Health Check-ups have a great impact on health outcomes
According to a UK study, of the 1.5 million adults in England who have taken up the NHS health check-up, one in 27 were found to have high blood pressure of which they were previously unaware. Yet high blood pressure is one of the silent killers and a risk factor in many adverse health conditions, not just in the UK or Nigeria but globally.
Studies have shown that nearly all cases of cervical cancer and associated deaths (99.8%) are preventable through health check-up. Not only that, 54% of bowel cancer cases could be avoided through health check-up. In addition, 25% of untimely deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes) with 50%-80% of them being preventable. To add to that, one in seven women in the UK will get breast cancer throughout their lives with 55,000 new cases being recorded in the country yearly while over 11,500 people die from the disease. 23% of the deaths from the disease could have been prevented by health screening.
Most people don’t go for routine medical check-ups; some people have not been to the hospital for the past three years. Because of this, so many people do not know their health status. In the past, people used to see their doctor only when they were sick, or dying. As a result, they know little or nothing about their health status.
Today, more and more people are becoming wiser and more intentional about their health rather than leave things to chances as was the trend in the past. One way they do this by paying more attention to preventive care than curative care through undergoing regular medical check-ups.
In essence, regular check-ups:
- Help find potential health issues before they cause a problem through early detection. Early detection increases the chances for treatment and cure.
- Help prevent and avoid diseases at an early stage which in turn reduces the chance of you getting sick (or more sick).
- Limit risk of complications by closely monitoring existing health conditions
- Saves you money in the long run by avoiding costly medical services and treatments
- Saves you time in the long run by not having to take time off from work or social life to manage avoidable and disruptive complex health issues
- Make you more aware of your health and make better decisions
- Help monitor existing health issues thus contributing to reducing the risk of worsening symptoms or severe complications
- Help you keep your doctor updated about your health status
- Help you identify health risks and manage them appropriately
- Help you understand changes required for your health and taking precautions where required
- Help prevent sudden health issues
- Help prevent wrong diagnosis
- Help prevent avoidable medical emergencies and misdiagnosis
Why most people don’t go for check-ups
If health checks are so beneficial, why then do most people not go for it? One reason is due to lack of time or not seeing health check-up as a priority. Often times because we feel fine, we do not see any urgency to go for any checkup. Aside that, the fear of being diagnosed with something life-threatening often makes many people apprehensive about going for any check-up. The humorous saying is that after all you wont find what is not lost if you don’t go out looking for it!
How to know the type and frequency of the health check you need?
Various factors like age, gender, occupation, risk factors and current health status determine the type and frequency of check-up you need. You can always talk to your doctor for advice in this regard. However while opinions vary, routine checkups with your doctor are generally recommended as follows:
- Adults under the age of 50 and in good health should do a check-up every 3 years
- All adults above the age of 50 should do a yearly check-up
- Women aged 21-65 should undergo a cervical cancer screening (pap smear) every 5 years
- Women aged 50-74 should undergo a breast cancer screening (mammogram) every 3 years
- Men aged 20-90 should undergo a PSA test
- Individuals who have been diagnosed with a medical condition that requires monitoring like high blood pressure, diabetes or COPD should have more frequent check-ups more than once a year
- All adults aged 35 and above to do high cholesterol screening every 5 years
What exactly do health check-ups entail?
When you go for a health check-up, your doctor will review your past medical history, evaluate your current health, and schedule appropriate screening tests. These health checks are varied and cover a wide range of tests; the specific ones you require will be recommended by your doctor. These include:
- Medical history
- Family history
- Medication history and allergies
- Blood pressure
- Body mass index (BMI)
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Preventive screening
- Blood and urine tests
- Lipid Profile Test
- Vitamin Check
- Stool Test
- Sensory screenings
- Hepatitis B tests
- CT Calcium Scoring
- Pulmonary Lung Function tests
- Thyroid Function Tests: TSH, T3, T4
- CT Coronary Angiography (Heart)
- CT Screening of Neck Vessels (Carotid)
- Bone Mineral Densitometry (BMD)
- Abdominal Check: Ultrasonography of abdomen & pelvis
- Cardiac system: Chest X-Ray, ECG & 2D Echo-Cardiography
- Kidney Function: Blood Urea, Uric Acid, Serum Creatinine
- Liver Function tests: SGPT, SGOT, Serum Bilirubin
- Diabetes tests: Blood Sugar Fasting, Blood Sugar PP
- Cancer screenings (as recommended e.g. for Breast, Bowel, Lung, Prostate cancers)
- Immunizations (e.g. for Tetanus, Diptheria, Influenza, Pneumococcal, MMR, Meningococcal, Varicella, Shingles, Human papillomavirus (HPV), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus Influenza Type B
How much does medical check- up cost in Nigeria?
The cost of a medical check-up in Nigeria varies depending on the hospital or diagnostic centre, the range of checks required and the medical check-up package offered by the health facility. In general, the price of a full medical check-up ranges from ₦50,000 to ₦250,000. The cost may be covered in a health insurance in some cases while in others, patients have to pay out of pocket.
What you can do next
If you are aged 40 and above and have never had a health check-up or if you belong to any of the screening demographics listed in this article or you have an underlying health condition that requires monitoring like high blood pressure, diabetes, COPD and other health conditions of concern, it is strongly recommended you go for one without delay.
First, check with your HMO or hospital to know if your health insurance plan includes cover for routine check-up. If you do not have a health insurance plan or you are looking to change your existing plan, you can contact us at MyMedicalBank for affordable health insurance plans from reputable HMOs in Nigeria.
At MyMedicalBank, our mission is to help you achieve excellent health outcomes. Even if you are busy and do not have the luxury of time to go and be waiting to see a doctor in the hospital, we can arrange for a doctor or healthcare professional to conduct an essential health check for you in the comfort of your own home from as low as N40,000. To book this service, click here. Alternatively if you would like us to connect you or your loved one with a health facility for a suitable health check, contact us here.
MyMedicalBank is Nigeria’s #1 health management platform for booking appointments, medical tests, home care, telemedicine, health insurance and other healthcare services from hospitals, clinics, medical laboratories, HMOs, care organisations and other providers. For enquiries, visit www.mymedicalbank.com/contact, email [email protected] or call +234 (0) 802 759 0165.