Estimates by the CDC show that the 2018/2019 flu season accounted for medical visits ranging between 17.3 million to 20.1 million. This is quite a high number considering that this is only flu-related infections alone. This tells you that factoring in other diseases will most likely see this figure skyrocket. To avoid becoming part of this worrying statistic, you need to go for an annual checkup to help you remain in good health. Medical screening every year goes a long way in figuring out the risk for different diseases.
Truth be told, an annual checkup does not come as a single, predetermined package. There are a few factors that come into play and knowing them will help you get the best results. Here is what you need to know.
1. Analyze Your Needs
There are various aspects that determine the medical test you need and some of them include gender, risk factors, and age. A relevant example of a risk factor is having close family members with cancer. A family that is prone to early coronary heart disease, for instance, needs to have its members screened for cholesterol. The cholesterol lab testing will go a long way in preventing diseases from progressing to advanced stages.
2. Quality over Quantity
Lab testing by healthcare services experts yields different results in different people. Even so, some blood laboratory tests are almost routine for every patient and they include:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC): checks for hematological anomalies such as anemia
- Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS): checks for diabetes predisposition
- Urine analysis: Checks for diabetes and urinary tract infections
- Lipid Profile: Checks for coronary heart disease by checking on the status of your cardiovascular system
- Body Mass Index (BMI): helps in figuring out if a patient is at risk of gallstones, diabetes type 2, high blood pressure, etc.
Note that there are special lab tests as well, and they include:
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA): checks for prostate cancer in men. A PSA annual checkup is always a good idea for men aged 40 years and above
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH): Used to assess thyroid function. Hypo or hyperthyroidism influences the body’s metabolic rate
Others include ECG (electrocardiograms), mammograms and x-rays, but you should only go for these when requested by a physician.
3. Selecting the Correct Healthcare Facility
Considering that there are numerous healthcare facilities in town, choosing the best can be tricky. If you are planning to visit an urgent care clinic, make sure that the facility is run by qualified staff. Check whether they take quality control seriously and use the latest technology. Keep in mind that the collection of blood samples should always be done using a sterile syringe and needle. A good clinic will always redo a lab test whose results indicate abnormal values.
With these tips, you have what it takes to get the most out of your annual checkup. Consulting a professional at your preferred urgent care clinic will also be a step in the right direction. Don’t forget that having your health checked every year comes with numerous benefits.