Regular health checkups are very important. They allow you to monitor your overall health as well as identify potential problems early when they are easier to treat. Many conditions will have a better outcome if detected earlier such as diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers.
A health screen will consist of many things, ranging from the history taking, examination and bedside tests, to formal blood testing and even Xrays.
1. Heart health
A heart check will involve history and examination as well as an ECG (an electrical trace of the heart looking at the rate and rhythm). Further blood tests may be needed such as looking at cholesterol and diabetes as these can have an impact on heart health.
2. Blood pressure
Blood pressure should be checked every 1 to 2 years even if readings are generally within normal range. Even young patients (those below 40 years of age) should be checked as well since we are seeing an ever decreasing age demographic who develop early onset high blood pressure. For patients above 40 years of age, patients who have borderline high blood pressure, or those with a family history of high blood pressure, yearly checks are recommended.
3. Electrocardiogram (ECG)
ECGs help to detect any heart abnormalities by measuring electrical activity produced as the heart pumps. Usually an individual over 50 years of age is recommended for an ECG exam every 2 to 5 years.
4. Blood tests
Blood tests help to evaluate a variety of issues which include cholesterol levels, organ function and cancer markers.
5. Obesity tests
Obesity can cause a variety of health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. For this reason, it is important to check BMI (body mass index) to identify those who are overweight and decide upon lifestyle changes to help reduce weight , which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease. BMI is calculated as a measurement of height and weight. The ideal BMI for the average asian man is between 18 to 23.
6. Prostate cancer screening
Men over 50 years of age should go for an annual prostate examination to make sure the prostate gland is in a healthy condition. In this test, a doctor checks the size and shape of the prostate gland by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the anus. This shouldn’t be painful but may be uncomfortable. Blood tests looking at prostate markers may also help.