Have You Had Your Annual Cheak-Up?
Wellness Health lists a number of tests you should
take regularly to make sure you are in tip-top
When was the last time you had a full medical
check-up? Regular health screening, important as it
is, is something most of us blissfully ignore. And,
yes, yours truly is guilty as charged as well.
Despite continuously hearing the mantra that 'Early
Detection Saves Lives', most of us take our health
for granted, adopting the 'It Won't Happen To Me'
Basic health tests can be conveniently conducted at
your nearest clinic.
Certain specific tests will be recommended if your
doctor suspects you are at risk of a particular
illness or if you have a family history of a
disease, but have yet to exhibit symptoms.
Below are some things you should check for
Regular blood pressure (BP) monitoring is a 'must'
The normal reading is 120/80 or lower, and any
number higher than 140/90 is a big 'no-no'.
The closer the reading is to 120/80, the lower the
chances of developing high blood pressure induced
There are many diseases related to hypertension,
such as stroke, heart disease, and eye and kidney
problems. Therefore, it is important to maintain
your BP at optimum levels.
There are a number of ways a blood glucose test can
The first is known as fasting blood glucose, which
tests blood 8-10 hours after your last meal.
An oral glucose tolerance test is a series of tests
done to measure how well your body uses glucose
(sugar). You will first be tested for fasting blood
glucose. Then, you will be asked to drink a glass of
glucose and blood samples will be taken 30, 60 and
180 minutes later.
A high total cholesterol level puts you at risk of
heart disease and stroke.
Ideally, you should have your cholesterol level
checked every five years once you are above the age
of 20, and more regularly if you have ever had a
Any number above 200 mg/dL is considered elevated
and a reading of more than 240 mg/dL is high.
This screening is normally done in combination with
other tests to specifically check for high density
(HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL) and
triglyceride levels. Together, they form your lipid
Normally suggested for all those aged 50 and above,
regular testing for colorectal cancer should begin
at the age of 30-40 if there is a strong family
history of this cancer result.
Screening for colorectal cancer involves a faecal
occult blood test to check for the presence of blood
A colonoscopy may also be recommended by you r
doctor, but this will be based on several factors,
such as symptoms and family history of colorectal
TUMOUR CANCER MARKERS
The accuracy of cancer markers is highly debatable.
They are not recommended to be used on their own to
determine the presence of cancer cells as they may
give either a false-positive or false-negative
This is because tumour markers are released by not
only tumour cells, but also sometimes by normal
cells in your body.
Therefore, if a doctor suspects cancer, you will be
sent for further tests to confirm the high tumour
marker reading. Tumour marker tests are best used to
monitor the progress of disease after a patient is
diagnosed with cancer.
Did you know that one in every 20 women is at risk
for breast cancer? It has been continuously stressed
that the earlier it is detected, the better the
chances of recovery.
There are three main ways of checking for breast
breast self-examination (BSE); examination by a
doctor; and, mammography.
A BSE should be done every month, beginning at the
age of 20, during the week after menstruation. If
any lump is found or you suspect something is amiss,
consult your doctor immediately!
It is recommended that women over the age of 40
undergo breast cancer examinations by a doctor
annually. Women between the ages of 20 and 40 should
be examined by a doctor every three years.
Should there be a previous scare or a family history
of breast cancer, these tests should be done
annually from the age of 30.
According to the American Cancer Society, women
above the age of 40 should undergo a mammogram every
year. A mammogram uses X-ray technology and even the
smallest discrepancies can be detected.
Women who are sexually active take note: you must do
a Pap smear annually! The Pap, or Papanicolau,
srnear, named after the scientist who developed it,
screens for cervical cancer.
The doctor will use a spatula to remove tissue cells
from the cervix. These are then examined under the
microscope for changes that might signify cancer or
Why is this test important? A Pap smear can identify
both cancerous as well as precancerous states of
cervical cells. Since the introduction of the Pap
smear, there has been a drastic drop in global
deaths due to cervical cancer.
A large number of vision problems develop with age,
especially glaucoma, macular degeneration and
cataract. This is why it is extremely important to
get your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist at least
once a year - more frequently if you wear contact
lenses or have diabetes.
The ophthalmologist will examine your eyes for signs
of inflammation as well as for damaged blood
vessels. A test to determine an increase in
intraocular pressure (a sign of glaucoma) will also
URIC ACID TEST
This blood test indicates if a person is at risk of
Gout occurs due to an excess of uric acid in the
blood or the inability of kidneys to eliminate it
Uric acid is a by-product from the breakdown of
substances called purines, which are found
abundantly in foods like liver, anchovies, mackerel,
dried beans, peas, beer and wine.
In a healthy individual, uric acid is absorbed into
the blood and moved to the kidneys, where it should
be excreted in the urine.
Hyperuricaemia means an
excessive amount of uric acid in the body.