Brits are clueless about their health – with more than half admitting they don’t know what their own blood group is, a study has found. Millions also have no idea what their cholesterol levels are, while others don’t know what their normal blood pressure is, their BMI, or what it should be in order to be considered healthy.
What weight is healthy for your height and how many calories and glasses of water you should be consuming to be healthy also leave many stumped.
It also emerged 44 per cent admit it would take a health scare before they really start to worry about things such as their cholesterol levels or blood pressure. And the average Brit starts to take more notice of their health and lifestyle choices at the age of 47.
A spokesperson for Healthspan, who commissioned the research to launch its new heart health supplement Ubiquinol Max, said: “For many of us, our health is something we tend to ignore until it becomes a problem and people still seem to know little about heart health.
“As a result, unless it is something you know you need to keep an eye on, many would struggle to tell you what their blood pressure or cholesterol levels are, or even what they should be in order for them to be healthy.
“We carry on with our lifestyles without any real knowledge of the impact it could be having on our general health, as well as on important organs such as our heart. But waiting until a problem presents itself could be too late to do anything about it.
“By finding out about key areas of your health early on, and keeping an eye on things such as your blood pressure, vitamin D and cholesterol levels, you could prevent any health problem occurring before it even starts.”
The study of 2,000 Brits, found 92 per cent reckon they have a good idea about their current state of health, with 76 per cent believing themselves to be in good shape. But three quarters admit they have no idea what their cholesterol levels are with almost four in ten saying they have never had them checked. Almost half also said that even if they did, they don’t actually know what is considered healthy. Forty-three per cent also said they are unaware what their current blood pressure is, with a third also saying they don’t know what a ‘good’ reading is.
Leading cardiologist Dr Ross Walker said: “Being heart aware is vital at any age but especially once we get to our forties and fifties. Health checks should be mandatory when you hit your forties. All males should have a coronary calcium score at age 50 & females at 60. This does not involve dye or injections & is low radiation, but is easily the most predictive test for heart disease risk.”
GP Dr Sarah Brewer said: “Blood pressure and cholesterol screening forms part of the free midlife MOT (or NHS Health Check) for adults in England aged 40-74, and is offered every five years if you don’t have an existing vascular condition. Do take advantage of this.”
The study also found 68 per cent think their heart is in good health, but 42 per cent admit they have no idea what they need to do in order to keep their heart in good health. But four in ten have been told by a professional that things such as their blood pressure, cholesterol levels were or are too high and a quarter of those in their fifties were already on statins.
Dr Brewer said: “Between six and seven million people in the UK are now on statins and many because of poor lifestyle choices. If you are on a statin it’s a good idea to take both ubiquinol and vitamin D alongside the statin to support your heart health as statins lower blood levels of these important nutrients. And if you are on a statin, treat it as a wake-up call that you have important heart disease risk factors. Don’t continue eating and doing what you were before – follow your doctor’s diet and lifestyle advice to make potentially life-saving changes now, before it’s too late.”
Only one in five who are on a statin went on to make big changes to their lifestyle, although another 63 per cent made small changes.
However, despite the warning, 14 per cent just carried as they were.
Worryingly, 35 per cent of Brits have never had a medical check up.
GP, Dr Sarah Brewer said: “Reaching any age milestone is a good time to take stock and ensure that your future years remain as healthy and active as possible. If you haven’t had a thorough medical check-up in the previous five years, it’s a good idea to ask what screening is available from your doctor – even if you feel well. Having a high blood pressure or a cholesterol imbalance doesn’t cause symptoms as they slowly damage your circulation, so get them checked.”
Worryingly, 16 per cent of people also admit they don’t know anything about their family medical history and whether there are any conditions which run in the family that could affect them.
Brits are clueless – Top ten health facts Brits are least likely to know:
1. Body fat ratio
2. How much vitamin D we need each daily
3. Your cholesterol levels
4. Your BMI
5. Your blood pressure
6. Your blood type/group
7. How many calories you should consume daily to stay a healthy weight
8. How many units of alcohol are considered healthy
9. The units of water you should be drinking to be considered healthy
10. Allergies you suffer from