Health Checkups 101

Every well-run organization reserves time once in a few months for their board or management to meet, review progress and finances, identify and solve problems and chalk out a future course of action. So vital to the companies’ health is this day that it takes priority over every other agenda. A similar approach to managing your health is a wise investment.Every well-run organization reserves time once in a few months for their board or management to meet, review progress and finances, identify and solve problems and chalk out a future course of action. So vital to the companies’ health is this day that it takes priority over every other agenda. A similar approach to managing your health is a wise investment.

The Japanese have perfected the system of preventive maintenance where for a day, a company stops production on schedule so that the entire system is checked for minor problems in the aim to avoid an unscheduled breakdown. We send our cars for routine servicing to prevent an unexpected breakdown while driving on a road. The same approach should be taken about our health.

It must revolve around your family doctor, an individual who may have known you and maybe your family for a long time. For a few fortunate individuals whose doctor has been treating more than one generation in their family, the doctors will have the insight to know how ones future health problems may unfold and advise how to avoid them. For example, having witnessed the onset and treatment of diabetes or heart disease in older generation, the family doctor can advise the younger generation on how to avoid the problem and to look for the early signs as one gets older.

Physical examination by a doctor at least once a year is a must so that blood pressure, obesity, heart, lung and skin disease are identified and kept a watch on. Health Maintenance Packages or master health checkups are offered by most hospitals and clinics. These are a panel of tests that are designed to identify early signs of disease.

Diabetes and cholesterol are risk factors that lead to heart disease and it’s vital for them to be identified and managed early on. Blood tests will also tell us if diabetes is under control and if any complications, such as kidney damage, have occurred. Simple tests such as Haemoglobin, cell counts and liver functions point out to infections, may explain symptoms of weakness and on occasion may be an early warning about cancers. An unexplained weight change may be due to thyroid problems.

Heart disease is the most common cause of mortality as we age. Annual examinations help to identify early problems with heart function. An ECG, echocardiogram and a Stress Test help to identify coronary artery disease and prevent a heart attack. After the age of 50, along with identifying the risk factors that lead to heart disease, the focus is also on preventable cancers. For men, prostate enlargement identified by ultrasound on rare occasions may be hiding malignancy for which annual PSA blood test is used as a screening tool. At least once in 10 years, a colonoscopy is a must to detect colon cancer, more frequently for individuals with family history. For women after the age of 35 years, pap smears and mammograms are essential to screen for cervical and breast cancer.

The key to ensuring that we don’t face a sudden health break down is prevention and early treatment. Get in touch with your family doctor.

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