It's amazing how much information is stored in just a small amount of blood. And what it can tell you about your health.
They say that 80% of any diagnosis is made in the lab, and this is certainly something that we at Medichecks can agree with, seeing as we do, thousands of test results every year.
The most common blood tests we provide include a haemotology profile which looks in detail at your red and white blood cells and a biochemistry profile - these two profiles essentially cover the basics. Find out what's involved below:
This test looks at the size, shape and distribution of your oxygen carrying cells. Used primarily to diagnose anaemia which can be caused by insufficient dietary iron or Vitamin B12, the results of this test might explain your lack of energy and general unexplained fatigue.
Your white blood cells are a measure of your ability fight infection - it is common to see your white blood count rise in response to a viral or bacterial infection and then normalize once the problem is resolved.
Your clotting cells are essential to prevent uncontrolled bleeding, but sometimes they don't work as they should. If you bruise easily, this may be due to an abnormality with your clotting cells.
Your liver is one of the most important organs in your body, and depending on your lifestyle, potentially one of the most abused. Your liver performs many vital functions, from storing glycogen to manufacturing cholesterol, to eliminating toxins. Your test results will show whether your liver enzymes are raised which will indicate liver injury, and maybe the first signs of liver disease.
Your kidneys have the job of filtering waste products from your body. The Kidney function test, which also measures your level of electrolytes, examines how well they are doing their job. If you have raised blood sugar or diabetes then it is especially important to keep a check on your kidney function.
This test measures the amount of sugar in your blood after you have been fasting, usually overnight. Raised blood sugar is a sign that you are becoming insulin resistant, which means that your body is failing to get the sugar you eat into your cells for energy. Eventually, if you don't bring your blood sugar under control, this will lead to Type 2 Diabetes, which raises your risk factor for a host of diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer's.
Your blood lipids are fats which circulate in your blood - you will know them as LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood raises your risk of heart disease, especially if you have low levels of protective HDL cholesterol.
Iron status tests measure the amount of iron in your blood as well as your body's capacity to absorb iron. The aim to is to diagnose anaemia or haemochromatosis (iron overload syndrome) an inherited condition which means that your body can't rid itself of iron and therefore you accumulate it over time.
A comprehensive blood test will look for levels of calcium and phosphate, essential minerals needed for strong bones and teeth as well as muscle function, including your heart. If you are found to have low calcium levels you may be prescribed calcium with vitamin d which is needed to absorb it.
After the basics come a huge range of tests, which are aimed more at specific symptoms or concerns our customers may have - but more about those next time!