So we’re all crawling out from under our rocks and thinking about all the things we neglected during the Pandemic. Our health included. That means Annual and Executive Medicals. “The bigger the better Doc. Give me every test you got. Take me up to my insurance limit. “
Whoa, hold up there! Everything in moderation, including yes, medical tests. We pride ourselves on ethical consultations… and we are here to empower YOU to be the healthiest version of yourself by educating you.
This is Dr Analisa Cumberbatch who has an interest in Corporate Medicine, and is well placed to advise us as she used to work as a Medical Advisor for a large brokerage firm.
“The last few months I have realised that people have neglected to do their basic medical screens during the pandemic period. When I question why I recognise that if people feel well they do not see the need for the annual medical. Therefore, I would like to answer some important questions about your Annual Preventive Medical.
So what’s an annual preventive medical?
It is what I like to call a “wellness visit” to your doctor when you are screened for any illnesses though a process of discussions, examinations and investigations. The main goal is to prevent disease or the worsening of an existing condition.
Why should I see a doctor if I feel well?
A Valid point….Traditionally we only visit our doctor if we have a problem. However you will be happy to know that our role also involves educating and motivating you to live a healthy life and to PREVENT illnesses if we can. To do this we need to identify your potential risks by discussing with you your personal history: medical, family, work, lifestyle, psychological and stress diet, exercise etc. This information tells us about your health risks, guides the investigations that should be done and your treatment options. It is very important to understand that the tests we recommend are based on YOUR medical requirements.
When I go for my medical I am presented with different packages with different types of tests. How do I know which one to choose?
Great Question! A preventive medical is NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL! I also do not believe in padding your medical with unnecessary tests that may actually do more harm than good and cost you and your insurance company more money.
Yes, there are basic tests that should be done as part of the screening process, but this is strictly based on age and gender. Anything further is guided by your medical history that was discussed during your consultation. Truth be told, you should run in the opposite direction if you are offered tests without a reason.
Thankfully there are international organisations (The US Preventive Services Task Force, The World Health Organisation and the Centre for Disease Control) that have developed guidelines on screening investigations and these guidelines are updated on a regular basis.
What I am trying to say is the point of a preventive medical is not to make you feel like you are getting a gold star by doing a lot of tests. The point is to sit down with an experienced physician who listens to you, examines you and uses their clinical expertise to guide you as to which tests you will need as well as discuss with you your treatment plan for a healthy life. After all, you are having your medical done by a doctor not a lab! You should leave your medical with a complete understanding of your health with a roadmap to something healthier, not wondering what on earth your report means.
So what are the basic recommended tests?
- Blood Pressure
Height and weight with a body mass index (BMI) calculation
Complete blood count
HBA1C to measure your blood sugar control
Fasting Lipid profile (to assess your cholesterol and evaluate your cardiac risk.)
Liver and Kidney function test (for people with a chronic disease)
Thyroid function test (for known or suspected thyroid disease)
Pap Smear from age 21 (recommended once every three years unless otherwise directed by your doctor)
Mammogram from age 45 (unless otherwise directed by your doctor)
Colonoscopy which is recommended at age 50 and at age 40 for people who are high risk.
Please note the investigations that are NOT screening tests:
- Tumor markers (CEA; CA19-9 CA125 etc)
Spirometry (lung function tests)
Stress ECG (stress tests)
I just want to clarify, I am not saying that these tests should not be done ever, all I am trying to impress upon you is that they should only be performed if during your medical consultation there is some aspect of your history that directs your doctor to request them.
Stay tuned for more details on why and when these tests are indicated in our upcoming sessions”