The reliability and accuracy of a test rest largely on the test subject –that’s you in case of a health check! So what are the things you must do or avoid ahead of a health screening or a lab test? Read on to find out:
To-Do List Ahead of Your Health Check Up
- Get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep has been known to affect blood glucose and blood pressure levels and can influence other tests as well.
- Fast for at least eight hours. In rare cases, some tests require fasting for 12 hours too. Stick to drinking plain water post dinner the previous night.
- If you are under routine medication for other conditions, you may have to skip or postpone them according to your doctor’s advice until your urine or blood sample is taken. For example, medicines such as beta-blockers may have to be stopped three days ahead of the test.
- If an ultrasound has been scheduled for you, drink several glasses of water ahead of the scan. A full bladder forms a convenient path for the ultrasonic waves.
- In case of a treadmill test, wear appropriate footwear and attire that allow you to take the test comfortably.
- Tests such as a colonoscopy may require you to take a laxative the previous night as per your physician’s guidance.
Things to Avoid Ahead of Your Health Check Up
- Don’t forget to follow specific instructions given by your physician or healthcare centre.
- Avoid eating salty food at least 24 hours ahead of your exam as it can elevate your triglycerides and blood pressure.
- Avoid exercise or strenuous activity immediately before a health test as it can raise your heart rate or drop your potassium levels.
- Watch what you drink. It’s best to avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol well ahead of tests and sample collection to keep your blood pressure down and avoid irregularities in test results.
- In case of a pelvic ultrasound, avoid urinating for at least one hour prior to the exam.
- If you are going in for a mammogram, do not use perfumes, deodorants, powder or cream under the arms or around the chest as it can interfere with the quality of the test.
- Pap smear, urine or stool tests are ideally done 5-6 days after the last day of menstruation.
- A stream of other things to avoid at least 24 hours ahead of a pap smear – sex, tampons, vaginal creams, and medications such as vaginal suppositories used for infections
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