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 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.
MCV is a measure of the average size of the red blood cells. The MCV may be elevated in anaemia caused by vitamin B12 or folate deficiency. Whereas decreased MCV may be seen in iron deficiency anaemia for example.
MCH is a calculation of the average amount of oxygen-carrying haemoglobin inside a red blood cell. Large red blood cells tend to have a higher MCH, while small red cells would have a lower value.
MCHC is a calculation of the average concentration of haemoglobin inside a red cell. Decreased MCHC is seen in iron deficiency anaemia and conditions such as thalassaemia.
RDW is a calculation of the variation in the size of your red blood cells. A high RDW value may indicate the presence of certain medical conditions, such as anaemia, liver disease, or vitamin B12 or folate deficiency.
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.
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.
Responsible for blood clotting and healing. A high count can indicate a risk of thrombosis, whilst a low count can lead to easy bruising.
Sodium is important for maintaining fluid balance in the body and for proper nerve and muscle function.
Potassium is important for nerve and muscle function, including regulating heart rhythm, and is also involved in fluid balance.
Chloride is important for maintaining fluid balance and for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
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.
Bilirubin tests are use to screen for or to detect and monitor liver disorders or haemolytic anaemia.
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.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme located mainly in the liver and the bones. High levels can indicate liver disease.
A measure of all of the proteins in the plasma portion of your blood. Proteins are important building blocks of all cells and tissues - they are important for body growth and health.
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. Low levels can indicate malnutrition or other health problems.
Any of a group of simple proteins found in the blood.
Magnesium and calcium work together closely to maintain strong bones, and magnesium deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis.
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.
Phosphate is a mineral which is essential for the formation of bones and teeth. It is also essential for many other cellular processes including energy metabolism and the formation of DNA and RNA.
Calcium is important in building strong bones and teeth, but it also plays a key role in other functions including muscle contraction, nerve function, blood clotting, and enzyme function.
Corrected calcium adjusts for changes in serum albumin levels, providing a more accurate measure of the biologically active form of calcium, and is therefore a better reflection of the body's calcium status.
If too much urate is produced or not enough is excreted, it can accumulate and lead to gout – an inflammation that occurs in joints.
If you have diabetes your body doesn't process glucose effectively.
Vitamin D is essential for bone strength as it helps the intestines absorb calcium. Calcium and vitamin D play a critical role in developing and maintaining your overall bone health, and when you don’t get enough you increase your risk of developing osteoporosis and the incidence of stress fractures.
Although called a vitamin, vitamin D (25-OHD) is actually a steroid hormone which is activated by sunshine on the skin. It is essential for bone strength as it helps the intestines absorb calcium.
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.
Ferritin is a marker of iron stores in the body, and is used to assess iron status. Low levels can indicate iron deficiency, which is a common nutritional deficiency that can lead to anaemia, fatigue, and impaired immune function.
Red blood cell testing provides a measurement equivocal to intracellular levels, and is therefore considered more insightful than a regular plasma or serum blood tests.
Red blood cell testing provides a measurement equivocal to intracellular levels, and is therefore more insightful than a regular zinc blood test.
Red blood cell testing provides a measurement equivocal to intracellular levels, and is therefore more insightful than a regular serum blood test.
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin found in meat products and certain algae such as seaweed. It helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Both high and low vitamin B12 blood test levels may indicate an underlying problem. Low levels can suggest anaemia, a parasite or hyperthyroidism, whilst high levels can be a sign of liver disease, diabetes or kidney failure.
Active vitamin B12 is the biologically active form of vitamin B12 that is essential for many physiological processes in the body, including the production of red blood cells, DNA synthesis, and nerve function.
Leptin is often called a 'hunger hormone' because it regulates appetite by signalling to the brain that you have eaten enough food. This test measures the level of leptin in your blood.
Leptin is a mediator of long-term regulation of energy balance, suppressing food intake and thereby inducing weight loss. Because leptin reduces food intake and body weight, the coexistence of elevated leptin levels with obesity is widely interpreted as evidence of “leptin resistance.”
The hsCRP test is a highly sensitive quantification of CRP, a protein released into the blood by the liver during inflammation, and has been associated with the presence of heart disease.
A high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test measures low levels of CRP and may be used to help evaluate an individual for risk of cardiovascular disease
Iodine is an essential cofactors for proper thyroid function.
Creatinine is a waste product that your body makes when you use your muscles or when your body digests meat. Healthy kidneys remove creatinine from your blood, and it leaves your body in your urine. This test can find out whether your kidneys are working normally or to see if treatment for kidney disease is working.
Iodine is an essential trace element and an integral component of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are required for normal growth and development of tissues and maturation of our bodies. Approximately 80% of iodine is excreted in the urine, making it a good marker of the previous day's intake.
Studies have shown that the iodine/ creatinine ratio from spot urine may serve as a useful and reliable alternative to 24-h urine collection.
Fast from all food and drink (other than water) for at least 8 hours, and no more than 12 hours prior to your blood test.
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