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Health In Your Hands! Why Health Tests Are Important?

Dr. Uma M

Regular health tests can help you find potential health issues before they become an issue.

We often tend to neglect our health especially when we are so consumed in our hectic, daily lives that involves work and family commitments.. No one likes being sick all the time, and all of us desire a healthy life. However, unhealthy lifestyle choices and procrastination often leads to undermining our health.

Therefore, when it comes to health, it is important to be proactive. Active management begins with preventive health check-ups and getting the results reviewed by a specialist. Keep in mind that it only takes a small quantity of blood and urine can go a long way in determining your health status. 

Why should you go for health checks?

Today, there is increased awareness about health conditions that can affect men and women of different ages and the treatment options vary for the same. However, there are simply too many diseases out there that could have easily been prevented or at least detected early. 

Based on health reports, lifestyle and family history, the doctor is simply going to look for red flags and help treat them as required. These tests not only help in ruling out health issues, but they can also help identify potential problems that you are likely to develop in the future.

Thus, staying healthy is all about being vigilant and having a balanced lifestyle. 

Let’s take a look at some important health checks age-wise that all of us should get done to ward off major health problems.

When you are in your 20s & 30s

Wondering if you should get a full-body check-up as early as your 20s? There are a few tests that are important when you hit a certain age. There is no harm in getting a test done after all! Most tests are not invasive and some require only simple blood tests. Here are the tests that you should get done in your 20s and 30s.

  • Anemia screening (Hemoglobin, Iron studies)
  • Diabetes screening (Fasting Blood Sugar, HbA1c, Post prandial Blood sugar)
  • Cholesterol test (Lipid Profile)
  • Serum Calcium
  • Thyroid abnormalities (Thyroid profile tests)
  • Vitamin Deficiencies (Vitamin D, Vitamin B12)
  • Allergy panel (if at risk)
  • Other screenings: There are a few general examinations such as the eye exam, dental exam, urine routine, mental health and physical exams that are also carried out. The doctor may recommend some lifestyle changes in case the BMI is over the normal limit or in case the other tests indicate any risk of developing some condition in the future.

Health Tests exclusively for women in their 20s & 30s

Pap smear

Typically, pap smears are done every three years and these are used to look for signs of cancer in the cervix. Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. 

HPV test

Test for HPV is a must for sexually active women in their younger years. The HPV test is similar to a pap smear and can be used to screen for cervical cancer. 

Breast exam

There is a lot of awareness today about breast cancer and women are increasingly opting for breast cancer screening. Breast exams are routinely done as part of breast cancer screening. Women are encouraged to examine it by themselves and consult a gynecologist in case they notice any changes. 

Pelvic exam

A pelvic exam lets the doctor examine the reproductive organs and detect any abnormalities. Pap smear is usually done along with a pelvic exam.

Sexual History-based tests

In the case of an active sexual life, tests for sexually transmitted diseases may be recommended. These are generally based on age and individual risk profiles based on the lifestyles.

Blood Pressure check-up for men and women

It is important to get your blood pressure checked along with these examinations. In case of a normal BP, there is nothing to worry about and it is enough to get it checked once every two years. However, when the BP is elevated or low, you may need regular BP check-ups along with medications, if required. High BP in the 20s-30s age group may be indicative of some other underlying or associated condition so your doctor may recommend certain tests including an ultrasound of the abdomen, thyroid test, diabetes screening, liver function tests, kidney function tests, cholesterol test, etc.

Before you touch 40

If you’ve been religious with your health checks since your 20s or 30s, there may not be new surprises or problems. You would already be handling them. In case you haven’t had a health check until your 40s, it’s time to get the following done:

  • Anemia screening(Hemoglobin, Iron studies)
  • Diabetes screening(Fasting Blood Sugar, HbA1c, Post prandial Blood sugar)
  • Cholesterol screening (Lipid Profile tests)
  • Liver and Kidney abnormalities  (Liver function tests, Kidney function tests)
  • Serum Calcium
  • Vitamin Deficiencies (Vitamin D, Vitamin B12)
  • Thyroid abnormalities (Thyroid function tests)
  • Blood Pressure monitoring
  • Testicular exam (for men)
  • Breast exam, mammogram (for women)
  • Pelvic exam and pap smear (for women)
  • Eye check and dental check
  • Mental health check-up

Additional health check-ups

Additionally, it is important to look for any moles or suspicious discolorations in the skin. You may not have had adequate protection against UV rays in your youth and that could pose a problem. It is important to get yourself screened for skin cancer. It is very much curable and as with everything else, early detection can ensure that it is treated completely. 

Also, when women hit 40, their check-ups may become far more frequent depending on their risk indicators and may have to have breast exams every year. Your mammogram, which may not have been a necessity when you were in your 30s, could be mandatory now.

Health tests at 50

Apart from the above, screening for colon cancer is necessary above 50 years of age. Your doctor may advise a colonoscopy every 10 years, yearly stool tests, and flexible sigmoidoscopy once every 5 years. If you are at high risk for colon cancer, you will have to get screening done regularly until you are 75.

Men in their 50s should get tested for prostate cancer, no matter how likely you feel you’re going to develop the disease. Prostate cancer is the second largest leading cancer among men living in urban cities.

Additional tests may include Cardiac evaluation more frequently when you are reaching your 50s, especially if you are under high risk for the same.

Health tests at 60

With advancing age, you may have to undergo additional tests just to ensure that everything is normal. Here are a few tests apart from the tests discussed above:

  • Hearing tests
  • Bone density test (to rule out osteoporosis)
  • Cardiac panel (ECG, Lipid profile, Cardiac risk marker, Homocysteine levels)

Health is wealth

With proactive management, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, you can prevent most diseases. By getting yourself screened regularly, you’ll help your doctor detect problems at the very beginning and get you on a treatment program early that can prevent the condition from occurring or worsening at a later stage.

When it comes to health, knowing is awesome. To know more about your body, book a health checkup with us today.

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