Magnesium, Serum

What is it?

Magnesium (mag-nee-z-um) is a mineral found in the body that can be measured with a blood test. Blood tests are often done when you have a routine physical (fizz-ih-kull) examination (eks-ah-mih-na-shun). Magnesium is especially important to muscles and nerves. It also helps some enzymes (n-zimes) work. An enzyme is something that helps speed up a chemical reaction in your body.

Why do I need it?

You may need a magnesium blood test if you have unexplained muscle cramps, twitching, tremors, seizures, or an irregular heartbeat. People who can not digest their food properly also may have low magnesium levels. Diuretics (di-u-ret-iks), sometimes called water pills, also can cause decreased magnesium levels. Laxatives and antacids can cause increased levels of magnesium. Caregivers will explain the test and why you need it.

How do I get ready for the test?

Your caregiver will tell you when to have your blood test done. The blood test may be done before or after eating. Your caregiver will tell you if you should not take your medicines until after your blood is taken.

How is the specimen collected?

A caregiver will put a wide rubber strap around your arm and tighten it. Your skin will be cleaned with alcohol. A small needle attached to a special test tube will be put into a vein in your arm or hand. The tube has suction to pull the blood into it. When the tube is full, the rubber strap, needle and tube are removed. The caregiver will press a piece of cotton where the needle was removed. You may be asked to hold the cotton on the site for a few minutes to help stop the bleeding. Tape may then be put over the cotton on your arm.

What do I do after the test?

You may remove the tape and cotton in about 20 to 30 minutes. Call your caregiver to get the results of your test. Your caregiver will explain what your test results mean for you. Follow the instructions of your caregiver.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your lab tests. You can then discuss the results with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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