What can you expect during your health assessment?

When you go for your annual medical check-up, you can expect a full physical check-up and you’ll be asked about your medical history. You might also need to have certain blood tests, for example if your doctor thinks you’re at risk for high cholesterol, or thyroid problems. More advanced testing includes ultrasound and mammograms – which become more important as you get older.

Here’s what you can expect your doctor to test:

Blood Pressure: Having this checked at least once a year will set a baseline for future checks.

Height: A significant loss of height can indicate the acceleration of osteoporosis. Height is lost as a result of compression of the spinal cord.

Weight: Significant weight loss or weight gain without doing anything different in terms of your eating habits or exercise routine can indicate a serious health problem. Weight gain can mean fluid retention or perhaps heart, liver or kidney disease, and weight loss could indicate an infection or cancer.

Body-Mass Index: BMI is your ‘Body-Mass-Index’ index, a measure for human body shape based on an individual’s mass and height. BMI is useful for measuring if a person is underweight, overweight or obese. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers.

Blood tests: Yearly blood tests should include a blood count to rule out any bleeding problems, glucose levels to detect diabetes, thyroid function tests to rule out any thyroid disorder, and blood electrolyte counts, which can detect kidney problems and early heart problems. Your doctor may also request additional tests depending on your personal and family medical history.

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Other tests for men or women

  • Pap smear and pelvic exam: These tests should be done every 2-3 years, or annually if you’re at a higher risk for cervical or vaginal cancer.
  • Measurement of Bone Mass: There is no standard for frequency of this exam, however, women with a family or personal history that puts them at higher risk of osteoporosis should have this test regularly.
  • Faecal Occult Blood Test: This test should also be done yearly, as blood in the stool can be an early indication of colorectal cancer.

Health tests can be confusing, especially when it comes to interpreting the results! Why not speak to one of our doctors to get more clarity on them?

Remember to:

  • Keep your clinical history up to date
  • Ask your doctor to regularly review any prescription and over the counter medications you’re taking
  • Speak to your doctor about vaccinations which you are eligible for – for example the HPV and flu vaccines
  • Your annual check-up is also the time to discuss any emotional problems you are having. If you lack energy or feel sad, tell your doctor.

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