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Losing weight is never easy and it can be difficult at the best of times to get into the right frame of mind to embark upon a weight loss programme. If you are tired, lack energy, or suffer from low mood and lack of motivation, then losing weight can be even more of a struggle.
We all know that carrying extra weight raises our risk of certain conditions such as diabetes and identifying these risks can give us the motivation we need to finally lose those extra pounds. However for some of us no matter how hard we try, the pounds won't shift. This profile investigates possible causes, examining your thyroid function as well as your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that leads to fatty deposits, particularly around the waist.
This test examines some important health markers which help you understand your health status before you start, as well as learn whether there are any factors which are holding you back.
Key tests include iron and vitamin D to help identify why you might lack the energy and motivation to stick with your diet, thyroid function to see if your metabolism is causing you to gain weight and tests for cortisol and diabetes to see if stress or metabolic disease is causing you to store weight around your middle. This profile also includes a full cholesterol test to establish your risk for heart disease as well as a hormone panel to establish whether your testosterone and oestradiol levels are impacting your body composition.
Please ensure your sample is collected in the morning. If you are tracking your results over time then it is vital that you always have your blood taken at the same time.
We send you an easy-to-use kit to collect your blood sample.
Post your sample to our lab in the prepaid envelope provided.
View results securely in your own personal dashboard.
Our tests are not a substitute for seeing your doctor, especially if you are suffering symptoms. Our doctors will interpret your results based on the information you have provided, but will not diagnose, consult or provide any treatment. You will be advised to see your doctor for any necessary follow-up action.
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. Elevated levels can cause the skin and whites of eyes to become yellow (jaundice) as the liver is unable to remove enough 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 phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found mainly in the liver and bones. Raised levels can indicate bone or liver disease. Elevated ALP is assessed 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.
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 indicate that your liver is inflamed.
Elevated levels of ALT can also be caused by recent vigorous exercise.
CK (creatine kinase) is a muscle enzyme which signifies muscle cell damage and death. CK levels tend to be higher in people with greater muscle mass.
The level of CK in the blood is measured to assess muscle damage - it can rise rapidly after muscle trauma, but will subside as the damage repairs. If CK continues to rise it indicates that muscle damage is not being repaired. If you have been to the gym the day before your blood test you may well exhibit 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 ALP to distinguish between bone or liver disease. Gamma GT is also used to diagnose alcohol abuse as it is raised in 75% of long term drinkers.
HbA1c or Haemoglobin A1c is also known as glycosylated haemoglobin and is a longer term measure of glucose levels in your blood than a simple blood glucose test. Glucose attaches itself to the haemoglobin in your red blood cells, and as your cells live for around 8-12 weeks it provides a good indication of the level of sugar in your blood over a 2-3 month period.
This is an important measure for diagnosing type 2 diabetes as well as understanding how well blood sugar levels are being controlled in people who have already been diagnosed with diabetes.
This test measures 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 difficulty 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 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 transferrin saturation levels can indicate iron deficiency while high levels can indicate iron overload.
Ferritin is a protein which stores iron in your cells for your body to use later. Measuring ferritin levels gives us a good indication of the amount of iron stored in your body.
Low levels of ferritin can indicate anaemia which can be caused by excessive or chronic bleeding, poor absorption of iron or too little iron in the diet.
Raised ferritin levels can indicate iron overload syndrome (haemochromatosis) or any kind of liver damage. It is also a marker of infection and inflammation.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is an inflammation marker used to assess whether there is inflammation in the body - it does not identify where the inflammation is located. High Sensitivity CRP (CRP-hs) is a test which is used to detect low-level inflammation which is thought to damage blood vessels which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Raised levels are a risk factor for cardio-vascular disease.
Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) that circulate in the blood. After you eat, the body converts 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 as 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 producing a number of essential hormones. Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and also comes from the food we eat. Elevated cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease - the recommended level is below 5 mmol/L.
Cholesterol however is made up of both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol so it is important to investigate a raised total cholesterol result to determine the cause. High levels of HDL cholesterol can cause a raised total cholesterol result but may 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 believed to be 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 atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Non-HDL cholesterol is calculated by subtracting your HDL cholesterol result from your total cholesterol. It therefore includes all the non-protective and potentially harmful cholesterol in your blood, not just the LDL cholesterol. As such, it is considered to be a better marker for cardiovascular risk than total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The recommended level of non-HDL cholesterol is below 4 mmol/L.
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" as raised levels are believed to be protective against heart disease, while low levels are associated with increased risk of a heart attack.
The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL is more indicative than a total cholesterol result alone to find out whether your cholesterol levels are healthy. This ratio should be as low as possible.
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.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is produced in the pituitary gland and stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
High levels of TSH indicate an underactive thyroid while low levels indicate an overactive thyroid. In primary pituitary failure, a low TSH will be associated with an underactive thyroid.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone which is produced in the testicles of men and, in much smaller amounts, in the ovaries of women. It is responsible for bone and muscle strength, as well as mood, energy and sexual function.
Testosterone levels decline with age and it is unusual to find naturally elevated levels in men. Low testosterone is more common than raised testosterone in the absence of supplementation.
In women, raised testosterone can result in male characteristics such as body hair, greater bulk, a deeper voice and acne - all symptoms of polycystic ovaries, a condition in which elevated testosterone is commonly seen.
Oestradiol is a female steroid hormone which is produced in the ovaries of women and to a much lesser extent in the testes of men. It is responsible for the female reproductive system as well as the growth of breast tissue and bone thickness. Oestradiol levels decline with age, culminating in the menopause when the ovaries stop producing eggs.
Raised oestradiol in women can cause acne, constipation, loss of sex drive and depression as well as raising the risk of uterine and breast cancer.
Oestradiol can also be raised in men due to excess fat (which produces oestradiol) or in relation to testosterone levels which have declined with age. Raised oestradiol in men can cause the growth of breast tissue, the loss of libido and infertility.
Low levels of oestradiol in women can lead to osteoporosis, problems with the menstrual cycle and fertility as well as fatigue and depression.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and is important for women in the production of eggs by the ovaries and for men in the production of sperm.
Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is vital to survival given its role in functions such as immunity, regulating blood pressure and releasing insulin for blood sugar maintenance.
Raised cortisol levels (Cushing's syndrome) can lead to rapid weight gain, especially around the waist, excessive body hair (in women) and loss of libido and erectile dysfunction (in men).
Low levels of cortisol (Addison's disease) can lead to fatigue, nausea, skin discolouration and low blood pressure.
Although called a vitamin, vitamin D is actually a hormone which is activated by sunshine on your skin. Vitamin D is essential for bone strength as it helps your intestines absorb calcium. However, it is thought that vitamin D also plays an important role in immune function, as well as in many chronic diseases and mental health.
Many people in the UK do not produce enough Vitamin D, especially in the winter months with fewer daylight hours. It is now recommended that you get 10 - 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day to ensure you are producing enough vitamin D. In winter months, if your levels are found to be low, you may wish to take a supplement.
We will send you your Weight Loss Check Ultra blood sample collection kit together with the details of a convenient clinic where you can go and have your sample taken.
Your Weight Loss Check Ultra includes 1st class postage and packaging for you to send your blood 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 sample guaranteed next day delivery for extra reassurance.
Your blood 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.
Our medical team will comment on out-of-range blood results and give you follow-up advice where necessary. If you need it, a PDF copy of your Weight Loss Check Ultra results can be downloaded for your doctor.
Once you have placed your order you can visit my.medichecks.com where you can manage your account, track your orders and view your Weight Loss Check Ultra results.
Stay motivated by filling in your online health and lifestyle questionnaire and seeing how improvements in your lifestyle can influence your results. Your medical and family history gives us vital information when interpreting your results.