7 Tests that you should Get done Every year!

Smartchoice Editorial
November 14, 2020

Admit it, everyone: You don’t even like going to the doctor when there’s something wrong with you, let alone going for preventative check-ups. But being proactive about your health by getting recommended tests for serious conditions and diseases could mean you’ll spend less time at the doctor’s office down the road. Depending on age, family history, and lifestyle factors, people need different screenings at different times in their lives. Here’s a good overview for all men to keep in mind.

No matter what your age is, it’s always necessary to make sure you are in good health. But it does take some effort to keep your own self healthy so you can live life fully, and part of that effort is getting appropriate screening tests that are used to detect potential health problems while they’re still treatable. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly 26% of people in the US don’t have a regular source of healthcare.

Smartchoice.pk cares about its readers and that’s exactly why we compiled this list of screenings and tests that an individual should get done sooner and at least once a year if not every six months. Rather than far along if you want to reduce the risk of being affected by certain diseases.

7 Medical Tests Every Adult Should Get to Prevent Serious Diseases and complications

Skin Check
According to the outcomes of a study conceded out by the American Cancer Society, approximately 3.3 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. Just to be safe, get yourself checked at least once a year starting at age 18. Screenings by a medical professional are based on a patient’s risk factors.
These risk factors may include:
• Significant sun exposure
• A family history of skin cancer
• Fair skin
• The presence of multiple unusual moles
• A history of several blistering sunburns, especially early in life.
A Pakistan medical and dental board approved dermatologist usually examines the skin over of your complete body (including your scalp, genitals, and between your toes), and searches for suspicious growths, moles and lesions.

Pelvic exam and Pap smear

There is a great importance of getting the pelvic exam and pap smear at regular intervals. The Symptoms Of Cervical Cancer Foundation For Women’s Cancer Education & Awareness states that every woman 21 years old or above should have a pelvic examination or Pap smear every 3 years. This test is conducted to examine for signs of cervical cancer. The good news is that you in all probability you don’t need the physical pelvic exam anymore. According to the American Cancer Society, over the past 50 years, the death rate from this illness has dropped by more than 74% thanks to the Pap smear. Both the tests indicated in the above text look for changes in cells that could indicate a need for further testing, like a biopsy, according to an oncologist, who specializes in cancer. It is recommended and believed that “If it is cervical cancer, you want to detect it early.”

Hepatitis

Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It’s commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. There are various kinds of hepatitis A,B,C,D and E, each hepatitis varies in the condition and its extremity and impact. In many people, liver sickness can be a silent one. If you don’t have any warning signs, hepatitis C could be affecting your immune system and it can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer if left untreated and not managed properly. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.4 million in the US alone are currently living with chronic hepatitis B or C. Many more people don’t even know that they have hepatitis. The symptoms’ are unknown to them and the understanding of Hepatitis on their body and life are not understandable to them. There are major 5 types of hepatitis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D and Hepatitis E.it is important to remember them. You can/should get tested at least once a year.

Blood cancer

It is necessary to get a general analysis of your blood. It is important for early detection of leukaemia, or commonly known as blood cancer. There are 137 different types of blood cancer but the 3 main types are leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Blood cancer can often be diagnosed through a simple blood test which helps detect the following:

• To help diagnose some blood cancers, such as leukaemia and lymphoma;
• Find out if cancer has spread to the bone marrow;
• Determine how a person’s body is handling cancer treatment;
• To diagnose other noncancerous conditions

Bone density test

It is never too late to get your bone density checked and tested. This crippling and weakening of the bones afflict nearly millions in the older population, 80% of which are females as per the report of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. What you have to do is that you just have to give your urine sample, which measures the rate at which you’re losing bone mass followed by an x-ray (DXA test) annually. If your x-ray demonstrates you have osteopenia, a pre-osteoporotic state of low bone density, your doctor will vouch for that you consume at least 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 to 800 IUs of vitamin D daily. This test is highly recommended for all adults, male and females both.

Bonus: Urinalysis test
A urinalysis is a regular urine test recommended by doctors to catch the early signs and warnings of diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, urinary tract infection, and more. Abnormal urinalysis requires additional screening methods that include:
• Blood tests
• imaging examinations such as CT scans or MRIs
• comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)
• urine culture
• complete blood count (CBC)
• liver or renal panel

A complete urinalysis consists of 3 distinct testing phases through which the test goes through are:
Visual examination, which assesses the urine’s colour and transparency; Chemical examination, which tests chemically for 9 elements that provide valuable information about health and disease and concludes the concentration of the urine; Microscopic examination, which detects and counts the type of cells, casts, crystals, and other constituents such as bacteria and mucus that can be present in the urine
As experts say and we believe that, “The greatest wealth is health,” so stay healthy and get yourself checked and examined at regular intervals.

Diabetes

We hope and pray that you may never need screening for diabetes if you maintain a healthy and weight as per body mass index and have no other risk factors for the ailment (such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure). But for most men and women over forty-five especially overweight men and women a fasting plasma glucose test, or an A1C test, this is a good idea, and it is recommended by the dialectologist and physicians that one should avoid and work on such areas of their health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also recommends diabetes tests for overweight and heavy adults younger than the age of 45 who have a family history of the disease, or who are of African American race, Asian American, Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander descent have more chances of contracting Diabetes.

Fasting plasma glucose and A1C are both blood tests that should be done in a proper laboratory. The A1C test does not require fasting beforehand, but if your doctor recommends you to test you using fasting plasma glucose, you will be required not to eat or drink anything but only intake water for eight hours beforehand. But one should definitely get tested if you experience any of the early symptoms that do sometimes occur, including:
• extreme thirst
• feeling tired all the time
• feeling very hungry, even after eating
• blurry vision
• feel to urinate more often than usual
• have sores or cuts that won’t heal
Blood pressure may get unusually higher than 135/80 mm Hg it may be a symptom of diabetes. Testing for diabetes might include a haemoglobin A1C blood test, a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test, or an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Even if you’ve been in a monogamous and exclusive relationship for years, it’s not a bad or a useless idea to get tested if you haven’t already done so. Many common sexually transmitted and the infections can go undiagnosed for years. For example, do you know that people can go as long as 10 years without showing symptoms of HIV?

The doctor’s in Pakistan recommend that everyone between the age 15 to 65 and they should be tested for HIV at least once in a year if not once every two years. This is particularly important, Doctors say that, if someone has had unprotected sex, used injected drugs, or had a blood transfusion between some years when many cases were detected in Pakistan.
Besides, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention endorse a one-time hepatitis C test for all adults born between 1945 and 1975, regardless of the risk factors that are there. “Accept as true that, there’s are a lot of hepatitis C cases out there in which people either don’t have symptoms yet or don’t know what’s causing their symptoms,” says Doctors says that this test should be in routine at just about every physical, regardless of a patient’s age or health history.”

Body Mass Index

You don’t need to make an appointment with any doctor or physician to figure out your body mass index, a measure of right amount body fat based on your height and weight. Regardless of whether you calculate this stat yourself or your physician does the math for you, it’s important to be aware of this number to ensure the right extent of calorie, sugar and fat intake.
A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered the normal weight of an individual. Although this calculation isn’t always perfect and can sometimes it can label healthy people as overweight or vice versa most doctors agree that it’s still an important component of measuring and evaluating overall health and body mass. When you visit your doctor it can be a very good opportunity to discuss diet and exercise and to show our patients how important these things are.

Cholesterol testing

It is recommended by the doctors generally for men to have their cholesterol levels tested every four to six years once they reach the age of 20. According to surveys and research “Men have an overall higher risk for cardiovascular disease as compared to women, and high cholesterol is often a gigantic part of that,”. Visit your doctor and see that if your doctor may want to screen you earlier (and more often) that just recommended as it may vary if you have heart disease risk factors such as diabetes, tobacco use, or high blood pressure.

Cholesterol is usually measured by a blood test, and your doctor may require that you don’t eat for 9 to 12 hours in advance. Generally, a cholesterol test will measure and check your levels of total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Conditional to your results, your doctor may make dietary recommendations or suggest and prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication like a statin. A healthy total cholesterol goal should be below 200 mg/dL. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), all adults who are over the age of 35 should have their cholesterol checked every 5 years. Screening should begin at the age of 20 if you have certain risk factors such as:
• smoking
• BMI over 30
• a family history of stroke
• first degree relatives who’ve had heart attacks
These tests should be taken up by men and women both regardless of their gender and habits, sometimes what may shock someone is the one’s those who look least prone to fall for cholesterol problem are the ones actually facing it.

Blood pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for strokes, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease. Often there are no warning symptoms so checking your blood pressure regularly is vital. Blood pressure monitors are straightforward to use; just make sure you’re in a calm environment when you do the test. Normal blood pressure in adults is between 90/60 and 120/80 mmHg. If your blood pressure is high, you can help by cutting salt and alcohol intake, eating healthily, exercising and keeping your weight down, but you should also seek medical advice. Get more information here.

Like high cholesterol, high blood pressure is often a symptomless condition but luckily, the test for hypertension is quick and painless, involving a rubber cuff that squeezes the arm and measures the flow of blood through a large artery in the bicep. According to doctors, You should have your blood pressure checked pretty much every time you see your doctor, starting at the age of 18. Don’t go to the doc often? Have it checked at least every two years, or yearly if your numbers were previously considered borderline (a top “systolic” number above 120 or bottom “diastolic” number higher than 80). You can check your blood pressure at clinics, in pharmacies, or at home with a blood pressure device. If your systolic pressure blows over 130 or you’re diastolic goes over 85, your doctor may recommend lifestyle modifications and adjustments like exercising more and eating less salt or they might prescribe medication.

Colonoscopy

Most men should be tested for colon cancer just at the age of 50, but those with a family history of the colon cancer may benefit from early testing. Men and women alike tend to dread this test as a small camera is inserted into the anus and it explores the large intestine for polyps, cysts or other signs of cancer but doctors assures that it’s not as bad as it sounds and would not as traumatic as it seems.
What is the bad part is the preparation for the test is actually, you will need to empty your bowels before the screening, which may not allow eating solid foods for one to three days, drinking of lots of clear liquids, or might to take laxatives. What needs to believe coming from my experts is that the actual colonoscopy shouldn’t be too uncomfortable and painful, because you’re sedated through the whole thing. Get an appointment from your doctor and we have news that on the bright side: If your doctor doesn’t find anything suspicious and worrisome, you won’t need another colonoscopy for up to 10 years.

Prostate exam

Test for prostate cancer is more controversial than for other cancers, and some studies have shown that these tests can be expensive and unnecessary, and may do more harm than good to the body. But it is suggested that all men over 50 at least visit their doctors and discuss the pros and cons of these tests usually either a digital rectal exam. Let’s see how the exam works during which the doctor inserts a gloved finger, or digit, into the rectum to feel and check for lumps and abnormalities and a PSA test, which measures a protein called prostate-specific antigen in the blood.

Prostate cancer testing can and does save lives, but sometimes they may also result in false-positive or false-negative results, that can lead to confusion. And because many cases of prostate cancer progress very slowly, some men (especially older men) don’t benefit from aggressive treatment. Whether you decide to get tested for prostate cancer should be a decision you make in consultation with your doctor. In the meantime, it’s important to know the symptoms of an enlarged prostate that can have symptoms like having to urinate frequently or having trouble urinating which could also signal prostate cancer.

10 health checks you can do at home

In an ideal world, where everything should be equally available for everyone and everyone would have access to an affordable most important care system with a general medical practitioner, or a family doctor, as their first point of contact. If something happens to their health with a range of impartial specialists and hospitals providing suitable and apt treatment for all the diseases. But in countries like Pakistan, the health care system falls short. There is a definite lack of primary care medical facilities, the treatment is expensive, and aftercare could be unreliable and sometimes or usually most of the time unavailable.

Smartchoice.pk is working hard to make is making primary care accessible to millions of Pakistanis by giving people access to good doctors and health care facility with hospitalization charges via top insurance providers which includes cashless hospitalization, pre and post hospitalization coverage, large hospital network with preferred doctor choice and multiple other benefits. Smartchoice does not only believe in making insurance available but also making it available on instalments when you pay online while using a credit/debit card. Customers can avail the instalments without a single penny being paid plan for up to six months. These days during COVID-19, Smartchoice enabled its customer’s with doctors advised corona protection plans and provided corona protection in their pre-existing policies.
Whether or not you have access to Smartchoice health care plans, and wherever you live, there’s a lot you can do from home to monitor yours and your family’s health. These 10 basic instructions can help keep track of your health, monitor ongoing conditions and check symptoms. And if you do need to seek medical advice, you’ll have some useful information to pass on.

1. Check your temperature

Your body temperature, when measuring via thermometer can show if you might have a fever. The normal temperature of an adult is around 37° C (98.6° F) but this does vary according to age, time of day and also which part of the body you are taking the temperature from. Check it when you’re in good health and feeling all well so you know what’s normal for you. Invest in a good thermometer for the most precise reading. So that when you measure the temperature there is unclarity.
Some other wearable devices do measure body temperature but they may not be 100% reliable. A high temperature can be worrisome, especially in a child. If you’re concerned and alarmed, seek medical advice either in person or via a digital consultation.

2. Testicular checks

This is a crucial check and a test to determine lumps or swellings that could be an indication of cancer. You must check regularly so you can make out if there is an abnormality. Check your testicles after a warm bath or shower, you can check by holding your scrotum in the palm of your hand and by using the fingers and thumbs of both hands to examine your testes. You should immediately seek medical attention if you find any unusual lump or swelling, sharp pain or feel that your scrotum is heavy. For additional information and way forward visit your doctor for timely treatment.

3. Be breast aware

It’s important to be familiar and aware of how your breasts look and feel at different points and stages in your menstrual cycle. Breast changes in a woman can happen for many reasons, and most of them are not serious. Be on the lookout for changes in the outline or shape of the breast, check for lumps, thickening or bumps, and for changes to the nipple or skin, also ensure that there is no irregular discharge from the nipples as these could be a sign of cancer. It’s best to see a specialist as soon as possible if you notice any of these changes or occurrences on your breast area.

4. Checking your heart rate

Your resting heart rate first thing in the morning indicates your general wellness. What’s normal depends on your age and fitness — check every morning for a week to learn your usual pulse rate. You can check manually or with a heart rate monitor, fitness tracker or smartphone app. A change of 10 beats per minute (bpm) or more may mean you’re run down. Above 100 bpm could mean you’re stressed, dehydrated, excited or sick. If an elevated heart rate persists, consult a doctor. Click here for more detail.

5. Blood and swab tests

You can save yourself many trips to the doctor with a range of tests that can be done at home; many tests being done like this promise more than 90% accuracy. Commonly and generally used home blood tests can indicate cholesterol levels, thyroid issues, allergies and even HIV, one basic home test that we are all aware of is a pregnancy test and most of the time they are accurate. Swab kits can disclose urinary tract infections and strep, the bacterial throat infection in an individual. Once you get your test results, don’t just rely on Google to interpret and analyze them. Without proper professional guidance, online advice and any information that you read or find can be misleading. If you get a positive result for any of the aforementioned test, consult a doctor as soon as possible to avoid further inconvenience in the future.

6. Checking blood sugar levels

levels We just mentioned above that Diabetes can lead to complications and deteriorations such as of heart, kidney and dental disease, stroke and blindness. You can buy and invest in home blood glucose tests (which involve fasting beforehand) but diabetes is a complicated condition and a home test is not enough by itself to gauge the exact extent of the damage. Yes, what you can do is that after being diagnosed and checked with the doctor regarding the dos and don’ts and the lifestyle changes. You can test with the glucometer to check that your sugar is under tolerable levels and there is nothing to be worried about.

Some of the common signs of diabetes (for example, increased thirst, increased hunger, dry mouth, blurred vision or headaches), consult a doctor. For those with access to a virtual care service, this can even be done remotely. If the doctor thinks you need further tests, they can arrange them for you.

8. Meningitis test

Meningitis is a frightening disease, especially in children, as it develops really quickly and can be fatal for an individual. Spotting the symptoms on the right time can save lives. Signs might include flu-like symptoms as well as neck stiffness, drowsiness, abhorrence to bright lights and sometimes a rash that doesn’t go away when you press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin to check the rash. But don’t wait until a rash develops; seek medical help immediately if you suspect that ailment can be meningitis. Many phone apps can help you spot meningitis so you don’t have to remember all the symptoms.

9. Waist fat measurement

It’s important and pertinent to stay at a healthy weight but you should also ensure you don’t carry too much fat around your waist area. This can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Measure your waist at the level of your belly button with a measuring tape. Regardless of your height or BMI, you should try and lose weight if your waist is 94cm (37ins) or more for men and 80cm (31.5ins) or more for women. Check with your health care provider he/she may offer a weight reduction programme. That would help to bring the waist size back into the desired measurement.

10. Skin check

Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer these days. Due to increased sun exposure, but you can screen yourself quite easily. Check yourself once a month, look for new growths or moles that have changed the look or started to bleed, itch, burn or crust over. Speak to a doctor if you find these on your body. If you’re fair-skinned, have lots of moles or have spent and do spend a lot of time in the sun, you’re more at risk to acquire skin cancer and should consider getting a dermatologist to check you once a year religiously.

 

Getting the best health care wherever you are

We at smartchoice, firmly believes that being healthy and ensuring that you can sustain your good health is supreme. We aim that all individuals should receive the right treatment at the right time, and in the right location (if needed at home or hospital). We know that Pakistan being a developing country and assurance health care quality or availability is more limited and we need to develop means and ways to facilitate our own selves. Knowing that the Smartchoice team is on hand to offer trusted guidance, facilitate a second opinion (embedded in the health policy provided) or, if necessary, make sure that under emergencies the right treatment is provided to the individuals.

Smacrthcoice.pk is proud to be pioneering an innovative, facilitator in providing all top providers at one platform that helps people access primary care wherever they are (whichever part of Pakistan), through a large hospital network hosted by the insurance provider. Our customer care model looks after the whole person, helping you make all the right decisions at all stages of the procurement of your health and wellness policy. In this way, Smartchoice is working towards a future of the best health care anytime, anywhere for all the individuals.

Speak to our health advisers to find out about all the kinds of policies available through the Smartchoice team and to learn more about medical insurance plans. If you have any suggestions regarding which other tests and medical examinations can be useful for adults, let us know and share your stories and experiences in the comments below!

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