Private dating scan

“The test is useful for people who have had a stroke who are already at high risk of having another.

But anyone else is just left with the knowledge they have arterial disease, without much they can do about it.” Similarly, she says, the scan for narrowed arteries in the legs was “absolutely useless” in someone with no symptoms.

Thank goodness you’re a journalist – an ordinary person would be very frightened.” Some days later came a call from one of the company’s nurses, a sympathetic, softly spoken lady who said she was as mystified as I was over the high risk of lung disease, that her photocopy of the questionnaire was “a bit blurry”, but that perhaps I had been mistakenly assessed as a smoker and an asthmatic.

Which is true; but as a medical journalist, I at least had some inkling of an error, whereas an ordinary member of the public might have taken it as gospel.Vaguely alarmed, I put in a call to the company and took the results to my GP, who snorted derisively, pointing out that my “good” cholesterol was a tiny fraction – 0.01mmol – lower than the recommended 1.2mmol for women; and my “bad”, just 0.03 higher than the recommended 3mmol.“If I had your cholesterol levels, I would be very happy,” she said.Aside from the confusion, did I learn anything new?No: I was advised to do what I already know I should be doing – exercise more and cut down on dietary fat. Error aside, getting the all-clear from the tests had a certain feel-good factor.

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