We all know that prevention is better than cure, which is why it is essential to keep a check on our eating habits, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, it is also important to regularly visit the doctor and get some basic tests done to assess the risk of any future medical issues, and start medication if required.
On World Health Day, which is celebrated on April 7 every year, Dr D S Chadha, head, Internal Medicine at Fortis Vasant Kunj recommends a few tests a person should get done regularly. “It is good to visit a doctor periodically, even if you feel healthy,” he says.
Health checks for your heart:
Blood pressure check-up, blood tests – Get the cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides checked, among other things. High levels may indicate an increased risk of various health problems, including heart disease. In such cases people should also get Electrocardiogram (ECG), which detects heart abnormalities, done. It is also essential to check for obesity levels. Being overweight is a significant risk factor for many health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Ask your doctor to check your Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist measurement every two years. If you are at a higher risk, you should have your weight checked more frequently.
Health checks for diabetes:
Tests for diabetes include a fasting blood sugar level test and HbA1c which measures the average of the last three months’ sugar readings, and is highly dependable. Depending on your risk level, you will need to be tested annually or once every three years. It is also important to assess for risk factors for diabetes like: family history of diabetes, overweight or obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, women with history of diabetes in pregnancy and in women with history of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Health checks for your bones:
Advancing age is a significant risk factor for osteoporosis in both men and women. A bone density test helps to determine the health of your bones. Generally speaking, people over the age of 50 should be regularly assessed for the need to have a bone density test.
Health checks for women: Breast cancer screening, Cervical screening test
There is a lot of awareness with respect to cancer awareness. Cases of breast cancer have definitely gone up because there is awareness and we are able to catch it early. Women between the age group of 15 to 80 years are most affected by these diseases. Women, after the age of 40, should get a Pap Smear done to check for cervical cancer, and a breast screening mammography is adviced for women after the age of 45. For those who have a family history of the diseases are at a higher risk, and the tests are recommended between the age of 35-40 years. The tests should be done every three to five years.