Wellbeing testing

Wellbeing testing

Diagnostic testing at Dears Pharmacy

 

Dears Pharmacy have partnered with The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) to bring together a range of diagnostic tests to support looking after your health and well-being.

TDL is a medically-led laboratory, established in 1987. It is the largest independent provider of clinical laboratory diagnostic services in the UK. We provide our customers with the laboratory information required for diagnosis and treatment of medical disorders.

We have several categories of tests including:

- WellBeing/Lifestyle

- Fertility

- Menopause

- Sexual Health

If you are interested in any of the tests below please call in to your local Dears Pharmacy and our team will be able to assist you with completing the form and supplying you with the kit to send away to TDL.

Kits include

- Form

- Testing Supplies

- Test Container

- Postage paid envelope to send to the lab

Results are available after a few days and our teams are on hand to support and answer any questions you may have.

Please ensure you send away your kit between Monday to Thursday so that it can be received the next day at TDL.

 

Vitamin B12 Test

 

Vitamin B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin that is found in virtually all 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.

Around 70% of the vitamin B12 in our blood is inactive - this test measures levels of the biologically-active component of vitamin B12, thought to be the best early indicator of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 is bound to the protein in food. Acid in the stomach releases vitamin B12 from protein during digestion. Once released, it combines with a substance called intrinsic factor before it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Pernicious Anaemia (an autoimmune condition) prevents absorption by stopping the production of intrinsic factor and is the leading cause of Vitamin B12 deficiency.

The human body stores several years' worth of vitamin B12 - nutritional deficiency is most commonly seen in vegans and some vegetarians as well as the elderly who are more likely to suffer from absorption problems.

Who is this test for?

This test is for people looking to establish their levels of active vitamin B12. In particular it is essential for people

who do not get any vitamin B12 in their diets e.g. vegans and some vegetarians as well as elderly people who

are at greater risk of deficiency.

 

 

Bone Screen

 

Bone markers that help determine if the rate of bone resorption and/or formation is abnormally increased, suggesting a potential bone disorder.

Bone markers are useful in helping to determine a person’s risk of bone fracture and to monitor patients receiving treatment for skeletal disorders, including osteoporosis.

Bone is a living, growing tissue that turns over at a rate of about 10% a year. Throughout a person’s lifetime, old bone is constantly being removed (resorption) and replaced with new bone

(formation) to maintain a healthy bone structure. During bone resorption, cells called osteoclasts dissolve small amounts of bone, while enzymes dissolve the protein network. Bone formation is then initiated by cells called osteoblasts. They secrete a variety of compounds that help form a new protein network, which is then mineralised with calcium and phosphate to produce new bone. This on-going remodelling process takes place on a microscopic scale throughout the body to keep bones alive and sturdy.

Includes checks on:

- Urea and Electrolytes

- Liver Function Test

- Vitamin D (25 OH)

 

Faecal Occult Blood

 

The faecal occult blood test (FOB) checks for blood in your faeces. Normally, there will not be enough blood lost through the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines) to turn a FOB positive or for you to notice it by looking. Any significant amount of blood being passed (seen as bloody or dark, tarry faeces) should be investigated.

A positive FOB test will indicate if you have bleeding occurring somewhere in your gastrointestinal tract. This blood loss could be due to ulcers, diverticulitis, bleeding polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, haemorrhoids (piles), from swallowed blood due to bleeding gums or nosebleeds, or it could be due to benign or malignant tumours. Anything that sticks out into the intestine, like a polyp or tumour, and is rubbed against by the faeces as it passes through, has the potential to bleed now and again. Often this small amount of blood is the first, and sometimes the only, symptom of early bowel cancer making the FOB a valuable screening tool.

 

Ferritin

 

Ferritin is a protein found inside cells that stores iron so your body can use it later for, amongst other things, the production of red blood cells.

This test can indirectly measure the amount of iron in your blood by calculating the level of ferritin. That's because the amount of ferritin in your blood is directly related to the amount of iron stored in your body.

Low ferritin levels indicate iron deficiency. If ferritin levels are low, additional tests including an iron test, TIBC and transferrin test are used to confirm a diagnosis of iron deficiency anaemia.

On the other hand high levels of ferritin could indicate you have haemochromatosis (iron overload syndrome) an inherited condition where your body cannot rid itself of iron and therefore it accumulates over time. High ferritin levels are also associated with liver inflammation.

Who is this test for?

The ferritin test is for people who may be at risk of anaemia, or who have a close family member with haemochromotosis and wish to understand their own risk of the condition.

 

HBA1c (Diabetes)

 

Why take this test?

- You look after yourself but you want a general check of your diabetes risk

- You are taking steps to change your lifestyle and you want to see the impact on your risk for diabetes

- You have some of the risk factors for diabetes and you want to make sure that your blood sugar is normal

Sugar that is not used for energy is left in the blood, where it attaches itself to haemoglobin - the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen - in a process called glycosylation. The more glucose there is in the bloodstream, the more glucose builds up in the cells. This binding of sugar to molecules in cells is one way diabetes causes physical damage and health problems.

This Glycosylated HB blood test measures the amount of sugar that is attached to the haemoglobin in red blood cells, with results given as a percentage. Because red blood cells live in the bloodstream for about four months, the HbA1c test shows the average blood sugar for the past few months.

Unlike a regular blood sugar test, the HbA1c test is not affected by short-term changes. So even though you may have had high blood sugar on occasion, a good HbA1c result can show that, overall, you are doing a good job of controlling your blood sugar levels.

An elevated result will signify pre-diabetes or even diabetes itself. In its early stages type 2 diabetes can be reversed through lifestyle changes. It is strongly associated with obesity as well as poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Losing weight through a calorie restricted diet has been shown to bring blood sugar back down to normal levels. An HbA1c diabetes check can help you know whether you need to be taking action to improve your risk factors now.

Who is this test for?

This blood test is for anyone monitoring diabetes, looking for a definitive diabetes diagnosis or for people who wish to monitor their blood sugar control as part of an overall healthy living strategy.

 

Hep B Immunity

 

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) which causes inflammation and enlargement of the liver. HBV infections can vary from a mild form that lasts a few weeks, to a more serious, chronic, form which can cause lasting liver damage. HBV is spread through contact with blood or other body fluids from an infected person. Exposure can occur, through sharing needles or through unprotected sex. People who live in or travel to areas of the world where hepatitis B is prevalent are at a greater risk. It is possible for pregnant women to pass the infection to their babies, usually during or after birth.

This test looks for Hepatitis B surface antibodies (anti-HBs) in the blood. The presence of anti-HBs is generally interpreted as indicating recovery and immunity from hepatitis B virus infection. Anti-HBs also develop in those who has been successfully vaccinated against hepatitis B.

The presence of Hepatitis B antibodies means that an infection is at the end of its active stage. Hepatitis B antibodies are also extremely useful in protecting the body from getting Hepatitis B again in the future.

This Hepatitis B immunity test is done to work out whether the body has the required levels of immunity, or whether a vaccination is needed to boost immunity if antibody levels are low or absent.

The Hepatitis B virus can persist for years after the initial infection and can lead to chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis or liver cancer. In Africa and Asia approximately 20% of the population are carrying the virus. Today this is mainly transmitted sexually, needle sharing amongst drug abusers` and sometimes from tattooing or acupuncture with unsterile needles.

For people such as healthcare workers, police officers or others dealing with individuals with a high risk of Hepatitis B infection, this type of monitoring is vital.

Who is this test for?

This test is for anyone looking to check levels of Hepatitis B immunity, especially those in contact with high-risk individuals.

 

Iron Status Profile

 

Why take this test?

- You feel unusually tired and fatigued

- You are a woman who menstruates

- You have a family history of iron overload (haemochromatosis)

Iron is essential for your health. It is vital for the production of haemoglobin - the pigment that makes your blood red in colour. The iron in haemoglobin combines with oxygen and transports it through the blood to your tissues and organs. If your iron is low your body simply doesn't get the oxygen it needs to function properly. This is why you can feel exhausted, breathless and dizzy when your iron is low. Low iron can be due to dietary factors - you don't eat enough iron for your body's needs, but is more frequently caused by blood loss from menstruation or internal bleeding, often in the digestive tract. Iron deficiency anaemia can also develop in pregnancy.

Iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional problem both in the UK and worldwide. In developed countries, between 10-20% of women of child-bearing age are said to be anaemic.

This simple blood test evaluates how much iron you have in your blood, in order to diagnose low iron levels or monitor existing iron deficiency. Raised iron in the blood can indicate iron overload syndrome (haemochromatosis) an inherited condition where your body cannot rid itself of excess iron.

This test looks at your ability to store and transport iron as well as the actual level of iron in your blood. It also contains an inflammation marker (CRP-hs) to provide more insights into a raised ferritin (a measure of iron storage) level.

Who is this test for?

This test is designed specifically for individuals who believe that they may be suffering from iron-deficiency anaemia or who have family members with haemochromatosis and who wish to check their own status.

 

Omega 3/6

 

As human diets have moved from that of hunter gatherer to the modern agricultural era, the amount of omega 6 fatty acids we consume has increased dramatically such that we now consume more than 10 times the amount of omega 6 as omega 3.

The resulting modern ratio of around 16:1 is believed to be responsible for a number of inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

An ideal ratio is about 2:1 and this is normally achievable by changes in diet and supplementation of omega 3 rich fish oils or algae. This test checks the ratio of omega 6 to 3 and highlights any irregular levels.

Who is this test for?

This test is ideal for anyone wanting to know their omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Especially useful for people monitoring type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease.Omega 3/6 ratio.

 

Thyroid Profile

 

Why take this test?

- You have symptoms which you think may be caused by an overactive or under-active thyroid

- You want to test both your thyroxine (T4) and your triiodothyronine (T3) to check that you are converting properly

- You are taking thyroid medication and you want a regular check of your hormone levels

This monitoring profile is an excellent test to assess thyroid function. It includes thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) as well as free T4 (FT4) and free T3 (FT3). Most thyroid hormones are bound to proteins in the blood. This test measures the level of free or unbound thyroid hormones which are either available to be converted or are biologically active.

TSH is produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones (mostly T4). An elevated TSH often signifies that the thyroid is struggling to produce enough T4 for the body's needs. TSH on its own does not necessarily give a true picture of your thyroid function which is why we test both forms of thyroid hormone too.

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 under-active thyroid while low levels indicate an overactive thyroid. In primary pituitary failure, a low TSH will be associated with an under-active thyroid.

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 under-active thyroid.

Triiodothyronine (T3) is one of two thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Most T3 is bound to protein in the blood. Free T3 measures the level of T3 that is free, or unbound to protein, and is available to regulate metabolism.

 

Tissue Transglutaminase (Coeliac) Test

 

Why take this test?

- You have digestive and other symptoms and you want to confirm or rule out coeliac disease

- You, or a close family relative, has an autoimmune condition

- You have low levels of some vitamins and want to check for absorption problems

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease caused by a sensitivity to gluten. It can come on at any age, but most people are diagnosed in adulthood. Once you have coeliac disease you will have it for life. Exposure to gluten causes inflammation in the lining of the small intestine causing discomfort, bloating and diarrhoea. Food and nutrients may not be digested effectively which can lead to other symptoms.

Coeliac disease is common, affecting approximately 1 in 100 people. However, this rises to 1 in 10 people if a close family member has the condition or if you already suffer from an autoimmune disease. It is controlled by eliminating gluten from the diet.

This test measures the level of tissue transglutaminase IgA antibody (tT IgA) in the blood. It is the primary test used to diagnose coeliac disease. It is not definitive as some people to not produce IgA antibodies.

It is important to eat gluten with each meal for 6 weeks prior to this test. This maximises the chance of detecting coeliac disease on the test. If this advice isn’t followed then there is a danger of coeliac disease being missed by the test.

Tissue Transglutaminase (tTG) IgA is an autoantibody produced in the immune response seen in Coeliac disease.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition caused by a sensitivity to gluten. It can start at any age, but most people are diagnosed in adulthood. Once you have coeliac disease you will have it for life. Exposure to gluten causes inflammation in the lining of the small intestine causing pain and irritation, preventing food and nutrients from being digested effectively.

A negative result does not necessarily exclude Coeliac disease. If you are symptomatic you may require further testing.

 

Vitamin D & Calcium

 

Calcium is the most common mineral in the body and one of the most important. It is essential for building and fixing bones and teeth, helping nerves to function, muscle contraction, blood clotting and helping the heart to work. The vast majority of calcium in the body is stored in bone while the rest can be found in the blood. This calcium blood test checks the calcium level in the body that is not stored in the bones.

A high level of calcium (hypercalcaemia) could mean a benign (not cancerous) tumour on the parathyroid gland, a cancer that has spread to the bones, tuberculosis, a kidney transplant or hyperthyroidism - an overactive thyroid.

Low levels of calcium (hypocalcaemia), are usually due to low protein levels, not enough vitamin D, high phosphate levels, kidney disease or hypoparathyroidism - an under-active parathyroid gland.

Who is this test for?

The test is useful for anybody needing to establish levels of calcium in their blood.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is also known as the 'sunshine vitamin' because we produce most of what we need through exposure to the sun.

Vitamin D controls absorption of calcium and phosphate by the body and is vital for keeping your bones and teeth healthy. That's why it is particularly important for pregnant women, breast-fed babies and children under 5 to produce enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common, especially in the winter months when sun exposure is reduced. However, if you're over 65, have dark skin or suffer from inflammatory bowel disease or other fat malabsorption conditions you may be more prone to vitamin D deficiency.

Who is this test for?

This test is for anyone who would like to establish whether they have a vitamin D deficiency. It may be especially useful for pregnant women, people over 65, with black or Asian skin types or people with gut, liver or kidney diseases.

Availability

This service is available in / from the following pharmacies:

 

Select your preferred pharmacy to visit their page and enquire about this service or just pop in when it suits you.

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