Do you have a niggling thought in the back of your mind that you should have a health check but keep putting it off until next year? If so, you are like many of our patients, particularly those who know that their lifestyle isn't ideal but don't want face the facts. But sometimes a less than good heath check can give you the impetus to make the lifestyle changes you need to make in order to get your body on the path to a full recovery. And the great thing with most of the lifestyle conditions that we identify is that if caught early enough, almost all can be reversed through changes in behaviour, whether moderating your drinking, eating or getting some exercise. This is especially true of liver damage - the liver has remarkable powers of regeneration and repair - but you do have to give it a break.
This was clearly illustrated this week by one of our patients - let's call him David - who after an indulgent Christmas decided to have his liver tested with our Liver Check. David knew that drinking too much was potentially bad for his health, but like most of us thought that his liver could cope with what for him was a normal Christmas: "Typically over the Christmas period I would start drinking at lunchtime and continue steadily, but not in my view excessively, until bedtime. I never felt drunk, but on reflection, I probably consumed well over a bottle of wine most days whereas normally I would only drink half that"
David bought one of our finger - prick Liver Checks and sent the samples off to the lab. "I wasn't at all worried about the results - I was really expecting them to come back completely normal so when the Medichecks nurse telephoned me to say that my liver function tests showed that all the enzymes in my liver were significantly raised and that my liver was showing signs of inflammation I was shocked and worried. I was toying with the idea of giving up alcohol for January and these results definitely gave me the push I needed to make that a clear goal and stick to it"
Our health screening nurse reassured David that by giving his liver a complete break from alcohol, all the inflammation in his liver should subside and his enzyme levels return to normal. She suggested that he repeat his liver check after a few weeks and then make sure that he moderated his drinking in the future.
David, like many of us, needed to see the evidence of what his lifestyle was inflicting on his body before he could commit to making much needed changes. A simple blood test can give you the information you need to see what's happening within your body long before you have any symptoms giving you time to take preventative action. David is very glad he got his wake-up call in time!