Are you one of those who go to the doctor only when there is sickness or injury? Experts say that when it comes to health, prevention is a much better strategy. A critical factor in preventive healthcare is annual health checkups. These are vital not only in spotting health issues that would have been normally overlooked but also in identifying symptoms that may eventually manifest into a full-blown disease.

Dr Ramananda Srikantiah Nadig, Head of the Clinical Advisory Board, healthi says, “Annual health check-ups help reduce the chances of illness, diagnose potentially fatal or debilitating illnesses early, increase chances of recovery in case of an illness, reduce potential complications by monitoring of existing health conditions, help in improving the quality of life especially at an advanced age and ultimately reduce expenditure on health care.”

Here are some important things you must be kept in mind while going for a comprehensive check-up:
Medical history: Every time you go for an annual health check-up, the doctor will update your medical records for future reference. Details related to your past hospitalizations, immunization, vital parameters like blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol, etc. are documented. Your doctor would benefit from the knowledge related to your family’s medical history, especially about any hereditary diseases or lifestyle patterns. Doctors also take note of any surgeries, etc. conducted in the past.

Lifestyle- The nature of the job, work location, living standards at home and the status of work-life balance become crucial factors in determining the potential risks to your health.

Habits – Another key determinant is to find out details related to lifestyle habits such as drugs, smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise or the absence of it, sexual health etc.

Regular body functions– This pertains to information about your sleeping habits, digestive system’s functioning, hearing, vision and other sensory abilities etc.

Annual health checkups are usually aimed at evaluating full body health and would include various blood and urine tests, X-ray, ultrasound, lung and cardiac function tests etc. Here are some tests that you are most likely to undergo during routine examination:

· Standard physical evaluation including weight, height, blood pressure, pulse rate, eye-sight and hearing tests, body fat percentage and BMI etc.

· Blood tests and hemogram to detect infections, anaemia or symptoms of any other diseases previously not diagnosed.

· Lipid profile to evaluate cardiac health and risk assessment.

· Liver function tests to evaluate the functioning of the liver and detection of any liver ailments.

· Kidney function tests to evaluate kidney health.

· Blood tests to check the blood glucose levels and to identify diabetes or is likelihood.

· Chest X-ray to examine the chest and other vital organs located in the chest area.

· ECG to determine the heart rate and consistency of heartbeat.

· Ultrasound/Ultrasonography tests to examine abdomen organs such as the spleen, gall bladder, liver, pancreas and kidneys, etc.

· Urine testing to identify functional or metabolism-related ailment.