The full blood count is used as a broad screening test to check for such disorders as anaemia (decrease in red blood cells or haemoglobin), infection, and many other diseases. It is actually a group of tests that examine different parts of the blood. Results from the following tests provide the broadest picture of your health.
Responsible for blood clotting and healing. A high count can indicate a risk of thrombosis, whilst a low count can lead to easy bruising.
Responsible for carrying oxygen around the body. A high count can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, whilst a low count can mean your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs.
A good measure of your blood's ability to carry oxygen throughout your body. Elevated haemoglobin can be an indicator of lung disease, whilst a low result indicates anaemia.
A measure of the percentage of red blood cells in the total blood volume. Elevated haematocrit can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is a measure of the average size of the RBCs. The MCV is elevated when RBCs are larger than normal, eg in anaemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. When MCV is decreased, RBCs are smaller than normal as seen in iron deficiency anaemia.
Mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH) is a calculation of the average amount of oxygen-carrying haemoglobin inside a red blood cell. Large RBCs are large tend to have a higher MCH, while small red cells would have a lower value.
Mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) is a calculation of the average concentration of haemoglobin inside a red cell. Decreased MCHC is seen in iron deficiency anaemia and thalassaemia.
Responsible for fighting infection. A high count can indicate recent infection and even stress, whilst a low count can result from vitamin deficiencies, liver disease and immune diseases.
Basophils are a type of white blood cell. Basophils can increase in cases of leukaemia, long-standing inflammation and hypersensitivity to food.
A type of white blood cell. Can increase in response to allergic disorders, inflammation of the skin and parasitic infections. They can also occur in response to some infections or to various bone marrow malignancies.
A type of white blood cell. Can increase in response to infection as well as inflammatory disorders, and occasionally with some types of leukaemias. Decreased monocyte levels can indicate bone marrow injury or failure and some forms of leukaemia.
A type of white blood cell. Can increase with bacterial or viral infection, leukaemia, lymphoma, radiation therapy or acute illness. Decreased lymphocyte levels are common in later life but can also indicate steroid medication, stress, lupus and HIV infection.
A type of white blood cell. Can increase in response to bacterial infection, inflammatory disease, steroid medication, or more rarely leukaemia. Decreased neutrophil levels may be the result of severe infection or other conditions.
Red cell distribution width (RDW) is a calculation of the variation in the size of your RBCs. In some anaemias, such as pernicious anaemia (due to vitamin B12 deficiency), the amount of variation in RBC size causes an increase in the RDW.
Your kidneys filter waste from your body and regulate salts in your blood. They also produce hormones and vitamins that direct cell activities in many organs and help to control blood pressure. When the kidneys aren't working properly, waste products and fluid can build up to dangerous levels creating a life-threatening situation.
Helps regulate the water and electrolyte balance of your body, and is important in the function of your nerves and muscles. Too much sodium can indicate kidney disease.
Minor changes in serum potassium ca have significant consequences. An abnormal concentration can alter the function of the nerves and muscles for example, the heart muscle may lose its ability to contract.
Chloride, like sodium, helps to maintain the balance of fluid in the body. Raised levels can be caused by eating too much salt, dehydration, diarrhoea, certain medications and also kidney disease.
Higher than normal levels suggests trouble maintaining pH balance either by failing to remove carbon dioxide or because of an electrolyte imbalance. Elevations may be seen with severe vomiting, chronic lung problems and some hormonal disorders. Low levels may be seen with chronic diarrhoea, diabetic ketoacidosis and kidney failure.
A high concentration of this waste product can indicate dehydration or that your kidneys aren’t working properly.
A waste molecule generated from muscle metabolism, and an accurate marker of kidney function.
The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) measures how well your kidneys filter the wastes from your blood and is the best overall measure of kidney function.
Your liver processes drugs and alcohol, filters toxic chemicals, stores vitamins and minerals, and makes bile, proteins and enzymes. This liver function test examines enzymes and other markers for evidence of damage to your liver cells or a blockage near your liver which can impair its function.
Bilirubin tests are use to screen for or to detect and monitor liver disorders or haemolytic anaemia.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme located mainly in the liver and the bones. High levels can indicate liver disease.
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is an enzyme created mainly by the liver and the heart. High levels can indicate damage to your liver caused by alcohol, drugs or hepatitis.
Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) is an enzyme mainly produced by the liver. A good indicator of liver damage caused by alcohol, drugs or hepatitis.
Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) is a liver enzyme which can be used to diagnose alcohol abuse as it is typically raised in long term drinkers.
Albumin is a protein which keeps fluid from leaking out of blood vessels, nourishes tissues, and carries hormones, vitamins, drugs, and ions like calcium throughout the body. Albumin is made in the liver and is sensitive to liver damage.
Inadequate recovery from exercise or overtraining can result in inflammation and muscle damage.
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) is an indirect measure of the degree of inflammation present in the body. Increased blood levels of certain proteins (such as fibrinogen or immunoglobulins, which are increased in inflammation) increase the ESR.
A protein made by the liver and secreted into the blood. It is often the first evidence of inflammation - its concentration increases in the blood within a few hours after the start of inflammatory injury.
LDH is an enzyme required during the process of turning sugar into energy for your cells. Only a small amount is usually detectable in the blood, however, when cells are damaged they release LDH into the bloodstream.
When muscle cells are injured creatine kinase enzymes leak out of the cells and enter the bloodstream. Prolonged elevated creatine kinase after periods of rest can be a sign of overtraining.
Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are broken down by stomach acids, enzymes produced by the pancreas, and bile from the liver. This process also releases micronutrients. This blood test measures the levels of enzymes produced by the pancreas.
An enzyme produced by the pancreas which is released into the digestive tract to help digest fatty foods.
An enzyme made mainly by the pancreas which is released from the pancreas into the digestive tract to help digest starch in our food.
Blood glucose is generated from carbohydrates and to use this fuel for energy your body needs insulin. With type 2 diabetes the cells either ignore the insulin or the body doesn't produce enough of it. Glucose then builds up leading to problems with the heart, kidneys, eyes, nerves, and blood vessels.
If you have diabetes your body doesn't process glucose effectively.
These bone health markers are part of a complex feedback loop that play a critical role in maintaining bone health. When you don’t get enough calcium, you increase your risk of developing osteoporosis and stress fractures.
plays a critical role in developing and maintaining your overall bone health.
Plays a critical role in developing and maintaining your overall bone health. If the total calcium result is abnormal, a corrected calcium calculation provides further information.
Magnesium and calcium work together closely to maintain strong bones, and magnesium deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Most phosphate in the body comes from foods such as beans, peas and nuts, cereals, dairy products, eggs, beef, chicken and fish contain small amounts of phosphate. Phosphates are vital for energy production, muscle and nerve function, and bone growth.
If too much urate is produced or not enough is excreted, it can accumulate and lead to gout – an inflammation that occurs in joints.
Lipids and cholesterol are fat-like substances in your blood. Some are necessary for good health, but when you have a high level of cholesterol in your blood, a lot of it ends up being deposited in the walls of your arteries and other vital organs. Lifestyle choices including diet, exercise and alcohol intake can all influence cholesterol levels and your risk of developing heart disease.
High total cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol is often called ‘bad cholesterol’ because it contributes to plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog arteries and make them less flexible.
HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol is often called ‘good cholesterol’ and is protective against atherosclerosis.
The main storage form of fatty acids in the body. Elevated triglyceride levels may contribute to hardening of the arteries, and increase the risk of heart disease or stroke.
Non-HDL cholesterol is considered an effective lipid measurement for assessing cardiovascular disease risk as it is believed to reflect levels of 'bad' cholesterol. Other risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, age, gender, ethnicity and family history.
This simple iron test measures how much iron you have in your blood, as well as the amount of iron you have stored in your body. This iron test can be used to diagnose anaemia or monitor an existing iron deficiency. This iron test can also be used to investigate iron overload syndrome (haemochromatosis) which is an inherited condition where your body cannot remove excess iron.
An essential trace element is necessary for forming healthy red blood cells and for some enzymes.
A protein that binds iron and transports it around the body (also known as TIBC). High levels indicate iron deficiency.
Low levels typically indicate iron deficiency, and high levels can indicate iron overload.
The ferritin concentration within the blood stream reflects the amount of iron stored in your body and is reduced in anaemia.
Your thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate growth and energy expenditure. Thyroid disorders are quite common, and many people don’t have any symptoms at all. This thyroid test screens for the thyroid hormones that play a key role in regulating the body’s metabolism.
Communicates with the thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4 which regulate metabolic functions. High TSH thyroid test levels indicates an underactive thyroid, and low levels an overactive thyroid.
Measures the thyroxine that is freely circulating and able to regulate metabolism. High FT4 thyroid test levels indicate an overactive thyroid, and low levels an underactive thyroid.
Measures the triiodothyronine that is freely circulating. High FT3 thyroid test levels indicate an overactive thyroid, and low levels an underactive thyroid.
Fast from all food and drink other than water for at least 8 hours, and no more than 12 hours prior to your test.
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Take your form to your local collection centre to have your blood sample taken - no need for an appointment.