Have you ever been recommended for a blood test and underwent the same? Do you know whether the blood is drawn from an artery or a vein and the reason for the same? Here in this article, you are going to learn about phlebotomy (the process of drawing blood) i.e. what is phlebotomy, its purpose and possible side-effects.

What is phlebotomy?  
The process of taking blood from a vein by puncturing it usually in the arm region with a cannula is referred to as phlebotomy. This procedure is known as "Venipuncture" or blood draw. It is a procedure that plays an important role in diagnosing many medical conditions and is used for intravenous therapy. The blood drawn is used for various purposes like a transfusion, experimenting, diagnostic testing, and apheresis.

Purpose of phlebotomy
The general and widely known purpose of phlebotomy is diagnostics. The blood sample sent to labs are subjected to different tests to discover the presence of any foreign antigen or abnormal cell activity, etc. thus assists in making accurate diagnosis in many cases. Additionally, the blood taken through the veins is sent for a lab test or sometimes for the treatment of certain medical conditions. This process is known as Therapeutic Phlebotomy. This process helps remove extra red blood cells, abnormal shaped red blood cells, or extra iron present in the blood.

Therapeutic Phlebotomy is used for the treatment of people undergoing medical issues like:
•    Hemochromatosis
•    Polycythemia Vera
•    Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
•    Sickle Cell Disease
•    Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Blood Taking Process
The blood tests do not require any special preparations. In some cases, doctors tell you not to eat 8 -12 hours before the process. Doctor provide all the necessary details about the procedure during consultation.  The blood collection process takes only a few minutes. If the blood drawn to test is a part of treatment, then the amount of blood taken will depend on how much is required, and the time taken depends on it. Mostly the time taken will be within 2 to 3 minutes to get enough blood for the test.
The process is as follows:
•    The person taking your blood will instruct you to either lie down or sit on the chair and make a tight fist with your hand.
•    Then, the medical attendant will tie a band called Tourniquet around the upper arm. It makes the veins pop out a little, and it is easier to insert the needle properly.
•    You may feel a pinch or sting sensation when the needle is inserted. It will be attached to a small tube through which the blood will start to flow into a test tube or blood bag.
•    Once the blood is collected, the needle is taken out, and a bandage is applied. It is advisable to press down the area punctured to stop bleeding.

Is there anything to worry about Phlebotomy?
Sometimes Phlebotomy process is uncomfortable for some people. But that is not a problem, and it will get better soon. Some people feel anxious with the sight of blood or needles.
There is a condition when one starts experiencing dizziness, sweating and the heart rate increases or the blood pressure drops. This condition is called Vasovagal reaction, where the nervous systems in our body react towards the procedure being done. To calm down during this condition; it is better to do some deep breathing as it can be helpful. Even you can distract yourself by looking into someone else. After the blood is taken, if there is dizziness, you can lie or sit down.  
In very few cases, the area from where the blood was taken can have a slight sore, redness, or bruise. Mostly, these side effects will go away soon.

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What is Phlebotomy?