It's well over three months since I had my NHS healthcheck. So I was gob-smacked today to get a letter telling me I have failed it. The letter actually says some of my indicators are 'outside the normal range' and that I need to see my GP, who will tell me about it. No information about which indicators.
I've been in a bad mood all day. My first thought was to write straight back and demand they give me the indicators before I see the GP. I was out walking for three hours this morning. At first I got really hot - which suggested to me I was about to have a heart attack. In truth I was too well wrapped up against the cold. Then I felt nothing - and that's been a problem with walking recently. I don't feel like it achieves anything - probably because I'm fitter than I was and stepped up my walking during the cold and snow, while others stepped down.
Now I feel all sorts of twinges in my chest - so I must definitely be developing angina and diabetes. I dare not eat anything.
The letter may just be recycling the body mass index measurement . This told me to lose a stone and I discussed it with the nurse at the time. Or they may have found something in the blood test. So I've been trying to find out what they test for. Certainly cholesterol and probably glucose. It would be a shock if those were high - however I've been on a restricted diet for nearly five years and there was always a risk. Although I work hard to consume at least five a day and eat lots of fish and cook in omega-3 oils, the truth is much else in my diet is not especially 'healthy'. And because I cannot take caffeine, I use chocolate and glucose to stimulate my brain. So that is worrying me. If there is a problem with cholesterol and glucose, what else can I do? And in spite of stepping up the exercise rate, I still feel as if I've put on weight since Christmas. I certainly am having little success in working up an appetite to justify the food I eat.
Somewhere I got the impression they also test for inflammatory substances, such as C-reactive protein. And she dug the needle straight into my left arm which was solid with gout at the time. So could it just be a freak result. But how on earth could I convince the doctor - who now will have all sorts of targets to stop me dying from heart disease, stroke or diabetes. I have checked this and so far as I can see the blood test was only for cholesterol.
I subtitled this blog 'How the British National Health Service deals with allergy'. I thought of removing the sub-title - but after today it stays. First of all why has it taken over three months to send me a letter that is no more than simply alarming. Secondly I still have little confidence of having a sensible discussion with a GP about how to manage the situation. The government has promised to extend patient choice of GPs. It's being resisted by doctors and frankly, when I tried to check out private GP services, I gained little confidence that the kind of doctor I need is out there. But more choice might help...