Health Assessment

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12/11/2002 at 14:41
I'm getting a health assessment at work this afternoon (part of the organisation's committment to "Scotland's Health at Work" programme.

I will be getting checked for blood pressure, height, weight, BMI, bodystat measurement (whatever that is - possibly body fat %) flexibilty, grip strength, cholesterol, cardiac risk assesment, CV stamina assessment, lifestyle assessment, lung function measurement, and a stress profile.

And I will post my results for all to see, along with any targets I am set for making improvements.

Brave or what?!
WildWill    pirate
12/11/2002 at 14:52
I think bodystat is Bodyfat and water content
12/11/2002 at 14:55
Very brave indeed - will all of this info go down in your files at work then, or will it remain private? Back in the days when I had a 'real job' in the 'real world', we had a company GP who would occasionally appear to give flu jabs and the like. I never trusted it though, as it was all too Big Brotherish for me. Or perhaps I'm just paranoid?

Anyway, I hope your test goes well.
12/11/2002 at 15:13
You lucky lass, Nessie! A BUPA hypochondriac special, but without the £400 tag. This Scottish Exec has its uses.

Birmingham City Council did something similar a couple of years ago and one of my patients came in to show me the results of her stress profile - she was off the top of the scale in everything. I could have told her that, as I had never known her to finish one sentence before moving on to the next. Then she said, "So! I've come to see you like the nice nurse told me to. What are YOU going to do about this?" Like, you want me to sort out your house and deal with the noisy students next door and sit on your shoulder to stop you from pinching bits of other people's projects at work? Yeah, right!

Seriously, have fun. It will be interesting.
12/11/2002 at 15:16
It's anonymous (run by an independent company) and only aggregate unidentifiable information will be fed back to the employer (i.e. all your staff are stressed and need to have the lifts disabled so they at least climb the stairs). Any serious medical problems will only be notified to the GP with consent.

So none of my colleagues need ever know that I have the same BF% as Rik Waller! (joke - honest!)

The SHAW initiative is pretty good though, encouraging employers to think of the health of their staff. Since we started it (before I came to work here) there have been quite a few things implemented. There are notices on the lifts encouraging people to use the stairs, occasional bowls of free fruit in the staff room, weekly lunchtime walks around the town, monthly hillwalks, Monday night badminton group, etc. Planned for the next phase are decaf coffee and sweetners in the staff rooms, yoga classes at lunchtimes, Salsa classes, and a healthy recipe competition (my suggestion following the discussion on soup a couple of weeks ago on the forum). I also suggested a weegly jogging group, but I'm not sure if there are many takers yet.......
12/11/2002 at 15:18
Not sure what "weegly jogging" looks like - probably just the way I run. Obviously that should be "weekly"!
12/11/2002 at 17:32
Hmmm, well, erm. Some of it as expected, some not.

Body Fat % 35.7 (ouch)
BMI 26.67 (knew that one)
BP 138/78 ("A bit high")
RHR 68 (but I had just run up the stairs to get to the test - waking is usually aroung 50)
Sit & Reach 36cm (Just on "average" flexibility - no surprise there)
Strength 24kgf (below average)
Predicted VO2 Max 39 (apparently good)
Forced Vital Capacity 3.86 litres
Expiratory Volume 3.33 litres
Expiratory Ratio 86% (all normal - good)
Peak Flow 518 l/min (good)
Total Cholesterol: 6.65mmol/l (s/b <5.2)
HDL: 1.41mmol/l (s/b >1.3)
LDL: 4.46mmol/l (s/b <4.9)
Triglycerides: 1.71 mmol/l (s/b <1.8)

Surprised at the blood pressure and cholesterol being up, but the body fat % may have been affected by me being slightly dehydrated (hot in the office today, and been too busy to get to the watr cooler much).

Bottom line - lay off the jam donuts!
12/11/2002 at 17:35
Oops, forgot the targets:

Reduce systolic BP to 110 from 138.
Reduce total cholesterol to 4.5 from 6.65.
Reduce weight from 70kg to 64-64kg.

Just found the water % - I was 45.6% - that proves my dehydrated theory.

I'm off for a large glass of water and a run!
12/11/2002 at 18:17
Nessie, well done for sharing this with us. It's a good way to stay determined when 100's of forumites are watching you! When will you be able to have the full MOT again to measure your progress?
WildWill    pirate
12/11/2002 at 22:00
If you get all that info, I may have to arange one myself (since I'm in BUPA at work)

I just love statistics (sad)
12/11/2002 at 22:48
Please feel free to correct me anyone, but I would have thought ,Nessie, your chance of having a body water content of 45% is about the same as you meeting your namesake on a walk/run round the Loch.

BodyFat if measured on same device, should be approached with similar skepticism, but is likely to be (much?) lower

Plus I'm not sure there is anything amiss with your blood pressure at all.

...cholesterol --- well maybe it ought to be at a more "desirable" level -- maybe worth getting it rechecked at your Drs in a couple of months but wouldn't think too much about it in meantime

I agree Will, stats are great, but I would be really interested to see how the BUPAs stats compared to your own measurements if you did go for that assessment yourself

- beware the prostate screen though....

13/11/2002 at 04:17
I would have thought that us runners with lower than average pulses would have higher than blood pressures. Makes sense to me.

Cool of you to share all that Nessie and dead nice of your employer to arrange it all too!
13/11/2002 at 09:30
Brave girl, Nessie.

A lot of it sounds like what you've been saying yourself - you're moving in the right direction, you're pretty fit, but you've been fitter in the fairly recent past than you are now. This gives you something to measure the improvement in your fitness against. And nothing really nasty was uncovered. With that cholesterol and blood pressure, as a young nonsmoking nondiabetic woman, your risk of getting heart disease in the next ten years is somewhere in the region of zero.

Andy, it makes intuitive sense, doesn't it? If you have fewer hearbeats, each beat has to have greater force to move the same amount of blood around the pipes. However, it's not quite that simple because the pipes have muscular walls and can relax or grow wider, so athletes are capable of shifting huge quantities of oxygenated blood with normal or even low blood pressures - mine is something like 90/50 with a RHR of about 52bpm, and I'm only moderately trained.

I wonder if I can persuade one of the publications I write for to get me to have and report on one of those MOT things?
13/11/2002 at 09:41
Spacemonkey - I'm not overly concerned with the bodyfat/water readings, particularly since V-rap has often berated the accuracy of the electrical impulse type monitors (I was hoping they would use calipers) and I knew I was a bit dehydrated (back into training for the last week after a 5 week "rest" post marathon, but not back into the habit of visiting the water cooler every hour). I think a low hydration level can make you appear to have a higher fat% than you "really" do.

The cholesterol doesn't worry me much either, but it did surprise me. I thought that my diet was pretty good, and exercise level high enough that it would be lower than average rather than higher. Still, I will be looking at what I eat more closely for the next couple of months, then I'll get it checked again at the GPs. Possibly my doughnut consumption HAS been getting a little out of hand.

Fortunately, I doubt there will be any problem with my prostate, unless they really try hard to find it!

Andy - I may be wrong, but I think the dehydration can affect BP (that and having to fight people out of my office to get changed to go for the test!) so again, I'm not concerned with it being slightly up on one occasion, but I will get the GP to check it too.

I agree that it's a good initiative by my employer, although as it was voluntary, I suspect that the people who would benefit most from it are the ones who didn't participate! Ho hum.
13/11/2002 at 11:45
I'm not a doctor but I do have borderline high blood pressure and I wish mine was 138/78. I'm sure V-Rap can confirm that this is not high but is pretty good.
13/11/2002 at 13:37
Yes, Steve, it's well within the normal range and certainly below the level at which most doctors would think about starting drug treatment. But the current consensus about blood pressure is that lower is better, except in Germany where they blame all sorts of symptoms on low blood pressure and give pills to make it higher.
13/11/2002 at 14:37

You're a damn sight braver than me, Nessie!

I think I've probably had most things checked over the last couple of years, but I couldn't tell you the result. I did get my blood pressure and cholesterol checked earlier this year - my blood pressure was fine, but my cholesterol was slightly up (but not enough to be concerned about).

Body fat: I had this measured about 5 years ago using calipers, and it was 12.5%. I had it measured again earlier this year, using an electrical impulse thing, and it was 17.5%. So, are calipers more accurate?

Sounds good, but I had my overall level of fitness measured, and I was below average.... I've started running again since then, I was so ashamed.

How do I calculate BMI?

Incidentally, my brother-in-law had some kind of kidney infection earlier this year, and had to take steroids: because of this, his cholesterol level went up to 17. Apparently, under normal circumstances, this would have killed him?

13/11/2002 at 15:14
Thanks for sharing all this Nessie - your stats and the follow-up conversations had me riveted (I can get sidetracked v. easily when I have a new training course to write).

But was wondering .... does anyone know about the long-term consequences of having very low blood pressure? Can't remember what mine is, but every time I go to the Dr. to have it checked (for six month pill supply) they always say "Oooh, that's very low isn't it? Is it always like that?". They never seem to be concerned by it though, but it´s interesting that doctors give drugs for low blood pressure in Germany - then again, their style of medicine is very interventionist, isn't it?
13/11/2002 at 15:27
Mr A - BMI is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in centimetres squared (or go to and use the calculator). Interesting about the steroid thing - I wonder if the antibiotics I was taking for my toothache, which I had to stop taking due to a rash, might have had some effect. The leaflet did warn against them if you had any liver problems. Hmm, another question for the GP.
13/11/2002 at 20:04
Lizzy, in the UK there are no drugs available for longterm treatment of "low blood pressure" - the concept just doesn't exist in the way it does in Germany. Sometimes severe illness (heart attacks, blood poisoning and several other conditions) makes the blood pressure drop dangerously low, and treatment has to be given to try to increase it so that the brain blood flow doesn't suffer, but that's another matter entirely.

Having a low blood pressure when you're young and healthy hasn't been linked to any long-term problems. However, there are no really long-term studies and it would be interesting to trace those women who were on the Pill in the early 1960s and would have been the first cohort to have regular blood pressure checks, and find out what hads happened to them, and do a subgroup analysis of different blood pressure levels in early adulthood...wonder if I can get a grant to take a sabbatical and do the research?

Lots of the young women I see for pill checks have blood pressures that are on the low side - especially if they're slim. It's probably a good rather than a bad thing. But you're right, we don't know for sure.
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