By anguillian January 22, 2018 11:30




Many individuals often use the beginning of the New Year to have a periodic medical examination. These checkups are important for improved health. The time and frequency of these examinations will vary from one individual to another, but it is important for individuals, especially those over the age of 40, to have regular medical examinations.

Why are periodic medical examinations important?
It has been shown that periodic medical examinations are beneficial, as they can help health professionals detect problems before they start. In other cases, various diseases can be detected at an early stage allowing for more effective treatment – and cure rates can be improved. Getting the correct medical checkups, with the associated screening and early treatment, can drastically improve your chances of having improved health and living longer.

Reasons for periodic medical examinations
There are many reasons for periodic medical examinations and these will often be influenced by many factors such as age and family medical history.
Some of the main reasons for a periodic medical examination include the following:
• To prevent various medical disorders (primary prevention)
• To identify risk factors for common chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension)
• To detect disease that has no apparent symptoms (secondary prevention)
• Counselling especially the promotion of healthy living
• To update clinical data since last checkup
Individuals often make appointments to see their doctor only when they are experiencing a new problem or want to get a specific treatment. Men in Anguilla often fail to visit their doctor whether they are ill or well. This practice must be discouraged, and all adult individuals should arrange for regular medical checkups.

How often should you have a periodic medical examination?
This will often vary from one individual to another. In healthy individuals under the age of 40 some might argue that the period could be every 3 to five years, while those healthy individuals, over the age of 40, every, one to two years might be warranted. Some individuals who are on medications, or have medical disorders, might need more frequent periodic medical examinations. If you are not clear on the frequency of these checkups have a talk with your healthcare provider today.

Preventative healthcare
The main goal of prevention and health promotion is to reduce the burden of suffering from major preventable diseases. A periodic medical examination is part of health prevention. During your medical checkup you might be offered various screening tests that have been shown to detect diseases at an early stage often resulting in disease prevention. A good example of a proven screening test is the Pap smear for women which has resulted in a dramatic reduction in cases of cancer of the cervix in countries with a good screening programme.
During the periodic medical examination, your doctor can use some of the time for counseling. Counseling for health promotion can decrease the suffering or prevent some diseases. A good example is the need to avoid cigarette smoking to prevent cancer of the lungs.

Know your family medical history
Knowing your family medical history, and telling your doctor, can be of great benefit to you. Some diseases are familial, while others are not. If your maternal grandmother, and your mother both died of breast cancer, this is something you should tell your doctor during your periodic medical checkup. Unfortunately, many of us here in Anguilla are reluctant to talk to our relatives and younger generations about various illness especial such conditions like cancer. This must change. It can start with you today.

Where to go for your periodic medical examination?
The best place to go for health services is your regular healthcare provider or one of the government healthcare clinics. You should not go to the accident and emergency unit at the hospital for a periodic medical examination. For those women who often see their gynaecologist, try to encourage your male partners to also have a periodic medical checkup. It might just result in them living healthier and longer.

Periodic medical examinations and checkups have been shown to be very beneficial in disease prevention. Individuals are encouraged to have these checkups. It is time for more individuals here in Anguilla to take greater responsibility for their health. Why not make an appointment to have a periodic checkup today and discuss what screenings and examinations you need and when you need them!

Ask Your Doctor is a health education column and is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. The reader should consult his or her physician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field are ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.
Dr Brett Hodge MB BS DGO MRCOG, is an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and Family Doctor who has over thirty-two years in clinical practice. Dr Hodge has a medical practice in The Johnson Building in The Valley (Tel: 264 4975828).

By anguillian January 22, 2018 11:30


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