Medical tests you must do after forty
Posted Thursday, July 5 2012 at 19:36
Most of us have grown up in a culture where we only visit the hospital when we are sick. This is not a bad policy when you are young, but once you reach 40, things have to change.
Most preventable non-communicable diseases begin to raise their heads at around this time and if caught in time, can be altered by simple lifestyle changes.
The following checks are crucial for all those who are over 40.
Body Mass Index (BMI): This is a way of finding out if your weight is appropriate for your height. Ensure you also have your waist and hip measurements taken as well. This helps determine your risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
How often: Annually
Blood pressure: There is a period known as the ‘pre-hypertensive state’ where blood pressure is borderline and can be reverted to normal levels with just diet change and lifestyle changes such as exercise.
A simple routine check of your blood pressure can determine if you are pre-hypertensive and allow you to make the necessary changes to help prevent a lifetime of medication.
How often: At least annually or more often depending on what your initial findings are.
Diabetes test: Just like high blood pressure, there is also a ‘pre-diabetic stage’ where dietary and lifestyle changes can help prevent progression to adult onset diabetes.
Have your blood sugar levels checked in the morning before you eat anything (Fasting Blood Sugar). This is a better test than when you have eaten.
How often: Every two to three years or more often depending on initial findings.
Blood cholesterol and lipid profile: Problems with cholesterol is not just for the overweight. Even thin people can have elevated cholesterol levels. Have a lipid profile done.
This assesses the different types of ‘fats’ in the body. Remember, these fats usually block blood vessels and put you at risk of heart attack and stroke.
How often: Every three to five years or more often depending on initial findings