A friend of mine took a blood test called “Well Man UltraVit” twice in a period of 3 months. The reason for the 2nd test in close succession was due to the 1st set of results being quite bad! I thought it would be interesting to anonymously share the results and see what’s changed over this period of time. Also, this is a good test to verify how accurate the Medichecks service is as I would expect to see results from the same person to fall within a similar range.
From a preventative perspective, it’s great that health testing is becoming so accessible. Being able to see issues early which you can (hopefully) do something about can only be a good thing. I don’t feel the need to take out an expensive healthcare plan in later life. My plan is to stay healthy with exercise and a good diet while also doing periodic checks. Although you could probably get some of these tests for free on the NHS, the convenience and accessibility of Medichecks and similar services are undeniable.
My friend’s stats
If anyone needed a kick up the arse for making serious lifestyle changes, then it’s my friend! Stats below:
|Cigarettes per day||40|
|Alcohol units per week||60|
After you’ve sent your blood sample to Medichecks you receive an email a few days later with all your results accessible through an online dashboard. Each item below can be expanded upon with in-depth details. Moreover, there’s a comprehensive write up given by a doctor.
I thought it would be interesting to call out a few results of note and look at how the results have changed over a 3 month period.
The best news from the 2nd test was a significant change in the level of inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the leading cause of heart disease so undoubtedly, this is good news. The doctor mentioned on the 1st test that the high inflammation reading may be related to a recent infection which was the case (a bout of food poisoning).
Haemoglobin and haematocrit
The doctor’s write up included this extract: “You have an increased level of haemoglobin and haematocrit. This finding is common in people who exercise regularly and also in those who smoke. If this is an unexpected finding then I recommend discussing it further with your GP. ” This is spot on, his high reading obviously isn’t due to overexercise!
Haemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells which carries oxygen around the body. This test measures the amount of haemoglobin in the blood and is a good measure of the blood’s ability to carry oxygen around the body. Haematocrit measures the amount of space within the blood that is taken up by red blood cells.
ALT (liver health)
The 2 results stayed within a similar range and both above the recommended measure. Alanine transferase (ALT) is an enzyme which is mostly found in the liver. If the liver is damaged, ALT leaks into the bloodstream. As ALT is predominantly found in the liver, it is usually an accurate marker for liver inflammation and can indicate liver damage caused by alcohol, fatty liver, drugs or hepatitis.
Uric acid (gout risk)
Again, the 2 results stayed within a similar range and both above the recommended measure. In healthy people, uric acid is excreted by the kidneys in urine, however, if levels are too high to excrete then uric acid can begin to accumulate and can be deposited as crystals in the bodily tissues.
There was a 37% improvement with the 2nd test which can only be attributed to additional sun exposure with the summer months in the UK + my friend spent 1 week in sunny Spain. Vitamin D is essential for bone strength, however, it is thought that vitamin D also plays an important role in immune function, many chronic diseases and mental health.
There was a big increase on the 2 blood test result. LDL cholesterol is commonly referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’ and can cause fatty deposits to accumulate inside artery walls, potentially leading to atherosclerosis and heart disease.
There was a big increase with the 2 blood test again. Triglycerides are a type of fat that circulates in the blood. A common reason for elevated triglycerides is that you have recently eaten; this wasn’t the case with my friend as he fasted for 12 hours before the test.
I was impressed when reading and comparing the results. I know the context (my friend’s unhealthy lifestyle) which is apparent in the readings. Also, seeing a tangible positive change in a small amount of time (getting sunshine) with the vitamin D test was fascinating. Human’s haven’t evolved to handle abstract risk, so seeing something written down and visualised can help us take action. My friend has recently joined a gym, so let’s see if a sustainable change is made going forward.