Regular medical check-ups help you stay healthy and may pick up early warning signs of disease or illness.
Heart disease, diabetes and some cancers can often be picked up in their early stages, when treatment may be more successful.
When you have a health check, your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, your family’s history of disease and your lifestyle.
Your diet, weight, how much you exercise and whether or not you smoke will also be discussed.
If you have high-risk factors, such as a family history of a disease, it may be more likely that you will develop a particular disease.
Regular check-ups may help your doctor pick up early warning signs. For example, high blood pressure may be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease.
Health checks and staying well should be part of your regular routine. This will help you stay healthy and pick up potential problems early.
Things you can do at home include:
• Skin checks – you should check your skin for unusual moles or freckles. See your doctor if you notice anything unusual. Men at high risk need a yearly examination by their doctor or dermatologist.
• Dental care – you can reduce your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss if you clean your teeth regularly and eat a low-sugar diet. Visit the dentist at least once a year for a dental examination and a professional cleaning.
• Testicle checks – from puberty onwards, you should check regularly for unusual thickenings or lumps in the testicles. See your doctor if you are concerned.
Heart health checks.
Health checks for heart disease may include:
• Blood pressure – have your blood pressure checked every two years if your blood pressure is normal, you are aged under 40 years, and there is no family history of high blood pressure.
Have it checked yearly if you are over 40, your blood pressure is on the high side or you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack. Be advised by your doctor.
• Blood tests – these check cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides, among other things. High levels may indicate an increased risk of various health problems including heart disease.
If you’re over 45, you should have these blood tests once every five years. If you’re at high risk of cardiovascular disease and have a family history, you should be tested every year from the age of 40.
• Obesity tests – being overweight is a significant risk factor for many health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Ask your doctor to check your body mass index and waist measurement every two years if you are aged under 40 years. If you are older than 40, you should have your weight checked annually.
• Diabetes – Tests for diabetes include a fasting blood sugar level test, which measures the amount of glucose in the blood after you haven’t eaten for a while.
Depending on your risk level, you will need to be tested annually or once every