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When I turned 60 I decided to go for a health MOT, just to get checked out. I was surprised when it picked up unusually low levels of a protein in my prostate gland, and a poorly functioning thyroid. This combination is unusual so I had an MRI which found a walnut-sized pituitary tumour, 1mm away from my optic nerve. I had no symptoms – no headaches, no pain, no visual problems – there were no warning signs. I’m so glad I went for my check – it saved my sight!
I experienced symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, sluggishness and muscle weakness but put them down to a series of lifestyle changes, including poor diet and lack of exercise. But that wasn’t the case at all. My health check revealed my thyroid hormones were extremely low, due to an underactive thyroid. This explained everything. I am now managing it through medication and really feel the difference – I have so much more energy than I did before. It’s a big relief that I caught this now – if it had gone on untreated, it could have serious consequences.
We might not all be Olympic athletes like Matt, but just like the Irish sailor, we all want to know we’re as healthy as possible. He turned to our world-beating health screening programme to tackle a concern that had always lingered in the back of his mind: would a family history of cancer impact on him in the future?
Returning to the ring for this European and Intercontinental WBO Featherweight champion meant nothing could be left to chance. Making sure he was in the best possible health was critical. Thanks to the Everyman programme, Marco found out something which enabled him to get the best of his training.
I never used to give my health much thought, as I rarely needed to visit my GP. I play rugby in the winter months and cricket during the summer, so I try my best to maintain my fitness. However having recently heard about some tragic incidents such as that of Fabrice Muamba, I became more anxious about my health when participating in matches. Having my health screening programme has given me peace of mind knowing that I am fit and healthy and it has also given me pointers to get even better. I found out for example that I have low levels of Omega 3, which plays a crucial role in preventing heart disease. As an athlete, it is of course vitally important that I maintain a strong and healthy heart. It’s so empowering knowing exactly what I need to do to secure my health on the field.
I was a little nervous before I got my Randox Health programme, but on the day of my health screen the staff were very welcoming and friendly. A week or so later when I got the results, my Randox Health GP gave me advice on how to improve them. I found out for example, that I had a deficiency in Vitamin D, which helps control the calcium and phosphate in our bodies and is needed for healthy bones and muscles. My Randox Health GP advised me to start taking a vitamin D supplement and when I had my 6 months retest the levels had greatly improved. Apparently, it’s quite common in Northern Ireland – affecting 2/5 people – and that’s unsurprising given that our main source of Vitamin D is the sun! It feels good knowing I’ve chosen to protect my health and I’d recommend it to anyone.
After receiving my results, I was very surprised – having reported no symptoms – to discover that I have iron deficiency anaemia. It was never picked up before, but I’m so glad that I now know because it could have caused long term damage. I’ve been on medication since to address it, and already my general wellbeing and quality of life have greatly improved.
The health check was far more advanced than anything I’ve had before. I’ve learned that I’ve inherited a cholesterol condition which I’ll need to keep an eye on, as I may need to take medication to manage it if lifestyle changes don’t keep in under control.
To me, getting a whole-body health screen makes so much sense. If I can find out something that’ll help me lead a heathier life for longer, then it’s worth it. I’d rather take action now and not get sick, than wait and have to deal with a far larger problem.
Prior to testing, I felt 100% with no complaints, but the truth is, you can never really know for sure. And it did surprise me to find out my liver enzymes aren’t at the level you would expect for a guy of my age. Basically my liver isn’t reacting to alcohol in the same way as other people – it doesn’t recuperate as well as it should. The good news is that I found out early and I’m not sick. Knowing about this means I just cut back a bit and if that’s enough to keep me healthy, it’s not a hard choice!
A stressful job, a lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet and a family history of heart problems were the catalysts for me contacting Randox Health. My health check flagged up high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a rather concerning overall cardiovascular risk score – 25% risk of having a coronary event in the next ten years. So I was given a Personal Health Plan with particular exercise and diet recommendations, and six months later I had reduced my overall cardiovascular risk score to 10%. I know that I can reduce this even further and I have a very positive outlook for the future.