Have you Got Your Annual Check-up Done Yet?

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.

Haemogram:

A haemogram is a broad screening blood test to check for anomalies such as anaemia, infection, and other diseases. A haemogram check:

• Haemoglobin

• Packed cell volume

• R.B.C. count

• MCHC/MCV/MCH

• E.S.R.

• Peripheral Smear

• Platelet Count

• Total W.B.C./Differential Count

Biochemical Parameters:

The biochemical profile forms the database for most diagnostic investigations of internal diseases and includes:

• Fasting Sugar

• HbA1C

• Urea /Creatinine

• Uric Acid

• PP Blood Sugar (only for diabetic patients)

Lipid Profile:

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

• Triglycerides

• 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

• SGPT/SGOT

• Alkaline Phosphatase

• GGTP

• S. Bilirubin

General Tests:

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.

5 Reasons you should take control of your Personal Health Records

Personal Health Records – Helping Patients be in Control of their Health and Wellness

 

With your every visit to a physician, hospital or healthcare provider, you add a new record paper in your medical file. Your file cabinet is filled with your medical files, reports, X-rays, and prescriptions. Whenever you want to access any old report, you dig out all the files to find the right information. Any follow-up visit to the doctor or a consultation with a new doctor needs an hour of preparation because you need to collate all the past reports, prescriptions and other such details.

Today’s smartphone savvy generation has got all the things in control through their phones. They also have a lot of fitness apps installed on their phones which track their fitness goals, calorie count, tablet reminders and all such things. But somehow maintaining a consolidated medical health record online has slipped through the cracks. For many of us, a complete record of all the personal health information still cannot found in a single location at any given time.

Let’s look at some of the advantages of maintaining a personalized digital health record, also called as Personal Health Record (PHR), and that will convince you to look for options to use your smartphone for your healthcare needs as well –

1. Manage your Health and Wellness

Having one place to access the healthcare records and information helps you stay on top of your health. You can maintain a list of your medications, health history, lab results, scans and X-rays, and all such details at a single location. It makes it easy to search and look for information – anytime, anywhere. You don’t need to have physical access to the report files in case you need some information urgently. With PHR, you can track patterns and better manage your health and wellness.

2. Better Inform your Doctors

Whenever you visit your doctor, you can get the most from the visit by updating your doctor with your latest health information. You can share the up-to-date list of medications, reports, or allergies. If you are tracking blood pressure, blood glucose, or weight at home, then you can easily share the latest information with your doctor. Such up-to-date information can help the doctors in improving the quality of care.  With such readily available information, you also reduce or eliminate duplicate tests, and receive faster and safer treatment.

3. Be Better Prepared for Medical Emergencies

In case of emergencies, it is important that the doctors know your previous medical history, the medicines or foods you are allergic to, your current medications and dosages, immunization records, a record of your surgical procedures, results of your recent medical tests and even emergency medical contacts etc.  During a crisis, it can get difficult to remember such important information and easily accessible PHR can be life-saving in such situations.

4. Chronic Health Management

Living each day with chronic ailments or medical conditions like blood pressure, obesity, depression, anxiety, or diabetes, is very difficult to deal with. There are many things which need to be done to properly track patterns and manage these conditions. PHR apps which can assist you in keeping track of medications, appointments, readings etc. can be very beneficial.

5. Set and Achieve your Fitness Goals

PHR apps help you track your activity, fitness activity, weight, diet, set goals, and track progress. One can easily monitor such information through interactive graphs and visualizations and keep track of the progress. This kind of self-motivation helps individuals in doing the right changes in the diet and activity to get the desired results.

Technology is undoubtedly bringing in a paradigm shift in the healthcare space – gone are the days when patient data and doctors notes were residing in silos at multiple, difficult to access places. Consumers today are looking to have complete information about their health data on their mobile devices with an option to share it with doctors as per the need.

Chemical used in yoga mats and shoes also found in 500 packaged foods

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost of us know that packaged food is suspect as far as kind of chemicals used to keep them shelf-friendly. Now, a health and advocacy group called Environmental Working Group, have come up with a study that tells you how alarming the scene is.

Apparently, 500 foods on grocery store shelves in the US, including the stuff that is labelled as ‘health food’ is suspect because they may potentially hazardous industrial plastics chemical.

For instance, Azodicarbonamide. Better known as ADA, is an ‘active’ ingredient in breads, bagels, tortillas, hamburger and hot dog buns, pizza, pastries, and other food products. In fact, some consumer groups have demanded the complete removal of ADA from food packaging as it damages the body in ways we are still to fully understand. Continue reading Chemical used in yoga mats and shoes also found in 500 packaged foods

Heart patients, say goodbye to surgical pacemakers

A wireless pacemaker that requires no surgery has been invented. The device can be implanted in 10-15 minutes with a catheter that is threaded into the groin and then up to the heart via the femoral vein. The breaking news came from Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan recently after the doctors successfully implanted the first of the new pacemakers.

This means no invasive procedures, no surgery and no wires. This pacemaker is also leadless. Because of its smaller size, the battery should last longer, and might not need to be replaced over the patient’s lifetime. Current pacemakers need battery replacement every 7 to 12 years, which requires surgery.

Every year, about 700,000 new heart patients require a pacemaker. The new pacemaker will benefit more than 4 million patients who currently have a pacemaker.

The possible advantages of this pacemaker include:

  • Elimination of a surgical pocket
  • No visible pacemaker device under a patient’s chest skin
  • No incision scar and no restrictions on a patient’s regular activities
  • Less potential for complications and malfunction
  • Fully retrievable from the heart

However, before the new pacemaker is widely used, it needs an approval from FDA. Until then, it will be used only in clinical trials.

An open letter to Arvind Kejriwal on aam aadmi’s health

By Santanu B
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Arvind Kejriwal (Image Courtesy - indiatoday.intoday.in)
Arvind Kejriwal
(Image Courtesy – indiatoday.intoday.in)

Dear Arvind Kejriwal:

Now that you are going to be the chief minister of Delhi (with Congress support, of course), we at Savetime have a few concerns and requests for the Aam Aadmi Party. To begin with, you deserve a round of applause for taking on the money machine politics of Delhi and showing them that people are not stupid. Now a word of caution: please do not degenerate into an aam party. With the Congress behind you that is a possibility. Of course, we understand that in politics there are compulsions and, in order to change things, it is better to be in power. We do not know how quickly or effectively the system can be changed, but we cannot be sure until somebody gets a fighting chance. So, while we look to a brighter future (what’s the new year for, anyway?), we know that we have to tread lightly because the fact is, your party is yet to be put to the governance test. While people’s revolutions work well, the brains behind it may or may not make great administrators. Look what happened to Assam. After the Assam Accord was signed by Rajeev Gandhi and the revolutionary students’ body, AASU, took the reins of governance as the AGP, it screwed up the state’s future because the leaders could not handle the power (and the dough that comes along) humbly and sensibly – a very common story. Continue reading An open letter to Arvind Kejriwal on aam aadmi’s health