Have You Had Your Annual Cheak-Up?   



Have You Had Your Annual Cheak-Up?

 
Top Wellness Health lists a number of tests you should take regularly to make sure you are in tip-top condition.

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' attitude.

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 regularly:

BLOOD PRESSURE
Regular blood pressure (BP) monitoring is a 'must' for everyone.

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 diseases.

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.

BLOOD GLUCOSE
There are a number of ways a blood glucose test can be done.

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.

CHOLESTEROL
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 high reading.

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 lipoprotein
(HDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride levels. Together, they form your lipid profile.

COLORECTAL CANCER
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 in faeces.

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 cancer.

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 result.

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.

BREAST 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 cancer:
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.

PAP SMEARS
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 precancerous states.

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.

EYE TESTS
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 be done.

URIC ACID TEST
This blood test indicates if a person is at risk of gout.

Gout occurs due to an excess of uric acid in the blood or the inability of kidneys to eliminate it properly.

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.

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Happy reading,
Evelyn



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