The Importance of Blood Screening
Screening of any kind is important as it can help diagnose conditions much earlier, making them ultimately much more treatable. So much can be determined through blood tests that it almost makes them the most important of all.
Result derived from simple screening can help assess organ health, genetic conditions and a whole host of other ailments.
There are several different types of blood test that can be carried out, as there are many different things that be tested for.
Cancer can be devastating and it can also affect the blood in the form of lymphoma and leukaemia. This results in the lymph glands producing abnormal white blood cells, which can be detected with a simple blood test. It goes without saying that sooner you detect cancer, the greater your chances of survival.
Testing for your blood for the different types of cells present can help identify underlying health issues. The clues that are hidden in your blood can point towards many problems, including;
- Anaemia – Low Haemoglobin, linked to a poor diet or internal bleeding
- A low white blood cell count – A possible sign of cancer or bone marrow problems
- A high white blood cell count – A clue that you might have an infection or more rarely a serious condition such as leukaemia
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
This test helps to detect levels of inflammation and signposts associated conditions such as arthritis and Crohn’s disease.
As coagulation can lead to potentially fatal conditions, tests can be carried out to check for their presence. Not only that, but also for their absence with clotting problems like haemophilia.
Monitoring of blood clotting is becoming ever more common as ‘blood-thinning’ medication such as warfarin is prescribed for conditions.
Maintaining healthy levels of sodium, potassium and chloride are important for the body to work efficiently. This minerals are known collectively as electrolytes.
Unhealthy levels, be it too high or too low, can be as a direct result of dehydrating conditions like diarrhoea, but can also be associated to diabetes and kidney failure.
According to the NHS website, diabetes in the UK is set to explode over the coming years, with numbers suffering projected to rise from the 2010 figure of 3.1 million people to almost 5 million by 2030. The blood glucose (or blood sugar) test is important to identifying early onset diabetes.
An under or overactive thyroid can be the underlying cause of a whole host of issues. These imbalances if identified using the thyroid function test, can be medicated and rectified.
If you are HIV positive, your immune system reacts by producing specific types of antibodies to fight it. Something called the ELISA test can highlight these antibodies and help diagnose and monitor your condition.
Conditions passed down in the genes can be tested for, by taking a small sample of DNA from your blood and then screening it for possible mutations. A very useful test that can identify those at risk from illnesses including;
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Sickle Cell Anaemia
- Spinal Muscular Atrophy
- Polycystic Kidney Disease
- Huntingdon’s Disease
This test analyses individual chromosomes to check for abnormalities. This can be done in instances when a child may have unexplained developmental issues or for couples who have multiple miscarriages.
We each have blood that falls into a particular type, be it common ones like type A and type O or rarer ones like AB Positive. A test can be carried out to determine yours and this is important when donating or receiving donated blood. Put the wrong type of blood into the wrong person and it can have life-threatening consequences.
Most adults will be aware that high cholesterol can have serious implications, such as heart attack and stroke. It is a fatty substance that your body needs, but if your body has too much of it, then problems can occur. You are particularly at risk of cardiovascular problems relating to cholesterol if;
- You are significantly overweight
- You smoke
- You are male
- You are over 40
- You have high blood pressure
When your liver is damaged, enzymes are released into the blood that cause the level of certain proteins to drop. These levels when determined, can tell if the liver is functioning well or not in the case of those suffering from;
- Alcohol-related liver disease
It is possible to make certain diagnoses from blood screening pertaining to the prostate, such as enlarged prostate or prostate cancer. A ‘prostate-specific antigen test’ can provide a life-saving warning of these significant killers.
Want to find out?
This is an extensive list of types of blood tests that we can for you but is still not the entire list, therefore its evident that if you are unsure about your health or just want to allay your worries, blood screening could just be the answer for you.
All of the screening types listed above are easily testable, usually using a ‘pin-prick’ of blood or a quick and largely painless blood sample taken from a vein in the arm.
For more information, to book an appointment or you’re just worried and would like a chat, then contact us today.