Has anyone here had any unaccountable results from routine blood tests
within the last couple of years? My lifestyle hasn't changed one jot
since at least 2010, but lately I'm getting liver function results
tending to indicate I'm becoming some sort of dipsomaniac even though my
alcohol consumption is and has been embarrassingly very moderate.
So I'm wondering if the testing methodology has simply become more
sensitive in recent years? After all, many of us work in developing
fields where improvements in instrument sensitivity are continuous and on-
going and it would be daft to assume that the same hasn't also happened
in blood screening. But would they tell us? I doubt it. Any excuse on the
part of our nanny state to wag fingers and tell us we're very, very
naughty. Permissible limits of every natural free/cheap antidepressant
they happen to disapprove of are periodically lowered as we all know:
salt, sugar, fat, alcohol, sunshine, nicotine; the war against quality of
life (other than that obtainable via pricey Big Pharma's chemical
concoctions) is unending. Anyone got any info?
There have always been a band of normal limits for most blood chemistry.
Perhaps you should ask for earlier test information and see if that have
changed, or whether the limits of "normal" have changed.
If it's a one-off unusual result, I would ask for a re-test and
surprised the doc hasn't suggested that already?
another thing in the last two years is that Urine tests throw up blood in
the urine about one time in two. I can understand why, what with hard water
and obvious passing of kidney stones and lifetime stretching of the
urethras, its hardly surprising if the insides get damaged.
From the Sofa of Brian Gaff Reply address is active
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On Sat, 27 Feb 2016 01:19:33 +0000, Fredxxx wrote:
That's the nub of it, yes.
That happened a couple of years ago. I got a "one-off unusual result",
got called back for a re-test after which they told me everything was
fine. I was particularly careful to not modify my regime *one iota*
between those two tests - yet the results improved. I suspect they're
refining their test procedures to be more sensitive to 'red flags' on the
one hand, and shrinking the 'normal range' on the other in order to catch
potential health issues at an earlier stage. But I have nothing to go on
but my hunches. Hence the appeal for info from anyone who might have
inside knowledge of any such recent changes to testing methodology.
On Sat, 27 Feb 2016 00:25:57 -0000 (UTC), Cursitor Doom
Why are you having routine kidney function tests?
Should I be having them? The only proactive test my practice has done
is to call me in to put my arm in an automatic sphygmomanometer in
Or are you in Bupa?
Routine liver function tests are normal if you are on certain, fairly
common, types of medication. At least two of the pills I take require
them, to ensure that they are not causing long term damage.
Liver function can be affected by many things; alcohol is only one of
them. Get another test and if it's the same make sure they follow up by
checking all possibilities.
There are many tests all called 'liver function' and they tell the docs
many different things.
GGT 5-85 iu/l
A.S.T. 5-40 iu/l
A.L.T. 5-36 iu/l
Alkaline Phosphatase 25-130 iu/l
Bilirubin 2-26 umol/l
Some people have permanently elevated bilirubin which gives them very
slightly yellowy tinged eyes, but doesn't do any harm.
Those could well be the reference ranges for the lab you are quoting.
Another lab most definitely is not the same - and it has separate ranges
for M & F. I'll just quote GGT:
Gamma glutamyl transferase
male: 10 - 71 IU/L
female: 6 - 42 IU/L
Varying ranges, whilst understandable, are a hazard in medicine.
All UK pathology labs (including the ones run by charities) now adhere
to national quality controls and standards and the analysers (thanks to
digital electronics and computers) are now pretty well standard across
There was a problem with biochemistry results back in the 70's when I
was a lab technician, because they could vary widely from hospital to
hospital. It was less of a problem with haematology because virtually
every lab used control samples from Coulter electonics, so either they
were all right, or all wrong, or their regular bleaching, cleaning
schedules were a bit amiss. Getting an accurate platelet count back in
the 70's was a problem for even a certain teaching hospital in London.
This was because they weren't using their Autotechnicon platelet counter
properly :-), an issue which we at Barts were well aware of.
It is simply not the case that there are national standards for all lab
tests - neither the units nor the ranges. Were that the case, we would
not need pathology harmony:
They only claim standardisation for FBC (one of the most frequent sets
of blood tests) from 2013. And that is just the units - not the
Though I accept that they all have to adhere to quality standards which
are nationally set. I am advised by my tame lab test developer that some
tests are very much less good than others for clear scientifically
explainable reasons. One I can give you straight off is the possibility
of antibody interference. Some tests are pretty much immune to
interference whereas others are most definitely susceptible. The effect
of the result can be very significant - but the cause would often be
missed (and hence, misinterpreted) by medics.
"By 31st March 2013 units for reporting FBC should be standardised
including the Haemoglobin level and MCHC as g/L"
♀ 7 – 33 IU/L;
♂ 11 – 51 IU/L)
GGT GAMMA GLUTAMYL TRANSFERASE (GGT)
F ( 0 - 31 )
M ( 0 - 58 ) iu/L
Gamma-Glutamyl aminotransferase (GGT)
♂ 0 – 50 U/L
♀ 0 – 32 U/L
In my particular area of interest, which is not liver, I see that though
the units are (mostly) standardised, the ranges are very far from.
Regularly we see ranges where the top of the range for one lab is only
just above the bottom of the range for another lab.
On Sat, 27 Feb 2016 00:25:57 -0000 (UTC), Cursitor Doom
You need to discuss it with your doctor. Unfortunately, some GP
practices seem reluctant to tell their patients any detail about their
test results. Whether this is because they take the old fashioned view
that 'doctor knows best, and the patient must just accept what they
say', or whether they just don't have the time, I don't know, but I'm
sure some of the former still persists. Insist on detailed results and
Might be an age thing: where they test for age related changes. I have
had a similar experience where the NHS were convinced I drank heavily.
Have a look at familial fatty liver syndrome.
This appears to have come down my mother's side of the family and leads
to a type 2 diabetes risk.
I have no idea how they got the idea but, apart from dietary
recommendations and a low dose of Statins they just do a regular liver
My doc almost accused me of being a secret drinker when that gamma thing
test was higher than it should have been. My own hunch is that if you
had a stiff drink the night before the test, you might fail quite
spectacularly. The next test, 3 months later, was normal but I didn't
imbibe the night before.
ISTR reading that the test is regarded as a waste of time in some
Gamma glutamyl transferase (gamma-GT) is pretty sensitive to alcohol
consumption in the short term, and a single elevated result shouldn't
automatically be cause for concern. Your GP should know that.
What you did the day before can upset tests.
I had a kidney function test which gave an alarming result.
I went and read up on the test before going back to the GP, and
discovered you should do no significant exercise or body-building,
nor each more than 100g of protein in the day or two beforehand.
GP didn't know this either. I'd done 1200 kCals on the bike and
eaten half a chicken the night before!
A retest without those gave a normal result.
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
Not really - IIRC it gives the long term results of drinking (and perhaps
If someone is 'done' for drink driving and banned, perhaps for a second
time or with a very high blood alcohol count, they may need to take a
medical before getting their licence back. The idea being it will show if
they drink a lot - therefore likely rarely sober - rather than just
testing for alcohol at that point in time.
*A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory *
Dave Plowman firstname.lastname@example.org London SW
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