For those who are under the age of 35 and healthy, an annual checkup is not necessary, one every 2 to 3 years is fine. Even between 35-45 years if you continue to live a healthy lifestyle and face no medical problems, an annual medical checkup is not essential. But, for those who are above the age of 45, an annual checkup is recommended. The regular checkup will detect any medical issue, which can then be treated effectively. And as you know, early detection can help overcome even deadly diseases like cancer.
What should a checkup involve?
- Essentially a full body checkup starts with obtaining patient and family history to check for any genetic problems. Details on lifestyle habits and exercise routine are also recorded.
- It is followed by a thorough physical examination, which includes measuring blood pressure, checking eye and thyroid, reflex examination, chest examination etc.
- Sometimes depending on factors like the age and patient history a rectal examination may be done. For women, sometimes pap smear (test for cervical cancer) is also recommended.
- A blood test is generally also done. In case, the patient suffers from other problems related tests like Cholesterol, liver function tests, LDLs, HDLs etc. are done.
- The BMI (Body Mass Index) of the patient is taken to measure the weight. Nowadays a waist-hip ratio is generally taken as it offers a more accurate measure.
- After the examination and tests are complete, it is essential that you have a clear conversation with your doctor, and understand how your body is working currently. In case there is a medical problem, make sure that your doctor gives you details about its treatment and cure.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions in case you aren't clear about something. The doctor is there to help you lead a healthy and balanced life.
- It helps, if you conduct a self-examination of your body at regular intervals. Once a month, conduct a skin examination from head to toe for any abnormal spots, rashes or moles. Consult your doctor on the best way to go about it if necessary.
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