Mr. John woke up on a Monday morning ready to take on the week with so much energy. He takes a warm bath, strolls down the street, and flags down a taxi that will take him to work. The taxi gets to his workplace and only then does the driver realize his passenger has been unconscious. He dials 911 and helps arrive. In the hospital, the doctor said Mr. John suffered an acute stroke. Turns out he has been hypertensive for years but didn’t know. The doctors were able to resuscitate him but unfortunately, the stroke had resulted in a paralysis of his legs leaving him wheelchair-bound.
While the above story may sound fictional, it isn’t and while it saddens me to say, hundreds of similar stories abound. A great number of deaths occur as a result of neglect while a lot more are from undiagnosed preventable causes. It is quite disheartening that despite the increasing level of literacy, a good number of persons only visit hospitals when they are sick to stupor. This mindset towards health and health care does not only make care provision difficult for healthcare professionals but also decreases the chances of a good outcome for the individual concerned. Medicine and healthcare provision expanded from simple curative practices to the field of preventive medicine. Unlike curative medicine that aims to treat diseases after they have invaded an individual, preventative medicine arrests a potential threat to healthy living before it causes damage or when the damage caused is still infinitesimal. Doctors and other health care providers advocate that individuals stay on top of their health by paying hospital visits at regular intervals even when there is not an obvious or debilitating medical reason to do so. The advantages of a regular medical checkup can not be overemphasized and contrary to popular opinion, is not reserved for the geriatric population alone – health care for both extremes of age are advised to go for regular medical checkups. According to a popular Maxim, prevention is better than a cure!
Why Should I Have Medical Checkups?
Sadly, this is a very popular question among individuals whenever the idea of medical checkups is pitched to them. It is believed that this question arises because people think that regular checkups are not medically cost-effective. Another popular reason is that ” only sick people have business with the hospital”. The above assumptions are not only wrong but also tells how little people care about their health. The list below is not exhaustive but outlines a good number of reasons why you should go for regular checkups;
Reduction In The Cost Of Healthcare Over Time
This may sound like an untrue statement but let me drive the idea home with an illustrative question. Which would cost more, going through surgery and batches of chemotherapy for cancer or catching it early and resecting it just in time? I’m guessing your answer is the latter because it is quite glaring that although regular checkups may seem to not be cost-effective, in the long run, it significantly reduces the burden of medical treatment with respect to not only cost but also the discomfort that comes with illness. Regular check-ups reduce the incidence of surgeries and novel drug use that may account for heavy medical bills.
Cuts Down The Risk Of Getting Sick And Hospital Admissions
This is mainly because disease-causing microorganisms, substances, and conditions are detected even before they start causing damage to an individual’s health. Conditions like hypertension and diabetes which silently kill an individual are controlled before they wreak havoc.
Increased Chance At Cure Or Treatment
Even when diseases are not caught before they cause damage, early diagnosis remains one of the tools that is used to assess the outcome of treatment – prognosis. Regular checkups afford an individual the advantage of having his disease condition diagnosed early enough thus increasing his chances at a good prognosis.
Reduced Incidence Of Complications From Already Existing Medical Conditions
So many health conditions come with a baggage of complications. Diabetes, for instance, will, in the long run, result in kidney damage, eye damage, immune system, and neurologic dysregulation if not properly and aggressively managed. Regular check-up affords the advantage of preventing these life-threatening complications that come with several disease states.
Stop Or Reduce The Rate Of Progression Of A Disease State
The problem with diseases isn’t just that they are alterations in the usual state of health but that they also worsen over time. Progression from bad to worse can be prevented with early diagnosis accompanied by early institution of therapy. Regular check-up affords an individual such advantage.
Assessment Of Family History To Detect Hereditary Diseases
A great number of cancers and other medical conditions could have been prevented if appropriate family histories were taken by a health professional. Paying regular hospital visits will result in the identification of these conditions that run in an individual’s family and the institution of appropriate preventive methods.
Improved Chance At Positive Lifestyle Modifications
This benefit is particularly advantageous to people who would want to make changes to negative lifestyles that may impede their chances of healthy living. These include obese patients, smokers, hypertensives, diabetics, etc. Regular hospital visits will result in a boost in morale, assessment of progress, and reassurance of the benefits that will accrue from such lifestyle change.
Update On Health Status And New Management Methods
Regular checkups help an individual keep abreast of his health status and any new method of management that applies to his or her condition.
Extension Of Lifespan
This derives from the advantage that comes from disease prevention, early diagnosis, reduction in progression of the disease, and prevention and treatment of complications.
How Often Do I Need A Medical Checkup?
There is no single best answer to the above question. The number of checkups an individual needs in a particular space of time is largely dependent on the person’s clinical status. Hence, an individual can have a weekly, monthly, quarterly, 6 months, or annual checkup schedule. If you can’t decide on which is most suitable for you, discuss this with your healthcare provider, and together, you can map out an appropriate schedule for you.
What Should I Expect During A Checkup?
During a routine check-up, the doctor will ask you a series of questions that will aid him in determining your clinical status. This is called history taking. After this, he will conduct a thorough physical examination to ascertain if there is any physical manifestation of a disease state. After the above two steps, he will order for investigations depending on his findings. These may range from various imaging modalities to laboratory tests including toxicology screens. Others may include Body Mass Index, blood pressure measurement, blood glucose level determination, and counseling services. Like earlier stated, counseling services will benefit those who would need to make lifestyle changes that will positively impact his or her health. In addition to these, pediatric patients will also receive immunization services that cover several microorganisms including tetanus, Diphtheria (Tdap), Influenza, Pneumococcal, MMR, Meningococcal, Varicella, Shingles, Human papillomavirus (HPV), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus Influenzae Type B, etc. Whichever test is required it is important to note that they will contribute to your management.
After this first visit, your doctor will proceed to schedule appointments with you at specified intervals. It is important that you adhere to this schedule if you are to keep up with your health status.
Where Can I Go For My Medical Checkups?
This question accounts for a majority of the indecisions surrounding the need for regular medical checkups. This is largely due to diminished trust in the expertise and competence on the side of the institution providing health services. Sadly, these fears are justifiable. However, if competence, expertise, and professionalism are what you seek, then a visit to a network that offers all types of health services such as Smart Clinics is what you need. You are the CEO of your health so take charge of it and look for a well-reputed health provider with good reviews.
Medicine and health care delivery in the recent past has had a paradigm shift from the previous curative practices to a more recent preventive approach. This preventive approach is attained by regular medical checkups. The various advantages that accrue from paying regular hospital visits far outweigh the reasons why people refuse to employ it. These as noted above include but are not limited to an increase in lifespan, early disease diagnosis, reduction in the incidence of complications, reduction in the rate of disease progression, and an increased chance at a good prognosis. While incompetencies and lack of expertise deter people from making and keeping to check up schedules, there are many providers out there that can offer you excellent services. So do your diligence and find yourself a well-reputed health provider. You could also check out your health insurance website for qualified providers.