Back

Having a health check

Updated: February 2020

Many common diseases are preventable or can be treated more effectively if identified at an early stage. A health check can spot symptoms or risk factors for problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, and dementia. For example, up to 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes may be preventable.

A health check includes detailed questions about your family history of disease, and your lifestyle. The doctor or nurse will want to know about risk factors such as diet, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol, and drugs. They can only go by what you tell them, so be honest!

Here are some of the tests you’re likely to undergo, depending on your age, gender, and risk profile.

Blood pressure

This will be measured to ensure it’s within the normal range. If not, you may be prescribed medication and/or advised to change your lifestyle.

Cholesterol

The medical professional will take a small sample of blood to determine how much good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, and other fatty substances it contains. Based on the result, they may recommend lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet or more exercise, and/or medication such as statins.

Colonoscopy

This involves passing a long, thin tube containing a camera and a light through your bowel. It’s used to detect polyps, cancer, and other abnormalities.

Diabetes testing

If you have a higher than average risk of diabetes, you may be asked to take a fasting blood sugar test or an A1C test to measure the level of glucose in your blood.

Faecal occult blood test

This examines your stools for traces of blood that aren’t easily visible to the naked eye. These may be a symptom of several disorders, ranging from haemorrhoids to bowel cancer.

Do-it-yourself health checks

While these should never be seen as a substitute for visiting the doctor, they can help to provide valuable information about your state of health, and enable you to track it over longer periods.

Omron, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of healthcare technology, offers a wide range of easy-to-use blood pressure monitors.


References:

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/apr/09/should-we-all-get-a-health-check

www.mydr.com.au/tests-investigations/health-checks-you-should-have-a-checklist

www.webmd.com/colorectal-cancer/guide/fecal-occult-blood-test#1

www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-cholesterol/diagnosis/

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371451