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Stay healthy with regular check-ups

By Edirin Moses   |   07 January 2017   |   6:00 am

medical-check-upWith the coming of a brand new year, many have made all kinds of New Year resolutions about one aspect of their lives or the other.One area most people tend to neglect is their health. They forget the saying “health is wealth,” that no matter how much money one has, without good health, the money is worthless.And like money, you do not know the value of health until you lose it.

One way of staying healthy this year and beyond is by having regular checkups. A check up is important because it could detect a life threatening disease like a heart condition in its early stage, enabling treatment to commence on time before it becomes fatal.

How often you should have a checkup depends on many things, including your age, general health, and whether you have risk factors for certain problems. At a routine checkup, your doctor will ask you questions about your health, diet and lifestyle. He will listen to your heart, lungs and other vital organs and will likely check your weight and vital signs like blood pressure and temperature.


Height and Weight
Whether you go for a regular physical or for some other checkup, your doctor will likely check your height and weight. He is doing that to measure your BMI, or body mass index. Keeping your BMI in a healthy range helps protect you from problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and more. Your BMI is based on a formula of height and weight. A healthy BMI is between 18.5–24.9. If you’re not in that range, your doctor will suggest ways to get to a healthy weight.

Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure rises as your heart beats and falls as it relaxes between beats. It’s a measure of the pressure of the blood in your arteries. Too high can lead to heart disease and stroke. Normal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. Doctors define high blood pressure, also called hypertension, as 140 over 90 or higher. Medics often recommend you get your blood pressure checked regularly especially those prone to hypertension. If it’s high, you’ll need to get it checked more often. Ask your doctor how often you should have your BP checked.

Cholesterol
This is how much fat is in your blood. High cholesterol can lead to heart disease and stroke. If you are middle-aged or above 65 and overweight and thus prone to heart or blood vessel disease, it is advisable to have regular checks to prevent full blown cardiovascular diseases which can lead to strokes or heart attacks. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you.

Blood Sugar Test
This is a way to check for diabetes or pre-diabetes. Health practitioners often recommend getting tested starting at age 45. The test is strongly recommended even for younger people especially those that are overweight or have diabetes risk factors like high blood pressure. Then you should be tested at least every three years or more often, depending on the results. It’s a simple blood test that measures the sugar (or glucose) levels in your blood.

Skin Check
It’s a good idea to check your skin regularly for any changes in moles, freckles, and other marks. The American Cancer Society suggests you do a skin self-exam once a month. Most skin cancers can be found early that way. And when they’re found early and treated, they’re almost always curable. If you or someone in your family has had skin cancer before, it might be smart to have your skin checked regularly by a doctor.


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Check-upsEdirin Moses


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