Most people I talk to feel that the COVID-19 pandemic enabled them to look after their health more. There was more time for walking and concentrating on one’s own body, and less opportunity for opulent dining as the restaurants were off limits. So, there were reports of weight loss and better wellbeing. Conversely, people consumed more alcohol and comfort snacks, and some people reported weight gain.
In many cases, health has taken a battering. The obvious issues involve symptoms that have not been investigated or treated in a timely fashion. But also, some of the silent chronic diseases have gone unchecked. Glucose levels, blood pressure readings and cholesterol all contribute to the burden of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes and amputations) which is the major health issue of our time.
This is where a check-up really helps in minimising your risk of heart attack or stroke. You may have lost weight, but did you know that lower LDL cholesterol levels are now widely targeted to improve arterial health and longevity? Are you aware that lower blood pressure levels delay heart failure and stroke, and that glucose levels of a decade ago are now not considered acceptable?
A check-up with an experienced GP with good diagnostic skills will offer you the opportunity and time to discuss a health problem that has concerned you and which may have an easy solution. It will supplement and help your regular primary practitioner, who has likely had a difficult year in coping with their regular workload. But most of all, it gives you the peace of mind that your horizons have been refreshed. It will encourage your enthusiasm for a healthy lifestyle and help you to set out a plan for the next year living with a new relationship with COVID-19 and its variants.
Read more about our health check offerings at London Medical.
Dr Wasi Siddiqui specialises in general medicine and is a member of the Royal College of General Practioners and fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health.