- Don’t drink coffee before a blood pressure test
If you’re going in for a regular doctor visit, you’re probably going to have your blood pressure taken. So, it’s best to avoid coffee right before your appointment because it could affect the results. ‘Using coffee or other caffeine such as energy drinks or colas within an hour of having your blood pressure measured can make the number artificially higher,’ says James Dewar, MD, vice-chairman of family medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).
- Don’t eat a high-fat meal before getting blood drawn
You might want to avoid double cheeseburger before a regular blood workup. ‘If you wouldn’t normally have a high-fat meal, then don’t do it, so your physician can get an accurate picture of your health,’ says Deepa Iyengar, MD, associate professor of family and community medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and an attending physician at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.
Eating an unusually large meal could cause the results of your test to be skewed. You may need to avoid eating in general. ‘If your blood work will include a measurement of cholesterol or other fats, it is best to avoid any calories for eight to 10 hours before the test is drawn,’ says Dr. Dewar.
- Don’t forget about water
In general, it’s a good idea to hydrate before seeing the doc for a checkup. ‘Being well hydrated at the time of a physical will make your pulse and blood pressure at their best,’ Dr. Dewar says.
‘If you are having blood work or urine testing done, being mildly dehydrated can cause artificial abnormalities in the testing that can confuse the results.’ Although you do want the doctor to be able to see what your normal lifestyle is like, you should be drinking lots of water daily, anyway.
- Don’t stay hungry all day
You probably want to show the doctor your best health, but it’s not necessary to change your eating habits before an annual appointment. ‘Your providers would like you to be honest and upfront about your lifestyle and diet, so they can have an accurate history of your health and provide you with the best possible care,’ says Gregory John Galbreath, MD, a PIH Health physician in Whittier, California.
And even if you improved an unhealthy diet close to your appointment date, it probably wouldn’t matter. ‘It takes a long time for a diet to change cholesterol and blood sugar, so a dietary change of a few days or meals isn’t going to do much,’ Dr. Dewar says.
- Don’t take cold medicine before a sick visit
When you’re sick, your doctor may want to evaluate your symptoms without the effects of any over-the-counter medications. ‘If possible, don’t take anything so your doctor can see any abnormal findings and assess your condition,’ says Dr. Iyengar.
‘Some medications may raise blood pressure, and your physician would not know if the medication or the illness could be the cause.’ If you’re really hurting, it’s probably okay to go ahead—your doctor wants you to feel better and will rely on you to describe your symptoms. But definitely let the doctor know which medications you’ve taken.
- Don’t drink alcohol before a cholesterol test
You don’t want anything to alter your triglycerides (one of the four components measured in a cholesterol profile), which could lead to needlessly worrying results.
‘The precaution to abstain 24 hours prior to cholesterol test is based on the potential increase in triglycerides that could result soon after drinking alcohol,’ says Joon Sup Lee, MD, chief of cardiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and co-director of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.
In addition, you should avoid sweets, high-fat foods, and generally overeating before the test. ‘All of these in large quantities can affect the triglycerides in the short term,’ Dr. Lee says.
- Don’t have caffeine before some stress tests
A stress test is used to work your heart (by walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike) to see how it reacts and ensure that it’s healthy. But if you’re having a certain kind of stress test that involves the use of pharmacological agents to stress the heart, don’t have caffeine beforehand.
Article used & modified from healthyhabits.care.