Health & Fitness

Body Service: A Guide To The Best Health Check-Ups

Whether you’re worried about ageing, your future fertility, or the scattering of freckles on your back, there’s a new wave of health MOTs designed to give you a reassuring once-over...

The average driver spends more than £20,000 servicing their cars in a lifetime, according to a new study. And sure, it’s a legal requirement – but there’s also logic to employing a professional to ensure something we use every day is in safe and efficient working order. Which begs the question: why don’t we apply that same logic to our health?

Some already are, investing in the new quick and easy health checks now offered by many of the country’s leading medical professionals. ‘The best thing about these body MOTs is that they encourage a preventative approach to good health,’ says celebrity trainer Harry Jameson, who worked with Harley Street health company Viavi for seven years. ‘Traditionally in the UK we have taken a reactive approach to illness – waiting for problems to happen and then trying to resolve them after.’ Hands up, for example, who has let their back go completely before staggering to the osteopath when it would have been better to address that initial niggle?

Appointments are different from the dissatisfying 10-minute in-and-out at your local GP. ‘When you book a health MOT, doctors have the time to carefully identify current issues and potential weaknesses, before steps are taken to address them,’ Jameson says. ‘It’s a way of guaranteeing the best treatment possible. Our bodies are unique and precious. If the science is there, which it is, we should use it.’ Ready for your check-up? Here’s our round-up of the best tests about...

Skin Saviours

It’s Sun Awareness Week next month (8-15 May), yet a recent study from the British Association of Dermatologists found 80 percent of us still don’t apply sun cream when we go out in the UK sun. Meanwhile, another study – published in the British Journal of Dermatology – discovered that cases of skin cancer in the UK are set to rise by 78.2 percent between 2010 and 2025.

The Mole Clinic offers top-to-toe mole checks nationwide. These include the standard Mole Check and Mole Map, £135 each. The latter is for people with a large number of freckles and moles and involves photographing the entire body so they can be monitored for future changes.

themoleclinic.co.uk; 0800 023 4212

The Harley Medical Group last month launched a dermatology clinic to deal with almost every skin niggle you may have – from suspicious moles to skin tags, adult acne and eczema. The clinic is currently only available on Harley Street, but there are plans to take it nationwide this year. Prices start from £140 for a check, £270 for a mole shave and £415 for mole removal.

harleymedical.co.uk; 0800 288 4100

Fertility Fine-Tuners

Fertility guru Zita West (Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet and Stella McCartney are former clients), now offers an at-home fertility MOT for £140, which involves a pin-prick blood test that you do at home and send off. Your levels of AMH (anti-mullerian hormone, which is produced by cells in your ovarian follicles and is an indicator of fertility) are then assessed and there is a follow-up telephone consultation to discuss the results.

zitawest.com; 020 3131 6201

Professor Geeta Nargund (a leading pioneer of natural IVF) and Professor Stuart Campbell from Create Fertility offer a lunch-hour fertility test. Available to men, women and couples from £200, results from this One-Stop Fertility MOT come back in as little as an hour. The female tests include a consultation and ultrasound screening, where your ovarian reserve (ie how many healthy eggs you have left) is assessed. The health of your uterus, ovaries and ovarian follicles (plus whether you have any fertility-affecting conditions like uterine fibroids or ovarian cysts) will also be checked.

createhealth.org; 0333 920 5474

Health Once-Overs

The new Pure Genetic Lifestyle Test is the Rolls-Royce of health MOTs, with a £1,275 price tag to match. It studies 800 of your genes (via a simple saliva test), enabling experts to look at your future risk of everything from Alzheimer’s and heart disease to type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Results arrive in three weeks in a 300-page hardback book with your unique genetic profile and bespoke information on how to eat, exercise and prevent illness according to your exact genetic make-up.

puregeneticlifestyle.com; 01372 844774

The Advanced Screening Centre at The Harley Street Clinic offers a thorough investigation of your vital organs and overall health. In a variety of tests over two hours – via a combination of low-level X-rays, MRI and CT scans, ultrasound and mammograms – they examine your risk of heart disease and stroke, diabetes, several cancers, cholesterol, kidney, lung and liver function, as well as carrying out a full blood count and musculoskeletal check-up. They also check for coeliac disease, investigate vitamin D levels, your omega 3/6 ratio, risk of arthritis, osteoporosis and thyroid function. A diet, fitness and stress assessment is included too. Once your results are in, you attend a two-hour consultation to talk through the findings. From £1,000.

advancedscreeningcentre.co.uk; 020 3131 5620

The Omniya Women’s Health Check is a general once-over that includes a full physical examination, smear test, blood tests to measure hormone levels, thyroid function, cholesterol levels and vitamin D levels, plus liver and kidney function tests. The results are then analysed and interpreted by a doctor. From £150.

omniya.co.uk; 020 7584 4777

Food and Fitness Tests

We love Third Space gym’s new Out/Set Full Body Assessment, which includes a movement analysis and a biometric scan to check where you’re storing body and visceral fat (the nasty, hard-to-see kind that wraps around your internal organs). Plus, it investigates your lean muscle mass and hydration levels, while a blood test checks for hormonal imbalances and food sensitivities. From £200.

thirdspace.london; 020 7439 7332

Those who like to pound the pavements should book in for the new Running MOT, £80, at The Shard in London. Offered by HCA Healthcare UK, specialist physiotherapists will study your style and gait with a movement scanner. You’ll then be advised on how to run better and prevent injury.

londonbridgephysiotherapy.co.uk; 020 7234 2500

The famous VivaMayr Clinic in Austria dealt with gut health before gut health was even a ‘thing’ (we now know that it is directly linked to everything from fat storage to immunity, mental health and how we age). The medical clinic has hosted everyone from the Rolling Stones to Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost, and specialises in diagnosing and healing digestive issues. Next month, its first spa outside of Austria arrives at London’s Harley Street. The day clinic will offer a condensed version of the week-long Austrian programme, including diagnostic blood tests, IV infusions, abdominal treatments, stress-testing and gut-friendly cooking classes. From £170.

vivamayr.com

The Hot New Ageing Test

‘Everyone in New York and LA is having telomere tests right now,’ says Dr Sara Gottfried, author of new book Younger (£14.99, Vermilion). Put simply, these are straightforward blood tests that establish how fast you’re ageing. Dr Gottfried compares telomeres to the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces, in that they keep the DNA on the end of our chromosomes from fraying, which can lead to premature ageing. Long telomeres are a sign you’re ageing well (studies show a plant-based diet and meditation helps). Stress, a bad diet and lack of sleep, on the other hand, shorten telomeres and speed up the ageing process. Grace Belgravia in London offers telomere testing from £495, as well as consultations to help you slow down cell ageing.

gracebelgravia.com; 020 7235 8900

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