When you can’t put your finger on a health problem, a GP appointment is usually your first port of call. Whether it’s tiredness or a tickly cough, an itchy rash or just a funny feeling, docs will give you a once over and maybe ship you off to hospital for a blood test or two.
Money is tight right now, but if you could skip the waiting room and sort your health out in one fell swoop, wouldn’t it be worth it? Well, for £149 you can get a one-time Well Man/Woman comprehensive blood test that’ll pick up everything from diabetes to diseases – and even organ failure!
“If you’re under 50, you can’t have a blood test on the NHS unless they suspect a problem,” says Dr Tom Van De Bossche, from The London Medical Laboratory. “If you can afford the one-off fee, taking this test every year is worth it.”
Here’s what this blood MOT can tell you…
How it works
The London Medical Laboratory offers 18 finger-prick home testing kits but only the Well Man/Woman profiles cover all bases at once. This can only be completed with the help of a professional in a store or pharmacy.
It tests a whopping 41 biomarkers (39 for men) from cholesterol to thyroid, kidney and liver function, hormones, minerals, muscle and bone health, gout and inflammation.
An in-house doctor will send you a report on your results the next day, highlighting any areas of concern and suggesting if you need to see a GP.
When to worry
A health MOT may spot illnesses you weren’t aware of. It can be frightening, but you’re in good hands. Dr Van De Bossche explains, “A big one we often find is diabetes, due to high glucose levels. It takes a while to start having symptoms, like excessive thirst and toilet visits, so when we find it, it’s already in the late stages.
“An office worker recently took the Well Man test and learned he had severe diabetes. Doctors said it was amazing he was alive. It was a scary revelation but he’s now getting the treatment he needs.”
When not to worry
When we have a blood test in hospital, via a GP, we often don’t get the full picture of what our results really mean.
Testing high or low for certain things isn’t always bad, says Dr Van De Bossche. “Take cholesterol as an example. LDL (low density lipoprotein) is bad cholesterol but HDL (high density) is good – the more you have, the better.
“If we didn’t have cholesterol, we’d be dead instantly – it’s what makes up the majority of our brain. It is carried through our bodies by lipoproteins but LDL is bigger and can block blood vessels – a red flag for a heart attack or stroke.
“But HDL removes LDL from your bloodstream and high levels can lower your risk of heart disease.”
Writer Kirsten Jones gave the test a try…
As a fairly healthy 30-something female, I wasn’t expecting any surprises from my blood test. In fact, it turns out I’m actually one of the most fighting-fit humans the lab has tested.
Once I get over the shock of my results, Dr Van De Bossche talks me through the details.
“This is one of the best blood results I’ve ever seen – there aren’t many people like you,” he says. “Your fertility hormones, iron levels, thyroid and liver function are top-notch. Only one thing stood out. You have low vitamin D, which is very common in the UK, even in the summer.”
Nothing new there, as a milky Brit who spends five days a week in front of a computer screen. Supplements to the rescue!
“Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. You’re in the top 1% and I’m jealous. Your renal function is excellent,” he adds. “Anything above 60 is normal and you’ve got 111!”
But it’s important to note a healthy 50-year-old might have different result to mine – and that’s OK.
“These figures can drop as you age, it’s all part of getting older and we take this into account,” explains Dr Van De Bossche.
What the future holds
Did you know scientists are developing an at-home blood test that could diagnose cancer early?
Dr Van De Bossche says, “After 50 years of war against cancer, treatment is still basic radiation or chemo. If you catch it soon enough, many cancers are curable. But this blood test could tell you way in advance, even before you see symptoms.
“One company called Grail Serum says it would be able to diagnose 27 different cancers from the DNA in our bloodstream. It’ll take some time to perfect it, but it’s a real possibility.”
- London Medical Laboratory is the first omni-channel blood testing, diagnostic and health check business in the UK. Choose from 31 different blood tests at londonmedicallaboratory.com
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