Important health checks you never thought of having annually
6 Feb 2022
What’s that little inner voice whispering to you now and then? Yes, we know you have to tackle your cupboards (and declutter your WFH space). But have you given some thought to those health checks the doctors encourage you to get? Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes, they’re just not pleasant to think of. And also, living through a pandemic hasn’t exactly made doctor’s visits easy at times. But here’s the thing; health screenings are essential for disease prevention. And the earlier you spot an issue, the earlier you can get it sorted. You may think, “but I’m young still!” – of course, you are! However, a youthful body and mind need to be looked after.
Health Checks: Number 1 is the Sun
Regardless of age, gender or race, we all need to screen our skins for sun damage. And this means not just possible dread diseases like melanoma, but pre-cancer skin lesions. Think Actinic Keratosis (AK), which is both common and treatable. However, it’s the skin’s earliest form of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). And that’s something you don’t want to leave without treating! While non-melanoma skin cancers – like SCC – are less dangerous, they can leave you disfigured. So if you don’t treat them early enough, you’ll have to have more skin removed than just the cancerous spot. SPF seems the most likely form of prevention – and it’s a must every day! But don’t forget those hidden areas. Your ears, for example, do you always give them the screen they need? We need to do this, even those with very dark skin tones. We all can suffer from skin cancers. And especially in hidden spots too! In fact, in terms of melanoma and dark skin, it’s more likely to occur in an inconspicuous area. And that’s why an appointment with your skin doctor is an important health check.
Essential Checks For Women: What You Need To Know
Have you been for a mammogram, pap smear and cholesterol test recently? These are amongst the top three every woman needs. According to the National Cancer Registry, one in 26 women are at risk of developing breast cancer in South Africa. While it may seem obvious to go for a mammogram, a new study reported on Healthline.com explained that even skipping one scheduled mammogram can be fatal. If you’ve hit 40 and haven’t had yours, it’s time to book. Same with a pap smear, which should be done every three years at least from the age of 21. Remember, a pap smear doesn’t test for ovarian cancer but pre-cancers that may become cervical cancer. A very hidden form of cancer is ovarian, and one your gynaecologist needs to ultrasound you for. What’s very common – unfortunately – is high cholesterol in South African women. And in men too. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa, one in four adults has high cholesterol. Yikes!
Men’s Health: The Tests All Guys Should Take
Research indicates that most men with diabetes don’t know they have it. And in a rather disturbing report by Statistics South Africa, it’s the second most deadliest disease. If you’re over 35 and haven’t been tested, now’s the time. Same with checks for prostate and bowel cancers. Yes, we all know the jokes about going for a DRE (a digital rectal exam). But considering it’s the most common cancer globally amongst men, join in with all the other guys having their DREs done.
Ultimately, the business of keeping up-to-date with medical screens does affect your health’s bottom line. Your doctor can help you make changes to your lifestyle, do blood diagnostic analysis and then shore up your supplements. If you need specialist care, this can be planned too. Now is the time to get those vital health checks done and dusted. As they say, health is wealth.