6 Routine Check-ups Not to Avoid
If we have learnt one thing about the pandemic, it is not to take our health for granted. Whether it is practising good personal hygiene, washing our hands regularly, or getting routine check-ups to detect any health issues at their earliest, there is always something we can do to make sure we are protecting our health.
We’ve listed 6 routine check-ups not to avoid:
- Routine Eyesight testing
Did you know that, according to WHO, 80% of vision impairment is preventable? Routine eyesight check-ups can help avoid serious and unwanted issues with your vision, whether you use a computer daily or are noticing changes in your eyesight as you get older. By attending routine eyesight tests, you may also prevent common yet symptomless eye diseases such as glaucoma, which may eventually lead to vision loss. In addition, through eyesight tests, doctors may be able to detect other health issues such as neurological problems, diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Skin Cancer Screening
Skin cancer can come in many forms, with Melanoma being the most aggressive. As with other condition and cancers, skin cancer can be detected earlier with the help of professional skin cancer screening. The hot summers in Malta mean that many of us may have a history of regular and extreme exposure to the sun, which puts us at heightened risk for skin cancer. Other high-risk factors include a personal or family history of skin cancer, extreme sunburn, a large number of moles, as well as fair complexion and/or freckles.
- Dental Check-ups
Regular dental check-ups are important in order to avoid gum disease as well as other oral related issues. In addition, there are certain groups of people that are at higher risk of dental conditions such as smokers, diabetics and pregnant women. A dental check-up can check for infections or diseases that are not apparent until advanced stages, as well as serious issues such as oral cancer.
- Mammogram or Prostate Examination
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, 2 million new cases of breast cancer were registered in 2018, with Malta being in the top 20 countries with the highest rate of breast cancer. Breast cancer can occur when cells in the breast tissue are damaged, forming a lump in the breast. Whilst symptoms like lumps can be caught by a self-check, other symptoms are much harder to detect. Professional screening such as a mammogram or breast ultrasound can help doctors examine the breast tissue more clearly and detect any abnormalities that may not be felt or seen otherwise. Since early diagnosis is an important factor for survival, professional screening can help detect symptoms at their early stages. This is perhaps why annual mammograms or other forms of professional screening are recommended for women over the age of forty.
In males, prostate cancer affects over 1 million men per year, making it the most common form of cancer to affect men. A tumour may form in the prostate of men in their mid-forties and upwards, and so it is recommended that men in this age group get a professional prostate examination, as not all symptoms are noticeable otherwise.
- Annual Blood Test
Blood tests are part of a good and thorough annual physical health check-up. Blood tests can give more information on as well as detect special conditions. Blood tests will detect levels of cholesterol, check blood cell count, glucose level, issues with the kidneys and liver, as well as other conditions. As certain medical conditions initiate later in life, regular blood tests are recommended for those aged forty or older.
- Bone Density Scans
Bone density scans are tests that check the strength of your bones. Bone density tests are recommended for older individuals, and help reduce bone loss or bone fractures. Those at heightened risk for bone issues include post-menopausal women, as well as those with previous fractures, or those on certain medication.
Remember it is also important, where possible, to do manual self-checks regularly apart from annual professional screening for the above.