MOST people know how to live a healthy lifestyle – but how much do you really know about your health?
Diagnostic tests or monitoring usually takes place because of a specific issue, rather than to check general health.
For those aged between 40 and 74, the NHS offers health checks but for a more in-depth MOT, covering everything from a full blood screening to emotional wellbeing, I underwent a 360+ Health Assessment at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital.
After having my son 15 months ago, I knew my health had declined, with juggling motherhood and work taking its toll on my activity levels, diet and energy. Broken sleep has led to me reaching for caffeine and sugary snacks to get through the day.
So it was with a little trepidation that I arrived at the Leeds city centre hospital for the series of tests.
Health checks are delivered by Nuffield Health physiologists but before the appointment, clients fill in a detailed online questionnaire on their medical history and lifestyle.
On the day, regional clinical lead physiologist Martyn Cutts firstly took a blood sample before checking measurements including my blood pressure, weight and height and calculating my BMI.
Then I underwent other tests including lung function, body fat, ECG and hydration, as well as a special scan of my spine to check posture and core stability.
This was followed by a session with a specialist doctor, who discussed the results of my blood tests and carried out a physical examination as well as answering my questions.
Finally it was the aerobic fitness test on an exercise bike, as well as a new test which assesses the communication between the heart and the brain by measuring variations in the heart rhythm.
Unsurprisingly, the overall results showed my BMI was too high and I definitely needed to up my exercise levels and make some changes to my diet. The last part of the morning was spent discussing how I would do this and setting specific goals, like taking up a pram exercise class.
Thankfully the assessment didn’t pick up any serious concerns, though my blood test showed I was fighting a minor infection, even though I was unaware – I’d just got used to feeling generally under the weather.
My risk of cardiovascular problems was pleasingly low, as was my cholesterol – a reading I was especially interested in as it had never been measured before.
Though they didn’t hold many surprises, the results provided a fascinating picture of my health and encouraged me to look after myself a little better.
* Book via 0333 220 4493, quote Health Check 15 for 15% off.
What the test involves
Tests included: waist circumference; hydration levels; full biochemistry profile; computerised spinal assessment; cardiovascular risk score. For male clients it includes a testicular examination, and for men over 50, a prostate cancer blood test. For female clients it includes a breast examination, pelvic examination and cervical smear if wanted.
Results are discussed on the day and in a written report provided. Visit www.nuffieldhealth.com/health-assessments for information.