Why you need regular medical check-ups

Most diseases, especially those of chronic nature, have silent or slow progression. A person does not feel sick until the disease progression has reached a certain level of manifestation.
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha

Most diseases, especially those of chronic nature, have silent or slow progression. A person does not feel sick until the disease progression has reached a certain level of manifestation.

Effectiveness of treatment also depends on the level of disease manifestation or degree of infection. If a disease is detected early enough, facilitates treatment decisions.

Sometimes there is a general feeling among the general population that there is no need to have medical tests or checkups done unless we have particular symptoms that indicate that we have a medical problem.

Having regular health and medical checkups done is important to promote good health. Most of existing or circulating diseases in our environment have a link with lifestyle. Lifestyle diseases come as a result of our feeding and ways of interaction.

Therefore, to be sure of our health status and prevent certain diseases that can damage our health system, we should go for regular medical check-ups.

An individual would be emotionally and psychologically better off knowing his or her health concern soon and do appropriate tests that will facilitate early and adequate treatment than to repent or even suffer the consequences.

Detecting diseases and disorders at the early level can save precious lives. It is best for people of all age categories to have regular medical check-ups. However, the frequency of this program might vary from one individual to the other depending on various factors like age, health conditions among others.

Many individuals below 40 years tend to have less regular medical check-ups than elderly people based on their health system feelings. Health strength or immune system tends to diminish with age though this factor still lacks some scientific evidence.

However so many factors may influence change in lifestyle. An individual age, health and family history, lifestyle choices like whether you are active or sedentary, whether you smoke or drink, whether you eat more of fats or sugar and certain other important factors influence how often and what medical and health checkups you need.

So it is time for you to campaign and convince your community; workplace, faith, school, club to make an appointment for a health and medical checkup in hospitals. The ministry of health should also have or create special discount on health and medical checkup packages especially on special occasions like Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, Cancer Day and Father’s Day. In addition it would be wonderful to gift your mother, father, spouse or sister such a package.

Such a period provides precious moments for people to meet their doctors regarding all the health and medical checkups one needs to protect the right to live a full and healthy life.

It is healthier for a medical checkup to include a discussion with your doctor about your family medical history besides important lifestyle aspects like exercise or past treatment such as medications that you are already taking. Some important issues always discussed in medical check-ups is the lifestyle hazards such as alcohol or smoking. All these details may be important to judge the risk factors for various diseases besides the tests the doctor should prescribe.

Next the doctor may do a physical examination after which he will tell you about your risk factors and the detailed lab tests to be done depending on your risk factors.

A high or low blood pressure detected during a medical or health checkup indicates higher risks for heart diseases and strokes or more attention being paid to improve overall health. Likewise high blood sugar could indicate an early diabetic onset. Similarly various blood test readings like high blood cholesterol level are an important early indicator of complicated diseases like coronary artery disease.

Abnormalities of chest X-rays could be useful in diagnosing lung abnormalities as tuberculosis, emphysema or lung cancer early so as to be successful in treating it. In addition ECG or EKG can prove useful in detecting abnormal heart rhythm an important pointer to potential problems like heart attack, high potassium and irregular heartbeat.

The author is a doctor at the Rwanda Military Hospital.

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