June 14, 2024

Care Nex

Stay Healthy, Live Happy

The full body MOT health check that every man and woman should have

6 min read

What does a full body MOT include?

Having a full body MOT health check in the private sector will go even further than routine NHS checks and screenings, assessing the health of the heart, kidney and liver, as well as examining other health markers, such as muscle mass and cholesterol.

As Stephen Critchlow, executive chairman of Evergreen Life, a health and wellbeing platform, points out no two MOTs are the same. “There are many companies and experts with their own version of a full body MOT, and no one standard approach exists. A wide variety of different types of tests can be involved.” 

Because these tests are private, there are different packages available, ranging in price from around £200 to £16,000. The pricier ones obviously do a deeper dive in their investigations, looking beyond symptoms to underlying causes, and investigating everything from brainwaves and mental health triggers to vitamin levels and deficiencies. With tailored lifestyle plans and a further year of tests and support included in the price, such a hefty outlay may well be worth it to those who can afford it. 

In some instances, all you need to do is a finger-prick test, which can take place at home and be sent to a lab for results. As well as assessing blood sugar levels and the risk of diabetes, blood samples are helpful in identifying certain types of cancers.  

A full body MOT may also include an assessment of your BMI, as well as your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which indicates how efficiently your body uses energy, even when resting. A low BMR indicates that you need fewer calories to survive (in terms of sleeping and breathing) than someone with a higher one – and that you’ll need fewer calories to sustain or reach a healthy weight. Oxygen saturation (how much oxygen is circulating in your blood) and your blood pressure and pulse may be measured, as high blood pressure can contribute to the risk of heart attack and stroke. You may also be asked to provide a urine sample so that the levels of pH, sugar, protein and blood can be checked to detect issues such as urinary tract infection, kidney disease and diabetes. Levels of specific fats, such as triglycerides, may be measured in relation to the risk of heart disease or stroke. 

There is no national screening test for prostate cancer in the UK due to concerns around the accuracy of the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, which measures the amount of PSA in your blood. A higher than expected level could indicate prostate cancer. However, an NHS PSA test can be arranged via consultation with a GP for men over the age of 50 via an “informed choice” programme. 

If you have a prostate examination on the NHS, it will generally involve the practitioner inserting a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland for any abnormal signs, such as lumps. If an abnormality is detected, you may then be referred for a PSA test. The issue cited by the NHS about the PSA blood test is the risk of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. For instance, many men with a raised PSA may not have prostate cancer yet may be referred for a biopsy, which can cause various side effects such as discomfort and infection. 

However, a full body check-up in the private sector will frequently include a testicular examination and a PSA test as a matter of course and, despite NHS concerns about accuracy, other experts believe it’s a test worth having. A 2022 study demonstrated that, although earlier research indicated that PSA screening only prevented one death for every 23 men diagnosed with prostate cancer, prevention figures were more accurately one death for 11 to 14 diagnoses. This same study indicated that the benefits were even higher for black men, who tend to be more at risk of developing prostate cancer than white men, although the reasons for this are not clear yet. 

How much does a full private health check cost?

Because there are so many types of full body MOT health checks, prices vary widely. “Private GP services are available, which include an annual health check,” says Critchlow. “These would include a ‘full’ test for just over £300 per year. Typically these are pretty basic, and cover less than 10 per cent of what is available with modern technology. There are also the ‘Rolls-Royce’ versions, which cost over £5,000 and usually include MRI and even CT scans, both of which can check for internal tumours and some cancers.” 

Some of the main reasons people may choose to have a full private health check include not yet being eligible for the NHS check, knowledge of health problems in the family history or new, persistent health concerns. They may feel that an investment – even a more costly one – is worth it for peace of mind. Some doctors, however, believe that because modern technology is so sensitive, there is a risk of unearthing a host of “concerns” that aren’t actually anything to worry about – and that this can lead to unnecessary interventions and anxiety. 

Some examples of full body MOT health checks available

The speedy one: Randox Health Everyman and Everywoman  

Involves: A 20-minute appointment where blood and urine samples are collected. 

Results include: Personal health measurements, including BMI and oxygen saturation, full blood count and iron status; checks including the heart, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidneys, bones, liver, muscles and joints, pancreas, digestion, hormones and nutrition, thyroid and prostate; allergy evaluation.

Cost: £295 per year, with two health checks in that period.

The household name one: Bupa Be.Reassured

Involves: A heart rhythm screening, plus blood tests and a review of your flexibility and mobility. A mental health and wellbeing discussion, plus coaching and follow-up calls over the course of a year. 

Results include: BMI, waist to height ratio, body fat percentage, estimated energy requirement, blood pressure, cholesterol profile, diabetes check, heart rhythm screening, resting heart rate, haemoglobin count.

Cost: £760

The two-hour one: Nuffield Health 360 Health Assessment 

Involves: An online pre-assessment and two-hour face-to-face session, with a follow-up report. 

Results include: BMI and body fat percentage analysis, urine analysis, bowel cancer test (for people 45 and older), cholesterol test, full blood count, liver and kidney function, blood glucose test, blood pressure, cardiovascular risk score, resting ECG (how your heart functions when you’re inactive), dietary analysis, functional movement assessment, measurement of physiological resilience to stressors, plus gender-specific checks such as breast or testicular examination. 

Cost: £729

The super high-tech one: Preventicum Ultimate

Involves: Six hours of tests and consultations with a single doctor in a private suite, with same-day results. 

Results include: MRI scans of your brain, heart, liver and the organs and arteries of the abdomen and pelvis, exercise stress echocardiogram, resting ECG, spirometry to measure lung function, ultrasound examinations of the abdomen, pelvis and thyroid, body composition (the percentages of fat, bone and muscle in your body), over 45 different blood tests, urine analysis, eye pressure and hearing tests.

Cost: £6,500

The gender-specific one: H3 Health Male and Female Health MOT 

Involves: A consultation with a specialist in men’s or women’s health, plus a blood analysis, physical examination and follow-up consultation. 

Results include: Insights into general wellness and mental health, such as energy levels, sleep patterns and mood, cardiovascular health, anaemia, immunity, kidney and liver function, diabetes screening, bowel cancer risk, plus gender-specific concerns such as prostate health, menopause symptoms and breast cancer screening. 

Costs: £750

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