I have always been very fortune when it comes to “staying healthy” (knock on wood) – or at least that’s what I thought! Since getting regular medical insurance many years ago through my employer, I make a point to schedule a yearly physical with my doctor and I am trying to pay more attention to my overall health. I don’t usually need to go to the doctor for any underlying or ongoing health issues, but there is one “constant” from EVERY appointment I have: the doctor tells me I am overweight, I need to exercise regularly and in 20-30 years I may not have a chance to reverse the effects that poor health choices have had on my body. I leave every appointment and make a commitment to eat better, exercise and get my health on track. A year later, I look in the mirror and see not much has changed.
For the last two years, my employer has offered a free, in-home Diabetes & Cholesterol Panel Combo Test kit through a partnership with UnitedHealthCare and a company called BioIQ. Essentially, you drink nothing but water for 9-12 hours, prick your finger, put some of your blood on a stick and mail it to BioIQ for processing. About 2 weeks later, you get an email that allows you to access your test results online and find out if you will drop dead or live to see another day 🙂 Yes, I added the last sentence for dramatic effect.
So what in the hell does this test look for? I wondered the same thing. Below is an explanation, directly from the BioIQ website (with a few modifications for the types of tests I received in the mail).
The BioIQ A1c/Cholesterol Combination Test conducts two important tests from one blood sample.
- For heart disease, it measures the amount of total cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides, and the LDL cholesterol value.
- The kit also includes a diabetes tests – in my case, this was the Glucose test, which measures your blood sugar (glucose) at the time of testing
The combo test kit helps you determine your risk for heart disease, especially if you have been diagnosed with or are at risk for any form of diabetes.
I completed the at-home test and got my results a few days ago, which is what prompted this blog entry.
Over the coming days, I will be posting details about each test, my results (2011 vs 2012), what it all means, and ways you can improve your lifestyle and do simple things to make sure you are your healthiest. I am sure I am not the only person who sees these free services offered by my job and asks myself “what is this and how in the world does it benefit me?” Hopefully, these posts will help answer some of the questions you might have.
In the meantime, take a few minutes to find out what free or discounted services your employer might offer. They are usually low-cost and could very well save your life.
And don’t worry, you can thank me later 🙂