09 January 2015
Now call me a tad cynical, oh, and downright bloody ungrateful if you like, but as sweet and nice and fluffily helpful and caring as this all sounds, it does seem to be just a shade off the mark to me. To be called in for a chat now, just because I've attained the magic age of 55, seems to miss the point a wee bit.
Why? Well I'd say I'm in better overall 'physical' shape these days than any time I can really remember so maybe a health check at this point is less likely to be beneficial than perhaps it could have been.
You see I can't actually recall being invited for a similar 'health check' of any kind while I was morbidly obese, seriously unfit and a long-term drug-dependent asthmatic - but hey, I guess I was a few years younger then. Maybe it's hindsight's 20:20 vision dictating this poor attitude on my part, but I can't help but think that it might have maybe, just maybe, had a positive effect on my thinking and actions had I been warned of the pretty imminent dangers of my crappy lifestyle back then. Still, water under the bridge and all that.
To my mind the betterment of my general health in the past seven or so years has been nothing short of amazing. The weight (OK, let's call it what it really is - fat) that I've lost is one aspect for sure, and is a powerful positive. My current BMI of 20.8, just below half way along that 'normal' band, is nice to see as at the start of my weight loss it used to be over 39 which is... er, not so good! Sure, I'd like to drop another pound or two and things could probably do with being a little more toned, but we're working on that. I'm certainly one helluva lot slimmer than I was for way too many years but this, taken alone, misses the point slightly too.
Very much more importantly in my eyes are those nice positive effects upon 'me' and my health that derive from losing almost half my previous body mass and fundamentally changing my diet and lifestyle. These show in all sorts of ways.
Simple things, like my skin being clearer, so no more sore spots or fungal infections where the fat bits rubbed and sweated (yeah, I know - TMI). My dentist has commented that my teeth don't have the same old levels of scale and gunk deposits and my gums are in better health. I now suffer far fewer and less severe infections of all sorts (even colds and sniffles are not as they used to be, if/when I do pick something up). And I know my blood pressure is fine, thankfully. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the benefits I see have an impact (and a good one) on my mental outlook too - my confidence has improved and I'm more the 'me' I thought I'd lost forever.
My achy joints may still remain, as a legacy of years of abuse, but they bug me considerably less that they used to. Funnily enough, life's general aches and pains must have reduced too, as there are barely any painkillers in our medicine cabinet and those which are there date back a while - a thing I've only just realised. What's more, between improvements to joints and lungs I can happily run up a flight of stairs (or more) without near collapse or an asthma attack.
Of particularly precious note to me is the breathing side. After decades carrying those damn things everywhere I went (out of necessity) I've been off all inhalers for a looong time now. In fact, the only medication I'm taking is HRT. My peak flow, which I still check from time to time, is still nicely above the predicted levels for a female of my age (without asthma) and that makes me very happy indeed. Thank you exercise and weight loss.
Now, I do have a wee niggling minor concern for when I go for this check. This is that following a ketogenic, low-carb diet as I do, I'm wondering whether I'll be read the cholesterol riot act/scare story as my bloods are pretty likely to show the effects of this way of life, and my total C and HDL-C levels might well be elevated... although I may be fretting without need and borrowing troubles here. Who knows yet.
If this is so, I don't mind a bit (read Cholesterol Clarity for why), but the NICE guidelines the Health Service have to follow, but which I believe are flawed, may well decide that I urgently 'need' statinating... hmmm, we'll see. It ain't going to happen, even if that's what I'm told will 'benefit' me.