Authored by JoannaRasmuson

How to Prepare for Your Lab Test

June 25, 2019 | Laboratory

Occasionally, your primary care physician will order a laboratory test. Lab tests are performed to check a sample of your blood, urine or body tissues to evaluate your health and diagnose medical conditions. If you’ve never had a lab test before, you might be wondering how you should prepare. Here are some tips.

Types of Lab Tests

There are a variety of lab tests your doctor may ask you to get. Some tests require special instructions that must be followed for the test to be accurate and reliable. Examples of these tests include:

  • Glucose tolerance, fasting, and two-hour post-prandial blood glucose tests

  • Lipids profile (triglycerides, cholesterol, etc.)

  • Creatinine

  • Fecal occult blood test

  • Urine culture

  • 5-HIAA test

  • Cortisol

  • Pap test (Pap smear)

Possible special instructions for these types of lab tests might include:

  • Fasting

  • Eating meals at specific times

  • Avoiding specific types of food

  • Restricting certain medications

  • Getting extra rest

  • Refraining from sexual activity

Your doctor will be more specific with instructions for the lab test you are getting.

Tips for Your Lab Test

In order to ensure the accuracy of your test, the most important thing you can do is follow your doctor’s instructions. Certain behaviors, like not drinking enough fluids, excessive eating or recent sexual activity, may affect the accuracy of the test. Be open and honest with your provider and let him or her know if you weren’t able to follow instructions properly. Additionally, you should make your doctor aware of any vitamins or medications you are taking, as this may also impact your test results. Other tips include:

  • Give an accurate personal, medical and family history prior to your test.

  • Drink enough water before a blood test. Being hydrated keeps your blood pressure from dropping during the test. The leading cause of fainting and dizziness during a blood test is a drop in blood pressure.

  • Eat before your test (if fasting is not required). This will help you feel better before and after your test.

  • Relax! If you are anxious about your test (or things related to your test, like needles), ask the person performing your test to explain what is happening to you or to distract you with conversation if possible. The person performing your test can be your best resource to remain calm. If you prefer to think of something completely unrelated, think about the rest of your day or a recent trip or happy memory.

Our Revere Health’s Medical Laboratory offers patients and providers easy access and quick turn around times on results for a variety of tests. 



“Test Preparation: Your Role.”

“Preparing for your lab test.”  Geisinger Medical Laboratories.

“Laboratory Tests.”

The Live Better Team


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.