Routine medical check-ups are important to keep you healthy and sickness free. Life expectancy in Nigeria is 53.4 in men and 55.6 years in women. Most of the causes of death in Nigeria are due to preventable causes. It is important we go through regular medical examination and test to forestall early death.
Routine medical check-ups you are advised to undergo include;
- Blood pressure: This should be done every year especially in older people. This is done to allow for early detection of hypertension which can predispose to stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. If you are a known hypertensive on medication it is important you check your blood pressure monthly to monitor blood pressure control. High blood pressure isn’t a condition that just affects older people so tell your young friends and family members to get checked too.
- Blood sugar: This measures the amount of glucose dissolved in the blood. It should be done yearly and more frequently if the values gotten are borderline or in pre-diabetic range. Diabetes which results due to elevated blood sugar can lead to heart diseases. It is important diabetes is detected early to prevent progress of the disease.
- BMI: The body mass index (BMI) is used to determine obesity. To get your BMI you divide your weight (kilogram) by height (meters) squared. Regularly checking you BMI at least once a year allows you to monitor your weight. Obesity predisposes to a myriad of diseases such as; cardiac diseases, diabetes, osteoarthritis.
- Pap smear: This is a screening test for cervical cancer. It is done in women aged 21-65. It should be done every three years. From the age of >30 years a human papilloma test can also be done with the pap smear test and this can be done every 5 years. If there are abnormalities noted in the screening the frequency can be increased.
- Mammogram: This is a screening test for breast cancer. It is done after the age of 40 years. It is done every other year with shorter duration (higher frequency) in people with family history of breast cancer or in those that have higher risk factors.
- Prostatic seminal analysis: This is the analysis of fluid gotten from the prostate gland for markers of prostate cancer. This test is done in men between 50-70 years or at an earlier age in those with increases risk factor. It is important you discuss with your doctor before you go ahead with the test.
- Human immunodeficiency virus: This should be done at least every year and more frequently in high risk people such as health workers and sex workers. Early detection and prompt commencement of drugs increases the life expectancy in those people with HIV.
- Lipid profile: This should be done yearly in people aged 45 years and older and probably in people ages 20 to 45 who also have an increased risk of heart disease. The frequency can be increased in people with deranged lipid profile.
- It is important to discuss with your doctor before going for any of the following tests. Also, routine general examination is also advised every year for detection of any abnormality in the body.