For most of us a full blood screening, unless we are ill, is something that maybe happens every couple of years at a company medical. As such, it is no surprise that the approach to the results is more one of cross your fingers and hope it is ok, rather than what is it telling me and how can I make the most of the data.
We have been, for many years, advocates of more regular blood testing for all people. We should all have our blood analysed at least twice a year and there is even a very good argument for doing it every quarter. Not for fear of the worst but for a clearer understanding of how our bodies work and how we can make ourselves as healthy as possible.
Over the coming weeks, we want to give you an overview of some of the key areas we look at on the blood results and how to control these readings to make positive changes.
Firstly, let us look at red blood cells. Red blood cells carry Haemoglobin, that in turn carries oxygen to the cells and carbon dioxide from the cells back to the lungs. Therefore, when we look at energy production within the body knowing the amount and quality of the red blood cells becomes very important. Knowing the amount, size and quality of the red blood cells also gives us some of the answers in finding out if the body is struggling for levels of Ferritin, Iron, Vitamin C, B12, B6, Folate and Copper.
In the fight against the effects of ageing red blood cells have increasingly been shown to play a key part. Some of the very latest research has shown the important role that nitric oxide has on the red blood cells and the body’s ability to cleanse and heel itself. Taking the time to understand the quality of the red blood cells and the balancing act upon all nutrients has a profound effect on how we deal with stress, how we perform, how we train, how we recover and how well we age.
Within the blood tests themselves we look at the red blood count or amount of red blood cells the body is carrying. We look at the MCV or red blood cell volume. This allows us to understand the potential oxygen and nutrient carriage per cell. We also look at the MCH number, which refers solely to Haemoglobin within the red blood cell and total oxygen capacity. One of the other variables we look at is the RDW or red blood cell size variation. If there is a high variation in the size and quality of the red blood cells it shows an inconsistency in the ability for the body to produce red blood cells and a potential problem or lack of the right nutrients.
Within the blood test we also run a glycated haemoglobin count that gives us a very good early indicator of Diabetes. If there is an ongoing inefficiency between the amount of sugar in the body and the amount of insulin being produced by the body the glucose will attach to the haemoglobin. Because the red blood cells stay in the body for about three months it gives us a window to see this ongoing discrepancy, A high glycated haemoglobin count would suggest that the body has been unable to produce enough insulin for a while and this could be one of the first signs of Diabetes. Spotting it early in this way, any pre-diabetic tendencies can be reversed with dietary and lifestyle changes without the need for medication, or the risk of this becoming Type 2 diabetes with all the complications that brings along with it. Over the years we have seen many clients reverse pre-diabetes, never have to start taking the heart medication that their Doctor said would be inevitable and constantly reverse feelings of lethargy and fatigue just by having a greater handling of their own body chemistry.