Our patient is a man who has just turned 40. We will call him John. His partner bought him a for full body MOT at our Harley Street Medical Centre. He was offered a series of tests to assess his risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart and kidney disease.
We started with a cholesterol test. A tiny pinprick of blood is taken from a finger and put on a cartridge, then into a machine. A number is displayed. We know that high cholesterol can lead to blocked arteries associated with stroke and heart attack. The recommended score for total cholesterol should be lower than five.
John’s cholesterol test showed slightly raised levels of 5.53. He tells us that he thinks he eats too many dairy products although he is not overweight at 6ft with a size 34inch waist. With no family history of heart problems we advise John to cut down on his dairy and sugar intake and return in a month.
Next, a urine test because John has asked us how best to keep his kidneys healthy. A stick is dipped in the urine sample that changes colour as chemicals react with any protein in the sample. The presence of high protein in the urine can indicate kidney disease, a problem that is increasingly seen due to high blood sugar readings and high blood pressure. Early treatment in this case would be essential.
John’s testing strip turns yellow, his kidney function is completely normal.
Blood Pressure Testing
An inflatable cuff is strapped around John’s upper arm and inflated until it squeezes tight, then the air is released slowly. High blood pressure increases the risk of serious vascular health problems such as a stroke, heart attack, as well as kidney disease. This condition is often symptomless.
There are two numbers to look at:
Systolic - the highest level John’s blood pressure reaches when his heart beats Diastolic - the lowest level John’s blood pressure reaches as his heart relaxes between beats.
Ideal readings are between 90/60 and 140/90 so at 107/60, John’s are excellent.
Body Mass Index (Bmi)
BMI is an indicator of how healthy John’s weight is. A high reading indicates obesity, with a higher risk of everything from diabetes to certain cancers. BMI is calculated by dividing weight in kg’s by height in metres squared.
At 91kg and with a BMI of 25.2, John is considered just overweight. We advise John to eat breakfast, which he does not normally do, as this is an important meal. Without it, the body goes into lockdown and stores energy as fat.
This measurement indicates a risk of diabetes more than just considering BMI alone. John is measured around his belly button. Men should measure less than 37” and women 31.5”.
With a 34” waist, John is in the safe area. After his MOT, he lost 2kg, putting his BMI in the healthy bracket, by cutting down on his dairy products, eating breakfast and taking more exercise.
Overall Score For Cardiovascular Disease Risk
There is more than one risk for cardiovascular disease so different elements were considered, such as John’s age, sex, blood pressure, his smoking and his cholesterol levels.
John is judged to have a less than 10% chance of developing heart disease over the next 10 years. But he did admit to smoking a couple of cigarettes a day. We advised him to stop.
John could have had other tests such as diabetes screening and a liver function test, but due to his history and lack of health problems, it was thought unnecessary. For the most part our bodies are incredibly resilient, but by checking your health, at our walk in clinic in London you can make changes for private health care and the chance of living a better life for longer.