7 necessary preventive health checkups you should do if you’re aged 25+
You know that I’ve always pressed upon why you must make time for fitness & pay paramount attention to your diet & lifestyle. Whether it’s about making time for exercise between a packed schedule, mending faulty eating habits & sedentary lifestyle or addiction to social media, there’s a bit that I have brought in here before. Nevertheless, given how unpredictable life can get, you must make regular preventive health checkups a part of it. Think again if that still makes you say, “Why exercise if life can still give unexpected jolts to your health?”
You’d often bump into people & their stories of how they wish they had got to know of their cancer earlier. Or how they were thankful to their doctor(s) about nudging them to take their annual or biennial checkups to have detected a major or rather life-threatening illness.
Here are 7 important preventive health checkups you must regularly take up if you’re above 25. You can easily arrange for them following a normal consultation with your doctor/physician.
1. Blood Pressure
Get your blood pressure (BP) checked every year. And particularly, if your BMI (Body Mass Index) is above 25, check your BP at least every 6 months with a doctor. I personally suggest the clinical checkup instead of finding your BP on a home apparatus, which are many a times, rigged or prone to errors. Any deviation from the normal value of 120/80 mm of mercury is likely to be addressed by your doctor’s advice.
2. Blood Sugar
Although the fasting & after-meal blood sugar levels have been associated with accurate reflection of sugar in your blood, the HbA1c or Glycated Hemoglobin test is better recommended for a proper assessment of how your blood sugar is being controlled by your body irrespective of flippant changes in your diet & lifestyle. Diabetes is quite a risky disease, which can play bad with many of your organs, thus severely affecting your health.
Most of us are already aware of how a high levels of cholesterol can trigger serious heart problems, stroke & worse, sudden death. It’s really heartbreaking to hear when an apparently healthy friend or acquaintance has to pass away suddenly at his/her first stroke. While many folks bracket their idea of preventive health checkups to BP & Blood Sugar only, cholesterol screening comes across as an undermined health parameter.
A rather comprehensive test for Cholesterol is the Lipid Profile test, which indicates every aspect of cholesterol in your body, such as the HDL, LDL, their ratio etc.
4. Thyroid Profile
Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism have been on a rampant rise in the past decade. In fact, it’s getting as common as obesity in India. Usually, your doctor would himself/herself recommend you to undergo a Thyroid profile. However, you should always look out for unusual symptoms such as sudden weight loss/gain, significant loss of stamina, chronic fatigue, abnormal thirst/hunger, hair fall, change of urination pattern/intervals irrespective of water intake etc. These are very likely to be a Thyroid malfunction.
Here’s where my dear friend, Shalini Baisiwala shares her experience with hypothyroidism very insightfully. I’m really thankful to her for coming up with her struggle so real, which will empower common people in knowing & understanding Thyroid issues closely.
Get your T3, T4 & TSH levels checked regularly to rule out any Thyroid anomalies & even borderline conditions, which could be equally dangerous.
5. Pap Smear
This one is to detect or rule out cervical cancer. It’s always performed at the gynecologist’s clinic, which would require a special appointment. Doctors usually recommend women specifically above the age 25 up till 65. According to reliable sources, Indian women suffering from cervical cancer constitute almost 1/4th of the women suffering from the cancer worldwide.
A pap smear is often an uncomfortable experience with regards to the pain it inflicts while the doctor scrapes over a part of the cervix with a brush for the screening of the cells. Nonetheless, it’s one ideal way to detect cervical cancer. If you’re of the reproductive age, you may even discuss the HPV vaccination with your gynecologist. The vaccine is said to assure 93% protection from the disease.
Breast Cancer is the leading kind of cancer in Indian women. Sadly, the survival rates are also quite low as compared to the worldwide stats. While self breast examination is always advised for women of all ages, a regular mammography schedule after 20 can help you uncover your chances of developing breast cancer, specially if you’ve had a history of breast cancer in your family. Mammography forms an important point among preventive health checkups. Self-examination involves feeling your bare breasts for any lumps, preferably while lying straight on your back.
7. Prostrate Specific Antigen (PSA)
According to sources, prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cause of cancer and the 6th leading cause of cancer death among men worldwide. So, it’s as rampant as cervical & breast cancer in females.
It’s a simple blood test which is used to detect any abnormal increase in the level of PSA, which is an antigen found in blood too. A level of 4 ng per ml usually indicates danger. A PSA level a little higher than 4 is usually considered OK among older men (65+). However, depending upon your health conditions & symptoms, your physician may advise a suspected case for biopsy to rule out cancer.
Also check with your company/organization & insurance plan if they cover these preventive health checkups under special schemes for you, which would cost you less. Anyways, even if they don’t cover them, health is priceless. Isn’t it?
Not just because you’re my dear reader, but because nobody should suffer from inopportune diseases either out of ignorance, procrastination or negligence. At the same time, I’d always tell you to go & knock at your doctor’s door instead of Googling your symptoms. Because, when you even Google a sore eye, you’d somehow end up thinking you have cancer! Gosh, it feels terrible.