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Tests Explained


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PHYSICAL TESTS

Height, Weight & Body Mass Index
Our nurse will measure your height and weight. Using this information along with your age and gender we will calculate your Body Mass Index, also known as BMI, to estimate your body fat levels. These measurements will help determine if you are at greater risk for a wide variety of serious health problems including heart attack and diabetes.

Here is an explanation of BMI levels:

BMIClassification
Less than 18.5Underweight
18.5 to 24.9Ideal
25 to 29.9Overweight
30 to 39.9Obese
40 and overVery obese


Blood Pressure
A blood pressure reading measures the amount of work that your heart has to do to pump your blood around your body. The normal blood pressure is usually about 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic), but this can vary with age and if your are stressed. If your blood pressure is very high or low, it can cause dizziness or visual disturbances, which could increase the likelihood of accidents. Persistent, untreated or uncontrolled hypertension will cause damage to essential organs (heart, blood vessels, brain, kidneys).

Resting Electrocardiogram (ECG)
An ECG will evaluate your heart’s electrical activity and rhythm at rest. Rhythm disturbance may cause health problems. An ECG is an important test as it can identify early heart disease & problems that have no clear symptoms, including:

- Risk of heart attack
- A heart that is beating irregularly or not forcefully enough
- Parts of the heart that may be enlarged
- Lack of blood flow to the heart muscle

All ECG traces are reviewed by a Medical Physician and abnormal results are further referred to a Consultant Cardiologist for interpretation.

Lung Function Test – Spirometry
This test will detect the function and capacity of your lungs. It involves a simple procedure of blowing air into a measuring device. This test can detect emphysema, chronic bronchitis and damage due to smoking.

LABORATORY TESTS

Kidney Function Tests: Urea & Creatinine
As the name implies this test will help determine if your kidneys are functioning normally. The two blood tests which check that the kidneys are working properly are the levels of urea & creatinine in your blood.

- Urea is a waste product formed from the breakdown of proteins and is usually passed out in your urine. A high blood level of urea indicates that the kidneys may not be working properly or that you are dehydrated (have low body water content).
- Creatinine is a waste product made by the muscles. Creatinine passes into the bloodstream, and again is usually passed out in urine. A high blood level of creatinine indicates that the kidneys may not be working properly.

Liver Function Tests - (Bilirubin, ALT, ALP, AST, GGT, Total Protein, Albumin, Globulin)
These range of tests assess the functions of the liver. Results can detect liver damage caused by hepatitis, alcohol or prescription drug.

Lipids / Cardiac Risk Tests: HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides
The risk of developing heart disease will be evaluated using this test. High cholesterol can contribute to arterial blockage in the heart. Being aware of your cholesterol level and its importance, you can adjust your lifestyle and diet to reduce the risk of future heart problems:

- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – HDL carries away harmful fats from cells and tissues to the liver for removal from the body. An HDL that is too low actually increases your risk of heart disease. A reading higher than 1 is best.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – LDL makes up most of the cholesterol in the blood. If too much is carried to the tissues and vessels of the body, this can result in clogged arteries. An LDL that is too high increases your risk of heart disease. A reading less than 3 is best.
- Triglycerides - high levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream have been linked to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and, by extension, a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. A reading no greater than 2 is best
- Total cholesterol – This test represents the total amount of cholesterol circulating in your blood at the time of the test. A reading no more than 5 is best.

Diabetes Test: Glucose
This test will determine if your blood glucose level is within healthy ranges; to screen for, diagnose, and monitor hyperglycemia (high blood glucose), hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), diabetes, and pre-diabetes.

Full Blood Count + 5-part Diff
This test will determine your general health status and will screen for a variety of disorders, such as anaemia (which can cause low energy levels and weakness), cancer and infection.
A complete blood count includes five major measurements:

- White blood cell (WBC) count – These cells are important in fighting infections.
- Haemoglobin (HGB) value - Haemoglobin gives red blood cells their colour. Haemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and takes carbon dioxide (the waste products) from the tissues to the lungs.
- Haematocrit (HCT) value - The haematocrit is the percentage of red blood cells in relation to your total blood volume.
- Platelet count - Platelets help to stop bleeding by forming blood clots.

Thyroid Function Profile (TSH & FT4)
This test will screen for and help diagnose thyroid disorders or to monitor treatment of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. In people with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) the amount of TSH will usually be high. In people with hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) the level of TSH will usually be low. When levels of FT4 are high, the pituitary is 'turned off' and less TSH is produced.

Urinalysis
Urinalysis is an analysis of your urine to provide a general overview of your health. The test consists of a physical, chemical, and microscopic examination of the urine. This test can show evidence of disease, even some that have not caused significant signs or symptoms. Examples include diabetes mellitus, kidney diseases and urinary tract infections.

Bone Health Profile: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphate
Bone health is important so that your bones will be healthy and strong throughout your lifetime. This test will screen for or monitor treatment of a bone disorder. Three important minerals for good bone health are:

- Calcium: is the most abundant mineral in the body. In addition to helping regulate your heartbeat, calcium is the building block of your bones. If the body removes more calcium than it replaces, the bones will become weaker and will be more likely to fracture.
- Magnesium: Helps your body make many essential enzymes. Enzymes are important because they are the precursor to hormone release and operation of functions throughout the bones. Magnesium forms a major portion of the bone salts that give bone its strength.
- Phosphate: Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body. Both DNA and RNA contain phosphorus, which makes it important for growth and cellular reproduction. Phosphate is one of the components of the salt called hydroxyapatite that gives bones their hardness. Adequate phosphorus in the body is essential for skeletal health and cellular function.

Enhanced Cardiac Risk Test: Lipoprotein a
These tests give additional information about your risk of developing heart disease. High Lp(a) in blood is a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD), cerebrovascular disease (CVD), atherosclerosis, thrombosis, and stroke.

Gout Test: Uric Acid
The uric acid blood test is used to detect high levels of this compound in the blood in order to help diagnose gout. The uric acid urine test is used to help diagnose the cause of recurrent kidney stones and to monitor people with gout for stone formation.

Coeliac Screen
We will screen you for Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies which are found in patients with several conditions, including coeliac disease and also inflammatory bowel disease, and various forms of arthritis.

Blood Group ABO/D
This test will determine your blood type in the event a blood transfusion is ever required.

Colorectal Cancer - Faecal Occult Blood
The faecal occult blood test (FOB test) detects small amounts of blood in your faeces which you would not normally see or be aware of. There are several disorders which may cause bleeding into the gut (intestines). For example: ulcers, colitis, polyps, and colorectal (bowel) cancer. If these bleed heavily then your faeces would be obviously 'bloody' or a very black colour. 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. However, the FOB test will detect the blood.

Homocysteine
This test will screen for levels of homocysteine in your blood. A high level of blood serum homocysteine, or "homocystinemia", is a powerful risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Haemochromatosis Screen: - Iron, Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) & Ferritin
This test will screen for Haemochromotosis which is a genetic disorder that causes the body to absorb an excessive amount of iron which is deposited in various organs, mainly the liver.

- Ferritin: The ferritin levels measured usually have a direct correlation with the total amount of iron stored in the body. If the ferritin level is low, there is a risk for lack of iron, which could lead to anemia. If ferritin is high, there is a risk of excessive iron.
- Iron: Will detect the levels of iron in your blood
- Total Iron Binding Capacity: This will measure the maximum amount of iron that your blood can carry.

Vitamin D Testing
Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is essential for bone and general health. This test will screen for Vitamin D deficiency which may increase your risk of osteoporosis, and possibly certain other conditions.

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)
Through a simple blood test we will screen asymptomatic and symptomatic men for prostate cancer, to help determine the necessity for a biopsy of the prostate. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland. PSA is present in small quantities in the serum of men with healthy prostates, but is often elevated in the presence of prostate cancer and in other prostate disorders.

Thin-Prep® Cervical Smear Test
This test will screen for cervical cancer and certain vaginal or uterine infections. A cervical smear test is a simple procedure that only takes minutes and is the most effective way to detect changes in the cells of the cervix.

Extensive Allergy Testing Panels
HealthWatch can provide you with an extensive list of allergy panels to choose from which will indentify if you are allergic to particular substances. If you would like to get more information on this please do not hesitate to talk to one of our nurses or another member of our team.

STI Testing
HealthWatch can provide you with an extensive range of STI tests. You can get tested for many of the most common STDs including: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Herpes, Trichomonas, Mycoplasma, and Ureaplasma. If you would like to confidentially arrange an STI test please do not hesitate to talk to one of our nurses or another member of our team.

LIFESTYLE ANALYSIS

Comprehensive Questionnaire on Health, Nutrition as well as Lifestyle Counselling
To determine your current health status and identify any lifestyle factors likely to place your health at risk.

Advice on Cancer Awareness
To advise on how to correctly examine for testicular or breast abnormalities which may be a sign of cancer.

FOLLOW UP CONSULTATION

A 10 minute follow-up with the HealthWatch Physician
To explain the results of your Health screen, answer any questions or concerns you may have and advise you of any steps you should take to remain healthy.