My health has deteriorated of late. I’ve put on pretty much all the weight I lost pre-pregnancy and I’m tired. Since returning to work, life seems to be progressing at a whirlwind rate leaving me in a bit of a tizz not knowing if I’m coming or going with enormous dark circles round my eyes and the need to inhale caffeine by the bucket load. I was offered the chance to take stock of the state of my health in it’s current form and so I decided to take the plunge and see what the professionals had to say.
Patient.co.uk is a medical support and information website which has tons of useful information on a huge range of ailments, conditions and concerns.
“Symptom checker, Health Information and Medicines Guide”
I hadn’t come across the website previously so I was intrigued to take a look around, take the patient survey and find out how I fared and to see what advice was offered to help me move forward.
The patient survey took about 20 minutes and there were different sections to complete including medical history, family history, lifestyle, biometrics, diet and stress. As hard as it is to face the facts, I had to be honest with myself and answer the questionnaire as if I was talking to my own GP. The survey was relatively easy to do online and the results are instant at the end.
The results didn’t surprise me, if I’m completely honest. A score is given out of 100 (Imagine a queue of 100 people standing in a line with the first person in the queue needing urgent attention and the last person being in optimum health) and I scored an upsetting 34. I knew I wasn’t in the best of health and a lot of changes are needed but didn’t think I would score so low. The survey recommends that a healthy person attracts a score of between 60-90 so there was a long way to go to get myself deemed as healthy again.
The survey gave me areas of concern; BMI/Weight, Exercise and Stress. All of which I would completely agree with. I’m very unhappy with my weight and would like to take action to reduce the amount of pounds I’m carrying. I haven’t exercised properly in a long time, well over a year; I can’t use the excuse of having a baby and a c-section for much longer. Excuses don’t equal results. They just weigh you down. Finally, stress. I’ve just returned to work following my maternity leave, the work life baby balance is a struggle, my husband isn’t well and is currently undergoing a lot of tests and is unable to drive. That combined with low self esteem and confidence due to weight gain and the inability to sleep well at night (insomnia mostly) makes for pretty poor reading.
I was given recommendations of steps to take to be able to improve my health, all of which are useful and encouraging. I have been advised to tackle my weight, of which I am taking seriously. I’ve previously successfully dieted with Weight Watchers and lost over 5 stone. I know I can do it, I need to do it. I’ve been advised to take more regular exercise each week, raising my heart rate so I can still manage a conversation between
gasping breaths. I’ve also been advised to seek medical attention in relation to my weight and stress symptoms of which I will be doing in due course.
As an addition to the patient survey on the website, I was given a one-to-one consultation with Dr Sarah Jarvis (of The One Show and Radio 4 fame). Dr Jarvis was on hand to answer some of my questions and to give me tips on how to improve my health which in turn would improve my score on the survey.
I spoke to Dr Jarvis and she is lovely. What a lovely lady! Very down to earth and seemed to be genuinely concerned with what I was telling her. She recommended that I replace chocolate with another sweet but healthier treat to stop the naughty unhealthy snacking after my dinner. She suggested fruit or low calorie foods. This is advice I’ve heard previously and really should take on board. I also spoke to her about my need for caffeine and she recommends that I should be drinking no more than 3 or 4 cups of coffee per day. This was great news as I’ve been concerned about the amount of caffeine I’ve been drinking but was reassured that it probably isn’t contributing to my insomnia if it isn’t drunk after 8pm.
Being a busy working mum herself, Dr Jarvis understood my concern for lack of time to exercise. She recommended I hit the streets with the pushchair and/or the dog and walk for a good 30-40 minutes trying to raise my heartrate two or three times per week. This is something I need to do. I’ve not had time to exercise and have been worried about the impact it would have on my c-section scar but in honesty, it was probably an excuse not too! I need to make time.
Dr Jarvis also recommended that I make an appointment to see my GP. I have a couple of medical conditions which I am not ashamed to talk about; Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and an Underactive Thryoid (Hypothyroidism). Both of which target me as a prime candidate for being overweight. Dr Jarvis asked me if I had any of the symptoms (tiredness, dry skin, thirsty, weight gain, aches, fluid retention and depression to name just a few) and although I could relate to some of those symptoms I wasn’t sure if they were lifestyle related or due to Hypothyroidism. She has recommended that I go and speak to my GP and request blood tests to eliminate any problems with my current medication.
The survey results have hit home that I need to change quite a few things in my life with diet and exercise featuring heavily on the agenda. I want to be a happy, healthy mummy to Little Mr and a happy and attractive wife to my husband and so I need to embrace the results and the support offered to make the changes for a healthier future.
I’d recommend patient.co.uk to anyone wanting to assess their current health or if you’re looking for information on a current ailment or condition. However please always seek medical advice if you’re suffering. The website and survey can only give you information and advice on the information that you provide.
Disclaimer: This isn’t a sponsored post but I have received an incentive as a thank you for my time.