We find ourselves in the midst of a phase in our history that none of us expected to ever see. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused massive dislocation to so many lives in the short-term and there is little doubt that the economic consequences, as well as wider societal impacts, will be felt far longer than that. However, Covid-19 has also served as something of a wakeup call by shining a light on the issue of underlying health conditions, both known and unknown, that have impacted on the severity of response of many individuals who have contracted the virus.
Underlying conditions are often considered ‘quiet’ in that they may not cause any obvious symptoms, as an individual you are genuinely asymptomatic. However, they can still take a toll on your health and influence your ability to fight off infection. So, what can you do to ensure any underlying health issues are being addressed?
This blog explores some of the common underlying health issues that have been associated with the worst cases of Covid-19, and will delve into the benefits of detecting disease early through a preventative Health Assessment and ensuring your body is better prepared to fight what comes its way.
Covid-19 highlights the importance of good underlying health
It has never been more apparent how our overall health influences our physical resilience. The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that some of us are more susceptible thereby experiencing worse outcomes from contracting infectious disease than others. But why?
The human body is complicated, and everything must be working correctly and in balance in order to fight off an infection like Covid-19 effectively. A prerequisite to this is a strong immune system and good cardiovascular health.
A great many of us have underlying conditions impacting our general immunity yet are unaware of it. For example, one third of Caucasian adults in the UK are deficient in vitamin D, with 66% of Asians and 43% of those with mixed ethnicity being deficient, as shown by this 2018 study. This is significant because vitamin D deficiency supports immune function and has been associated with increased Covid-19 susceptibility by studies worldwide, such as this one studying The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality. Furthermore, there are many other conditions which impair immune health and/or the response to Covid-19 that people may not know they have including prediabetes and high blood pressure.
With respect to cardiovascular health, we can see from studies into the mortality associated with Covid-19 that damage to the lungs and heart can be especially severe. Covid-19 causes inflammation within the lungs resulting in fluid accumulation and reduced oxygen transfer, which if severe enough requires artificial ventilation. In the heart, the virus can directly affect the heart muscle causing a myocarditis and impaired heart muscle function.
Therefore, it follows that an understanding of your core cardiac function and whether you have any underlying respiratory disease can help you know if you are at increased risk of suffering complications of Covid-19. In general, a preventative Health Assessment will detect any underlying disease and enabling treatment that may help nip it in the bud.
Why is early detection important?
Early detection of disease is critical. UK life expectancy has doubled in the past 200 years but sadly too many people still die from preventable diseases. The Big Four most prevalent causes of early death in the UK include heart disease, cancers, lung disease and stroke. When detected early and treated in their early stages, patients have promising outcomes. However, too often we wait until we experience unpleasant symptoms before we take action and see our GP, by this time the condition will have progressed.
This is why almost half of all cancers in the UK are diagnosed at a late stage, according to Cancer Research UK. But these are the statistics under normal circumstances. As a result of the consequential impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, by June 2020, an estimated 2.1 million patients were awaiting screening for breast, cervical and bowel cancer on the NHS, also reported by Cancer Research UK.
The NHS does a tremendous job of helping all those who diagnosed with these terrible diseases but sadly late diagnosis often means that patients miss out on potentially curative treatments.
In order to nip disease in the bud it must be caught in its early stages. This is why a preventative health check is so valuable. Perhaps you have a family history of cancer or heart disease. Using state-of-the-art imaging technology and analysis by renowned specialist consultants, a preventative health assessment will take a comprehensive look into your individual health and ensure that anything worrisome is flagged up and dealt with by an expert.
Based in Harley Street, London, Echelon Health deliver the most comprehensive health assessments available. Now more than ever, it is important to prioritise your physical wellbeing.
The core benefits of an Echelon Health Assessment
An Echelon Health Assessment provides a detailed insight into your health. Our flagship product, the Platinum Health Assessment, can detect for 92% of the avoidable causes of death in 55-69 year old men (over 95% in women), as calculated through our independently verified analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics.
Our Evergreen Membership provides the same unrivalled detection rate as Platinum. For a fixed monthly fee, your Evergreen assessments will be arranged over three years and conveniently scheduled to suit your lifetsyle. To find out more about Evergreen, click here.
Here are the core benefits of attending an Echelon Health Assessment:
- Tailored to your needs – before any tests are performed, your medical history will be reviewed in depth by a renowned consultant physician to ensure the assessment is tailored to your needs.
- State-of-the-art equipment – Echelon operate a 3 Tesla MRI machine, which is renowned for its safety and high resolution. The NHS primarily operates 1.5 Tesla MRI machines. There are only four EOS CT scanners in operation in the UK, one of these is housed in our Harley Street centre and is used for our Health Assessments.
- Full body mole screen – Echelon are partnered with The Mole Clinic, which leads the UK in skin cancer screening and mole removal. This is included in our Premium Health Assessments.
- Blood tests for over 40 parameters – including:
- CA 19.9 and CA 125 which are markers for breast cancer and ovarian cancer respectively,
- PSA (prostate-specific antigen) to detect prostate cancer.
- CEA – a general tumour marker,
- Full blood count – which measures the relative amounts of white blood cells that may indicate the presence of cancer.
- Up to seven specialist consultant radiologists may review your scans – each reporting on their particular area of expertise.
- Referral to top consultants and specialists: if anything of concern is detected Echelon Health will make an rapid referral to a highly experienced specialist to discuss treatment.
- Early detection – anything flagged up is more likely be in its early stages as it has not yet caused obvious symptoms. Therefore, you will likely have better treatment options and a promising outcome if you are diagnosed with anything serious.
- Receive lifestyle and health management advice – our experts will give you a detailed understanding of your health and actionable steps you can take to improve it.
What actions will you take in our post-COVID-19 world?
Call Echelon Health now on 020 7580 7688 and find out why prevention is always better than cure. Alternatively, click on the button below and fill out a simple form to arrange for us to call you back at your convenience.Make an Enquiry
Crowe, Francesca L., et al. “Trends in the incidence of testing for vitamin D deficiency in primary care in the UK: a retrospective analysis of The Health Improvement Network (THIN), 2005–2015.” BMJ open 9.6 (2019)
Office for National Statistics
Cancer Research UK – Cancer Incidence Statistics
Ilie, Petre Cristian, et al. “The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality.” Aging Clinical and Experimental Research (2020): 1.