I welcome all the readers of this column to 2019. For a fresh start in the year, we should endeavour to make health our priority by following the tips for medical checks, healthy living and also taking control of our health.
Can one fail a medical test?
Yes. What if they find out about that old injury, will it make one unemployable and unfit for studies or travel?
What is a medical check?
A medical check is an examination of your current state of health often carried out by a doctor. From the moment we are born, we undergo a variety of tests to ensure we are on the right track to good health. As we get older, many of us become more vulnerable to illness. In order to reduce this risk, a number of medical checks or screening tests are recommended at different stages of our lives.
Why are medical checks important?
The aim of a medical check is to help find, prevent or cushion the effects of health issues. It is like getting your car serviced before it breaks down. It is better to avoid disease than to treat it.
Although some checks can be uncomfortable, they provide your doctor or specialist with an opportunity to look at your lifestyle, medical and family histories so as to find out if you are at risk.
Having a regular doctor or practice has several advantages. More important, you will build a relationship over time and be more likely to feel comfortable talking about it openly. Also, your doctor will get to know you and understand your health needs and concerns. By having a regular doctor or practice, your medical history stays in the one place, and is more likely to be kept up to date.
What can a medical check involve?
A medical check generally involves updating your medical history and examining your health issues, performing tests if required; doing a follow-up on any problem identified, advice and information on how to improve your health.
A number of medical checks are recommended at different stages of one’s life.
Medical checks for preconception and pregnancy: Pregnancy is a major life event and places many demands on a woman’s body. The preconception period is generally considered to be three months prior to pregnancy. This is an ideal time to undergo some health checks as making changes to your life at this time can help reduce problems during pregnancy and assist in recovery from childbirth.
Pre Conception: Some important medical checks before pregnancy include the Pap test, which is recommended every two years for women aged 18 years and above or after first having sexual intercourse. This test can detect changes to cells in the cervix before they develop into cervical cancer, which is caused by the human papilloma virus.
While the cervical cancer vaccine has been included in the National Immunisation Programme since 2007 for girls of secondary school age and 2013 for boys of secondary school age. This does not replace the need for Pap tests because the vaccine does not protect against all cancer-causing types of HPV. Because of the nature of the Pap test, you may prefer to have this done before you are pregnant, or you may be offered a test in early pregnancy.
During pregnancy: Several different medical checks may be available to you during pregnancy, including abdominal palpitations, ultrasounds, maternal serum screening test and amniocentesis just to name a few. Check with your doctor or gynaecologist on which tests you might need.
Dental checks: Regular dental check-ups are important as poor dental health can affect not only our teeth and gums, but also lead to problems like malnutrition and infections in other parts of our bodies.
X-rays are not recommended during pregnancy. You may need an X-ray during an oral exam so having a dental check to make sure you catch and fix any problems before you’re pregnant is a good idea.
Immunisation status: Know your vaccination status and immunity for common infections when planning a pregnancy. If you don’t have a record of when you last had the necessary immunisations, a simple blood test can reveal whether you have immunity to infections that may be harmful to a pregnancy, such as rubella.
General health and blood test: Arranged by your doctor, this may be for X -Rays and ECG. You may also need blood tests to check for thyroid function, blood glucose levels or for sexually transmitted infections. You may also need a full blood count to check your iron and folate levels. Your doctor can help you determine what checks are suitable for you.