Age 40 is generally considered a milestone when the risk of some health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke, increases. This makes the big 4-0 a perfect opportunity to take stock of your health. When people have demanding jobs, ageing parents, growing children, or all of the above, it’s too easy to put your health aside. However, 40 is a great time to evaluate your physical and mental state, so you may plan for a healthy future and optimize your lifestyle.
There are many health checks out there for this time of life, ranging from free NHS checks to the Preventicum health assessment that costs a whopping £6000. There are also mid-range private health checks offered by BUPA, Bluecrest and Nuffield which are more in-depth and do not cost the earth.
The NHS health check is offered to everyone from the age of 40 and it is extended every five years to people between the ages of 40 and 74, although it is not currently available in all areas of the UK. The tests performed are quite basic and are primarily intended to spot those at risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and at risk of developing diabetes. NHS patients are encouraged to improve lifestyle choices, and medication may be prescribed to manage pre-existing health conditions. Because of funding issues the NHS checks are unable to examine the wider picture of nutrition and hormone health.
In contrast, and very much at the other end of the scale, there are companies such as Preventicum which claims to offer one of the most advanced health assessments in Europe. The check takes an entire day and includes MRIs, ultrasounds, liver scan, blood and urine tests and much, much more. In fact, no kidney stone is left unturned! However, whilst being very thorough and comprehensive, the amount of information in the feedback can be quite confounding as well as leaving a considerable dent in one’s savings.
There is a middle of the road option, for those wanting a more comprehensive test, as private hospital groups such as BUPA, Bluecrest, and Nuffield will do a full body check up for around £300. The one criticism of these check-ups is that they are quite generic; whether you are a 20-year-old fitness addict or a 40-year-old man who hasn’t seen the inside of a gym in 10 years, you will receive the same checks and tests. Clearly, this approach can be problematic because the patient presents as a set of symptoms rather than an individual with a unique situation.
Ideally, the health check should be reasonably priced, thorough and tailored to the individual in order to be truly holistic and beneficial going forward.
Health check with Dr Jeff Foster
The first step in Dr Jeff’s health check is to discuss any symptoms that are bothering the patient, then a full medical history is taken, and review any current medication. He will ask questions about physical and mental health, take a family medical history, and a huge consideration is placed on your lifestyle, including sleep patterns, work, and family life.
Once Dr Jeff has investigated those areas, he will do a top to toe review, literally from your hair health down to your toenails. He observes that often during this process he will discover other symptoms not previously mentioned and he then can start to build a risk profile for each patient as a unique individual.
The check then includes a tailored physical examination, including blood and urine tests that are individualised according to the risk factors picked up from the previous steps. He will provide an easy to follow yet comprehensive plan to improve lifestyle and reduce risk factors. This includes treating any pre-existing complaints and managing newly diagnosed ones. Following the full body check up, you will be offered follow up appointments when necessary to support you in managing the lifestyle factors and to monitor any changes to your health.