Tuesday, 2 March, 2021
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OPINION

Get Your Health Checked Up Regularly



Dr. Shyam P Lohani

 

Just a generation ago, people used to visit health cantres only when they were sick, or in a critical condition. It is still like a tradition in our society to visit a healthcare provider only when we are feeling unwell or catch a disease. Today, preventative healthcare is becoming usual as people become more educated and knowledgeable about their own health. People are proactively seeking medical advice on how to live a healthy life.
People are looking to lower their risk of various conditions or diseases by maintaining a healthy diet, normal weight, and moderate level of physical activities. However, everyone can agree to the fact that living a disease-free life, having healthy diet, maintaining weight and adopting a happy lifestyle are the key to establishing good health habits.

Possible risks
Some chronic diseases take some time to show signs and symptoms as they remain growing inside our bodies for years. Though we may seem healthy from outside, chances are that some life-threatening diseases are gradually building up and affecting our body internally without showing any signs and symptoms. Such symptoms might intensify when the disease reaches its critical stage. Therefore, detecting and preventing such possible risks can be done through regular screening of our body.
Chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are more common nowadays owing partly to longer life expectancies. On one hand, the growing economy of most of the countries, including developing ones, is improving the quality of life, new risks of the disease continue emerging which, on other hand, is threatening the status of our health. Therefore, regular health check-ups are recommended by many experts to help identify potential diseases and health issues at an early stage.
Despite the growing prevalence of chronic diseases and regular advocacy by public health professionals, relatively few people only are fully aware of the importance of regular health check-ups and visit hospital only when illnesses have already become severe. Therefore, they are more difficult to treat and results longer stay in hospital. Public health warrants patients get regular check-ups to help us stay on top of our health. It is important to highlight the importance of prevention, as a means to reduce the number of patients requiring medical intervention at the healthcare centres.
Moreover, it has been seen that regular medical check-ups can help find potential health issues before they become a problem. Early detection helps us for getting the right treatment quickly, thus, avoiding any serious complications. Important steps toward living a longer and healthier life are by obtaining the correct health services, screenings, and right treatment at the earlier stage of disease. It not only helps reduce our risk of getting sick but also detects potentially life-threatening health conditions or diseases early. Early detection increases chances for the right treatment and successful cures and therefore, increases lifespan and improves health.
Early treatment reduces healthcare costs over time by avoiding costly medical services that are required for later stages. Therefore, regular health checkup facilitates to diagnose and prevent any kind of risks before it is too late that involve costlier treatment. It is superior from the standpoint of both health and economy that to detect the disease early and stop it from escalating further. In order to determine the state of our health, what we can do to improve it with time, and reduce any future risks, regular health checkup becomes imperative.
Apart from the benefit of detecting the symptoms of potential disease in time, prevention also avoids the stress and burden for us. Our loved ones would have to endure if a disease has already become serious. Besides, it is equally important to be reassured that everything is fine and that we are actually fit to do certain activities that otherwise not possible to do.
We may feel more lively and productive after our health status is controlled. Hence, regular checkups will give us a peace of mind to live an overall healthy and quality life and to either maintain or achieve good health. Having good health is not only good for our happiness, but also for our loved ones as well as the wider society.
Our healthy lifestyle has come to a standstill. Our work leaves us with no time to involve ourselves in healthy lifestyle. This has resulted in an increase in the prevalence of chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, hormonal imbalances, and psychological disturbances. Therefore, it is advised to undergo a regular medical checkup to increase chances for early treatment and cure. How frequently we need to undergo medical checkups depends on age, sex, family history, and our habits such as smoking and alcohol intake.

Way forward
It has been seen that people of the working group are increasingly affected by lifestyle-related diseases. Therefore, it has been suggested that periodic health assessments should be performed every five years for an adult until 40 and every 1-3 years after 40. It is important to remember when we are healthy; we can enjoy ourselves with our family, friends and socialise more with people. When we know we are fit, we can live life in the true sense.
In case of a particular disease that runs in the family, it becomes more important to initiate screening tests 10 years before, when the youngest member of the family developed a particular disease such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, cancer of breasts, prostate, and colon. Many hospitals and health centres in our country provide health checkup packages that include all the necessary tests and screening services to keep track of our health condition. It is important to take control of our health and feel empowered with sound health. Going for routine health checkups is a great way for the same.

(A Professor, Lohani is the founder and academic director at Nobel College. lohanis@gmail.com) 

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