Medical check-ups are often considered unnecessary, exhausting and costly. If we are healthy, why should we see a doctor? And, if we see a doctor, he will probably ask a lot of questions about our lifestyle, exercising, eating habits… Not to mention the costs of the screening and exams we have to pay!
The truth is, medical check-ups have become an easy process! And we have the facts to prove it:
Many respected associations of health care professionals and patients recommend regular health screenings to know how our body works and stay healthy. The American Cancer Society, which provides cancer screening guidelines by age, recommends health screenings in women above 20 every 3 years and in women and man above 40 every year.
The need for a regular check-up grows with age, but the focus is on our personal medical profile in which not only age and sex, but also medical history and risk factors influence the exam schedule.
The medical procedures used are only those recommended for routine screenings and cause no potential safety risks. For example, whole body CT scan, although could be useful, is not routinely performed during medical check-ups, due to X-rays exposure, but only if indicated by other, routinely used screening methods, like ultrasound.
We need to review our medical history and medical history of our family. We will be asked about presence of acute and chronic diseases, major surgeries and recent screenings or vaccinations. The doctor will ask, during a medical check-up, whether there were certain conditions or diseases in our close relatives, like cancer, diabetes or stroke. The general recommendation is to bring all relevant documentation we have.
We need to examine how we feel and report any unusual things or changes to the doctor, like physical (pain, chest tightness, abnormal or irregular heartbeats, lumps, problems with urine or stool, menstrual cycle, skin or eating) or psychosocial changes (depression, anxiety, sleeping or societal behavioral problems) or anything else we noticed and worry about. We should remember when the change began and how it is different from before.
We should discuss with our doctor any specific future health needs, like if we plan infertility treatment or plastic surgery.
Usually the doctor who will lead the medical check-up informs the patient well before the exams whether there are some recommendations for food, drink and medications consumption, order not to influence the results of the tests.
Diagnostics and checkups are popular treatments more and more people use when it comes to medical tourism (Link to https://www.oecd.org report on medical tourism).
For example, the cost of most expensive medical check-up in Belgrade, Serbia, for people over 50 years of age, led by a specialist doctor, with lab tests, spirometry, colonoscopy, ECG, US, DEXA, mammography and 5 specialist examinations (internal medicine specialist, dentist, urologist/gynecologist, dermatologist and ophthalmologist) costs about 100 EUR and lasts only 2.5 hours. If the results of medical checkups show additional diagnostic procedures are necessary, like MRI or CT, it can be done at the same clinic, without delay and at very affordable prices.
And, that is all. The press service of Real Madrid football club announced in July that the Champions League and LaLiga champions undergo the medical check-ups to be ready for the new season. Besides lab tests of blood and urine, anthropometry and tests to check the functioning of muscles and bones, they underwent a complete cardiologic study (electro and echocardiogram, as well as ergometry).
So why don’t we?
Photo: Bel Medic Belgrade