clinical Medicine Insights: Gastroenterology 2016;9:51-62.