Health screenings can be daunting affairs. There are many things to contend with when you reach the medical centre, from long waiting times to settling on a screening package tailored to your needs and requirements.
Healthcare provider Healthway Medical aims to improve this process with a comprehensive range of tests and preventive procedures at its new medical centre, Healthway Screening @ Downtown. Learn about the various health screening options that the medical centre offers to meet your needs at various stages of life.
In your 20s and 30s
You should be screened for cardiovascular risk factors based on your body mass index, blood pressure measurement, and glucose and cholesterol levels. This is especially important for people with a family history of heart disease. Cardiovascular disease, or diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels, is a leading cause of death in Singapore. In 2017, one out of three deaths in Singapore was due to heart diseases or stroke.
Women should go for regular Pap smears from the age of 21. In fact, according to the Ministry of Health, those between the ages of 25 and 29 should be screened once every three years. The procedure tests for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix. Women aged 30 and above may undergo a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA test once every five years, in place of a Pap smear test. The test screens for high-risk HPV infections that can lead to cervical cancer.
In your 40s
With the prevalence of diabetes among people aged 40 and above, it is advisable to go for a fasting blood test once every three years to check your blood sugar levels.
Those at moderate or high risk of cardiovascular disease, but who do not show any symptoms, should also go for yearly screenings, such as a resting electrocardiogram (ECG), a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart, and an exercise treadmill test to measure the heart’s ability to respond to stress in a controlled clinical environment.
And as high cholesterol increases a person’s chance of developing heart disease, consider a more comprehensive screening — combine these examinations with a lipid profile that can diagnose patients with high cholesterol.
People in this age group are also at risk of certain types of cancer such as cervical cancer and colon cancer. The latter begins in the large intestine and typically affects older adults.
A health screening is effective in the prevention and early detection of cancers, so consult your doctor if you have a family history of these types of cancer.
Pushing into your 50s
Women’s risk of breast cancer increases when they hit 50 years old. One of the best ways to manage this risk is to go for regular mammograms to detect tiny breast lumps that cannot be felt by hand. The Health Promotion Board recommends mammography screening once every two years for women aged 50 and above.
Other routine cancer screenings include regular HPV screenings once every five years to prevent the growth of cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer examinations. Your doctor will likely conduct a faecal immunochemical test for signs of blood in your stools. You may also have to go for a colonoscopy, a diagnostic procedure that examines the inner lining of your large intestine. A colonoscopy is typically done once every 10 years.
In addition, keep up with yearly cardiovascular risk and cancer screenings if you have a family history of other types of cancer.
From your 60s
One of the biggest health risks, especially for women, is osteoporosis that causes bones to become brittle and weak. It is linked to an increased risk of fractures, which can lead to a loss of independence, hospitalisation and prolonged immobilisation.
To avoid these consequences, it is important to go for regular bone mineral density tests to measure the amount of bone mineral you have in different areas of your body. They help your doctor to assess your risk of having a fracture and recommend treatments to improve your quality of life.
Men should go for regular prostate cancer screenings. These tests often encompass a digital rectal examination to detect abnormalities in the texture, shape or size of the prostate gland, or a prostate-specific antigen test where blood samples are collected from a vein.
Continue to go for yearly cardiovascular risk screenings to ensure a clean bill of health. Your doctor may also conduct regular cancer screening procedures for colorectal cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer.
Routine screening tests
There are some health screening tests that should be done periodically, regardless of age. These include height and weight measurements and blood pressure screenings. Ideally, you should get your blood pressure checked at least once every two years, as high blood pressure may not give rise to any symptoms, thus making it difficult to detect.
All health screening packages from Healthway Screening @ Downtown include these routine tests.
Visit http://www.healthwaymedical.com to learn more about Healthway Medical’s health screening packages.