If you have read my last couple of posts (Honest Post #2 & Blessing in Disguise) you will know that I have started to take my health a lot more seriously, and as well as my actual training runs & gym workouts, I am looking at the bigger picture – rest, recovery & making sure my body is working correctly, as no matter how healthy you look on the outside, how do you really know whats going on inside your body?
Thats where Medichecks come in. Medichecks are a private medical company who provide various blood tests with a full medical report (including advice on what to do next) without the faff of having to get a GP appointment or wait for weeks for your results. After speaking to their Customer Service team (who are very quick to respond & helpful!) we decided that the Endurance Check Elite was the most suitable test for me to ensure that my body was coping okay with the stresses of marathon training.
Endurance Check Elite – Key Info
- This test is for endurance athletes of every level who want to optimise their performance and gain insights into their training, nutrition and recovery.
- 55 tests included
- Our Endurance Check Elite has been formulated in consultation with top endurance coaches to check the markers that can make the difference between success and failure. This profile includes a full blood count, liver and kidney function, tests for inflammation and muscle damage, cholesterol for cardiovascular risk, hormones which can be affected by training such as testosterone, oestradiol and cortisol as well as markers for fatigue such as a full iron profile and vitamin B12. Includes key vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, magnesium and zinc as well as a comprehensive metabolic panel including an insulin resistance test.
Setting up an account with Medichecks couldn’t be easier. You need to complete a simple health, lifestyle & medical questionnaire and once this is complete your testing kit will be sent out to you. The kit arrived very quickly and was presented in a lovely pink box with really clear, simple instructions (I am very sorry about the poor photo quality!!) and everything was included that was needed for the test.
The test requires a blood sample, so unfortunately it is not something you are able to do yourself. There are many different options – you can visit your GP and they may be able to do the test for you (although they are not obliged to as its a private blood test), you can visit a local clinic that works with Medichecks (they will be able to let you know where your nearest clinic is) or you can get a home visit from a nurse if you do not live near a clinic (this is the option I went with.)
Soon enough it was the morning of my appointment, for my test I needed to make sure I didn’t eat or drink anything 8 hours prior, so an early morning appointment was essential!! I had a really lovely nurse called Jacqueline come round to take my bloods, luckily I am okay with needles/blood tests, but she was so reassuring and friendly I am sure if I was a nervous patient she would have totally put my mind at rest! The test itself took less than a minute, and she quickly filled 3 tubes with my blood – and that was it, my work was done! Jacqueline disposed of the needles and took my bloods away to be sent off, it really couldn’t have been easier! Now I just needed to wait for my results.
The fantastic customer service continued as I received my results just 3 working days later. Before receiving them I wasn’t really sure what to expect, I am not a medical professional so I was a bit concerned if I got a report just with a load of numbers I wouldn’t have a clue what it meant. But alongside the lab report, you also get a full written report from a GP who goes through each result & highlights any areas for concern.
I am pleased to say, that my results were all pretty spot on! I am going to include a full copy of my results report below.
There was only one area of concern, and that is that I have high levels of ‘Creatine Kinase’ – this can be down to a number of factors, but the fact I recently injured my hamstring could be an underlying factor. Medichecks have suggested I have a follow up blood test for this in one months time, so this is something I will be following up to ensure these levels do not get any higher.
‘Hi Jordan, I understand you are an endurance athlete and have recently come off the pill and so have had your first period for some time.
This is an excellent test today. Let me go through it for you:
You have normal red cells.
Your neutrophils are a little low, a common cause for this is recent infection. Yours are only slightly decreased and are not a cause for concern.
Your platelets are reported as clumped which usually indicates difficulties in taking your sample.
Your slight high urea is not an issue given your levels of exercise.
Similarly the raised alanine transferase is not concerning based on your exercise levels.
You have a markedly elevated creatine kinase level. This is a breakdown product from injured muscle. It is a common finding in a bodybuilder or athlete, however yours is at a level that starts to raise concerns about a condition called rhabdomyolysis. The threshold at which we start to consider this is 520 in a female of average build.
There are a wide range of potential symptoms. The classic example is dark brown or tea-coloured urine. Other symptoms that would cause concern include muscle tenderness, swelling, stiffness and cramping, accompanied by weakness. There are also some non-specific symptoms, such as malaise, fever, abdominal pain, and nausea and vomiting. If any of these affect you then I recommend attending your local emergency department today. If you are feeling well then I recommend repeating your CK test at least 48 hours after any intensive exercise to establish what your baseline is.
The rest of your liver function is normal.
You have normal protein and calcium levels.
Your uric acid level does not place you at risk of gout.
Your diabetes screen is normal indicating that you do not have diabetes. The low insulin is not an issue given the fact your are an endurance athlete in training.
You have healthy iron levels.
Your cholesterol profile is excellent with healthy levels of protective HDL cholesterol and normal levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.
Your CRP level is normal, suggesting low levels of inflammation within the body.
Your thyroid stimulating hormone and thyroxine are both normal which suggest healthy thyroid function.
Your testosterone and oestradiol results are within the normal range.
Your serum cortisol level is within normal limits making a disorder of your cortisol production unlikely.
Your magnesium level is normal.
Your levels of vitamin B12 and folate are normal.
Your vitamin D level is normal.
In summary, Jordan, this is a very good test today, although it would be worth finding out your baseline creatine kinase. For a female endurance athlete this test is also reassuring as there are no discrepancies that might indicate that your body is struggling to recover from your exercise regimens. You are well optimised for sport. ‘
Overall I am really pleased with my results, and it has definitely reassured me that my body is working the way it should! If you have any concerns about your health, or like me just want to have a bit of a body ‘MOT’ – then I highly recommend Medichecks & the service they provide.
If you have any questions about how it works, my test & my results, then please drop me a message.