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Blood Tests Explained

Blood Glucose

What is it?
Our body’s primary source of energy takes the form of glucose. This type of sugar comes from digesting carbohydrates into a chemical that we can easily convert to energy.
Why get tested?
When glucose levels in the bloodstream are not properly regulated, one can develop a serious condition, such as diabetes. Diabetes can usually be controlled with diet, exercise or medicines but failure to do so will increase the risk of heart disease and strokes, nerve damage and blindness.
Who should have a blood glucose test?
This test should be done if there are any factors indicating that diabetes might be present as diabetes is a significant health risk factor. Diabetes can cause severe eye problems including blindness and greatly increases the risk of heart attack, kidney failure and severe arterial disease.
Blood test
Glucose can be done fasting or random but is more reliable if you have fasted. When measuring fasting blood sugar you will need to fast 8hours.

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BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 (Breast Cancer Gene 1 and 2) Tests

What is it?
BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 are two genes that are linked with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The tests for BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 use the DNA in white blood cells to detect mutations in the BRCA genes.
Why get tested?
This test can then tell you if you have mutation of the two genes that have been associated with the development of breast or ovarian cancer.
Who should be tested for BRCA-1 and BRCA-2?
Women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm.

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CA-125 TEST

What is it?
CA 125 is a protein often found on the surface of ovarian cancer cells and in some normal tissues.
Why Get Tested?
CA 125 is mainly used to monitor therapy during treatment for ovarian cancer. This test is used to follow women who are at high-risk because they have a family history of ovarian cancer. CA 125 is also recommended together with pelvic ultrasonography in women aged over 50 years.
Who should have the CA-125 test?
CA 125 is measured before starting therapy for ovarian cancer CA125 or if a woman has a high risk of developing ovarian cancer. CA 125 is measured before the commencement of treatment for ovarian cancer to enable it to be compared with future measurements. CA 125 is also measured at intervals during therapy to monitor the response and after treatment is completed to catch any early signs of the return of the cancer.
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm.

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Cervical Cytology (Smear Test)

What is it?
A cervical cytology test is a test used to detect abnormal or potentially abnormal cells from the uterine cervix (neck of the womb).
Why get tested?
To screen for early abnormalities which, if left untreated, could lead to cervical cancer.
Who should have a cervical smear?
A cervical smear can find the earliest signs of cervical cancer – a common cancer in women. If caught early, the chance of curing cervical cancer is very high. A cervical smear also can find infections and abnormal cervical cells that can turn into cancer cells. Treatment can prevent most cases of cervical cancer from developing. It is important for all women to have cervical smears even women who have gone through the menopause.
How is the sample collected for testing?
The method consists of sampling cells from the cervix. A doctor or nurse inserts an instrument (a speculum) to open the woman’s vagina. The sample is obtained using a brush. Most women consider the procedure to be only mildly uncomfortable although some have more discomfort, but it should not be painful. The specimen is put into a special liquid preservative. This cell suspension is processed onto a glass slide, stained, and examined in the laboratory.  You may be asked to refrain from sexual intercourse for 24-48 hours before the test, avoid using vaginal creams or foams in the 48 hours before the test and book the test appointment 10-14 days after the beginning of your last menstrual period.

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Cholesterol

What is it?
Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) made by the body. It is essential for good health and is found in every cell in the body. Types of cholesterol are LDL, HDL, VDL, Triglycerides.
Why get tested?
Having a high cholesterol level in the blood (hypercholesterolemia) can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Who should have a cholesterol test?
You should have your cholesterol levels regularly checked by your GP if you have cardio vascular disease (or are at high risk of CVD) or if you have a family history of high cholesterol.
Blood Test
Before measuring your cholesterol level usually you will be asked not to eat for 12 hours before the test so that your food is completely digested and does not affect the test. A blood sample will be taken by a needle and a syringe.

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Faecal Occult Blood Test

What is it?
The faecal occult blood test (FOB) checks for blood in your stool. Normally, there will not be enough blood lost through the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines) for you to notice it by looking.  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.
Why get tested?
Screening means looking for early signs of a particular disease in otherwise healthy people who do not have any symptoms and when treatment is likely to be curative. If the cancer is detected before it metastasizes (spreads to other areas), there is a greater chance it will be cured. A positive FOB test does not necessarily ‘prove’ that you have cancer; other follow-up procedures would need to be done to find the source of the bleeding because the blood may also indicate other problems.
Who should have a faecal occult blood test (FOB)?
There are several disorders which may cause bleeding into the intestines such as ulcers, colitis, polyps and bowel cancer, however, sometimes these disorders only bleed with a trickle of blood. If you only have a small amount of blood in your faeces then the faeces look normal but the faecal occult blood test will detect the blood. The test may therefore be done if you have symptoms in the abdomen such as persistent pain. The FSH test should be carried out if you have a family history of cancer of the intestine and some other organs, when the symptoms could be those of gut cancer and to help diagnose long-term unexplained anaemia.
Sample Required?
One or more stool samples in FOB kit. Should the test be positive, then further tests will usually be arranged to find the source of the bleeding, for example, endoscopy, colonoscopy, various scans, etc.

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Follicle-stimulating hormone (FHS Test)

What is it?
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is made by the pituitary gland in the brain. Control of FSH production is a complex system involving hormones produced by the gonads (ovaries or testes), the pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus, such as gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH).
Why Get Tested?
To evaluate the function of your pituitary gland, that regulates the hormones that control your reproductive system. The test may be carried out if you are having difficulty getting pregnant or are having irregular menstrual periods or if your doctor thinks that you have symptoms of a pituitary or hypothalamic disorder. FSH levels also help to determine the reason a man has a low sperm count and is used to see in women when there are going through Menopause
Who should have a test for the follicle-stimulating hormone?
Men or women who are having problems conceiving and children who are experiencing early or delayed puberty. Also to help diagnose certain pituitary gland disorders, such as a tumor.
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm. FSH results can be increased with use of certain drugs, decrease with oral contraceptives and other hormone treatment.

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Gamma GT Test

What is it?
The GGT test helps to detect liver disease and bile duct injury. GGT is an enzyme found mainly in the liver and is normally present in low levels in the blood.
Why get tested?
The GGT test helps to detect liver disease and bile duct injury. Doctors can also use the test to help find out the reason for a raised level of alkaline phosphates. A high ALP is probably indicates that the cause is most likely to be bone disease. A high level of this enzyme is particularly associated with heavy alcohol drinking.
Who should have the gamma GT test?
The gamma GT test is carried out if you have suggestive symptoms such as jaundice, to monitor the activity and severity of liver disorder and as a routine precaution after starting certain medicines to check that they are not causing liver damage as a side-effect.
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm. GGT levels fall after meals, so it is best to be tested when you have not eaten for at least 8 hours.

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Haematology Test

What is it?
The Haematology Profile, also known as a Complete blood count (CBC) or Full Blood Count (FBC) examines the components of blood.
Why Get Tested?
To determine your general health and to screen for a variety of disorders, such as anaemia and infection, as well as your nutritional status and exposure to toxic substances.
Who should have a haematology test?
A routine haematology test is a basic test for diagnosis used to test such things as iron level, salt level and thyroid function. The test counts all the different cells and measures haemaglobin. A higher than normal white cell count might mean infection or haematologic malignancy whilst a lower than normal white cell count might mean viral, parasitic infections, malignancy or marrow suppression. A low red count might mean anaemia of numerous causes. It also counts platelets.
Blood Test
A blood sample is taken from a vein in the arm or a finger-prick or heel-prick (newborns).

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Hepatitis B Virus(HBV)

What is it?
Hepatitis B antibodies are produced in response to exposure to the hepatitis  B Virus (HBV).The tests detect the presence of this antibody or of parts (antigen)of the virus itself.  Hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs) is the most common test. Its presence indicates previous exposure to HBV, but the virus is no longer present and the person cannot pass on the virus to others.  Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) is a protein antigen produced by HBV. This antigen is the earliest indicator of acute hepatitis B and frequently identifies infected people before symptoms appear.
Why Get Tested?
To diagnose and follow the course of an infection with hepatitis B or to determine if the vaccine against hepatitis B has produced the desired level of immunity.
Who should have the hepatitis B virus test?
If you have symptoms of a hepatitis B infection or are likely to have been exposed to the virus
Blood test
A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm.

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Homocysteine

What is it?
This test measures the level of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is a sulphur-containing amino acid that is normally present in very small amounts in all cells of the body. Homocysteine is a product of methionine metabolism, and methionine is one of the eleven “essential amino acids. Healthy cells convert homocystein into other products. Folic acid (folate) is one of the B vitamins which is needed for the metabolism of homocystein. Other forms of B vitamins help to keep folate in active form.
Why Get Tested?
To find out if you are at high risk of a heart attack and stroke; also used to determine if you are folate-deficient or vitamin B12-deficient as blood homocysteine concentration can be raised in both conditions.
Who should have their level of homocysteine tested?
The level of homocysteine may be requested as part of a cardiac risk assessment depending on age and other risk factors and may also be used following a heart attack or stroke to help decide on the type of treatment required.
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm. Homocysteine levels can increase with age, when a patient smokes, and with the use of drugs such as carbamazepine, methotrexate, and phenytoin. Homocysteine levels are lower in women than in men. Women’s concentrations increase after the menopause possibly due to a decrease in the production of oestrogen.

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Iron Studies

What is it?
Iron is needed to help form adequate numbers of normal red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. Iron is a critical part of haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it as blood travels to other parts of the body. Iron is also needed by other cells especially muscle.  Serum iron is a test which measures the level of iron in the liquid part of your blood. Ferritin is a protein found inside cells that store iron so your body can use it later. A ferritin test indirectly measures the amount of iron in your blood. Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) – measures the amount of transferrin, a blood protein that transports iron from the gut to the cells that use it. Your body makes transferrin in relationship to your need for iron; when iron stores are low, transferrin levels increase.
Why get tested?
Low iron levels can lead to anaemia in which the body does not have enough red blood cells. Other conditions can cause you to have too much iron in your blood.
Who should have their iron levels tested?
When your doctor suspects you may not have enough iron (anaemic) or too much iron in your system, haemochromatosis (a disease in which too much iron is absorbed from the diet).
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm.

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Liver Function Test

What is it?
Liver function tests are used to detect liver damage or disease. Combinations of up to five tests are measured at the same time on a blood sample. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)-an enzyme mainly found in the liver; the best test for detecting hepatitis. Alkaline phosphates (ALP)-an enzyme related to the bile ducts, often increased when they are blocked. Aspartate aminotransferase(AST)- an enzyme found in the liver and a few other places, particularly the heart and other muscles in the body  Total Bilirubin– measures all the yellow bilirubin pigment in the blood. Another test, direct bilirubin, measures a form made in the liver and is often requested with total bilirubin in infants with jaundice. Albumin-Measures the main protein made by the liver and tells how well the liver is making this protein  Total Protein- measures albumin and all other proteins in blood, including antibodies made to help fight off infections
Why get tested?
To help diagnose liver disorders if you have suggestive symptoms (such as jaundice). The pattern of the blood results may help to say which disorder is causing the problem. For example, depending on which enzyme is highest it may point to a particular disorder. Also used as a routine precaution after starting certain medicines to check that they are not causing liver damage as a side-effect.
Who should have liver function tests?
These tests are used when symptoms suspicious of a liver condition are noticed. These include: jaundice, dark urine and light-coloured bowel movements; nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea; loss of appetite; vomiting of blood; bloody or black bowel movements; swelling or pain in the belly; unusual weight change; or fatigue or loss of stamina. One or more of these tests may be requested when a person has been or may have been exposed to a hepatitis virus; has a family history of liver disease; has excessive alcohol intake; or is taking a drug that can cause liver damage.
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm.

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Luteinising hormone (LH Test)

What is it:
Luteinising hormone (LH) is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. The high level of LH (and FSH), at mid-cycle, triggers ovulation (release of the egg from the ovary). LH also stimulates the ovaries to produce other hormones, mainly oestradiol. Oestradiol helps the pituitary gland to control the production of LH. At the time of the menopause the ovaries stop functioning and LH levels rise.  In men, LH stimulates the Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone. LH levels are relatively constant in men after puberty.
Why get tested?
As part of the tests to check for the causes of infertility and menstrual problems and also to check for the causes of the irregular timing of puberty in children.
Who should be tested for the luteinsing hormone?
In women and men, LH (along with FSH) is requested as part of the investigation of infertility and pituitary disorders and in the investigation of menstrual irregularities. LH and FSH may be measured in early or delayed puberty.
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm. LH results can be increased with use of certain drugs, decrease with oral contraceptives and other hormone treatment.

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Magnesium

What is it?
Magnesium is a mineral that is found in every cell of your body. It is vital to energy production, muscle contraction, nerve function, and maintenance of strong bones. About half of the body’s magnesium is combined with calcium and phosphorus to form bone.
Why Get Tested?
To evaluate the level of magnesium in your blood and to help determine the cause of abnormal calcium and/or potassium levels.
Who should have a test for magnesium?
If you have symptoms (such as weakness, irritability, cardiac arrhythmia, nausea, and/or diarrhoea) that may be due to too much or too little magnesium or if you have abnormal calcium or potassium.
Blood test
A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm.

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Oestrogen test

What is it?
The most common forms of oestrogen tested in clinical laboratories are oestrone [E1], oestradiol [oestradiol-17 beta, E2], and oestriol [E3]). Oestrone (E1) is the major oestrogen after the menopause. Oestradiol (E2) is produced in women mainly in the ovary. In men, the testes and adrenal glands are the principal source of oestradiol. Oestriol (E3) is the major oestrogen in pregnancy.
Why get Tested?
Oestradiol levels are used to evaluate ovarian function and to help diagnose the cause of precocious puberty in girls (very early signs of puberty) and gynaecomastia in men and also to help diagnose the reason for amenorrhea.  Repeated measurements are used to follow follicle development in the ovary in the days prior to in-vitro fertilization. Oestradiol may also be used to monitor menopausal hormone replacement therapy. Oestrone may occasionally be measured to aid in the diagnosis of an ovarian tumor, Turner’s syndrome and hypopititurasim.
Who should have an oestrogen test?
The oestrogen test can be carried out on any woman who has unexplained abnormal menstrual cycles, abnormal or heavy bleeding, infertility problems, symptoms of the menopause or any other hormonal alterations. It can also be used to test for foetal-placental competence during the early stages of pregnancy.
When to Get Tested?
When there are symptoms of a hormone imbalance, abnormal vaginal bleeding, unusual and /or early sex organ development (male and female).
Blood test
A sample will be drawn from a vein in your arm, or rarely will you be asked to provide a urine samples which may involve a 24 hour collection.

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Parathyroid Hormone (PTH)

PTH is produced by four parathyroid glands that are located in the neck beside the thyroid gland. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) helps the body maintain stable levels of calcium in the blood.
Why Get Tested?
To determine whether PTH levels are responding normally to changes in blood calcium levels; to distinguish the cause of calcium imbalances, and to evaluate parathyroid function. In some centres, PTH levels may be measured during surgery for hyperparathyroidectomy. This will confirm removal of the parathyroid gland(s).
Who should have a PTH test?
A PTH may be required when a test for calcium is abnormal. If you have symptoms associated with hypercalcemia such as fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain and thirst PTH may be ordered and also if have symptoms associated with hypocalcemia such as abdominal pain, muscle cramps and tingling fingers. Your doctor may order a PTH together with calcium at intervals when you have been treated for diseases or conditions that affect calcium regulation such as the removal of a parathyroid gland or when you have a chronic condition such as kidney disease.
Blood test
A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm.

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Pregnancy test or hCG Test (Human chorionic gonadotropin)

What is it?
HCG is a protein produced in the placenta of a pregnant woman. The pregnancy test is a specific blood or urine test that can detect hCG and confirm pregnancy. This hormone can be detected 10 days after a missed menstrual period.
Why Get Tested?
To confirm and monitor pregnancy or to diagnose trophoblastic disease or germ cell tumors.
Who should have the pregnancy test?
Any woman who has missed her period.
Blood test
HCG is commonly detected in urine. The preferred specimen is random urine collected first thing in the morning. HCG can also be measured in blood taken from a vein in the arm.

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Progesterone test

What is it?
This test measures the level of progesterone in the blood. Progesterone is a hormone whose main role is to help prepare a woman’s body for pregnancy; it works together with several other female hormones.
Why Get Tested?
To help determine the cause of infertility. to assess when you are ovulating, to help diagnose an ectopic or failing pregnancy, to monitor the placental and foetal health during pregnancy and to help diagnose the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding. Increased progesterone levels are also seen occasionally with luteal ovarian cysts, molar pregnancies, and with a rare form of ovarian cancer. Increased levels are occasionally due to an overproduction of progesterone by the adrenal glands.
Who should have a progesterone test?
A progesterone test should be carried out if a woman is having difficulty conceiving or is having abnormal uterine bleeding.
When to Get Tested?
At specific times during a woman’s menstrual cycle (period) to determine whether/when she is ovulating and producing eggs; during early pregnancy if symptoms suggest an ectopic or failing pregnancy; throughout pregnancy to help determine placental and foetal health; and in cases of abnormal uterine bleeding
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm.  Taking oestrogen and progesterone supplements may cause inaccurate results.

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Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)

What is it?
PSA is a protein produced by the prostate and released in very small amounts into the bloodstream. The higher the PSA level, the more likely there is cancer present. However the PSA can be raised for other reasons, such as infection or a non cancerous enlarged prostate. A man’s PSA level alone does not give doctors enough information to distinguish between benign prostate conditions and cancer.  Why Get Tested? To help detect and to monitor treatment in prostate cancer.
Who should have a PSA test?
If you have symptoms of prostate disease, such as difficulty in passing urine, or passing urine more frequently than usual, family history of prostate cancer.
Blood Test
A blood sample is taken by needle from a vein in the arm.  You may be advised to avoid ejaculation and vigorous physical activity affecting the prostate, such as bicycle riding, during the two days before the blood test.

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Renal or Kidney Function Test

What is it?
The kidneys regulate the amount of water and salts that we have in our bodies. They do this by filtering the blood through millions of structures called nephrons.
Why get tested?
The blood test checks that the kidneys are working properly by measuring the level of urea, creatinine, and certain dissolved salts (sodium, chlorides, potassium, bicarbonate they are also called electrolytes).
Who should have a kidney function test?
Routine kidney function is one of the most commonly performed blood tests.
It may be done:

  • As part of a general health assessment.
  • If you have suspected dehydration (when the urea level increases).
  • If you have suspected kidney failure.
  • Before and after starting treatment with certain medication.

Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm.

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Rheumatoid Factor test

What is it?
This test detects and measures rheumatoid factor (RF), a type of “autoantibody”, in the blood. We all have antibodies (also known as immunoglobulin) in our blood, which are protective proteins which defend the body against infection, particularly from bacteria.
Why Get Tested?
To help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Sjogren’s syndrome.
Who should be tested for rheumatoid factor
Symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis may include pain, warmth, swelling and morning stiffness in the joints, nodules under the skin and, if the disease has progressed, evidence on X-rays of swollen joint capsules and loss of cartilage and bone. Symptoms for Sjogren’s syndrome may include and extremely dry mouth and eyes, and joint and muscle pain.
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm.

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Rubella

What is it?
Rubella is a viral infection that causes a fine red rash and flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, headache and a general feeling of being unwell. The raised red rash appears first on the face and neck and travels to the body and limbs. Rubella is usually harmless and the patient gets better without any special treatment, but when a woman gets rubella in the first three months of her pregnancy, serious birth defects, miscarriage, or stillbirth may result.
Why Get Tested?
To determine if you have had a recent or past infection with the rubella virus, or to check that you are protected from the rubella virus.
Who should be tested for rubella?
If you plan to get pregnant or have symptoms of rubella infection.
Blood test
A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm.

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Testosterone Test

What is it?
Testosterone is a steroid hormone (androgen) made by the testes in males. The production of testosterone is stimulated and controlled by the luteinising hormone. In women testosterone levels are about one tenth of those in men. Testosterone is also produced by the adrenal glands in both men and women.
Why Get Tested?
In men who have difficulty in getting an erect penis (erectile dysfunction), in premature or delayed puberty or in a woman who has masculine features. In women it is used to investigate Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It is used to Diagnose in men and women with Adrenal tumors, hypothalamic and pituitary disorders and infertility.
Who should have the testosterone test?
The testosterone test is carried out in boys if puberty is early or delayed. Early puberty in boys due to increased testosterone include various tumors and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. In men the test is carried out if infertility is suspected or has a decrease in sex drive or erectile dysfunction. Some other symptoms include lack of beard and body hair, decreased muscle mass and development of breast tissue. In females, the test may be carried out if she has irregular or no menstrual periods, is having difficulty conceiving or appears to have masculine features such as facial and body hair, male pattern baldness and a low voice. Testosterone levels can rise due to tumours that develop in either the ovary or adrenal gland or because of other conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm. Because testosterone levels in the male are highest in the morning and lowest in the late afternoon and evening your doctor may ask you to have your blood taken in the early morning (about 9am).

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Thyroid Function Test

What is it?
The test measures the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood, which is an indicator of thyroid disease. TSH is made by the pituitary gland, a tiny organ located below the brain and behind the sinus cavities. It is part of the body’s feedback to maintain stable amounts of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) in the blood.
Why get tested?
To screen for and diagnose thyroid disorders; to monitor treatment of hypothyroidism, underactive thyroid gland and hyperthyroidism, overactive thyroid gland.
Who should have a thyroid function test?
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones causing the body’s metabolism to slow down. Hypothyroidism often appears without obvious symptoms causing tiredness, weight gain, an intolerance to cold, constipation and depression. It is more common in women than men and especially women over the age of 50. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is too active and produces an excess of thyroid hormones causing the body’s functions to speed up. Symptoms which are evident include weight loss, palpitations, anxiety and flushed skin. In the UK, about one in 500 men and one in 50 women will develop hyperthyroidism at some point in their lives in the UK.
Blood Test
A blood sample is obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm.

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Uric Test

What is it?
Uric acid is produced by the breakdown of purines.  Purines are chemicals that come from nucleic acids (DNA).  They enter the circulation from digestion of foods or from normal breakdown and turnover of cells in the body.  Most uric acid is removed by the kidneys and disposed of in the urine; the remainder is excreted in the faeces.
Why Get Tested?
To detect high levels of uric acid that could be a sign of the condition, gout. To monitor uric acid levels when undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Who should have their levels of uric acid tested?
The uric acid test is ordered when a doctor suspects high levels of uric acid which can be caused by gout, to monitor uric acid levels when undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy if the kidneys appear to be failing.
Blood test
A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm.

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Urinalysis

What is it?
Urinalysis is the physical, chemical, and microscopic examination of urine. It involves a number of tests to detect and measure various compounds that pass through the urine. Urinalysis cannot detect all disorders. Urinalysis results can have many interpretations. Abnormal findings are a warning that something may be wrong and should be looked at further.
Why get tested?
Urinalysis can reveal diseases that have gone unnoticed because they do not produce striking signs or symptoms. Examples include diabetes mellitus, various forms of glomerulonephritis and chronic urinary tract infections. Urinalysis is also used to check for blood in the urine and to diagnose a urinary tract infection. Urinalysis is used as a screening and/or diagnostic tool because it can detect different metabolic and kidney disorders urinary tact infections and disorders of urinary tract.
Who should have the urinalysis test?
The test is done on admission to a hospital; preparation for surgery; as part of a medical examination; or when evaluating a new pregnancy .It may be done if you have tummy or back pain, frequent or painful urination, or blood in the urine.
Urine test
Sample:  urine (20-50 mls) in a sterile container; the first urine passed in the morning is the most valuable.

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Vitamin B12 & Folate

What is it?
B12 and folate are both part of the B complex of vitamins. B12 and folate are necessary for normal red cell formation, tissue and cellular repair, and DNA synthesis. B12 is also important for nerve health, while folate is necessary for cell division.
Why get tested?
To help diagnose the cause of anaemia or neuropathy (nerve damage), to evaluate nutritional status in some patients and to monitor effectiveness of treatment for B12 or folate deficiency.
Who should have their levels of vitamin B12 & folate tested?
Vitamin B12 and folate are primarily measured when a full blood count indicated the presence of large red blood cells. When a person, particularly an elderly one shows mental or behavioural changes such as irritability, confusion, depression and/or paranoia and also when a patient has physical symptoms including dizziness, weakness, fatigue or a sore mouth or tongue. When a patient has symptoms suggesting nerve damage or impairment, such as, tingling, burning, or numbness in their hands, arms, legs, and or/feet, a vitamin B12 test may be requested to help diagnose the cause and to detect the presence of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Also the test may be requested when a patient shows signs of malnutrition or malabsorption or is known to have a disorder that affects nutrient absorption. If the deficiency is in a breastfed baby then the mother may also be tested to see if she has the deficiency which is affecting both her and the child.
Blood Test
A blood sample obtained from a needle placed in a vein in your arm.

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Vitamin D

What is it?
There are two forms of vitamin D that can be measured in the blood – 25 hydroxy-vitamin D and 1,25 dihydroxy-vitamin D.  25 hydroxy-vitamin D is the major form of the hormone found in the blood and is the inactive component from which the active hormone, 1,25 dihyroxy vitamin D is made.  Because 25 hydroxy-vitamin D stays for a long time in the blood and is at a higher concentration than 1, 25 dihydroxy-vitamin D, 25 hydroxy-vitamins D is commonly measured to find out about vitamin D status in individuals.
Why Get Tested?
The test for 1,25 dihydroxy-vitamin D is used to find out whether the kidney is converting an appropriate amount of inactive 25-hydroxy-vitamin D to the active 1,25 dihydroxy-vitamin D. To investigate a problem related to bone metabolism or parathyroid function, possible vitamin  D deficiency, malabsorption and to monitor some patients taking vitamin D. Also vitamin D is measured if you have an abnormal calcium, phosphate level.
Who should have their levels of vitamin D tested?
If a patient has low calcium levels or has symptoms of vitamin D deficiency such as bone malformation in children and bone weakness, softness or fracture in adults. Studies have shown that as many as 50% of the elderly and women being treated for osteoporosis may be vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D levels may also be used to help detect or monitor problems with parathyroid gland functioning.
Blood test
A blood sample taken from a vein in your arm.

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