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Regular health check-ups to keep fit

| Updated: June 07, 2022 14:12:31


Regular health check-ups to keep fit

Most of us believe that we should only go to a hospital or clinic when we need treatment. This should not be the case, as a healthy person keeps in touch with the physician. Why?

Because the physician will guide him on the kind of health checks needed to identify many diseases early. This is now a critical part of preventive health care strategy.

The frequency of check-ups is variable. Usually, it is half-yearly, sometimes it can be quarterly or yearly. Older people, people at high risk of certain diseases will need more frequent check-ups. The physician can advise on the best frequency.

General check-ups

As a general rule, general health check-ups may include BMI, hip and waist measures, glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

If someone is overweight, a glucose and cholesterol check should be started immediately, or s/he could wait until 35 years.

Also, if there is a family history of diabetes, glucose checks may be started at an earlier age with more frequency. Similarly, if someone has risk factors for heart disease, cholesterol checks may start as early as 20 years of age.

If the check-up reveals a normal cholesterol level, it may not need to be repeated for 05 years. However, if the person gains excess weight, or develops heart problems, kidney or heart disease, then testing more often is suggested.

Blood pressure is part of all general health checks. It should be checked at least once every 02 years if everything is normal. But in the case of people with diabetes, heart disease or some other condition, it needs to be checked more regularly.

Eye check-up and other risk factors

Some people have risk factors for certain cancers, so they need to be screened for those. Going to the dentist, which most of us fear, is recommended once or twice a year by CDC. This check-up should involve teeth cleaning as well.

Eye checks are important too. Generally, for anyone with vision issues (like the author of the article!), an eye test is recommended at least every 02 years. For diabetic patients, it should be every year.

Recommended for the females

There are certain check-ups applicable to females. One is a breast examination that can be done by self. Periodically, the physician can also do it in case of bad family history. This will help identify breast cancer at an earlier stage which is then easier to treat. Sometimes, the physician may ask to have a mammogram as part of a regular check-up for the same purpose.

Check-up based on age group

For cervical cancer, Bangladesh uses a screening technique called VIA. WHO recommends that starting 30, every woman should have a VIA test. If negative, this can be repeated every 3-5 years.

For older age, e.g. ≥55 years, men should start PSA test to identify prostate cancer early. For high-risk groups, this may be initiated at 40 years of age. Also, regular prostate exam by a physician is suggested for older males to check for enlargement of the gland.

For elderly population of both sexes, regular tests for hearing and bone health are recommended. Anyone at the age of 45 must also be aware of screening for colorectal cancer. US Preventive Services Task Force recommended this up to age 75.

These are some of the health checks we should consider having. Not everyone needs everything, and some people may require more based on their situation. The best way to approach this is to talk to physician and s/he will draft a package of tests we need to do regularly.

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