21st Sep 2011, 14:42
I just had my biannual Class1 blood test - no problems luckily. But out of curiousity, I would be interested to know which are the key parameters which the doctors scrutinise most closely.
They always mention cholesterol, so I suppose that is one that they examine closely - but which is more important, HDL, LDL or Total?
Which is the parameter which signals if you drink too much alcohol?
21st Sep 2011, 19:06
As far as I know, there are no specific tests related to alcohol, such as blood alcohol tests or Liver Function tests.
In theory, lifestyle choices (alcohol) could have a knock on effect on Hb and sometimes can affect lipid levels (Triglycerides especially) but the relationship is somewhat remote. (In other words, the levels can be abnormal in a non drinker, and normal in an excessive drinker.)
The HDL/LDL/Total question raises even more woolly issues. If you want to know more, have a look at NICE guidance, or take a look at the British Heart Foundation website. It's usual to find parameters outside the range of "normal" but unusual to find them wildly so. I've never heard of any pilot on this forum, (and I've been following these pages for many years), disqualified on lipid levels alone- although a predictor of risk of arteriopathy, it's difficult to relate individual levels to absolute risk. I guess at worse, you're going to come out with some lifestyle advice, (less chips, more apples), or stuck on some tablet for the rest of your life.
You seem to have raised a "self awareness" question regarding alcohol, perhaps this is the forum to explore your concerns further :confused::)
21st Sep 2011, 19:20
Gamma GT is usually seen as a marker of high alcohol consumption although other conditions can cause above average levels.
Normal range is 10-80.
Platelet count is important as > 400 can cause clotting problems (stroke tendency).
21st Sep 2011, 19:44
Gamma GT seems quite an unusual test nowadays, and seems not to be listed on "standard" LFT requests.
(Perhaps since we could buy 24 cans of Fella's 'R' Twoits for a tenner at Tesco's.)
Never come across it on this forum, but think the Courts, (and sometimes the patient) asks for it when they are trying to retrieve their driving licence after drunk driving- seem to remember 2 bans in 10 years triggers a test.
23rd Sep 2011, 16:18
My class 1 involves only a haemaglobin for renewal - no other bloods. I certainly wouldnt volunteer any further tests nor indeed even ask about them. Certainly dont ask your AME
I was told by an ex CMO at the CAA that there was a considerable fight over what bloods were needed for JAR with the Brits wanting none and the Germans wanting several pints worth. The compromise was a haemaglobin which we gave into as it is always normal (or more correctly above the fail level) unless you are really sick.
But to answer the question about blood tests for too much alcohol, there arent any. Gamma GT may be raised but more after binges than constant excess. It doesnt always go up and may even be low as cirrhosis sets in. Sadly if you drink too much for too long you simply get liver failure and then it is a big problem.
However, alcohol in moderation is the only vice that actually prolongs your life - up to three years according to some studies.