Many people work on the principle that they would rather not know about any underlying or sinister medical conditions they may have. After all, we are all going to die one day, aren’t we? I have always said that despite all advances in medical science, the death rate will always be the same – one per person! But wouldn’t you rather have pleasant final years than ones with poor health, infirmity and aches and pains?
And since by the time you are into the final straight and looking for the finish line, it would also be better if your partner was also in good health, surely.
The guiding principle behind check-ups is to find deviations from normal health patterns at an early stage. Early enough that the trend can be reversed, before damage has occurred. Examples of this include Blood Pressure (BP), as high BP can affect many organs in the body, not just the heart. But an elevated BP generally gives no warning symptoms. Another example is blood sugar.
Again, it requires sky-high sugar levels before the person begins to feel that something might be wrong. And by then the sugar levels have affected vision, the vascular system and many other systems, all of which can decrease your future Quality of Life.
• Amputation of a limb is a common result of unchecked blood sugar levels.
• Cardiac conditions and abnormalities, be that in anatomy or function, can also very adversely affect your Quality of Life, but are very easily found during a routine check-up.
• Various blood tests and an EKG can show just how well the cardiac pump is functioning, and also how well it will continue to function in the future. The inability to walk more than 50 meters certainly takes the fun out of shopping, yet this can be predicted – if you have some serial records!
• Another of the silent killers can be discovered in your lipid profile, with Cholesterol and its fractions HDL and LDL, being intimately connected with your cardiac status.
Let me give you an example
A younger man who was obviously overweight, but played golf three times a week and had no apparent problems. He enjoyed his golf, and the beers at the 19th hole. Just like his other overweight golfing mates.
This chap’s blood tests were not so good, and his diabetic tendency was now more than just a tendency. Despite the fact that he was not having chest pains, he decided to have the 128-Slice CT of the Coronary Arteries carried out. This showed three blockages. Three corrective stents later he could return to the golf course, but with urgent recommendations to get his weight down and get his blood sugar and cholesterol under control.
There are actually so many conditions that can affect your enjoyment of the future that can be discovered early. Renal (kidney) function and liver function can be monitored through an annual check-up, as can prostate size (indicated by the PSA blood test) or breast tumors (by mammogram).
Hopefully you are now thinking about an annual check-up. And not just thinking about a check-up for yourself, but for your partner as well. Catch anything early and you have given yourself the chance to correct it – and get a better Quality of Life in the forthcoming years.