World Health Day: From regular check-ups to tests, here's a health check list

Ever since the onset of the pandemic, health has become a priority for everyone. Even the ones who would neglect regular cold and cough are now alert for signs of anything dangerous. Here's what one can do to stay fit and fine!

Dr Sandeep JulkaUpdated: Wednesday, April 06, 2022, 09:38 PM IST
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Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are one of the major public health concerns in India. As per a study by The Lancet, NCDs typically affect individuals aged 55 or older, however, the onset of these diseases occurs at least a decade earlier in India, affecting individuals aged 45 or older. Conditions such as hypertension, respiratory diseases, heart disease, and diabetes are increasingly affecting the young. An estimated 537 million are currently living with diabetes. This represents 10.5% of the world’s population. Moreover, since the onset of the pandemic two years ago, longer working hours and increased stress levels owing to remote work set ups have also taken a toll on people’s health. It is a preventable disorder, which can be achieved by early screening, lifestyle modification.

Why regular health check-ups are a must

As we mark the World Health Day, it is important to acknowledge the role of regular health check-ups and preventive screening in tackling non-communicable diseases. Regular check-ups are a must for adults, irrespective of age. Especially in the case of chronic ailments such as diabetes or heart disease, patients often find out about their condition only after they exhibit severe symptoms or face complications. Early diagnosis is essential as it permits patients to gain timely access to the right treatment, thus resulting in reduced risk of complications and better management of the ailment.

Intermittent check-ups are also essential for patients who have already been diagnosed with chronic conditions. Keeping tabs on cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, etc., can be immensely helpful for your doctor to identify patterns and alter treatment plans as and when needed.

Which check-ups should one go for?

With preventive check-ups, healthcare professionals commonly look out for conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, among others. Thus, a blood test measuring parameters including HBA1C, cholesterol, and kidney function are highly recommended. Additionally, people must also get checked for thyroid disease, hormonal disorders, urine infection, lung cancer and breast or cervical cancer, in the case of women.

It is essential to control the non-communicable diseases like diabetes by adopting the ABC rule for its prevention as below

A: A1c control (Hemoglobin A1c is an indicator of blood sugar levels)

B: Blood-pressure control

C: Cholesterol control

What else can you do?

NCDs are preventable disorders and prevention starts right from childhood. In addition to undergoing regular health check-ups, leading a physically active and healthy life is an equally important tool for combatting NCDs. Adults as well as children should be motivated to do regular exercise to avoid weight gain to prevent diseases like diabetes or gestational diabetes mellitus later in life. Remaining healthy depends on the kind of food you eat, the kind of sleep you get, the exercise or level of physical activity you maintain and lastly, how you manage your stress levels. Start by making healthy food choices and sustaining a balanced and nutritious diet to stay healthy over the long term. In addition to eating healthy, it is also essential to stay physically active. Exercising regularly can help keep weight under control and help reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Additionally, ensure you get at least eight hours of sleep each night. One must also avoid consuming tobacco and reduce alcohol intake. Lastly, pay attention to stress and work towards managing it better. Keep some time aside at the end of the day to relax – read, listen to music or meditate to unwind.

(The writer is Director and Consultant Endocrinologist, Radiance Clinic, Indore)

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