Blood Testing – A Phlebotomy Service
Dr Stephen Hopwood is a qualified, certified and insured Phlebotomist.
This means Dr Hopwood is professionally able to take blood. Taking and testing blood is an excellent opportunity that not only will indicate if you are above or below normal ranges but it will also enable you to work towards optimising levels that would be preferable or in your best health interests. Blood may be taken and used to test a whole range of issues. There are now a large number of private blood testing companies many of whom offer a variety of comprehensive ranges of blood tests, all of which can have blood taken here at the clinic, whichever company or test you may choose.
It is usually best to make an appointment to see Dr Hopwood first, for an initial consultation, so that he can take your full medical history and give advice and recommendation on which blood tests may be most helpful or appropriate. Please call the clinic on 01803 868282 to make an appointment.
Blood testing will gather physical information about a client’s physical state in order to develop understanding of how best to support a clients general health, physical functioning and well-being through applying holistic principles and practises. The purpose of taking the blood is not to discover presence, cause and extent of a disease or disorder or injury. Clients will be asked to sign a consent form committing them to take their blood test to their NHS GP for their opinion and perspective on the results received.
Dr Hopwood began his training as a Phlebotomist by spending years as a medical student taking bloods on the hospital wards in the days when the NHS didn’t have Phlebotomy nurses and they only had medical students – who always took all of the bloods needed each day. Since then Dr Hopwood has completed two Phlebotomist certificates, one in theory and one in the practice of Phlebotomy, with the only course in the UK that has NHS approval and that is used by the NHS to train NHS Phlebotomists.
Having a broad spectrum of blood analysis provides the opportunity not only to see if important physiological markers are in or outside of the normal ranges but also an opportunity to see whereabouts in the range you are. NHS doctors are not encouraged to treat people if they are within range as they are labelled “Normal” but ranges can be large and making sure you are up the top of a range could be x10 the level of being at the bottom. (eg NHS range for B12 is 180 – 2000).
Dr Kent Holtorf MD Consultant Endocrinologist answers the question…
– What is a normal range? When Doctors say you’re normal what does that mean? – He says …“The lab will take 95% of the test results received and say those are normal. It is only the highest and lowest 2.5% of a value that is considered abnormal. So if you are the lowest 5% or 10 % you are still considered to be normal. But this doesn’t mean you are optimal. It’s like saying you got a D minus – OK great! But it doesn’t work like that. More optimal levels mean you are going to feel better. As well as doing the right tests, looking at the right parameters to diagnose and offering the right treatment, one vital key is that you want to be optimal in the range, not just normal.
The Thriva Connection.
Here at Arcturus, we can suggest comprehensive blood test analysis packages that look at some of the major blood tests commonly tested by GP’s, including a few extras that are not normally available on the NHS unless you pay privately. The results return with a stated normal range and the bloods are reviewed by a medical doctor at the THRIVA blood test laboratory who will flag up any serious or concerning results and communicate directly by email or phone with you if there is a major abnormality with your blood.
The standard complete blood test package costs £95.50 which is payable directly to THRIVA blood test Company. Male and female hormone profiles are also available for a total inclusive cost of £125. A blood draw alone – outside of a client consultation costs £20.00. A blood draw within a client consultation incurs an extra cost of £10.00. Results will be emailed to you within 5-7 days. The blood test tubes will be sent to you and you will be asked to take them to the post office for posting.
The results are sent to you to be seen and then results are discussed at the clinic with Dr Hopwood. Time is given to consider the position of each result in its range and whether this is high or low and what may be optimal for you and what may support you, in being as well as you can.
The way forward.
Natural non-prescription vitamins, minerals, herbs and nutritional supplements may be offered to respond to information found by the blood testing. Dietary, lifestyle and Acupuncture treatments may also be offered as an integrated treatment approach designed to improve and optimise your health, well-being and quality of life.
Dr Hopwood does not hold a licence to practice medicine with the GMC and all advice and recommendations must be understood to be limited & qualified advice and not to be seen as absolute or definitive.
If you are trying to compare your Thriva results with another set of results obtained elsewhere, it is important to consider the following:
Changes in your physiological state
Certain biomarkers may change throughout the day, for example, hormones, or they can change in short space of time i.e. liver function and cholesterol. If samples are collected at different times of the day or more than 2 weeks apart, this may be part of the explanation. Furthermore, any changes you may have made between tests could have an impact, such as fasting, diet, exercise changes or supplementing.
Units of measurement
We use some different units of measurement to the NHS (for example pmol/L vs ng/ml), meaning the numbers look very different but are actually similar if converted. Our laboratories use the standard UK units, however some laboratories use different units, so your results may look quite different before being converted. They can easily be converted from one unit to another using online calculators. Please get in touch with our customer service team if you’d like help converting your results.
Test results can vary depending on the type of machine that is used to analyse the results. However, the results should be consistent and reproducible. The other thing to note is that all machines that analyse blood have a degree of tolerance – this means the legally allowed degree of variation in results. If the tolerance of a test is 15%, for example, this means that if two tests were taken from the same sample, at the same time, they could vary by up to 15% in either direction. Our laboratories maintain the highest standards, and they are used by the NHS themselves. As results can vary and only represent a snapshot in time, we recommend tracking results over time to give you the most accurate picture of your health.
For Vitamin B12 in particular, your NHS result may be different to your Thriva result. The most common reason is that our labs use the latest Roche analyser (Cobas 8000), while the NHS typically uses an older model. If a different analyser is used, then the result is likely to be different, so for the purpose of tracking your B12 level, it is important to use the same source for your tests each time. The time of day and whether you have fasted or not will also make a significant difference to your result, so if you are retesting, make sure that you recreate as similar conditions for collecting your sample on a repeat test as possible. Finally, Total B12 levels are very sensitive to supplementing and diet changes, so if you retest your results, be aware of the possible lifestyle adjustments in between your first and second tests that could have made a difference.
Liver function tests are also known to fluctuate over time, and can vary due to a number of factors. We know, for example, that ALT can increase with exercise, Gamma GT can be raised even if alcohol is ingested up to four days prior, and it can also fall if taken after a meal. We recommend always testing first thing in the morning before eating to avoid these variations.
Cholesterol tests will vary depending on whether you fasted or not before collecting your sample, and they can also vary within a couple of weeks depending on a number of factors including stress, physical activity, and diet as well genetic factors. Check out the this study if you would like to read some more detailed research about why cholesterol results can vary within a short period of time.
If you have any further concerns please do not hesitate to provide us with a copy of the results you are comparing your Thriva results too, and we can see what further explanation may be possible.
Some of our practitioners offer a free 15 minute consultation to discuss your treatment.