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Core 5 Check

A panel of 5 key tests which are designed to assess your risks for some of the UK's leading causes of premature death. Includes FREE Full Blood Count, Thyroid and Iron test.

According to the NHS the leading causes of premature death in the UK are cancer, heart disease, stoke, respiratory disease and liver disease. While genetic and environmental factors play a role in some of these diseases it is also true to say that lifestyle is an important factor: the Department of Health estimates that two thirds of these deaths are avoidable. People who smoke, drink too much alcohol, eat an unhealthy diet rich in sugar and fat and who lead a sedentary lifestyle put themselves at increased risk of some or all these killers. Our Core 5 Check is designed to test your personal risk factors for some of these conditions and includes tests for diabetes, cholesterol, a cancer tumour marker test as well as a bowel cancer test and a liver check. A full blood count, thyroid check and iron test are also included. .

Who is this blood test for

This test is for indoviduals of all ages who are concerned that their lifestyle or family history puts them at a raised risk of some of the leading causes of premature death. 

Many of the conditons we test for have no symptoms in the early stages which is why it is so important to test for risk factors that may be hidden in your blood. 


What's included

Haemoglobin carries oxygen and gives the blood cell its red colour. This test measures the amount of haemoglobin in the blood and is a good measure of the blood's ability to carry oxygen throughout the body.

A high haemoglobin result can mean increased red cell production to compensate for chronically low oxygen levels in the blood caused by living at altitude or lung disease. While it can also indictate "blood doping" other causes can include dehydration, smoking and bone marrow disorders.

A low haemoglobin result indicates anaemia which can have many causes including pregnancy, blood loss, liver damage, iron deficiency and much more. A low haemoglobin level would be investigated in line with other symptoms and results.

HCT (haemocrit) measures the amount of space (volume) red blood cells take up in the blood.

A high level can occur with pregnancy, living at altitude, dehydration as well as low availability of oxygen through chronic lung disease and even sleep apnea.

Low levels indicate anaemia.

Red Cell Count analyses the number of red cells in the blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. They also carry carbon dioxide back to the lungs so that it can be exhaled. 

A high count (thicker blood) means there is a chance that the red blood cells will clump together and block tiny blood vessels. This also makes it difficult for your red blood cells to carry oxygen, 

A low count (anaemia) means that your body may not be getting the oxygen it needs and can be caused by nutritional deficiency (e.g. iron, folic acid, vitamin B12) over-hydration as well as bleeding and bone marrow disorders. 

MCV (Mean Corpuscular Volume) shows the size of red blood cells. 

A high result may indicate a vitamin deficiency of folate or vitamin B12 and is often seen in excessive alcohol consumption associated with liver inflammation. 

A low result indicates anaemia, often caused by iron deficiency.

MCH (Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin) is the amount of haemoglobin in an average red blood cell. 

Together with MCV and MCHC values this can help in the diagnosis of different types of anaemia. 

MCHC (mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration) is the concentration of haemoglobin in an average red blood cell.

A high level can indicate the presence of spherocytes (a type of red bood cell with too much haemoglobin) or a deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12 in the diet.

A low level can indicate chronic blood loss or too little iron.

RDW (Red Cell Distribution Width) shows whether the cells are all the same size or different sizes or shapes. Normally cells are fairly uniform, although a raised RDW result (indicating greater variaton in cell size and shape than is normally seen) can be caused by deficiency in iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid. 

White blood cells are key to your body's immune or defense system. They fight infections and protect our body from foreign invaders such as harmful germs and bacteria. 

A raised WBC can indicate recent infection, inflammation, trauma and even stress. Your WBC can also be raised as a result of taking certain medications.

A decreased WBC can result from a vitamin deficiency such as folate and vitamin B12, as well as liver disease and diseases of the immune system. 

Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell which are responsible for helping your body fight infection. When neutrophils are low you can be more vulnerable to illness and infection.

Neutrophils can be raised after severe stress on the body from a bacterial infection, recent exercise or sudden kidney failure. 

Low neutrophils can be casued by a deficiency in vitamin B12 and folic acid, severe bacterial infection and some autoimmune diseases. 

Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell which fight bacterial and viral infections. They include T Cells, B Cells and Natural Killer Cells. 

Lymphocytes can be raised for many reasons but it is common for them to be raised after recent infection, particularly after flu. They can also be raised due to autoimmune disorders and some cancers. 

The most common cause for lymphocytes to be depleted is the common cold. 

Monocytes are a type of white blood cell which engulf and remove pathogens and dead or damaged cells from our blood. The heat and swelling of inflammation is the result of the activites of these cells. 

Elevated monocytes can indicate chronic inflammatory disease, chronic infection, parpasitic infection and cushings disease. 

Low levels can be due to autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthiritis as well as drugs which affect the bone marrow such as chemotherapy. 

Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell which have the function of removing parasitic infections as well as regulating inflammation to mark an infected site. 

Levels of eosinophils can be elevated if the amount of inflammation is greater than necessary to control the damage (e.g. asthma and allergies) as well as parasitic and fungal infections, autoimmune diseases and skin disorders. 

Low levels of eosinophils are not usually cause for concern and can be caused by the administration of steroids. 

Basophils are a type of white blood cell which protects your body from bacteria and parasites such as ticks. They produce histamine and heparin and can respond incorrectly causing allergies, asthma and other inflammatory conditions.

An elevated basophil count can be due to inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's, ulcerative colitis and dermatitis, recent infection and hormone imbalance e.g. hypothyroidism.

A low basophil count can be caused by pregnancy, stress and use of steroids.

A blood film report is an examination of the shape, size and number of blood cells under the microscope. Oxygen is carried less effectively by red blood cells if they are of abnormal size or shape, and this can result in anaemia. Too many or too few white blood cells can signify a blood disorder and can affect your body's ability to fight infection. 

 

 

Platelets or Clotting Cells are the smallest type of blood cell and are important in blood clotting. When bleeding occurs, the platelets swell, clump together and form a sticky plug which helps stop the bleeding. 

If platelet levels are raised there is a risk of blood clots forming in blood vessels.

If platelet levels are too low there is a risk of easy bruising and uncontrolled bleeding. 

MPV (Mean Platelet Volume) is a measurement of the average size of platelets. New platelets are larger and an increased MPV occurs when increased numbers of platelets are being produced. MPV provides an indication of platelet production in your bone marrow. 

Sodium is both an electrolyte and mineral. It helps regulate the water (inside and outside the body's cells) and electrolyte balance of the body. Sodium is also important in how nerves and muscles work. Sodium in the blood is regulated by the kidneys. 

Too much sodium in the blood is often due to dehydration but can be a marker of the kidneys not working properly. 

Too little sodium is often caused by fluid retention (oedema) or too much sodium lost through vomiting and diarrhoea or excessive sweating. 

Urea is waste product produced as the body digests protein and is carried by the blood to the kidneys, which filter the urea out of the blood and into the urine.The urea test shows how well the kidneys are working.

A high amount of urea in the blood may indictate dehydration or that the kidneys are not working properly or simply that you consume a high protein diet. 

Low amounts of urea in the blood may indicate a low protein diet, over-hydration, malnutrition or liver failure. 

Creatinine is a chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism. Measurement of this is an indicator of the level of other waste products. Creatinine is an accurate marker of kidney function.

Elevated creatinine can be caused by high intake of animal protein, taking creatine supplements and vigorous exercise but could also indicate that the kidneys are not working properly.

Low creatinine can be caused by a low protein diet, reduced muscle mass or merely efficient kidney function. 

Bilirubin is a product of haemoglobin breakdown. It is removed from the body via the liver, stored and concentrated in the gall bladder and excreted into the bowel. Raised bilirubin can cause the skin and whites of eyes to become yellow (jaundice) as the liver is unable to remove sufficient bilirubin from the blood. This can indicate liver damage.

Bilirubin can also be raised due to a blocked bile duct as well as Gilbert's syndrome.

Alkaline Phosphotase (ALP) is an enzyme located mainly in the liver and bones. High levels can indicate bone or liver disease. Raised ALP is looked at in conjunction with other liver function tests to determine whether the problem lies in the liver or the bones.

Pregnancy can also cause raised ALP and it is often elevated in growing teenagers.

Aspartate Transferase (AST) is an enzyme created mainly by the cells of the liver and the heart. Any injury to the heart or liver, and other bodily tissues will cause AST to be released into the bloodstream. Levels can be raised following a heart attack, or from liver damage caused by alcohol, drugs or viruses (hepatitis).

AST can be raised after vigorous exercise.

Alanine Transferase (ALT) is an enzyme which is produced by the liver and can indicate liver damage caused by alcohol, drugs or viruses (hepatitis). Small amounts of ALT are normal, but raised levels may mean that your liver is inflamed.

Raised levels can also be caused by recent vigorous exercise.

CK (Creatinine Kinase) is a muscle enzyme which measures muscle cell damage and death. CK levels tend to be higher in people with greater muscle mass.

CK levels are measured to assess muscle damage, CK levels can rise rapidly after muscle trauma, but will subside as the damage repairs. Levels which continue to rise indicate that muscle damage is continuing. If you have been to the gym the day before your blood test you may well have raised levels of CK.

Gamma GT is a liver enzyme which is raised in liver and bile duct diseases. It is used in conjunction with the ALP to distinguish between bone or liver disease. Gamma GT is used to diagnose alcohol abuse as it is raised in 75% of long term drinkers.

Total Protein represents the sum of albumin and globulin. It is more important to know which protein fraction is high or low than what the measure of total protein is.

Albumin is made mainly in the liver and helps keep the blood from leaking out of blood vessels. It also helps carry some medicines and other substances through the blood and is important for tissue growth and healing.

Low albumin levels can indicate liver disease and can also be a marker for chronic ill-health, malnutrition and chronic inflammation. It can also occur in kidney conditions such as nephrotic syndrome and diabetes.

Raised levels are usually caused by dehydration. 

Globulin consists of different proteins and is made by the liver and the immune system. Certain globulins bind with haemoglobin while others transport metals, such as iron, in the blood and help fight infection.

Calcium is the most common mineral in the body and one of the most important. The body needs it to build and repair bones and teeth, help nerves work, make muscles squeeze together, help blood clot, and help the heart to work. Vitamin D is essential to absorb calcium.

The majority of calcium in the body is stored in bone, the rest is found in the blood. If the calcium result is abnormal, a Corrected Calcium calculation is carried out to provide further information.

Around half of the total calcium in your blood is bound by albumin. This estimates your calcium measurement if albumin levels were a specified normal value. 

Uric acid is a waste product of protein digestion. High levels can lead to excess uric acid being deposited as crystals in the tissues of the body. When this occurs in joints it causes the painful condition known as gout. 

Uric acid levels are best tested 6 weeks after symptoms appear as they may not be raised at the beginning of an attack. 

 

The Iron test meausres how much iron is in your blood with the aim of identifying iron deficiency anaemia or iron overload syndrome (haemochromatosis)

The symptoms of too much or too little iron can be similar: fatigue, muscle weakness, moodiness and problems concentrating.

A raised result can mean that you have iron overload syndrome, an inherited condition where your body stores too much iron, or that you are over-supplementing or that you have a liver condition.

A low result can mean that you are anaemic or are suffering from gastro-intestinal blood loss (or other blood loss). Anaemia is also very common in pregnant women.

Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) is a measure of the amount of iron that can be carried through the blood. 

A raised TIBC result usually indicates iron deficiency whereas a low TIBC can occur with iron overload syndrome (haemochromatosis).

Transferrin is made in the liver and is the major protein in the blood which binds to iron and transports it through the body.

Low levels of transferrin indicate iron deficiency while high levels indicate iron overload.

The random blood glucose test can be taken at any time of day. It measures the level of sugar in your blood and is an indicator of how well your body is metabolising sugars to store in your cells as glycogen.

As the test is random, the reference ranges are higher than that of a fasting sample as the test could have been performed shortly after eating.

Raised levels could indicate pre-diabetes or diabetes.

Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) that circulate in the blood. After you eat, the body converts any excess calories into triglycerides which are then transported to cells to be stored as fat. Your body releases triglycerides to be used for energy. 

Raised triglycerides are thought to be a risk factor for peripheral vascular disease (affecting the blood vessels which supply your arms and legs as well as organs below the stomach) as well a microvascular disease, affecting the tiny blood vessels around the heart. 

Cholesterol is an essential body fat (lipid). It is necessary for building cell membranes and for making several essential hormones. Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and also comes from the food we eat. Excessive cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease - doctors like to see levels below 5 mmol/L.

However, cholesterol is made up of both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol so it is important to investigate a raised total cholesterol to see the cause. High levels of HDL cholesterol can cause a raised result but actually be protective against heart disease.

HDL Cholesterol (high density lipoprotein) removes cholesterol from the bloodstream and transports it to the liver where it is broken down and removed from the body in bile. HDL cholesterol is commonly known as "good cholesterol". 

Raised levels are protective against heart disease, while low levels are associated with increased risk of a heart attack.

LDL Cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) carries cholesterol, triglycerides and other fats to various tissues throughout the body. Too much LDL cholesterol, commonly called "bad cholesterol" can cause fatty deposits to accumulate on artery walls potentially leading to artherosclerosis and heart disease. 

HDL % of Total cholesterol is more indicative of your risk of cardiovascular disease than total cholesterol alone. 

Below 20% indicates an increased risk of cardiovascular disease while above 20% indicates a lower than average risk. 

Carcino embryonic antigen (CEA) is a glycoprotein that is normally found in small amounts in the cells. In cases of cancer, predominantly bowel cancer but also breast, lung, pancreatic and stomach, levels of CEA can be elevated. It is therefore used as a general tumour marker test. 

A CEA test is a non-specific test for cancer. An elevated result is not necessarily diagnsotic of cancer (CEA can also be raised for other non-malignant condtions) and neither does it tell you where the cancer is located. However, an elevated result should be investigated, especially if symptoms are present. 

Like other tumour marker tests, a change may be more important than the absolute level. It is therefore useful to monitor CEA levels over time. 

Thyroxine (T4) is one of two hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Most T4 is bound to carrier proteins in the blood - this test measures the level of T4 which is free, or unbound, circulating in your blood.

High levels of free thyroxine can indicate an overactive thyroid while low levels can indicate an underactive thyroid.

The Faecal Occult Blood test, or FOB test, is a Bowel Cancer test designed to detect the presence of faecal occult blood in a stool sample. This test picks up small traces of blood which are so small that they are invisible to the naked eye but can be an indicator of bowel cancer, or polyps - the precursor to bowel cancer.

A positive test is not a diagnosis of cancer, however it may mean that you need further investigation. Blood can also appear in your stool from piles or fissures - small cuts around the anus.

We will send you your Core 5 Check finger-prick blood and sample collection kit which contains everything you need to take your blood and sample in the comfort of your own home. If you are unsure about completing a finger-prick blood sample collection you will have the opportunity to select a clinic-based venous blood sample collection or choose to go our London laboratory during the checkout process.

Your Core 5 Check includes 1st class postage and packaging for you to send your blood and sample directly to our laboratory for analysis. If you live in an area where you cannot rely on the post or you simply want to ensure that your sample arrives at the laboratory the following day, you may wish to send your blood and sample guaranteed next day delivery for extra reassurance.

Your blood and sample will be analysed at one of our chosen laboratories. You can be assured of fast, accurate results from one of our accredited independent providers of clinical diagnostic tests.
Once you have placed your order you will receive login details to mymedichecks.com where you can manage your account, track your orders and view your Core 5 Check results in your own personal dashboard.
Our medical team will comment on out-of-range blood and results and give you follow-up advice where necessary. If you need it, a PDF copy of your Core 5 Check results can be downloaded for your doctor. Want a hard-copy report? You will be given the opportunity to order one during the checkout process.



Core 5 Check is included in the following categories: Health Checks