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How to Prepare for a Health Screening

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Regular medical screening is a surefire way to track your health and detect maladies or illnesses before they become severe or even appear. Yet, preparing for one of these screening exercises can feel like getting ready for a day in court. You may feel some anxiety or apprehension, which is normal. Medical equipment, especially the advanced type, does sometimes look intimidating, after all.

Moreover, who wouldn’t be apprehensive before going off to find out their health status? However daunting as your medical checkup might seem at first, it’s nothing to be anxious about. You just need to know how to prepare for it and what to do when you get there, and you will find that it no longer makes you anxious. So, allow us to walk you through how to prepare and what to expect.

What to Do Before Your Screening

Here are some things you should do before your screening.

  • Fast

Fasting is not limited to religious observance or dieting, and your doctor might set it up as necessary before your medical screening to get more accurate test results. You are not required to fast for 24 hours or more before a screening; however, some level of intermittent fasting is advised.

Any number of fasting schedules can work here, so long as the one you go for means you don’t have any food in your belly up to 8 hours before the test. The reason is that food and beverages, especially sweetened ones, can alter your body’s lipid levels.

However, not all beverages are off limits; while lattes and cappuccinos are prohibited, taking something like black coffee is not bad. In any case, inaccurate results are always likely to some degree. Still, you will find that the chances of a test done during intermittent fasting not working accurately are very small—unless other factors are at play.

  • Lay Off the Alcohol

Alcohol is one of those other factors that could be at play and is an absolute no-no when preparing for a health screening. The usual advice is to stay off up to 24 hours before the appointment; however, if you can do so for even longer or begin the start of an alcohol-free lifestyle, then why not?

The problem with alcoholic beverages like beer, spirits, and wine is that they can cause your blood sugar and pressure levels to rise and produce inaccurate results, especially for blood tests. Cigarettes and marijuana are also advised against. Marijuana will introduce THC and CBD into your bloodstream, while smoking cigarettes can increase your body’s white blood cell count. Both of these can negatively affect the accuracy of test results.

  • Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial, notably if you’re slated for a series of medical tests. When you’re adequately hydrated, the lab attendant taking your blood samples will have an easier time finding a vein to puncture for blood. It’ll also make things easier for you, as the process will be quicker and less painful. Thus, it’s recommended that you take two or three glasses of clean water at least two hours before your screening commences.

  • Manage Your Stress and Anxiety Levels

It’s not unusual to be a little stressed or anxious before a medical screening, especially if you get uncomfortable around blood or in medical environments. However, it greatly helps to manage your stress and anxiety levels before the screening; they can translate to increased blood pressure, which can affect blood pressure checks.

It helps to take deep breaths, meditate if needed, and remember that health screenings are quick and easy procedures. You can also always find a medical facility where you feel more at home. Other key factors are duly considered.

  • Take Any Prescribed Medications

If you have received any medical prescriptions before the screening, it is usually safe to keep taking them. However, whether or not it’s safe is also sometimes a function of the nature of the medication and the kinds of tests you will undergo.

You can check in with your doctor to clear any doubts regarding keeping up with the meds, and once your results are out, should there be any abnormal readings, you can always ask your doctor if any of them are due to side effects from the drugs.

What to Take With You

Part of preparing is getting needed items in order, and there are quite a few that you should carry with you. The medical center may require a few documents, including, but not limited to, the following old medical reports and results from previous tests and examinations:

  • Previous blood test results
  • CT or MRI scans,
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds, etc.

You may also bring a list of long-term medications you have been taking along with the prescription note. If you’ve done previous tests in the same center, they may already have your records and files. Bringing all of these along is mostly necessary for continuity of treatment.

What to Wear?

There are no specific clothing requirements for a health screening. You need only wear something comfortable, which will not make you sweat—short-sleeved clothes, for instance. If you’re going to be doing an EST (exercise stress test), you can even bring your own shoes and sports clothing.

However, there is one main restriction: you can’t wear metal accessories like watches, chains, or rings. These can interfere with lab equipment, especially magnetic resonance machines.

What to Expect In the Lab

So, you’ve made your way to the laboratory. What now? There will probably be some paperwork to do—some form-filling here, some signing there. Once it’s time for the screening, you will be asked to change partially or wholly into a laboratory gown.

Your checkup commences, and it may take anywhere from just under one hour to several, depending on the nature and scope of the tests. However, the whole process of screening usually boils down to four stages:

  • Collection of samples
  • Assessments and checkups
  • Consultation
  • Advanced testing (where required)

Keeping these stages in mind helps track what else needs to be done and how long until you can go home.

Final Thoughts

Undergoing regular health screening is a very important and healthy practice. It enables you to track your health and saves you lots of money you’d otherwise spend on illnesses allowed to develop too far.

The process of screening may seem anything from anxiety-inducing to stressful, but knowing what to do before and during one helps make it less so. And so, we hope that this brief guide has given you all you need to quickly prepare for that checkup like a well-informed and health-conscious individual.


Medical Device News Magazine
Medical Device News Magazine provides breaking medical device / biotechnology news. Our subscribers include medical specialists, device industry executives, investors, and other allied health professionals, as well as patients who are interested in researching various medical devices. We hope you find value in our easy-to-read publication and its overall objectives! Medical Device News Magazine is a division of PTM Healthcare Marketing, Inc. Pauline T. Mayer is the managing editor.

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