What To Expect In Different Health Tests

What to expect in different health tests

What to expect in different health tests

Health tests aren’t something we necessarily think about having unless we’re experiencing particular worrying symptoms that obviously indicate that something’s not quite right. However, when you seek medical advice you can often find that you’re suddenly being booked in for a range of different routine tests. For if and when that’s the case, it helps to know what to expect during the most common types, and how best to prepare for them.

Blood pressure

This is a very routine test, and many people have their own blood pressure (BP) monitor at home so are in the habit of testing their BP regularly. If you’ve not had a blood pressure test before, don’t worry, it’s over in a minute and is not at all painful.

It’s been suggested that you shouldn’t smoke or have any caffeine for half an hour before a blood pressure measurement is taken, as this can skew the results. There’s no particular ‘best time’ to measure blood pressure, but it’s advised that you sit down for several minutes beforehand.

Some people feel a little anxious before a blood pressure test, so some doctors will wait a few minutes into the appointment before taking the measurement – thus reducing the chances of getting a ‘white coat syndrome’ BP reading.

Cholesterol blood test

If your GP thinks you may have high cholesterol, this can be detected using a lipid profile blood test. Before such a test, people are required to fast for nine to 12 hours, so these tests are often done first thing in the morning. Before testing takes place, it’s sensible to eat as you usually would for one week, so that the real impact of your normal diet on your cholesterol level can be assessed.

Hearing test

You may have decided that your hearing is not as good as it could be, or it may be that you have a condition such as tinnitus (with a common symptom of ringing in the ears).

A hearing test begins with a few simple questions – about the work you do, your hobbies and leisure time, as well as a medical history, and specific questions about problems you may be experiencing with your hearing. There are no right or wrong answers! This just allows the practitioner to build up a picture of your life and how it may be affected by a hearing problem.

During the test itself, your ears are examined with an otoscope. The eardrums and outer ears are checked for any signs of infection or damage. Then you’ll wear headphones and hear different sounds played in one ear or the other. Pushing a button when you hear a sound, it’ll measure your hearing at different pitches and levels.

Hearing tests will also be repeated using a headband, this is because some hearing aids now work through sound vibrations being passed through the skull, so the practitioner has to decide whether you’d be a suitable candidate if it’s required. Following a hearing test, the results will of course be discussed with you, and if you’re experiencing any loss of hearing treatments will be discussed. You can find out more about different types of hearing aid at www.hiddenhearing.co.uk.

Smear test

This is the test that strikes the most fear in to women when it comes around every three years (aged 25-49) or every five years (aged 50 and over), but it’s vital, as it’s designed to detect pre-cancerous or cancerous cells in your cervix. It’s important that once you receive that initial letter suggesting you book yourself in that you do so immediately, because while it might feel uncomfortable or embarrassing, it’s designed to detect early signs of cancer or abnormalities that could cause serious issues later on.

Of course, these are just a few of the different health tests you may or may not have to experience in life. Whatever test you find that you need, the best idea is to read up about it first or ask someone you know to break down what happens. The more informed you are, the less you’ll have to worry about!

Anouszka Tate

Anouszka is a print journalist and radio & TV presenter with a penchant for sarcasm and tongue in cheek wit. Most importantly she’s YCB’s Features Editor. When she's not busy being all career driven she'll be baking, working out or making lists. Sometimes she wishes she had been born a decade earlier, and male, so that she could have been in a 90s boy band. Follow her on twitter and instagram @anouszkatate for vital updates on the above things summarised in 140 characters / in photo form.