It’s impossible to make sense of the headlines when it comes to health and wellbeing guidelines, do we need two or twenty portions of fruit and veg a day? We read these stories about burnt toast increasing chances of cancer or stories about preparing rice which you REALLY wished you got told about earlier in life and the stories keep coming. The choices we make are now based on a heavy consciousness full of news stories, beliefs held from childhood and emotional feeling. It’s hard to know what’s right and what’s not right.
I’ve been after some specific health advice for a little while now, at some point in the last 10 years of my adult life I have felt an ache or pain and taken to the internet where I have inevitably mis-diagnosed myself. So when I checked into One Stop Doctors in Hemel Hempstead I was surprised to receive some really specific advice about what I should be doing, me and me only, to improve my way of life.
I was so eager to get over here that when I walked through the double doors and into the reception room, I suddenly panicked – what if they actually find a problem with me? Biting back the nerves, I answered the pre-consultation questionnaire which reviews your levels of stress and anxiety and braced myself for the next couple of hours ahead.
Let’s talk about health
One Stop Doctors offer three different types of health assessments which are basically health MOTs. The health assessments tend to last two hours, in that time, you go through a series of tests with a nurse before seeing a GP for a full hour should you wish. You will also be asked to give a urine test and a blood test to screen for any allergies or infections.
For me, the most interesting part was the tests that the nurse takes you through:
- Kidney function check
- Cholesterol check
- Liver function check
- Anaemia check
- Hearing check
- Liver function check
- Thyroid check
- Vision test
- BMI check including body fat %
I hold my hands up and admit that I sometimes run away from things like checking my weight or keeping an eye on my BMI. I’ve been airing on the side of caution with BMI for years, it doesn’t truly reflect the distribution of fat across the body but at the same time, it’s a universally used scale which can be used to determine risk of heart disease.
Here is a picture of me looking a bit bewildered as I see the results to my body fat %.
As part of screening my overall health, it’s important to look at the heart and it’s function. With the cholesterol and diabetes check lined up to happen afterwards, we looked at my resting heart rate with the help of an ECG monitor.
The nurse looked at me and confirmed that all the cardio and aerobic activity I’ve been doing has been paying off, with 50bpm my heart is strong and happy. It’s suddenly made me think that all of these challenges I put myself through, the sprint triathlons, half marathons and duathlons all have an immense effect on the strength and power of my heart…
Find out the effects of heart rate training here
The good and the bad
Despite initial nerves, the results to the tests came back generally OK.
One surprising little statistic was around my Cholesterol levels which were a little on the high side at 5.8, anything under 5.0 is considered optimal. We generally need to eat more HCL Cholesterol and less LDL Cholesterol, this includes things like butter, cheese, red meat, bacon and sausages – basically all the ingredients for a fry up 🙁 .
One less surprising point of feedback was around my high stress and anxiety levels, going freelance has been a breathe of fresh air for me but with it comes a whole host of worries and concerns. I was given a few really useful strategies of managing stress and anxiety as well as recommendations for getting further help.
The selection of tests offered as part of the health assessment are vast and varied, they opened my eyes up to slightly higher results but also put my mind at ease with the results that come back normal. While good health can often be reflected by key indicators; hair, skin and nails there can be sometimes be warning signs that go undetected which is where time with your healthcare professional becomes valuable.
If you are ever worried about something, start a diary, record when it happens, how painful it is and what you ate/drunk before it happens, this will help give your healthcare professional a good understanding of frequency and pain levels.
Private healthcare is a real luxury but if you do feel like you need a more thorough check up to put your mind at ease, I would recommend checking in with One Stop Doctors.
Find out more about One Stop Assessments here.
In exchange for this blog post, One Stop Doctors invited me to experience an Absolute Health Assessment, all opinions are sincerely my own.