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About your Blood Test 

Following your consultation at LBSM, you may have been referred for a Blood Test.

This guide takes you through the relevant information about what to expect during this process. Please take the time to read it carefully.

After you have had your blood test, you will have the opportunity to go through the results in detail with the clinical team and work out the next steps together.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries about anything to do with the process of getting your blood test.

  1. Why do I need a blood test?
  2. How do I arrange my blood test?
  3. Which blood tests do I need?
  4. Preparing for your blood test
  5. What does the process involve?
  6. What are the commonly taken blood tests?
  7. Full blood count (FBC)
  8. Bone Profile
  9. Electrolyte test
  10. Vitamin D
  11. B12 and Folate
  12. Thyroid function test
  13. Genetic testing and Antibody screening

Why do I need a blood test? 

Blood tests have a wide range of uses and are one of the most common types of medical test. 

For example, a blood test can be used to: 

  • assess your general state of health 
  • check if you have an infection 
  • see how well certain organs, such as the liver and kidneys, are working 
  • screen for certain genetic conditions 

How do I arrange my blood test? 

Most blood tests only take a few minutes to complete and are carried out at a specialist health care center by a doctor, nurse or phlebotomist (a specialist in taking blood samples). Most centers LBSM recommend for blood testing are “Walk In”, meaning you do not need to have an appointment. You will need to take your blood test form with you to the department so they phlebotomist knows which tests to conduct.  

Which blood tests do I need? 

The specific blood tests you require for your condition will be discussed with you at your LBSM physician consultation. If you are not clear on what or why you are having a certain blood test, please do get in touch. You will be able to see what blood tests you have been referred for on the request form. 

Preparing for your blood test 

Some blood tests require that you fast beforehand. This would mean that you do not eat from midnight and ideally would have an early morning blood test. You are still able to drink water. If you are having a fasting blood test, you will be made aware by your LBSM physician. 

What does the process involve? 

Blood taking is a fairly straight forward and easy process. A vein is usually found in the front of the elbow with a small needle inserted after the area has been cleaned. The amount of blood tubes taken will depend on the type of tests being conducted, but this will not be more than 3-4. The amount of blood drawn is significantly less than when giving blood for donation. If you feel faint, or are uncomfortable with the sight of blood you will be offered to lie down and some food and drink.   

What are the commonly taken blood tests?

Below are a list of the commonly taken blood tests at LBSM.

Full blood count (FBC) 

This is a test to check the types and numbers of cells in your blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. 

This can help give an indication of your general health, as well as provide important clues about certain health problems you may have. 

For example, an FBC may detect signs of: 

  • iron deficiency anaemia or vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia 
  • infection or inflammation 
  • bleeding or clotting disorders 

Bone Profile 

This test looks at Calcium levels and other mineral in your bones. This will be relevant if you have bone injuries such as stress fractures or osteoporosis.  

Electrolyte test 

Electrolytes are minerals found in the body, including sodium, potassium and chloride, that perform jobs such as maintaining a healthy water balance in your body. 

Changes in the level of electrolytes can have various possible causes, including dehydration, diabetes or certain medications. 

Vitamin D 

You may be tested for Vitamin D to investigate a problem related to bone metabolism or parathyroid function, possible vitamin D deficiency, malabsorption, before commencing specific bone treatment and to monitor when taking vitamin D supplements. 

Your doctor may request a vitamin D measurement in the following situations: 

  • If you are found to have an abnormal calcium, phosphate, and/or parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentration in the blood. 
  • As part of the investigation of some forms of bone disease or muscle weakness/pain. 
  • If you have disease of the gastrointestinal tract that could result in malabsorption. 

B12 and Folate 

This is 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 

This may be performed when you have large red blood cells, specifically when you have symptoms of anaemia and/or of neuropathy or when you are being treated for vitamin B12 or folate deficiency. 

Endocrine and Sex Hormone Profile 

Testing endocrine and sex hormones levels may be useful in patients with recurrent injuries, poor growth and bone health and fatigue. There are lots of different tests possible that will depend on your sex and clinical condition. These may include; 

Testosterone levels 

Pituitary gland hormones 

Ovarian hormones 

Thyroid hormones 

Blood glucose (blood sugar) tests 

A number of tests can be used to diagnose and monitor diabetes by checking the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood. 

These include the: 

  • fasting glucose test – where the level of glucose in your blood is checked after fasting (not eating or drinking anything other than water) for at least 8 hours 
  • glucose tolerance test – where the level of glucose in your blood is checked after fasting, and again 2 hours later after being given a glucose drink 
  • HbA1C test – a test done at your GP surgery or hospital to check your average blood sugar level over the past 3 months 

Blood glucose test kits may be available to use at home. These only require a small “pin prick” of blood for testing. 

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) 

This test works by measuring how long it takes for red blood cells to fall to the bottom of a test tube. The quicker they fall, the more likely it is there are high levels of inflammation. 

An ESR is often used to help diagnose conditions associated with inflammation, such as: 

  • Inflammatory Arthritis 
  • Infection 
  • giant cell arteritis 
  • polymyalgia rheumatica 

Along with other tests, an ESR can also be useful in confirming whether you have an infection. 

 Liver function test 

When the liver is damaged, it releases substances called enzymes into the blood and levels of proteins produced by the liver begin to drop. 

By measuring the levels of these enzymes and proteins, it’s possible to build up a picture of how well the liver is functioning. 

This can help to diagnose certain liver conditions, including hepatitis, cirrhosis (liver scarring), and alcohol-related liver disease. 

Thyroid function test 

This is used to test your blood for levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and, where needed, thyroxine and triiodothyronine (thyroid hormones). 

If you have low or high levels of these hormones, it could mean you have a thyroid condition such as an underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid. 

Genetic testing and Antibody screening 

These are highly specific tests and involve extracting a sample of DNA from your blood, then searching the sample for a specific genetic change (mutation), or looking for particular antibodies. 

Some genetic and antibody tests that may be conducted include; 

  • HLA B27. When you have symptoms of chronic inflammation, pain, and stiffness in certain areas of your body, such as your back, neck, and chest, or the interior portion of your eyes uveitis, especially if you are male and the symptoms began between late teens and your early 30s 
  • Rheumatoid Factor. When you have symptoms suggestive of Rheumatoid arthritis or Sjögren’s syndrome 
  • Anti-CCP. If a patient has joint inflammation and/or undiagnosed or undifferentiated inflammatory polyarthritis (symptoms which may suggest but do not yet meet the criteria of RA) and the doctor suspects RA. 
  • Autoantibodies. Antibodies are proteins produced by a person’s immune system that help the body to recognise and get rid of infection. Autoantibodies are antibodies that recognise parts of our own body. Autoantibodies can be found in healthy people, particularly as we get older, but they are also found in some autoimmune diseases. In a few specific diseases, autoantibodies are actually causing the disease e.g. Grave’s disease, myasthenia gravis. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries about the process of getting your blood test. Look forward to seeing you at your next appointment.  

The information in this article has been cited from www.nhs.uk to align with best clinical practice standards.

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    Orla Mulligan
    Administration and Social Media Manager
    Administration, LBSM

    Orla Mulligan is the administration and social media manager for LBSM. She has a strong background in sport having herself played netball at an elite standard for the U21s Northern Ireland team in the European Championships as well as the U21s competition for Saracen Mavericks.

    She understands youth sport pathways having herself played and training in the netball Kent regional pathway. She has a keen interest in most sports and a good understanding of how injury and illness can impact on the mind and body, as well as rehabilitation pathways.

    She looks forward to speaking and assisting LBSM patients and gives her best support to them during their treatment pathway.

    A day in the life of Orla involves communicating with patients via phone and email, managing and organising clinics, operations and media management.

    Outside of work, Orla is a gym enthusiast, enjoys tennis and still finds the time for an occasional game of netball.

    Maddie Tait
    BSc, MSc
    Associate, LBSM
    Musculoskeletal and Sports Podiatrist

    Maddie treats and manages complex foot and ankle injuries in London and Surrey.

    She is particularly interested in helping her patients improve their quality of life and achieve their personal goals, working closely with Foot and Ankle Consultants, Sports Medicine Doctors and Physiotherapists.

    Maddie has a sporting background herself having previously represented England in Hockey. She understands the demands of elite sport and the importance of physical and mental health. In her spare time, Maddie continues to enjoy an active lifestyle by running, cycling and attending a Pilates class.

    Having graduated from University of Brighton with a MSc (hons) in Podiatry, Maddie focused her career in Podiatric Sports Injuries and Biomechanics. Previously she completed a BSc (hons) in Sport Science at Loughborough University.

    A day in the life of Maddie involves consulting patients in clinic, performing gait and biomechanical assessments, measuring and fitting orthotics and braces. She also regularly teaches and presents at sports medicine and podiatry conferences.

    Outside of work, Maddie still finds time to play hockey and enjoys running and skiing.

    Mr Prakash Saha
    MBBS, PhD, FRCS
    Consultant Partner, LBSM
    Consultant in Vascular Surgery

    Mr Prakash Saha is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at LBSM. He takes pride in providing the best possible results for his patients by using the most appropriate non-surgical and surgical methods based on clinical evidence, patient results and satisfaction.

    He treats fit and active people suffering with a range of cardiovascular issues, from painful leg swelling associated with exercise to venous insufficiency, post-thrombotic syndrome and leg ulcers. He also treats people with arterial system problems including poor circulation, compression syndromes and aneurysms. He carries out both endovascular and open aortic repair and has some of the best outcomes in the country.

    Mr Saha studied medicine at the United Medical & Dental Schools at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals before completing his higher surgical training in London and the South East. During this time, he was awarded the prestigious NIHR Clinical Lectureship in Vascular Surgery at St. Thomas’ Hospital, giving him comprehensive training in open and endovascular techniques for treating arterial and venous disease. Prakash completed his aortic surgery training at the St. George’s Vascular Institute before carrying out a specialist fellowship at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney.

    Mr Saha regularly lectures and runs workshops across the globe on the latest surgical techniques to treat vascular disease. He has also been awarded a number of research grants from the Royal College of Surgeons, the Circulation Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the Academy of Medical Sciences, and the British Heart Foundation, which has led to over 80 publications and the development of innovative technologies to help treat patients. For this work, Prakash has received a number of prizes, including the Venous Forum prize from the Vascular Society of Great Britain and Ireland, an International Young Investigator Award, and an Early Career Investigator Award from the American Heart Association.

    A day in the life of Mr Saha involves seeing patients in clinic, operating in surgical theatre or lecturing at his university. He also regularly teaches and presents at vascular and sports medicine conferences.

    Mr Saha is an avid cyclist and tennis player (although yet to get a set of Dr Seth!). Outside of work, he spends time with his family who consists of 3 children and enjoys travelling.

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran
    MBBS, FRCR
    Consultant Partner, LBSM
    Consultant in Sports and Musculoskeletal Radiology

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran is a Consultant Musculoskeletal Radiologist at LBSM, with an extensive background of working in elite sport. He is one of the most recognised radiologists in the sports medicine field. He provides top level imaging and medical diagnostic services for patients and athletes.

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran completed his undergraduate medical training at Imperial College London and his radiology training at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. He has obtained two post-CCT fellowships in musculoskeletal imaging. He was appointed as a consultant at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in 2011.

    He has a passion for all sports having worked as a radiologist at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and London World Athletic Championships and continues to support The Championships, Wimbledon. He also continues to work with a number of Premier League and Championship Football Clubs, Premier League Rugby Clubs, England Sevens Rugby, British Athletics and the Lawn Tennis Association.

    A day in the life of Dr Rajeswaran involves giving his expert opinion on investigations such as MRI and CT scans, x-rays and ultrasound. He also performs injection lists under ultrasound, CT and X-ray including spinal injections. He also regularly teaches and presents at sports medicine conferences.

    Dr Gajan Rajeswaran is an avid football fan and life-long fan of Tottenham Hotspur (for which he offers no apologies!). Outside of work, he spends time with his family and has a keen passion for photography.

    Dr Ajai Seth
    MBBS, BSc, MSc, MRCS, MRCGP, FFSEM
    Medical Director, LBSM
    Consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine

    Dr Ajai Seth is a Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician. He has dedicated his career to helping people with sport and exercise related injury and illness. He consults and treats everyone from the elite athlete to the weekend warrior.

    Dr Ajai Seth is part of the British Tennis Sports Physician team at the LTA and has also provided cover to elite athletes at Wimbledon Tennis, European Tour Golf, Premier League Football, British Athletics, and the Men’s England Football academies as part of the FA.

    He also prides himself for working in disability sport and is currently the Chief Medical Officer for Team GB Wheelchair Tennis which has taken him to the Olympics and Paralympics.

    Dr Ajai Seth is dedicated to education, training and research and is a Senior Lecturer in Sports Medicine at King’s College London where he lectures in all aspects of Sports Medicine and Science.

    He also has a passion for travel and Expedition Medicine, which has seen him accompany medical, scientific and charity expeditions all around the world. He also has vast experience in treating musculoskeletal injuries from children and adolescents to veteran exercisers, both male and female.

    Dr Seth also has positions in leading Sport Medicine organisations, including the non-executive board for the UK’s largest Sports Medicine charity, BASEM and Past President for the Royal Society of Medicine. 

    A day in the working life of Dr Seth involves consulting his patients in clinic, performing diagnostics and ultrasound guided injections. He also regularly lectures and tutors students and presents at sports medicine conferences internationally. He also spends part of the working week at the National Tennis Centre, LTA, supporting British Tennis players.

    Outside of work, Dr Seth enjoys playing club tennis, triathlon, golf, running and skiing (but will give any sport a go!). He enjoys keeping fit and active and good quality family time with his wife and three children.