Medical Check-up after Forty


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Once in two years, and preferably every year, it is advisable to go in for a full medical check-up. There are several centres offering medical check-up schemes, but a lot of unnecessary tests are also being conducted. It is better to go to your physician, have a full examination and, let her/him decide what needs to be done.

As a general rule, the following tests may be done (extra ones may be advised, as per need, by your doctor).

WOMEN ABOVE FORTY

Haemogram

It tells us many things like level of haemoglobin, whether the other blood cells are less or more (infection, leukaemia, bone marrow suppression, etc.) any parasites like malaria and filarial, any abnormality in shape of cells, etc.

ESR (Erythrocite sedimentation rate)

This is the rate at which the red cells settle down in a tube. If there is inflammation in the body, certain sticky proteins increase in the blood, and so the cells settle faster. It helps us especially to chart progress or regression of inflammation in the body.

Blood Glucose

Fasting and after meals, to detect diabetes.

Routine Urine Examination

The examination of urine will tell us if we if we have diabetes (sugar in urine), any kidney damage (albumin, certain cells), infection (increase in pus cells), bleeding (increase in red blood cells) stone formation (increase in crystals), jaundice (increase in bile products) and many other things.

Lipid Profile

Tells the pattern of fats in our blood.

Serum Uric Acid

An increase in serum uric acid can lead to gout, joint problems and kidney damage.

Serum Calcium

An important investigation, as osteoporosis (bone softening) is common after menopause and we need to know how much calcium to substitute. It is also a market of other diseases.

ECG

To know the condition of our heart.

A Through Eye Examination

Especially in diabetics and hypertensives to detect retinal problems.

Mammography

Every two years. This is a special X-ray for detection of brease cancer.

Routine Gynaecological Examination

To detect any cancer.

Stool for microscopic blood

To detect cancer of colon (large intestines) and any infecftion or infestation (with worms).

Abdomino pelvic sonography

Once in two years to detect small tumours, kidney stones, or gall stones.

All these trests need not to be done every year. Your doctor will decide what should be done and also some new ones as required.

I have deliberately not included a chest X-ray. An X-ray should be done only if necessary. Remember each time you go in for an X-ray, you are adding to your radiation exposure levels, and increasing the chances of getting cancer.

Men Above Forty

1.Haemogram
2. ESR
3. Blood glucose
4. Lipid profile
5. Urine
6. Stool
7. PSA (prostate specific antigen) if prostate is enlargede
8. Eye check-up
9. Abdomino pelvic sonography
10. Serum uric acid
11. ECg
12. X-ray chest if smoker

Other tests would be tailored according to individual requirement.

Remember, the main examination should be a thorough physical examination by your doctor. The record kept by him/her will also reveal any changes in the reports as compared to previous years, which can prove very useful.


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