Blood Testing in California

If you’re seeking blood tests in California, you may be looking to take control of your health, identify health conditions, and track progress of treatments. Regular blood testing is a great way to monitor your health, keeping you and your health care professionals informed.

While Californians rank relatively low compared to national death rates of cancer, heart disease, and strokes, California’s diabetes rates are just below the national average ― which can be detected by a blood test. Heart disease in particular is a big concern for California residents, with 142.9 heart disease deaths per 100,000 residents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Blood tests can reveal:

  • Conditions such as anemia, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease
  • General health status using tests such as complete blood count, urinalysis, and cholesterol level
  • Hormone imbalances and the presence of pregnancy hormones
  • Nutritional deficiencies, including vitamin B12 and vitamin D
  • Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis

There are numerous California blood testing resources where you can get testing and answers to your questions, sometimes for free or at a low cost. For example, Enloe Medical Center in Chico provides several outpatient clinical lab tests, with discounts and payment plans for those who are uninsured.

Another is the Berkeley Free Clinic, which provides free treatments including TB blood tests, STD testing, and more. And at the Riverside Free Clinic, patients can receive free lab testing among other services with no proof of insurance or citizenship is required.

California Blood Testing Directory

To help you locate an accredited laboratory/testing center, a list of resources has been compiled and can be found below.

Consult with your health care provider about any lab testing that you may be considering. It is also important to follow up with your health care provider to discuss your results within the context of your medical history.

Health Statistics in California

California’s reported deaths for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and HIV are all under the national average. But with early detection, death rates could be lower. Reported deaths in California include:

California vs USA death rates

Source: CDC National Center for Health Statistics Mortality Dashboard

Common Blood Tests

Should you get a blood test? Learn about some of the most common blood tests and what they’re used for.

Blood Testing in California:

California Community Health Testing Centers

Community-based health testing organizations generate awareness and foster social change while providing access to testing and treatment.

If you’re concerned about visiting your regular doctor or can’t afford the cost of private testing, a community testing center may be able to help. While community testing centers may charge a fee for blood testing, it’s common to find free or low-cost testing from these resources:

Frequently Asked Questions About Blood Tests in California

Can I order my own blood tests in California?

Yes, you can order your own blood tests in California, depending on the test. As per a law passed in 2001, Californians do not need a doctor’s prescription to get blood tests for glucose, cholesterol, pregnancy, occult blood, and HIV (FDA-approved home-based blood collection kits only).

Can I request a blood test without seeing a doctor?

Nowadays, you are able to get some blood tests done by going directly to a lab or ordering a test online. This is sometimes called direct access testing or direct-to-consumer testing.

How much does blood testing cost in California?

Blood testing costs vary depending on a few factors including the type of health insurance coverage you have, which test you are getting done, and where it’s being done. Some tests may be free of cost if you are covered by your insurance or you opt to visit a free clinic. In general, there are lots of affordable options for basic blood work used in preventative care. Other highly specialized blood tests can be more expensive.

Can I use insurance to get my blood tested?

In some cases, you can use insurance to pay, or partially pay, for blood tests. It’s always best to check with your health insurance plan to see what you’re covered for and if you’re responsible for any copayments or deductibles.

How often should I get my blood tested?

The frequency with which you need your blood tested is a question for your primary care physician. If you are an otherwise healthy person, some bloodwork is usually recommended once per year as part of your general physical exam. But if you have a health condition that requires more frequent monitoring, you may have to get blood tests at different intervals, such as twice per year, four times per year, or every month.

Can you eat or drink while fasting for a blood test?

Some blood tests do require that you fast for a certain number of hours to get more accurate results, while for others, eating and drinking don’t have an impact. When going for a blood test, read and follow pre-testing instructions carefully, or call the lab or your health care provider if you’re unsure.

What does routine blood work check for?

Routine blood work typically checks key levels in your blood to determine if yours are within the normal range. Depending on the test, lower or higher than normal results could indicate a possible infection, a sign that a body system or organ isn’t performing as it should, or it can help rule out conditions to help with diagnosis.

For example, a complete blood count measures your red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin. A basic metabolic panel is another common test that measures blood glucose, calcium, and electrolyte levels.


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