Falling sick can be very expensive these days. With the current economic slowdown coupled with rising healthcare costs, falling ill is the last thing you want to happen to you. Who is going to take care of your loved ones when you are too sick to work or run your business? Imagine spending so much of your hard-earned money on getting well!
Ladies, how are you?
Dear ladies, when was the last time you went for a health check? It is important for you to go for health screenings regularly. You need to be healthy in order to take care of yourself as well as your loved ones. You are in charge of your health, after all.
Whether you are single or married, there is always something seeking your attention. It can be so easy to forget, or to put “taking care of myself” at the bottom of the list over other priorities. It should not be this way. After all, if you cannot love and take care of yourself, how can you love and take care of other people? So, let’s make your health a top priority!
Ladies do it for themselves
Here are some relatively quick and simple self-examinations that you can do in the comfort of your own home. You can consult a doctor for more information.
We all know that obesity is a weighty problem these days. As we lead increasingly sedentary lives and our busy schedule often sees us taking “short cuts” such as eating fast food and skipping work-outs, it is important to do some DIY checks to see whether our weight is healthy. Knowing your weight helps you take measures to reduce/increase it to within healthy range, thus reducing your risks of conditions such as diabetes and heart conditions.
It’s not that hard, you just need a scale and a measuring tape!
When to do it: Once a year.
How to do it: Just take your weight and height, and use any free online BMI calculator app to help you calculate your BMI. They will also let you know whether your BMI is within the healthy range.
– Waist circumference
The ideal waist circumference should be 35 inches or less for women (40 or less for men).
When to do it: After the age of 30
How to do it:
- Place a measuring tape at the top of your hip bone and bring it all the way around, ensuring that it is level with your belly button.
- Make sure the tape is straight and not too tight.
- Take down the measurement. You do not have to hold your breath while measuring.
Examine your breasts in front of the mirror every month, one week after the first day of the period. Early detection of lumps and other abnormalities (possible signs of breast cancer) can lead to better recovery – it can even save your life.
If you experience abnormal discharges, disruptions to your period cycle or unusual sensations (itch, et cetera), do not just suffer in silence. Consult your doctor, as these may be symptoms of a disease or condition that require medical attention.
Go for a health screening
How often you go for health checks mostly depends on your age and how healthy you are. You can talk to your doctor for advice on the tests that you need and when you need to do them. Please turn to page 46 for a list of health screenings you should consider.
Let’s start a health revolution for the sake of your own health, as well as for your friends and family. Take charge of your health and your body will thank you for it!
Guys, get checked!
You have heard many times before, that “prevention is better than cure”. So, are you making an effort to manage your health? Let’s find out.
As men, we can have odd priorities in life sometimes. We are prompt to get our cars serviced regularly, getting our gadgets and apps updated, or for that matter, even replacing them. But what about our body and health?
Compared to women, we men are more likely to smoke, consume alcohol, make unhealthy lifestyle choices or put off regular healthcare appointments. For many of us, there is a stigma attached to attending routine doctor’s appointments, which can delay treatment for several serious health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, heart disease and mental illness.
As a result, there is a tendency to wait for symptoms to arise before even thinking of going for a check-up. By the time that happens, there is a possibility that the disease has reached an advanced stage and treatment becomes harder and more expensive, or, worse, is no longer effective.
You are never too busy for health screenings
Ask a guy why he neglected his health screenings and you may get responses such as no time, health screenings are unnecessary or that certain health issues may somehow “just fade away on their own”.
The honest truth is that these are just excuses. The benefits of health screenings far outweigh any perceived bother in going for them.
The goal of any preventive health screening is to find problems, if any, early before they manifest themselves as signs, symptoms or disease that are more critical. In reality, we are most likely to survive heart disease, cancer and other common killers if we set time aside to visit a doctor for regular health screenings. Furthermore, we will be better able to care for the people we love and enjoy more time with them.
There are a variety of screening tests that can be done to empower us to start taking better control of our physical and mental health. See the next page for more information.
First the checks, now some crosses
You can take small but significant steps to improve your quality of life by doing some crossing out of the following in your life:
You don’t have to cut these out completely, but reduce and minimize them:
- Deep-fried foods such as fries.
- Carbonated beverages or other sweetened drinks
“Check” lists for him & her
Wondering which health screenings should be prioritized? Here is a comprehensive list, just for him and her!
When and How Often?
Routine physical examination
An examination of height, weight, blood pressure and heart beat. Helps to detect any potential health problems, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure (which can cause life-threatening complications like stroke, heart attack and kidney failure).
Also, skin, ears, nose, lymph nodes and abdomen are checked for any abnormalities.
Every two years when 30 years of age and below.
Annually when above 30 years of age.
Blood cholesterol level check
High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary heart diseases and stroke. Early detection lets you take early measures to reduce the risk.
Every two years after the age of 35.
Annually after the age of 40.
Can help to detect any vision corrections or nerve damages caused by age, diabetes or diabetes-induced high blood pressure.
Every two years after the age of 40.
Annually after the age of 50.
Mental changes are equally important as physical changes in our body. Depression can interfere with one’s life at work, home and overall quality of life.
As and when you feel depressed and low in life.
Periodic tests using chest x-ray or low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) can help to detect the onset of lung cancer and its associated risks.
Annually after the age of 50; especially for current or past smokers.
Bone health screening
The bone mineral density test can enable you to know your risk level of developing osteoporosis or osteoarthritis.
For women: Every two years after reaching menopause.
For men: Twice yearly after the age of 60 or if you have a history of osteoporosis or previously suffered from low-trauma fracture.
Diabetes is a lifestyle and genetic-related disease with increasing numbers of adolescent diabetes. Periodic screening, including a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT), can detect any potential of developing diabetes.
Every two years after the age of 40. Annually after the age of 50, especially if you have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, have vaginal yeast infection or lost weight recently.
Examination of the colonic tissues for any growth, inflammation or ulcers can help to identify any risk of colon or colorectal cancer early.
At least once after the age of 50. If you have chronic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or a family history of any cancers, you may need colonoscopy earlier.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
Tests for gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, hepatitis and HIV are the STDs that are more rampant and need monitoring and control.
Every year if you or your partner indulges in risky behaviours like having multiple sex partners.
When and How Often?
Cervical cancer can cause early and untimely death. Pap smear test can detect cervical cancer in the early stages. Early detection and treatment improve survival.
Every three years at the age of 21 and older if you had sex before, or your previous results were abnormal.
Every year if you indulge in risky behaviours like having multiple sex partners or your spouse has multiple sex partners.
Breast Screening (Ultrasound & Mammogram)
Breast cancer can cause early and untimely death. In addition to breast self-examination, ultrasound and mammogram can detect breast cancer in its early stages. Early detection and treatment improve survival.
Every two years for ultrasound scan until the age of 45.
Every two years for mammogram after the age of 45.
When and How Often?
Detects signs of testicular cancer; early detection improves chances of recovery and may even save your life.
Once every year after the age of 30.
To detect of prostate cancer; early detection improves chances of recovery and may even save your life.
Once every year after the age of 50.
References: 1. Everyday Health. Available at www.everydayhealth.com 2. Health. Available at www.health.com 3. WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com 4. Womenshealth.gov. Available at www.womenshealth.gov
Chicago Health. Available at www.chicagohealthonline.com
BACAS. Available at www.bacasmd.com.
Screening Tests for Men: What You Need and When; Illinois Department of Public Health.
Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age (2014); U.S. Department for Health and Human Services; AHRQ Pub. No. 14-IP006-A.
HealthTeamWorks. Available at www.healthteamworks.org
Men’s Health Network. Available at www.menshealthnetwork.org.
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available at www.cdc.gov.
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