HEALTH CHECKS SHOULD BE PART OF YOUR ROUTINE
We’re busy. Minutes turn to hours, turning to days, and eventually becoming weeks and months without us realising. As a result, our good health is a gift that we often take for granted. Despite being what allows us to function properly, we treat our health as an afterthought. Only visiting a doctor or thinking about our health when we are unwell.
Regular check-ups allow us to identify problems before they become serious. No matter what the medical issue, you’ve heard the cliché saying: early detection helps treat and cure”. On one hand, there are acute diseases and conditions like allergies and appendicitis. On the other hand, we also face the life-long risks of chronic diseases and conditions like high blood pressure, cancer, as well as heart diseases. Knowing the state of your body helps you and your medical practitioners make adjustments to minimise or manage the risks. This increases your chances to experience a full recovery with having the right treatment at an early stage; often less invasive and are cheaper.
1. MONTHLY SELF-EXAMINATIONS
Did you know you can perform some health checks by yourself? Several common cancers can be detected early with regular self-examinations.
Look out for new or unusual spots on your skin. This can be an early sign of skin cancer. Self-examination can be done once a month. When you do find irregularities, immediately consult your doctor.
Likewise, lumps in the breasts or underarm area can point to breast cancer. Both women and men should carefully check these areas monthly. For women, the best time to do so is a few days after the end of your period.
Most testicular cancers are detected by patients themselves, and not by their doctors. This is why it is important for men to carry out monthly testicular checks so that they know what is normal and what is not.
2. REGULAR MEDICAL SCREENINGS
Adults should start having regular medical screenings after they pass the age of 35. If no serious issues are found, a follow-up check every two to three years would suffice. Make the screening an annual event beginning the age of 45.
Procedures commonly done during screenings include blood and urine tests, and an electrocardiogram (ECG). Blood tests can help detect conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, and anemia. Test results can also indicate if important organs like your kidneys, liver, and thyroid are working well.
Urine tests can check for chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or urinary tract infections. An ECG will show if your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity is within the normal range. If the doctor notices anything unusual, you may be referred to a cardiologist for a stress test.
SCREENINGS FOR WOMEN
There are several additional screenings available for women. Sexually active women should get a pap smear done every two years, or annually if they have a family history of cervical cancer. You can also get yourself checked for sexually transmitted diseases at the same time.
Older women are advised to have regular mammogram screenings for early detection of breast cancer. This should start at around 40 years and done once every two years.
By developing a healthy routine of self-examinations and medical screenings, you are taking control of your health and increasing your chances for a longer, healthier life!
Note: This article is provided by Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia.