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3 reasons to get a Medical Check-up even if you feel fine
You feel fine. You don’t take medicine regularly, you don’t smoke, and you even control your diet. Chances are, you probably haven’t had a medical check-up for a while, right? However, doctors caution this method to maintain your health, since the key to a healthy living is also maintaining your body and catching any symptoms early. Blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, urine acid and BMI are a few key health indicators you need to monitor regularly.
Preventable diseases are actually the biggest threats to our society. According to the World Health Organization, non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases kill more people every year and were responsible for a whopping 50% of all deaths globally.
Of the 56.4 million deaths worldwide in 2015, Ischaemic heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers, accounting for a combined 15 million eaths in 2015. These diseases have remained the leading causes of death globally for the past 15 years. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claimed 3.2 million lives in 2015, while lung cancer (along with trachea and bronchus cancers) caused 1.7 million deaths. Diabetes killed 1.6 million people in 2015.
# 1. Prevention is better than cure
Some diseases can cause extreme complications once symptoms finally emerge. For example, many people live with Type II Diabetes at a dangerously elevated glucose levels without even realising it. You can prolong your life expectancy and by catching symptoms early from regular health screening. Certain conditions are only fatal when left untreated. You cannot always stop diseases from occurring, but you can stop them as early as possible and get it treated right away.
Tips for healthy living.
a. Annual medical check-up and health screening.
b. Eat a nutritious, balanced and healthy diet.
c. Exercise 5 times a week and at least 30 minutes for each workout.
d. Avoid tobacco and alcohol intake.
# 2. Your lifestyle versus your family history
You can be doing all the right things in terms of trying to live a healthy lifestyle but your genes and environment also play a key role in your life expectancy. Environmental factors such as pollution, or exposure to disease are more obvious factors, but regardless of your lifestyle, your family history and even ethnicity play a critical role in terms of your genetic risk for diseases. Likewise, if you are aware that certain conditions such as high blood pressure, cancers, or diabetes that run in your family, you can change your lifestyle to combat those risks. For some people, a family history of certain diseases can be especially alarming and a medical check-up can give them a sense of assurance that they are in good health. A medical check-up will tell you where you should make adjustments in your diet and physical activity levels.
# 3. Your genetic structure
For male, unsurprisingly, anatomy and hormonal composition bring their own conditions and health risks. Did you realize that 1 out of 8 men will get prostate cancer during their lifetime (Movember Europe Foundation, 2016)? What’s perhaps more surprising is that World Cancer Research Fund International reported that 68% of prostate cancer cases occurred in more developed countries. In this instance, it’s important to note that prostate tumours often develop slowly and can therefore be treated effectively if 'caught' early on through health screening.
For female, after age 21, women can become more susceptible to a number of diseases in their reproductive system due to lifestyle and hormonal changes. Overall, breast cancer is the # 1 cancer in women worldwide, but check-ups can detect abnormalities early on. For women, weight and body mass index may affect the reproductive system; for example, women who are overweight with a BMI >25 % or underweight <18 % can have increased chances of infertility.
The Importance of Medical Checkup
What is a medical check-up and how it may just save your life? Getting your health checked by a certified medical physician is often the least prioritised routine by most of us. Plenty of reasons will be given such as high costs, couldn’t find a time, long waiting time, worried of unexpected outcome and many more. In fact, maintaining a good health always starts with yourself. We have to work hand in hand with the right people and with the right expertise to tackle any health issues you may be facing and better still, prevent it from happening!
# 1. What is a medical check-up?
Medical check-ups are important for every one of different ages and different genders. It helps in detecting and screening your health condition for any particular problem or condition even before you have any symptoms. Early detection allows you and your physician to take prompt actions on treating and controlling the condition before it deteriorates. However, the types of medical check-ups may vary depending on your age. Moreover, we believe in the saying ‘Prevention is Better than Cure’.
# 2. What type of medical check-ups suits you?
Age group 20-39
1) Blood pressure
Uncontrolled high blood pressure for a known period of time may lead to undesired and potentially catastrophic conditions such as strokes, heart diseases (largely heart attacks and heart failures)kidney failures, vision loss and many more.
2) Cholesterol level
Despite in the twenties, it is advisable to get your cholesterol level checked at least once in 2-3 years. We are blessed with the range of food choices we have in Malaysia, but do you have a healthy eating habit? A recent study from National Health & Morbidity Survey 2015 (NHMS) found that, in Malaysia we have close to 1 in 2 adults who suffers from high levels of cholesterol that may again work hand in hand with Blood Pressure to cause undesired health complications.
3) Pap smear and pelvic tests
It is advisable and important for women to do regular pap smear tests, in order to detect early changes in the cervical cells before they evolve into cancerous cells. One of the caused cervical cancer is caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). A simple method of prevention lowering the risk of cervical cancer such as HPV vaccination is encouraged for all females during your reproductive age.
4) Dental check
Regular dental check helps to prevent severe teeth and gum vulnerability which may be a consequence of malnutrition and poor oral hygiene may cause infections to other parts of the body as well.
5) Skin health
Observe and check your skin regularly for any suspicious spots, evolving or growing moles, unresolved skin lesions that may be a beginning of a skin cancer.
6) Sexually transmitted infections (STI) screening
STIs can be easily transmitted from one person to another via intimate body contact, exchange of bodily fluids or blood contact. Most STIs can be treated with antibiotics. However, if it is not treated on time, it may lead to complications such as cervical cancer and infertility.
7) Testicular exam
Men of all-ages are advised to self-examine for any unusual swellings or lumps during the testicular examination. However, not all swelling or lumps are cancerous but if there are any changes such as pain, skin changes or irregular swelling, speak to your doctor for a detail check.
8) Healthy weight assessment
BMI and waist circumference are important non-invasive tests that should be carried out more frequently to monitor moderate risk of developing heart disease. Perhaps about every 6-12 months.
Age group 40 and above
1) Eye check
Glaucoma is a common eye condition that may cause intense eye pain, headache, blurred vision, seeing rings around lights and may eventually lead to vision loss if left untreated. Early detection may help to reduce any complications to the eye. Examining the eyes will not only detect abnormalities, it also helps in identifying changes such as macular degeneration, diabetes retinopathy and other reasons which may deteriorate our vision.
2) Breast examination
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer among females and therefore awareness on this is empirical. Awareness always starts from yourself as we cannot stress enough of the importance of self-breast examination. Examine for changes in size or shape of the breast and nipple, skin changes of the breast such as skin dimpling, redness or lumps. It is advisable to have regular checks of the breasts with Mammogram to have early detection even the slightest lump which cannot be felt or examined especially for those who are at a higher risks group with family history of breast cancers.
3) Prostate examination
Benign prostate enlargement (BPE) is a condition that describes an enlarged prostate which can affect how you pass urine. Symptoms include frequent need to pee, difficult in starting to pee, and difficult in fully emptying your bladder. The more worrying symptoms apart from above are unexplained weight loss and blood in the urine may trigger an alarm for the need of an immediate medical attention for a suspicion of prostate cancer.
4) Bone density scan
Elderly population should go through a bone density scan every 2-5 years to check for
osteoporosis, a condition that weaken bones and increased fragility. This is especially useful for age group above 50 years old and also menopause ladies due to the decline of oestrogen levels.
Colorectal cancer is the second highest cancer in Malaysia. It is often mistaken and taken lightly as the symptoms for colorectal cancer are vague for example, stomach pain, difficult defecation and faecal bleeding. These symptoms are easily brushed off without further actions being taken.
What is more frightening is when symptoms of cancer that involve the anus or rectum only manifest when it reaches stage 2 of the disease progression. Colonoscopy procedure is recommended for those aged 50 years or older and if the examination does not include any polyp, it can be repeated in the next 10 years. However, for those who have a family history of colorectal cancer, an earlier inspection is needed.