Dalai Lama: “Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health… ”
You get your car tuned-up every year. Why wouldn’t you get an annual medical check-up as well? An annual health check-up or periodic health check is useful as it can help to detect and identify diseases or the warning signs of an impending disease very early. This makes treatment a lot more effective, less expensive and less invasive. In addition to detecting such diseases before a patient turns seriously ill, such periodic check ups also give you a detailed update on various health parameters like cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and body weight. This helps to gauge your overall health and it enables health care providers to assess health risks and advise you on lifestyle on dietary measures to counter such risks.
Benefits of an annual health check up
There are several advantages of a regular complete body health check up with a doctor. One of the most important benefits is the prevention of disease. Preventive health checks are important especially for individuals with risk factors for different health conditions. A master health check up can also aid in the early detection and treatment of a health problem, which is valuable especially in cases of cancer. The examinations and laboratory tests that will be done during a health check up vary depending on an individual’s age, sex, family history, and lifestyle. Health check ups also promote better patient-doctor relationships and allow the doctor to promote healthy habits through patient education.
Composition of a regular health check-up
Besides an overall physical examination, which includes the eyes and teeth, a standard health check up is meant to assess the functioning of the heart, lungs, digestive system, liver, kidneys and, immune system status. Sometimes certain cancer-specific tests like PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) for men and mammography and some gynecological examinations in women are also included.
A body health check up primarily comprise pathology (blood and urine), imaging (x-ray and ultra-sonography), lungs function test and cardiac stress test. These tests should ideally be carried out in an accredited laboratory or a hospital which is equipped with the best diagnostic tools. It is very important that the results of these tests be interpreted and examined by qualified physicians.
Common investigations in a regular health check up
A regular health check up will comprise of the following investigations:
1. General Physical Examination (body weight, blood pressure, pulse rate, etc.)
2. Laboratory investigations:
a) Complete Haemogram: It is a panel of tests to examine different components of blood and used as broad screening test for such disorders as anemia, infection, and many other diseases.
b) Lipid Profile: Used to assess the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
c) Liver Function Test: Used to assess the functioning of the liver or diagnose liver diseases.
d) Kidney Function Test: Used to evaluate how well the kidneys are functioning.
e) Blood Sugar: Used to measure blood glucose for checking pre-diabetes and diabetes.
f) Chest X-ray: Used to examine the chest and the organs and structures located in the chest.
g) ECG/Treadmill Test: Used as a diagnostic tool to measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats and for assessing cardiac stress.
h) Ultrasonography of the abdomen: Diagnostic imaging technique used for visualizing organs and structures in the abdomen including the liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas and the kidneys.