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Step 4 – Assessing Your Health with Bupa

Part of the plan to lose weight was when I couldn’t lift Dorothy anymore for a few minutes at a time. It was a sad time and really made an impact on me and gave me the drive to make changes. Exercising The most depressing part of it was that I thought I looked the same as I did for the previous few years. I knew I’d put some weight on but actually it was just a lot worse than I’d thought. The picture that really scared me was the comparison of when the weight came off. Unfortunately this is a picture of the outside and I didn’t have anything to gauge my internal make up at the start of my weight loss. I had no weighing scales with a Bluetooth app, no magic pincers for body fat or any idea of cholesterol, blood pressure or irreversible damage. All I knew is that I was in pain, my body hurt, I couldn’t do any exercise, my clothes were stretched and I was doing some serious damage to my health. Roll forward 5 months from the start of the process and the Coast to Coast was nearing and I was crapping myself. Questions going around my head around my fitness levels and the ability for my body to actually walk what ended up being 125 miles. Having previously supported Bupa in one of their campaigns, with their Health Assessment Centre in Didsbury, they wanted to offer me an assessment to gauge my fitness, and give me an indication of if I’m going to be able to finish without ruining myself forever! Looking in to what they’ve described as the most comprehensive health assessment, the Peak assessment is designed to help perform at your best. I also noticed that there would be a prostate exam which caused a lot of internal turmoil for me. It wasn’t something that I’d expected to do until I was at least 50 but I had plucked up the courage to write about it, and get myself prepared. I was also fully prepared to be put through my paces, something Ivan Drago style in Rocky where he’s hooked up to every machine known to man. But this is all worth it to identify current health concerns and potential future risks. They then have a lifestyle coaching and support tools it will then help you to make the necessary lifestyle changes to be healthier today and in the future. Driving into Stockport through the morning traffic, I’m eagerly awaiting what is to come. Dressed in my jogging bottoms and trainers, this really wasn’t my normal Monday morning! Arriving I’m walked through to the Bupa suite and fill out a very extensive questionnaire about my current health, allergies and any issues that I’m facing or looking to improve. I think the whole questioning took about 15 minutes. I’m very nervous at this point as I’m expecting the worst, a single digit salute that I’m not quite ready to have performed just yet. My fears are quickly allayed and depending on how I score in the questioning that really wouldn’t be necessary. OMG I hope I pass. Going through my paperwork, I highlight hearing on there. My wife thinks I’m going deaf but it’s really her. So there’s a big list of paperwork regarding blood tests, yep blood tests, and after a really good conversation we get right down to it with needles. Normal blood tests take forever to process but luckily, this health assessment was all done on the one day. From blood tests through to health tests on the bike and also the male cough test (he had cold hands), with all of their own machines I didn’t have to wait for anything to be sent off. What a relief! It means that there’s no anxious wait and they can go through everything with you there and then in very clear format. This was my first time at a private clinic and I was amazed and how professional it was from the moment you walk in and they expect you to arrive, the full and detailed explanations you are given throughout the processes and the support post examination. (Which I’ll go through at a later date.) Through a series of tests, questions and very humiliating picture worthy activities, Bupa round off a very busy and informative morning with a full health assessment report. I was informed of various tests throughout including the hearing, VO2, squeeze and cough, and then were some which were added later on that morning. Bupa has designed a system which can be used by all the doctors assessing you to combine into a report which is later released on your portal which you can access at any time. My report included sections on:

  • Body Composition
  • Activity
  • Fitness Levels
  • Cardiovascular
  • Lungs
  • Hearing
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Lab Results
  • Lifestyle Action Plan
  • Medical Summary
Having a report so conclusive means that I had a snapshot of my health at that moment and could then make informed lifestyle decisions. I’ve only woke up recently to the fact that I’m getting older and my body needs to be looked after. It’s not like a car where you just need to give it a MOT once a year and swap it out when it breaks down. But the question on all your lips, is there something seriously wrong and did he get the finger up the bum? So how was my report? Well, I’m not going to publish it all here but I’ll give you snapshots of particular elements. Here’s an overview of the findings: “I found no significant abnormalities in these areas:
  • Ears and nose
  • Mouth, teeth and gums
  • Eyes
  • Skin
  • Lymph glands
  • Heart (Sounds, rhythm and size)
  • Lungs
  • Carotid sounds
  • Peripheral arteries
  • Veins
  • Abdominal organs
  • Hernial orifices
  • Upper Limbs
  • Lower limbs – tight  hamstrings
  • Axial skeleton (posture)
  • Nervous system
  • Male genitaliathere was no need
Not examined areas (bumroll please!):
  • Rectum
  • Prostate
Yes I didn’t need to have it tested. All the stress and anxiety for nothing. Thankfully my initial tests were good so there was no need to get the rubber glove out. Here’s a small compilation of the plethora of charts and analysis that I was provided:

BMI Levels: Didn’t ever think I could be happy being overweight but I am. Being top end Obese wasn’t nice previously and I’m never letting myself get there again.

Analysis Led Activities: Based on the outcome of the day there are exercises and stretches to do to make improvements.

Full Blood Count: Everything looks to be well within range.

Pathology: Good and excellent are what I’m looking for here!

Hearing: Mrs P as long as you don’t hit the 6000Hz range we’re all good 🙂

Diabetes Risk: Amazing news here as it’s always been something that has scared me.

Heart Disease Risk: This is amazing news and I was told that by reducing by weight by another 10kg would half that risk too.

Blood Pressure – I was told on the day that due to the 23 mile hike I did a few days before by body was probably still recovering. Worth keeping an eye on though.

Activity Levels. Thankfully I was in training for the Coast to Coast so it was very high. This score makes a big difference to everything so it’s important to get moving whatever activity it is.

So here you have it, a small glimpse into the snapshot of my health at the time of the assessment. We discussed my dramatic weight loss through lifestyle changes and activity and they were gutted that I didn’t have a report prior to track the changes. The funny thing is with my weight being what it was, I wasn’t interested in my health as a priority in my life so the chances are I wouldn’t have done it anyway! So the morale of the story is, if you’re just starting on your lifestyle change or know deep down that there’s something not right go and see the experts. You get the facts and then you can make an informed decision for yourself.

Life is too short to second guess your health and I for one will be making this an annual thing so track my changes through life. I’ve put a lot of work into making the dramatic lifestyle changes and understanding how they affect my life and that as a husband and parent is too important not to.

“Thank you to Bupa for providing this fantastic opportunity to try out a health assessment at their Manchester Didsbury Bupa Health Centre. All of the views, reports and content is my own. Special thanks to the team on the day – they made it very stress free.”  ]]>

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