I’m going to begin this post with a funny – but true – story. In the past year, I attempted to call my GP and make an appointment regarding some troubling symptoms. One of those symptoms was poor memory. I was forgetting things like; what I said two minutes ago, what I walked upstairs for, why I needed to open the kitchen cupboard etc.
Along with lethargy and what I fondly refer to as “brain fog,” I thought it was important to get checked out. The receptionist on the phone cheerfully told me the next available appointment was in three weeks’ time. I agreed to book the appointment.
By the time I hung up the phone and picked up a pen to write down the appointment, my brain distracted me onto other thoughts and I completely forgot. Three weeks later, I received an angry letter from the doctor’s surgery for missing my appointment.
The appointment I had booked to discuss my poor memory but had forgotten about. That’s comedy gold, right there!
So, instead of wasting my doctor’s time and NHS resources, I searched online to see what other options there might be. This is where I found out that you can have blood tests done at home and get the results back quickly. The premise: YOU take control of your health.
You may remember this post, where I found out I needed to go on a gluten-free diet to help lower my antibodies that could be attacking my thyroid. (This advice was given to me on Healthunlocked.com following my results from a home blood test.)
Well, as a super-fan of Medichecks, I wrote to them asking if they may permit me to write a review on their service. Not only did they agree, but they allowed me to choose a complimentary test to try out and write about the experience. It is worth noting that there are affiliate links in this post, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.
I chose the Health and Lifestyle test. Why? Because, if you’ve never done this before, it’s a really good place to start. Using a small sample of blood, they test your liver function, kidneys, heart-health, cholesterol and vital vitamins B12 and D. For a more detailed breakdown of the test you can read more information here on Medichecks’ website.
– not to be confused with the movie starring Amy Adams.
The test arrived in a discrete white box. See exhibit A.
tore into carefully opened the box to find another box! Yes, a box inside a box! Fancy that! This one looked rather more exciting. See exhibit B.
The box flips open and has everything you could possibly need to make your life easy when doing a home blood test. Now, I chose to do the finger-prick test, but you can request to have a nurse do it, either at a clinic or in your home (for a fee) Or make your own arrangements (I guess that’s if your mum is a nurse or something.)
What’s in the box?
Loads. That’s what. As you can see, they provide more than enough finger prick devices to ensure you get enough blood to sample. There is a really easy-to-read pamphlet with step by step instructions on what to do. There’s plasters, wet wipes, alcohol wipes, a sticker to put on your sample (with your personal details) a sample pot, a pink packet to return the sample in, a card with details of your test, a cuddly toy…(just kidding on the last one, but this is starting to feel like the Generation Game.)
So, the first thing I did was run around my room like a headless chicken. You may think I am joking, but it’s true. I took a big drink of water and just ran around. You know, to get the blood pumping! (Also, part of me was full of nervous energy over doing a finger-prick test on myself.)
So, after my crazy five minutes, I did something even crazier. I sat on my hand. Yep. You read that correctly. Do you remember sitting on the floor at Primary school and sitting on your hand? After a while, it goes numb and tingly. I figured this would help with the “pain” of the finger-prick. But actually, this was a bit silly because the reason why it goes numb is that you’re restricting blood flow to that area…and the whole point of the finger-prick test is to get a blood sample. So, don’t do that.
I went into the bathroom and washed my hands to make sure they were clean. Then I took a sanitizing wipe and rubbed it on the tip of my fingers. I wasn’t sure which finger to use, so I made sure all of them were sanitary.
Let’s take a closer look at those blue finger-prick devices, shall we?
See the indentation on the side and those grooves? That makes it super easy for your thumb and finger to grip. The blue tip twists off and RELAX, despite what you may think, it does NOT expose a giant needle. In fact, you don’t see a needle at all! Very clever for those of us who see a needle and run for the hills screaming.
Understandably, this is the hardest part of the experience. I think doing a finger-prick is more of a mental battle than anything else. I’ve done this a few times now and yet I STILL wrestle with myself and offer a Braveheart-style speech to psych myself up to actually do it. Even though there were four of those devices, I only wanted to have to prick my finger the once, thanks. So, I followed these tips to ensure I got enough blood the first time around.
- Get your blood pumping (remember that I ran around the room!)
- You need to be well-hydrated
- Warm hands help! So use warm/hot (not scolding of course) water to wash your hands
- WIPE the area once when you’ve pricked your finger, it stops the blood from going thick and clotting super fast.
- Prick the TIP of your finger. (At least for me, it bleeds the most)
I channeled Mel Gibson, did my warrior cry and CLICK. I pushed the device until it made a clicking sound and then pulled it away. Every single time I’ve done this, I stare at my finger in surprise because the “pain” was hardly anything. Blink and it’s gone. It’s so fast. And I STILL didn’t see a needle.
Scroll super fast to the next part of text if the sight of blood makes you feel faint!
Ok, so I had this TEENY TINY sample pot stood in one of the helpful holes in the box and had a fun time positioning my finger over the opening to allow it to drop some blood into it. I didn’t want to contaminate the sample at all so I very gently squeezed my finger until a beautiful round drop formed and fell into the pot. It took around 8-9 drops to fill the pot. Once that was done, I secured the yellow cap and put a plaster on my finger.
As per the instructions, I turned the sample pot upside down and back the right way a few times. Then, all that was left to do was write down the time I took the blood sample on the sticker provided and place it on the sample pot. Like this…
Laura Tip: You MUST remember to place the sample pot back in the plastic retainer provided. I almost forgot to do this and that would have been bad for my sample, putting it at risk of getting damaged at some point in transit.
I placed the sample pot back in its protective packaging, and put it in the red sleeve along with the test card and sealed it up. Then it was just a matter of taking the dog out for a quick walk to the post box and off it goes back to a lab to be tested!
While waiting for the blood results to come back, it’s time to log into Medichecks and put in some medical history. Your account is the hub of all knowledge! (Ok, not all knowledge, but it’s where you will update your medical history, health stats, keep track of test results and read notes from the GP.) When your test results are ready, they will appear in your account, so it’s good to have a look around and familiarise yourself with it.
As you can see, there is a snapshot of the latest notes received from a GP who analysed my recent test results. Over on the right-hand column is also a useful list of recommended tests to take, based on previous results. This is SO handy because Medichecks offer over 900 tests, so it’s pretty easy to look at the list and get overwhelmed. How do you choose?
On the day of my results, I received an email straight to my inbox to tell me that the results had come back and were uploaded to my account. The turnaround was fast! 3 days from the day I received the test, to get my results. That’s impressive!
So what did my results say? Well, they were a little surprising!
The doctor’s notes with this lab sheet were extremely useful at deciphering what all these numbers mean. Basically, anything with an asterisk needed attention. So, my cholesterol is a little high – which is something to keep an eye on because heart conditions run in my family, including high cholesterol. The doctor notes made some diet and lifestyle recommendations to improve my results and to take the test again in 13 months see where I’m at.
What I found VERY interesting, is that my Vitamin D levels are too low. A quick Google search had me find out that there are possible links to Vitamin D deficiency and POOR MEMORY! Who knew?!
It’s certainly worth taking some supplements to see if it makes a difference!
If you want to take your health into your own hands and find out what diet and lifestyle changes you can make, doing this simple at-home blood test is a really great way to give you an idea of where to start. The delivery is fast, products are high-quality and the website is user-friendly.
In fact, I was so impressed, that I went ahead and purchased a Health and Lifestyle test for my husband, Ross. Although I was more-than-happy to do the finger prick test on him, he opted to have a nurse come to the house and take the blood for him.
It was fun to compare our test results and we both realised we needed to make some diet and lifestyle changes to improve our health!
Using Medichecks has just become a way of life for me, and my family. I love having access to blood tests that I would usually have to be referred to by a GP and wait weeks to even ask that GP for a referral! I also love that If there are any concerns over my results, I can hand my lab results to my GP for advice.
It does not replace the need for a doctor, nor do Medichecks diagnose or recommend treatment, so it is by no means a replacement for existing healthcare. But what Medichecks does offer, is peace of mind and a clearer vision on where you are in your health.
Can you imagine, if more people used this service before making an appointment with their GP right away? Perhaps surgeries won’t be so overburdened if we took responsibility for maintaining health and keeping an eye on our vitamin levels? Freeing our GPs time to help people who need to see them quickly! Just a thought!
If you would like to order yourself a Health and Lifestyle test from Medichecks.com, don’t forget to add LAURAB10 at the checkout for 10% off.