THANK you to the two readers who wrote in this week requesting answers to queries regarding their blood test results. My advice is given in good faith and in line with current agreed practice and guidelines. However, it cannot be a substitute for consulting your own doctor.

Question - I was told I had “borderline hypothyroidism” and offered either to have treatment or get my blood tests repeated in three months. I’m not sure what to do. Nicole, 32

Answer – Thyroid blood tests are a commonly requested investigation. They are often done to monitor diabetes or heart disease or if a person complains of fatigue or weight gain.

ALSO READ: Be kind to your kidneys says resident GP Dr Zak

Some will go on from subclinical hypothyroidism to develop actual hypothyroidism.

Doctors may choose to observe subclinical hypothyroidism initially. If you complain of symptoms of hypothyroidism, they may offer a trial of treatment straight away to see if this improves your condition and blood test results.

Fatigue is a complex complaint with both physical and psychological causes.

Question – I recently had my NHS health check bloods done and was very surprised to be informed that I may have chronic kidney disease and that the test would need to be repeated. The last time I had them done was before the pandemic, and as far as I am aware, there were no issues. I am 67 but have always considered myself fit and healthy – Don

Bournemouth Echo:

Answer – GFR or glomerular filtration rate is a measure of kidney function. Numbers above 90 are generally not recorded. Numbers less than 60 usually prompt further investigations, especially if this is the first time the GFR has dropped below 60.

You cannot make a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD) on one blood test. Kidney function, also referred to as renal function, is influenced by many factors. Perhaps one of the commonest reasons for a lower number is having not drunk enough water on the day of the test.

As you mention, the first thing to be done is to repeat the test, to see if this is a true figure, or a one-off, especially if your previous tests were normal. Kidney function does decline with age, so this may be a reflection of age-related reduction.

If your second kidney function test comes back at over 60, then it is likely that you do not have anything to worry about and a yearly check should be sufficient.

If it returns as abnormal, then your doctor will look for risk factors for kidney disease, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and manage these appropriately.

There are many lifestyle choices you can make to help prevent kidney disease including exercise, drinking water, not smoking, a low salt diet, and only consuming alcohol in moderation, if at all.

Certain drugs may damage your kidneys, such as ibuprofen.