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Thread: The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

  1. #1
    white43 is offline Member
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    Default The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

    Individual Test
    I am male, 41. Largely sedentary, clinically obese. Previous history of alcohol abuse and recent consumption of alcohol in the range of 22-24 UK alcohol units a day (179g), about six nights a week.
    I have diabetes type 2, but diet controlled. Suffer from gout, but controlled by gout medication (Allopurinol). I smoke a couple of rollups a day, but will attempt to stop during this period because smoking may raise CDT levels.(see below)

    I had been led to believe that CDT would take 2-4 weeks to correct itself, but further reading(on this forum) revealed contradictory evidence with other researchers claiming 12 weeks was necessary dependent on amount drank and period. I decided to try to give myself as long as possible in abstinence and have decided to purchase private CDT Tests to give some guidance to myself and hopefully others.

    I take the following supplements: Mega dose vitamins, Magnesium, Taurine, Milk Thistle, Zinc, Omega 3 and an iron supplement to avoid any iron deficiency that may cause CDT levels to be elevated. (See below)

    Conflicting arguments
    Different independent studies have indicated a half life of CDT being anywhere between 7 and 17 days; this has resulted in some studies claiming that CDT levels return to normal 2 to 4 weeks and others indicating a longer time of 1-2 months. Some speculate it could take as long as 12 weeks or 3 months to return to normal.

    Some studies indicate binge drinking once a week will can elevate CDT levels. Others indicate not. Likewise, it has been argued that smoking can elevate CDT levels.

    Several studies have indicated that iron can play a role in CDT levels. Low levels of iron can raise CDT levels, conversely high levels can cause a low level reading.

    Obesity and high cholesterol has been argued to produce lower level CDT readings as it appears to reduce the sensitivity of the test. Medications may also reduce CDT levels. Women who abuse alcohol may have higher CDT levels, but the test appears to be more accurate in males.

    20/02/2016
    I received application form from DVLA, exactly three months to the end of my ban.

    At this stage, I was still drinking regularly (at levels indicated above) and began abstinence from this date. Decided to hold off submitting application for 4 weeks, to gain a month’s abstinence and test CDT levels before and after this. Based on the result of the 2nd test, I will determine hopefully in what part of the DVLA six week window I would book an appointment for the DVLA test for.

    23/02/2016
    First blood test submitted to find a baseline CDT level. Takes 5 working days (medichecks)
    RESULT: 0.9% 29/02/2016*

    21/03/2016
    Second blood test submitted to see a result after 4 weeks.
    RESULT:

    * So I wasn't expecting this result merely days after I was consuming large amounts of alcohol. If this result is correct, some factors that may influence it are potentially, being obese, having high cholesterol(this makes the test . Unknown factors - supplementation, see above. I have no idea if this is influencing the result. I'd get a test done with someone else, but it's kinda pricey! I didn't start taking iron until the day of the test.

    Of course, the test could be completely wrong!
    Last edited by white43; 02-29-2016 at 09:45 AM.


  2. #2
    shouldaknownbetter is offline Established Member
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    Default Re: The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

    0.9%? Wow!! That's interesting and unexpected..Will you continue to abstain until the next test? Interested to see what reading you get in three weeks time.

  3. #3
    white43 is offline Member
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    Default Re: The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

    Quote Originally Posted by shouldaknownbetter View Post
    0.9%? Wow!! That's interesting and unexpected..Will you continue to abstain until the next test? Interested to see what reading you get in three weeks time.
    As I'm not sure I 100% trust that figure and I don't have the money for more tests, I will still abstain for the next three weeks to the 2nd test.

  4. #4
    shouldaknownbetter is offline Established Member
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    Default Re: The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

    Yes, without being sure of the reliability of the lab and their procedures, it would be best to abstain. It's just a shame about the expense if the results are inaccurate. Or you might be a medical anomaly! Keep us posted.

  5. #5
    white43 is offline Member
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    Default Re: The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

    Another update.

    After two weeks of sobriety (and a 0.9% CDT result), I had a particularly difficult week at work and I did drink in the region of 24 units of a Friday night(4th March). Yes, silly. But I somehow justified this to myself by saying I had a 0.9% result and one binge could not knock this up too high!

    By the Sunday night(6th March), I was panicking that the first result could have been wrong and I could have just set myself back.

    I decided to get a blood test through 'privatebloodtests' the next day, which arranges for you to visit a Nuffield hospital, get the blood drawn venously and sent off professionally. This test cost £141. It's not cheap. This is significantly more expensive than the pin prick method offered by 'medichecks'(£79), who I sent the first sample off to myself via special delivery.

    The result came back today(14/03/2016) as a 1%.(one week to get results)

    So, as you can see, the medichecks pinprick* test was as accurate as a venously drawn sample by a Nuffield hospital nurse. The difference between 0.9% and 1% is nothing. Perhaps the rise of 0.01% is attributable to the binge I had three days before.

    *(The pinprick is not simply a blob of blood, your finger is lanced and you 'massage out' a significant amount of blood into a blood sample tube.)

    Unfortunately, it doesn't explain my low results. The first result of 0.9% is the most baffling, as I was definitely drinking large amounts of alcohol(around 22-24 units), daily, before this. The second result follows two weeks of abstinence and one binge, so it's possible.

    I'm beginning to wonder if I am exhibiting false negatives for some reason. I can only reiterate what I said before, I supplement with : Mega dose vitamins, Magnesium(400-800mg), Taurine(4g), Milk Thistle(x3 daily), Zinc and Omega 3 (1g EPA). My milk thistle is advertised as 5700MG. I have no idea if this helps or not. I did start taking Iron, but it's clear I don't need to. I've been taking statins for 2/3 weeks and this hasn't changed the result.

    With this second result under my belt, I am no longer delaying and have sent my application off today(14/03/2016), with a cheque, as I refuse to pay £11 for the privilege of a postal order! So I'm expecting some sort of response in three weeks from DVLA.

    I don't think the blood test will be the problem, it's me answering 'Yes' to a couple of the questions that I found on the DVLA Medical questionnaire here.....:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...0711/DR1V_.pdf
    Last edited by white43; 03-14-2016 at 04:33 PM.

  6. #6
    Mclanelli is offline Established Member
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    Default Re: The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

    Quote Originally Posted by white43 View Post
    Another update.

    After two weeks of sobriety (and a 0.9% CDT result), I had a particularly difficult week at work and I did drink in the region of 24 units of a Friday night(4th March). Yes, silly. But I somehow justified this to myself by saying I had a 0.9% result and one binge could not knock this up too high!

    By the Sunday night(6th March), I was panicking that the first result could have been wrong and I could have just set myself back.

    I decided to get a blood test through 'privatebloodtests' the next day, which arranges for you to visit a Nuffield hospital, get the blood drawn venously and sent off professionally. This test cost £141. It's not cheap. This is significantly more expensive than the pin prick method offered by 'medichecks'(£79), who I sent the first sample off to myself via special delivery.

    The result came back today(14/03/2016) as a 1%.(one week to get results)

    So, as you can see, the medichecks pinprick* test was as accurate as a venously drawn sample by a Nuffield hospital nurse. The difference between 0.9% and 1% is nothing. Perhaps the rise of 0.01% is attributable to the binge I had three days before.

    *(The pinprick is not simply a blob of blood, your finger is lanced and you 'massage out' a significant amount of blood into a blood sample tube.)

    Unfortunately, it doesn't explain my low results. The first result of 0.9% is the most baffling, as I was definitely drinking large amounts of alcohol(around 22-24 units), daily, before this. The second result follows two weeks of abstinence and one binge, so it's possible.

    I'm beginning to wonder if I am exhibiting false negatives for some reason. I can only reiterate what I said before, I supplement with : Mega dose vitamins, Magnesium(400-800mg), Taurine(4g), Milk Thistle(x3 daily), Zinc and Omega 3 (1g EPA). My milk thistle is advertised as 5700MG. I have no idea if this helps or not. I did start taking Iron, but it's clear I don't need to. I've been taking statins for 2/3 weeks and this hasn't changed the result.

    With this second result under my belt, I am no longer delaying and have sent my application off today(14/03/2016), with a cheque, as I refuse to pay £11 for the privilege of a postal order! So I'm expecting some sort of response in three weeks from DVLA.

    I don't think the blood test will be the problem, it's me answering 'Yes' to a couple of the questions that I found on the DVLA Medical questionnaire here.....:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...0711/DR1V_.pdf
    From what I understand and have read, your CD level can take 7 to 10 days to increase from alcohol consumption. So on that basis it could be possible to take the same test again latter and see an increased CDT level; despite no further alcohol consumption.

    I doubt it would be high enough to cause a problem even if there was an increase.

    I've read that a lot of people don't respond to the CDT Test. Alcoholics by all accounts have been known to score really low on the scale.

    With regards to sending the cheque; it doesn't delay the process at all. In fact there are suggestions that a postal order can take longer due to DVLA internal processes. People have received the DVLA doctor letter with a date mark inside the seven day cheque clearing period. So they send out confirmation of you medical once the cheque is received; not once it has been cashed.

    Regards
    M

  7. #7
    white43 is offline Member
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    Default Re: The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

    Quote Originally Posted by Mclanelli View Post
    From what I understand and have read, your CD level can take 7 to 10 days to increase from alcohol consumption. So on that basis it could be possible to take the same test again latter and see an increased CDT level; despite no further alcohol consumption.

    I doubt it would be high enough to cause a problem even if there was an increase.

    I've read that a lot of people don't respond to the CDT Test. Alcoholics by all accounts have been known to score really low on the scale.

    With regards to sending the cheque; it doesn't delay the process at all. In fact there are suggestions that a postal order can take longer due to DVLA internal processes. People have received the DVLA doctor letter with a date mark inside the seven day cheque clearing period. So they send out confirmation of you medical once the cheque is received; not once it has been cashed.

    Regards
    M
    I do wonder whether I don't respond to CDT. I had been drinking longer than 10 days prior to my first test and then it was over 14 days to my second test and there was no rise. My first test should have showed sustained and heavy drinking but did not. CDT is elevated after at least 2 weeks of at least 50-100g alcohol daily to get to a 3%. Even if we supposed that when I ceased drinking, a further 7-10 days would show an increase, it didn't - but CDT falls immediately from cessation of alcohol drinking.

    That's somewhat of a relief to hear that they won't wait for the cheque to clear. I'd like to get on with this now.

  8. #8
    white43 is offline Member
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    Default Re: The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

    I received my letter from the DVLA today (26th March) dated the 22nd March. Presumably it would have arrived yesterday if not for the bank holiday weekend!

    This looks like it's taking them a week to process and reply as they had my application on the 15th March. The cheque has not cleared yet, so this does not delay.

    The letter states to wait 4 working dates from receipt to book an appointment with the DVLA appointed GP. The GP is not in my town, although mine is quite small with about 4/5 practices.

    I shall make appointment this week. Will try Tuesday which is sooner than they advise as above but will try.

  9. #9
    shouldaknownbetter is offline Established Member
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    Default Re: The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

    Hi white43.

    I called the GP surgery the day I received my letter and there was no problem, they knew who I was. I read it as the date of the actual medical exam being more than 4 days from receipt of the letter. As I understand it, this is to ensure that the medical 'kit' specifically for you has arrived at the surgery but a moot point anyway, what with the bank holiday in the way. I think they're erratic when it comes to waiting for cheques to clear, I'm sure they sent my letter after my cheque cleared.

    I do feel it is quite wrong that they tell you which surgery to attend. The 'nearest' surgery to me was in a town that is only 13 miles away but definitely not the easiest to get to as it involves a 56 minute train journey and a 20 minute walk. If you're given a list of franchise surgeries, it would be possible to at least choose one near to your place of work meaning that you only need to take a half day off work. I think it's deliberate to make things as difficult as possible but that's by the bye... I found that the surgery that I was assigned to only hold the DD medical clinic on one morning each week so you may not be able to pick and choose an appointment time. Keep us posted..

  10. #10
    Mclanelli is offline Established Member
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    Default Re: The DVLA Medical test, CDT and an individual case study

    Convicted Driver Insurance Quotes
    If you have trouble contacting the surgery you can phone the DVLA medical team and they will give you alternative surgeries; but they wont be as close to the original allocation, as this will be the nearest based on your post code location.

    Often the DVLA doctor will travel regionally on set dates to different surgery locations to complete the medicals. So that's why you are usually given set dates and times on when you can attend.

    In terms of the medical there is no "kit" sent in anticipation of your arrival. You will be asked a series of questions, all based on the last three years. You will then be asked to sign the questionnaire and sign the disclosure form for your GP; should the DVLA need to use it. You will also need your GP's name and surgery address.

    You will then have your blood pressure taken.

    Next you will have a basic eye test, and your height and weight checked and recorded. From this the doctor works out your BMI.

    When you arrive at reception you will be given a pot to pee in; and you will be told to do this in the public toilets and keep hold of your sample. At this point in the medical the doctor will ask you for that pee sample and carry out several strip tests for drugs, glucose, and micro blood. If glucose or blood is present; depending on the amount, the doctor will advise you of what to do next. Basically you would be told to make an appointment with your GP to get this checked further. If illegal drugs are present the doctor wont tell you.

    Then you will have your blood taken.

    Then you will pay the doctor. £96.00 or £96.00 plus VAT, which they round up to £118.00. This will only apply if the doctor is VAT registered. In either case you will then be given a receipt.

    The doctor will be allowed 2 weeks grace before the DVLA chase him/her for the questionnaire. Your blood work is picked up by a medical courier usually the next day; and it takes approximately one week for the results to be forwarded on to the DVLA's medical team. If the DVLA need to write to your GP then they allow 4 weeks grace before they chase them for the questionnaire. In each case you can phone and speed this process up.

    M

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