Everyday Essential Blood Test
Why take this test?
- you want a general health check
- you'd like to see if your diet and lifestyle could be affecting key health markers
- you'd like to understand if any changes in your diet and lifestyle have made a difference
Your health is influenced by many factors including your age, your lifestyle, your genetics and your family history.
The everyday essential checks your liver function, your iron status, cholesterol status, inflammation and vitamin D and vitamin B12.
- Liver function
- Inflammation marker
- Vitamins B12
- Vitamin D
- Sample report
- How Long For My results?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Total/HDL cholesterol Ratio
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.
Ideally 3 or below.
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.
Vitamin B12 is important for production of red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body - low levels can cause anaemia with associated symptoms of lack of energy and fatigue. It is also important in metabolism and for the nervous system and prolonged lack of vitamin B12 may cause nerve damage. Vitamin B12 is almost entirely found in meat and animal food products.
Around 70% of vitamin B12 is bound to carrier proteins in your blood. This test measures the level of unbound or active B12 which is available for your cells.
A common reason for elevated B12 is over-supplementation. Raised levels of vitamin B12 may indicate a blood or liver disorder.
Low levels are seen in people with pernicious anaemia, an autoimmune disease which prevents the absorption of vitamin B12, or anyone who suffers from absorption problems such as the elderly, people with inflammatory bowel conditions and alcoholics. Vegetarians and vegans can also be low in vitamin B12, especially if they don't consume foods which have been fortified with vitamin B12 or take B12 supplements.
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 midday 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.
All sample reports are for representational and educational purposes only. All data included in no way represents an actual patient. Any comparisons of results to actual patients, is completely incidental.
3 Working Days.
How does it work?
Choose your test online, and you will receive your testing kit within 3 working days Not sure what you want? Let us know and we can help you. Just mail us firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I take a finger prick test?
Please check this link
And take a look at the guide enclosed with your kit.
How should I post my sample?
All our test kits come with a prepaid envelope and it’s very important you post it the very same morning you take your test, preferably before the midday post collection, to ensure we receive it the following day. We recommend you do your test Monday to Wednesday as weekend post can be problematic. If you're worried that you can't rely on the post in your region, we suggest sending it guaranteed next day delivery to ensure the sample arrives in good time.
I’ve received an e mail to say my test has failed. What should I do next?
Please e mail us at email@example.com, and we’ll speak to you directly to figure out what went wrong. We will provide you with a replacement test at a cover charge of £10.
Has my sample been received?
We normally send you an email to let you know we have received your sample. If for some reason this has not happened after 5 days of sending it, we will send you out a new one at no charge.
What if I’m struggling to fill the finger prick sample tube?
Please check this link
Where are my results?
Your results should be with you after 3 working days of posting your sample.
If not, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will check.
My blood results are a little different to the ones I’ve had with my GP? Are they still valid?
There are a few reasons why this may vary, and quite simply diet, supplements, medications, dehydration to name but a few can be reasons for the difference.
On top of that, there are a few other more technical reasons such as
Pre-analytical variation; this relates to changes that may occur to the sample before it reaches the lab, for example temperature fluctuations during transport.
Are NHS tests more accurate than private blood tests?
All accredited laboratories are subject to the same strict rules and quality control procedures as one another and therefore NHS blood tests are not inherently more accurate than private tests, or vice versa. Very often NHS laboratories use the same laboratories as private testing, and all labs operate under strict regulation.
Can I trust a finger-prick blood test? And is it accurate?
Finger-prick samples have been proven to be as accurate as venous samples provided that the samples have been collected correctly and an adequate sample volume has been obtained.