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  • Carla Evans

Make the most of your precious blood


Hi everyone,


Something that we use often in clinic to gain more information about what's going on with your health is a basic blood test.  Blood tests are not the be all and end all but they can provide us with useful information.  HOWEVER, blood tests can also be unreliable if not used correctly.  So here are some tips to help you get the best possible information out of your precious blood!


  1. Have your blood taken at the same lab every time

  2. Have your blood taken at the same time of day

  3. If you have one blood test fasting, have any follow-up tests fasting (even if you've been told you don't have to)

  4. If you have a menstrual cycle, have your blood taken on the same day of your monthly cycle each time

  5. ALWAYS get a copy of your blood test results and keep them in a physical or computer folder

  6. Make sure you know what is being tested and if you're not sure ask

  7. If there is a test you would like done/have been recommended to have done by another practitioner and the doctor refuses, ask how much it would cost if you paid for it yourself. 


Okay, here are some explanations for the rather long list!


1. Different labs may use different equipment and/or testing methods so you may not be comparing apples with apples.  I've seen this with clients test results multiple times - the results can be wildly different or the reference ranges are different so it's impossible to track progress.


2.  Our body biochemistry is different at different times of day and this can easily affect blood markers particularly hormone levels and blood sugar levels.  If you work shift patterns, try and get the blood taken on the same shift rotation each time.


3. When our body is in a fasting state our whole biochemistry is affected which again can affect many blood markers.


4.  The menstrual cycle affects everything!  Especially hormone levels e.g. thyroid, reproductive hormones, blood sugar regulation, iron levels, red cells, white cells etc.  So note down the day of the cycle on your blood test results and then go as close as possible to the same day next time you get tests done.


5. It is really beneficial to be in charge of your own health records.  Even if the GP has said your results are all fine, get a copy.  I've lost count of how many times a client has been told their blood tests were fine and they are not.  And I'm not just talking borderline out of range, I'm talking serious action needs to be taken out of range!  Doctors are human and mistakes do get made so take responsibility and keep a physical folder or computer folder or you may like using the e-health records (just make sure every test result is loaded on there as some providers still don't use it).  Then when you go and see a new practitioner, you can take all your information to them which minimises unnecessary repeat testing.


6. Not everyone would agree with me on this one but I'm an advocate of you knowing what is being tested and why.  Your doctor should be able and happy to explain this to you in an understandable way - that is part of their job.  Also, doctors are human and may have forgotten to add something on the blood test request form that you've asked for.  So once it's printed off - just go through all the abbreviated terms and ask what they are and make sure they marry up with what you've asked for.  For example, in South Australia "Iron studies" covers the four main tests for iron - ferritin, serum iron, transferrin and transferrin studies.  However with thyroid tests you have to request each one individually - TSH, free T3, free T4, Thyroid antibodies - TPO, TGab.


7. A doctor may refuse a blood test for many reasons and one is that it may not be covered by medicare.  This could be because it's not covered full stop or because you are only covered for one per year etc.   So it's always worth asking if that's the reason and how much it would cost to pay for it yourself.


There is also now a self-request pathology service in Australia called iMedical.  You can request your own blood tests, you will be sent a blood test request form and you take it to the lab as normal to have your blood taken.  You do have to pay for your blood tests with iMedical but it may work out a better option if you are already seeing a natural health practitioner and don't feel the need to see the doctor just to order some routine blood tests.  Of course, if you have symptoms that you need to have checked out, always see your GP first.


I hope that is helpful and please let me know if you have any questions about blood tests.


Happy testing!

Carla :)


P.S. Want to re-read a previous email but have deleted it? (accidentally of course!) Not to fear - all previous emails are available on the website blog  or facebook.


P.P.S. Online bookings are available for current clients.

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