You may feel fine, but did you know that many of the most common health conditions have few obvious symptoms in their early stages. Having a general health check helps you find out what risks you may have associated with these conditions and take steps to better protect your health before things go too far.
We are familiar with the old adage that ‘prevention is better than cure’, yet in the UK £97bn of public money is spent every year on treating disease and only £8bn on prevention. (1.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46093750).
“If there was a warning light on your car dashboard telling you something was wrong you wouldn’t wait for the car to break down before you address the problem, so why do the same with your health?”, says Dr Joel McCay, Haematologist in North West London, and one of our advisors here at Melio.
Fear of finding out
So what’s behind this hesitancy to take control of our own health and wellbeing?
The well-researched ‘Fear Of Finding Out’ phenomenon (2.https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/fear-of-finding-out-identifying-psychological-barriers-to-diagnosis-in-the-uk#) has shown that people put off going to their doctor for lots of reasons. They might be worried they will receive bad news, be nervous about the consultation as a whole, or have concerns about how a diagnosis could affect their family.
But just because you don’t go and find out about it, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. “There are many small changes that happen to our bodies over time – often over decades – that can impact our longevity and quality of life”, says Joel, “and a lot of health conditions have symptoms that are very vague.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on our general health, adding another cumulative layer of issues on top of those many people were already experiencing.
“Lockdowns, restrictions and uncertainty have had a huge impact on our lifestyles over the past year and a bit”, say Joel. “People are experiencing more anxiety. They are maybe moving less, eating more and consuming more alcohol so things like their lipid levels – the fat and cholesterol in blood – or blood sugar may be higher. If they are drinking more alcohol their liver function may also be affected. And staying indoors means many of us are suffering from low levels of vitamin D, which has a proven range of negative health consequences."
Knowing, not guessing
“Even if you feel fine”, says Joel, “how do you know that you are actually ok rather than just tolerating gradual changes over time, compensating for them and being stoic or not thinking too much about it because you think “that’s just what happens to us as we get older”?”
All of these issues have a cumulative effect over time, but if you know what’s happening to you today, you have a chance to make the lifestyle changes that can help you avoid significant problems in years to come.
“This is why we encourage people to take control of their own health from a position of ‘knowing, not guessing’”, says Joel.
Check your baseline
The first step is to find out what your “baseline” of health is at present, which is what a general health check can do.
Designed by our medical team, the Melio General Health Check examines up to 52 different biomarkers to provide an overview of your current health status in relation to eight key areas:
Vitamins, minerals and iron levels·
Inflammation and infection·
Full Blood Count·
and, for men taking this test, we also check PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels, as high levels are often associated with prostate cancer
The results enable our experts to design your personal medical report and offer lifestyle advice about how to reduce any apparent health risks, as well as signposting you to further help and support from your pharmacist or GP if needed.
Track your health progress
When it comes to staying healthy and getting fit, you can’t change what you can’t measure, which is why the quality of any health check you have done is so important.
“Hundreds of people have taken our health checks already”, says Joel, “and we rarely find any disease. It’s usually just minor problems that can be easily dealt with or managed to prevent disease occurring down the line, but so often these are things that may not manifest with obvious symptoms.”
It’s also hard to get general checks on the NHS as doctors simply don’t have the time to do them, so once you’ve had a general health check done Joel and our medical team recommends getting retested every 3-6 months. “If you know your baseline and then make small lifestyle changes over time, getting a retest lets you track the results of the changes you’ve made in real life and match them to your biochemical health.This can help you understand more about why you had the initial results you got in the first place.”
With results sent directly to your mobile within 24-48 hours, it’s the fastest way to find out what you can do to protect your own health, instead of having to guess.
Check your health status today
If you want to find out more about your overall health you can book a General Health Check directly via Melio, at a time that suits you.
A trained health professional at one of our partner clinics will perform the blood draw, and send the sample to one of our UKAS accredited labs. All test results are individually checked by one of our in-house doctors, who will also write you a personal medical report with any further advice and guidance you may need.
Book your General Health Check blood test click here or use the chat button if you’d like talk to one of our specially trained advisors for more information.