Wellness/Direct Access Laboratory

Wellness (Direct Access) Laboratory Testing

FCMC’s Wellness/Direct Access Laboratory in Charles City, Iowa is accredited by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) and offers a full range of services including:

  • Blood collections
  • Specimen testing
  • Health screenings

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  • Iron and Iron Binding deficiency may be seen with insufficient intake, inadequate absorption, or increased requirements, such as may be seen during pregnancy or with acute or chronic blood loss. Iron overload may be acute or chronic.  Acute iron poisoning may occur, especially in children, with the ingestion of iron tablets.  Chronic overload may be due to excessive intake, hereditary hemochromatosis and multiple blood transfusions or due to other conditions.
  • Urine Microalbumin is an early indicator of possible kidney damage. The National Kidney Foundation recommends that Type I diabetics (insulin dependent) over the age of 12 and Type 2 diabetics (non-insulin dependent) under the age of 70 be screened every year.
    • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Creatinine are waste products measured primarily to assess kidney function. Concentration of these in the body depends upon the rate of productions by the liver and the rate of removal by the kidneys.  High values indicate that blood flow through the kidneys is reduced and that they are not filtering waste from the blood properly, that a high protein diet has been eaten, that there has been excessive destruction of cellular proteins of the body (fever or massive infections), or that there has been an obstruction to urine excretion.  Low values are not usually associated with disease.
  • Hematology is an assessment of the cellular portion of the blood.
    • WBC (White Blood Cell Count) is an indicator of the status of the body’s defense system against infection.  Elevated counts indicate a bacterial infection while low WBCs and indicate a virus.
    • RBC (Red Blood Cell Count) is a count of the RBCs in a measured amount of blood.  This represents the ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the tissues.  Low counts are associated with anemia and problems with the manufacture of new RBCs.  The indices (MCV, MCH, MCHC) deal with the size and ‘hemoglobin’ content of the cell.
    • HGB (Hemoglobin) is the portion of the RBC that actually carries the oxygen.  Low values indicate anemia.
    • HCT (Hematocrit) compares the amount of cells to the amount of serum (fluid) in a blood sample. This test is also used for diagnosing anemia.
    • Platelets are important in the blood clotting process.

Significant abnormalities in any area of the Hematology Wellness Panel should be brought to the attention of your health care provider.

  • Cholesterol and Lipids are fats. Fats are important in the diet for proper function of many bodily functions.  However, elevated amounts of cholesterol and triglycerides increase your risk of stroke and heart disease.  Triglycerides act as a major form of energy.  Elevated levels of triglycerides may be due to diets high in carbohydrates and calories or by high alcohol intake.  Atherosclerosis refers to the deposition of fatty substances, largely cholesterol, in the walls of the arteries.  Total cholesterol is composed of three fractions:
  • High Density Lipoproteins (HDL), Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL).  HDL comprises some of the total cholesterol and because of its significance in coronary heart disease; we measure it and calculate the other fractions.  High values of HDL (good cholesterol) tend to protect against atherosclerosis.  HDL may be increased with exercise.  LDL (bad cholesterol) may be decreased by lowering the saturated fat intake in your diet or by medication.
  • Glucose, or blood sugar, is the most frequently ordered of all clinical chemistry tests and is primarily a screen for diabetes or hypoglycemia. The pancreas manufactures insulin, which converts sugars into a usable form of energy for the body.  This test is greatly affected if you are not fasting.
  • Calcium is a mineral that forms bones and is used to detect parathyroid gland problems. It’s important in promoting blood coagulation, in the conduction of nerve impulses, and in muscle contractility.
  • Alkaline phosphatase, AST (SGOT), and ALT (SGPT) are enzymes. An enzyme is a molecule that promotes chemical reactions.  These enzymes are released when certain cells primarily from the liver, heart, and other organ systems are damaged.  When elevated, these enzymes can help determine the area of trauma.  Levels may vary with the time span since the injury.  Alkaline phosphatase is associated with the bone, liver, or placenta. AST is present in skeletal, heart, and liver cells. ALT is present in very high amounts in liver and kidney with smaller amounts in skeletal and heart muscles.  ALT is more liver specific than
  •  Total Protein in the blood refers to proteins in the blood that are indicators of your general health, nutrition, and defense against infection.  Low values are associated with kidney, liver, and/or bowel disease.  High values may indicate that a disease process may be causing your body to overproduce various proteins.
  • Uric Acid is the end product of urine (amino acid) metabolism. Elevations are sometimes observed in renal failure, gout, excessive cell destruction, some neoplasms, alcohol consumption, psoriasis, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, congestive heart failure and heart attack or damage.
  • Potassium and Sodium are two of the body’s principal minerals, found primarily inside the cell (potassium) or outside the cell (sodium). They help maintain water balance as well as proper function of nerves and muscles.  Low or high levels of potassium are of critical significance, especially if you are taking a diuretic or heart medication.  Low levels can occur after prolonged fluid loss (vomiting or diarrhea), in renal disease and from taking diuretics.  Side-effects of sodium deficiency include cramps, lethargy, nausea, and weakness.  Elevated sodium values are associated with dehydration.
  • TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) and Free T4 are excellent indicators of thyroid function. Unexplained weight gain or loss, heart palpitations and tiredness may be a few symptoms of abnormal thyroid function. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is reflected by an increase in TSH and a decrease in Free T4.  Conversely, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) results in low TSH and an elevated Free T4.
  • PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is prostate specific but not prostate cancer PSA levels can also be elevated in a number of other conditions, such as benign prostatic hypertrophy (non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate), prostatitis (inflammation or infection of the prostate), and after manipulation of the prostate (i.e. after a prostate biopsy or urinary catheterization).  The American Cancer Society recommends annual PSA and digital rectal exams for all men beginning at age 50.
  • Hemoglobin A1C (Glycohemoglobin) is useful in evaluating the long-term control of blood glucose concentrations in diabetic individuals. It reflects the glucose level over time. It is not considered a substitute for daily glucose monitoring.



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Monday-Friday: 8 am to 4 pm

Accepts: Cash, Check or Credit Card

No appointments are necessary for Wellness/walk-in testing.

If your provider has placed the lab order, please register at the Admissions desk prior to coming to the laboratory.

Laboratory Resources