Ataxia UK

Should we always ask what our blood test samples are for?

Only once had I asked a nurse what a blood sample was for. The sample was instructed by my Neurologist. She told me that this specific sample was to detrmine whether my symptoms or condition was either due to a viral or bacterial cause. All my tests have came back negative so far. I only knew they were negative after I was told at my last neurological visit that they still didn't know what the cause of my ataxia was.

12 Replies

Hi Iain:)

I automatically ask what it's for although I have to confess

that the most recent test was so traumatic, it didn't cross

my mind:)

It was pre op, so run of the mill really but two nurses tried

both arms twice before blood was shed.

A tip for anybody having blood tests. Try not to go too long

without food/drink, it can cause dehydration and make it difficult

to locate a vein.

My first appt had been at 9.30am but the blood wasn't taken

until after 1pm. :) xB


I always do. Different labs do different test for different organs and parts of the body.


Dear Iain,

I even admire you for asking. I am usually too freaked out or tongue tied to even say a thing.


I always read the blood form and then try to find out as much about the tests as possible .It is my body and I want to know everything that is going off in it .This may come from being totally left in the dark re my Hypothyroidism and then finding out I had been under medicated for 7 years .Once bitten twice shy lol


When I first gave blood samples after seeing my Neurologist I too motherelle, would look at the slip he would give me to take to the nurse. The wording and writing was always hard understand and only once had I asked what a specific test was for. Think I should be more assertive from now on and ask what I'm giving blood for.


Keeping warm and well hydrated is good advice. I used be a phlebotomist and sometimes it would depend on how good the patient's veins were. Sometimes I had to resort to taking it from their hands with a butterfly needle.


Hi Iain

I personally would always ask the doctor what he is requesting a blood sample for. There is no law that you should do this-some people don't want to know what they are being tested for and are happy to trust their doctor. However, as others have said, it is your body and you have every right to know what you are being tested for. I would also make sure i know when the results will be back, if they will contact me with the results and if not, who I must contact to get the results.

Best Wishes



Thanks for the advice Harriet. I've never asked what any of the results have been. I only knew by chance what the results had been so far after I was examined by a few Neurologists in the same room at the same time. One of the Neurologists told me that I had all the tests done and that they still didn't know the cause. So I take from this that all the tests done so far have been negative?


I asked the Neuro if I could have a copy of all results .He told me to contact his secretary ,which I did and she sent me a copy . I am glad I did this as there were 3 tests which were not in the normal ranges ,I was told all were normal .My Gp said 1 of the tests had to be monitored .By law you are entitled to all of your results so don't be put off .


Hi Iain,

The last time that I gave blood samples, they were for 4 specific tests. Each was to rule out a specific cause - not to actually prove anything. I was told, generally, that all were to discount causes which were "not very nice" - and if I had any of the four diseases, then other symptoms woulkd be very apparent. I asked specifically what the tests were looking for (to discount), and was given details of the worst of the four (Huntington's). Had I asked for details of the other three, then the neurologist was happy to tell me. But we agreed that, in this case, there would probably be no benefit in my knowing, as they were just discounting other unlikely causes. And knowing might only give me something else to worry about.

Sometimes it can be good not to know what every test is for.

If any test is positive though, THEN is most definitely the time to know.

Iain :)

1 like

Have just noticed that your question is 2 years old. Doh!


Doesn't matter how long ago a question was asked Iain. Its the answers that matter most. I was just curious to know the opinions of others. Anytime in the past when I had given blood it had never crossed my mind to ask what the tests were for. It would have been helpful for me to know. Thanks for your reply Iain


You may also like...