We see our doctor from time to time for a variety of reasons. Some visit when they experience a new problem or when they are faced with inexplicable health concerns. Some visit as per the requirement of follow up care for a chronic illness. There are others who see their doctors regularly as a routine follow-up to keep their health in top order, but they are relatively few. The argument is: the only time one should visit a doctor is when one is unwell or cannot fix one’s problem through over-the-counter medications.
However, the concept of regular checkups for healthy individuals is growing day by day. Many employers are setting up annual health check-up mandate for their employees Even at the community level the utility of screening for diseases when someone is apparently healthy is being appreciated more than ever before.
You must have heard that your parents or grandparents say that health is wealth. This old axiom is not just a cliché but has a lot of truth in it. If you want to stay off medication and be less dependent on external sources to be healthy, then you need to take good care of your body. Your life should be about eating well and maintaining a wholesome lifestyle of a balanced diet as well as exercising. Good health is not a summer or winter resolution but a lifetime process, something that you need to do for the rest of your life. Meeting your doctor from time to time is one of the many aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Why go for annual health check-ups?
An annual full body checkup is a routine yearly visit to your doctor to assess your general health. It is an important step in preventing bigger health issues. Your doctor can evaluate your state of wellbeing and diagnose any potential problems that may be in their beginning stages. With regular check-ups, the doctor can identify these problems and suggest immediate treatment based on the individual’s condition. Some diseases can be very subtle and may not show their signs or symptoms until they reach the next level. This is why you need to see your doctor regularly, especially if you live a kind of lifestyle that can expose you to such risks.
Why do you need health check-ups?
There are many reasons to weave a regular health checkup into your fitness lifestyle. One of the most important reasons is to prevent any disease. When you go for health checks, the laboratory tests done in the process will help in early detection and treatment of a potential health problem. Health checks vary from person to person, based on their sex, age, family health, and lifestyle. Health checks not only promote better health but also improve a patient-doctor relationship. The doctors can educate the patients about living a healthy life and how they can avoid dangerous habits such as alcoholism, tobacco addiction, binge eating, inactivity etc.
Do healthy individuals need yearly full body health checks?
Even though some medical experts suggest undergoing a whole body checkup every year for all individuals – healthy and unhealthy alike, a lot of medical professionals recommend otherwise. Several experts recommend that in case of healthy people, the doctors can take on more selective approach to prevent diseases, rather than recommending them a full body health check on a yearly basis.
What to expect during health check-up?
When you are undergoing a medical exam, there are many things you need to prepare yourself for. It is recommended that if you notice something unusual with your body, always make a note of it and discuss it with your doctor during your routine medical check-up. A health check-up can be very helpful in early detection of conditions that can be treated promptly.
Here are some things you can expect at a health check-up –
- Clinical history: your doctor will regularly update your medical record for future reference at each health check-up. They take note of previous preventive procedures such as pap tests, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, immunizations etc.
- Family history of diseases: This is important for your doctor to know because it gives them an idea about the diseases that are hereditary in your family.
- Past medical history: your doctor will review all your past medications and medical procedures such as surgeries.
- Lifestyle information: working style, where you work, living conditions at home and work-life balance in general. These little things can have a massive implication on your health.
- Habits: use of the recreational drug, smoking, active lifestyle, sexual habits, use of seat belt etc.
- Normal body function information: your daily body functions such as sleeping, eating, bowel movements, hearing, vision etc.
- Physical examination: necessary for people who have symptoms of a disease. However, it cannot be used as a screening test for healthy individuals with no complaints.
Regular health check-up composition
Based on your preliminary examination, your doctor may recommend further tests.
A usual fully body health check-up is made up of blood and urine tests, x-ray, ultrasonography, lungs function test, and cardiac test. These tests should only be carried out by an accredited laboratory or hospital that has the tools to carry out these diagnostic tests. Once you get the results, they should be tested by a qualified physician.
Here are some of the tests that make up a regular health check-up.
- General physical exam including weight, height, blood pressure, pulse rate etc.
- Blood tests and haemogram that determine infections, anemia, or onset of other diseases
- Lipid profile helps in assessing cardiovascular risk
- Liver function tests assess the functioning of liver or diagnose liver diseases
- Kidney function tests evaluate the proper functioning of kidneys
- Blood sugar measures blood glucose levels to identify diabetes or pre-diabetes
- Chest x-ray studies the chest and the organs located in the area
- ECG helps in determining the heart rate and uniformity of heartbeat. Ultrasonography studies the structures in the abdomen such as spleen, gall bladder, liver, pancreas and kidneys
- Urine examination is conducted for general assessment of health in terms of
- systemic or metabolic diseases.
Health check-ups and healthy lifestyle
Preventive healthcare is not a choice, but a requirement. If you want to detect a disease that has so far been lying dormant, doing its dirty work in silence, then you need to get yourself checked periodically. At the same time, health checks are not just about preventing diseases, it is also about maintaining your health optimally. When you meet your health care provider, they will assess your general health and recommend screenings or tests that they think are required to get a deeper insight. Finding problems early are important for treatment to be more effective and curative. Certain diseases do not show signs and symptoms until they have caused a lot of damage. It is these diseases that need to be identified at the earliest and is often picked up by regular health checks.
However, while necessary; medical checkups alone cannot be responsible for good health. Leading a healthy life goes a lot beyond just meeting your doctor regularly. You also need to inculcate good habits and make a few sacrifices along the way. You need to consume a balanced diet and give-up all the harmful substances such as too much sugar or salt, alcohol, tobacco, processed foods etc. You must also add light to moderate exercise in your daily routine for best results. Healthy habits are your first line of defense against harmful diseases and health conditions;