Generally, we visit the doctor only when there is something wrong. Sure, you feel fit and healthy and have not called in sick even once in the past year. But given that we lead very sedentary lives that are high on stress and low on activity, getting that annual health check-up is the only guarantee that your health is at its 100%.
With lifestyle related diseases rampant today, getting regular health check-ups is one way to ensure that you can take a preventive approach to disease management. Some of the factors to take into consideration are your age, family history, and lifestyle choices. Family history, in a number of cases, influences the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer as well. With the help of regular health check-ups, problems can be identified earlier and treated on time. So how should you prepare for a health check-up?
The first step that you should take when preparing to take an annual health exam is by identifying a good physician. Once that has been done prepare a checklist which details:
• Your family medical history
• Types and number of surgeries
• Smoking history
• Medication and immunization list
• Allergies list
• Life changes that impact overall health
• Weight gain
You should also know that there are three kinds of health check-ups; routine physical examination, preventive health check and master health check-up. Preventive health check-ups are especially important for people with risk factors owing to family history or lifestyle choices such as smoking. A routine health exam assesses the condition of an individual’s general health while a master health check-up is more detailed and aids early detection of health problems. According to a number of studies, getting a whole battery of tests annually is not required since some of the invasive ones can actually have a negative health impact in the long term. If you are of relatively good health, have made the right lifestyle choices, and have no family history of heart-related diseases, diabetes, cancer or strokes here are a few things that you should ideally get assessed annually.
A haemogram is a broad screening blood test to check for anomalies such as anaemia, infection, and other diseases. A haemogram check:
• Packed cell volume
• R.B.C. count
• Peripheral Smear
• Platelet Count
• Total W.B.C./Differential Count
The biochemical profile forms the database for most diagnostic investigations of internal diseases and includes:
• Fasting Sugar
• Urea /Creatinine
• Uric Acid
• PP Blood Sugar (only for diabetic patients)
Lipid Profile tests help identify an individual’s risk to heart disease and depending on the results, along with other associated factors, are taken into consideration to develop a treatment plan.
• Total Cholesterol
• HDL Cholesterol
• LDL Cholesterol
• Total Cholesterol /HDL Ratio
Liver Function Tests:
Liver Function Tests, also known as Liver Enzyme Tests are done to detect if the liver is functioning properly. These tests detect inflammation and damage to the liver and check the level of the certain liver enzymes. A typical Liver Function test will include:
• Total Protein/Albumin/Globulin
• Alkaline Phosphatase
• S. Bilirubin
Apart from the above tests, there are a couple of preventive tests that fall under the category of general tests to check the overall health of an individual and identify if he/she is at risk for deadly diseases like cancer. These tests include:
• Complete Urine Analysis
• Stool Test(optional)
• ECG (Resting)
• X-Ray Chest
• Ultrasonogram of the abdomen
• Pap Smear (for women)
• Clinical examination
Along with getting all these tests done make sure that you keep a record of them as well. Instead of keeping mounds of physical records that can be easily displaced, look at digitizing them and store them on a secure healthcare platform that you can easily access from your smartphone. That way you are in control of your medical history and can pull it out whenever you need – anytime, anywhere.