So you know I’m on a bit of a health kick right? Again you might say. Yes, I’ll reply.
But let me back track a couple of years. When I was pregnant with Beau, my father in law got some serious news about his heart. It was a scary time for the family and we spent a lot of time waiting for results. We chatted frequently about how crazy it is that you can test your blood pressure, we can test for cancers, we can test for diabetes, but there’s no real test for your heart condition.
Fast forward to 2016, today my husband is getting an ECG done at the Superclinic – as part of his routine medical checkups in the NRL Referee Squad. And today, quite by chance as far as the timing goes, I visited Life Pharmacy in 277 for an EasyCheck Cholesterol Complete check.
Not going to lie – I was nervous as anything. Nervous that the results would reveal a high level of cholesterol. You know what’s crazy about that though? I don’t even know what cholesterol is. What it means to have ‘high cholesterol’ or what to do about it if I do? We hear the word frequently, but I always thought of it as something 65 and overs needed to worry about. Not me. Not you. We’re too young for it to be a concern right?!
Regular testing is recommended from 20 years old if you smoke, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of heart disease. And for the rest of the population, it’s important to get tested too.
- Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body.
- Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. However, cholesterol also is found in some of the foods you eat.
- Cholesterol travels through your bloodstream in small packages called lipoproteins (lip-o-PRO-teens). These packages are made of fat (lipid) on the inside and proteins on the outside.
- Two kinds of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout your body: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Having healthy levels of both types of lipoproteins is important.
- High blood cholesterol is a condition in which you have too much cholesterol in your blood. By itself, the condition usually has no signs or symptoms. Thus, many people don’t know that their cholesterol levels are too high.
- People who have high blood cholesterol have a greater chance of getting coronary heart disease, also called coronary artery disease. (In this article, the term “heart disease” refers to coronary heart disease.)
- The higher the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood, the GREATER your chance is of getting heart disease. The higher the level of HDL cholesterol in your blood, the LOWER your chance is of getting heart disease.
* source: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc
Now that we know what cholesterol is and how it affects your heart, it makes more sense that you should want to know what your own cholesterol level is looking like – surely? Because the reality is that if you have a high level of cholesterol, there are no symptoms so without a test, you have no way of knowing if this is affecting your heart health every day.
Where testing would routinely take place in doctor’s offices before 2016, you can now walk into participating Life and Unichem Pharmacies, without an appointment and have this super-fast skin prick test done and get your results in 5 minutes. It’s pain free, it’s easy, it’s quick and you get your results on the spot. If your cholesterol level is of any concern, the Pharmacist can pass your details onto your GP and if the level is of no concern, you can head back into the mall and continue shopping. You can even get it done on the weekend. No waiting, no need to book in advance and just $39.90 to know the health of your heart. I like the sound of that!
I took Beau into the pharmacy this morning to meet with Noor. Beau got busy with the contents of his lunchbox and I tried to stop myself from freaking out about the possibility of a high level of cholesterol. After a couple of minutes massaging my own hand to ensure the blood flow was moving towards my fingertips, and ensuring my hands were warmed to assist with fast blood flow, Noor quickly pricked my left hand middle finger (left hand being closer to the heart) and squeezed blood into two small pipettes. The procedure took less than 40 seconds. As soon as she put the blood into the little testing card (which to be honest looked a lot like a pregnancy test combined with a glucose test colour chart that you do when you pee during pregnancy), she set the timer for 1 minute and then flipped it over to check the results.
Matching the colours of my blood reaction with the litmus paper with the colours on the test card, she then performed a simple calculation to determine the final outcome of my score.
All my fears were allayed when she told me that my level sat at 3.25 which is of no concern – a level 4 is when they would look to check blood pressure and refer you to your doctor for further testing or chats on ways to manage your cholesterol levels.
I was relieved, as you can imagine, but I was also so impressed by how quickly the whole thing went. It was honestly a pain free procedure and knowing the results immediately was so good – there’s nothing worse than waiting for a phone call when you get bloods done. At least that’s how I always feel.
Now I know that my heart health is on track, I can continue with my weightloss journey without anything else being of concern. And knowing that my result was off the charts (in a good sense), I wouldn’t need to get retested for another 2-3 years (unless I started to drink cream by the gallon each day!)
I have three EasyCheck Cholesterol Complete tests to give away.
To enter: head to my FB page and follow the instructions there.