Medical check-up is simply the regular or routine visit to your doctor or hospital by healthy individuals for the purpose of their health assessment or screening.
Persons who feel not so well or suspects something is wrong with their well being can also go for a health check up. It is not only for healthy persons.
Other names for medical check-up
- Medical examination
- General medical examination
- Annual physical evaluation
- General health check up
- Full body medical examination
- Comprehensive medical exam
- Medical Screening
- Periodic or routine health evaluation
How often should you go for a medical check-up
There is no hard and fast rule on when to go for a health check up. It depends on your age, your health status and the discretion of your family doctor. Some persons for check up every 3 months, some every 6 months, and some once yearly. For some, it may be once every 3 years. However, if you are diabetic, hypertensibe or have any chronic medical conditions I recommend you go for medical evaluation more often.
Importance of regular medical check-up
The benefits are numerous. Regular health check up does the following:
- allays fears
- Prolongs life
- helps us live healthy life
- helps detect a disease such as cancer and other diseases early
- is cheaper than treatment
- important in future decision making
- It certifies you medically fit or other-wise
Who should go for a check-up?
Anybody including children can go for a comprehensive medical examination. But you are most eligible for health check-up if you are:
- 40 years and above
- a cancer survivor
- have had a transplant
- Have a high risk occupation such as mining, off-shore and on-shore oil companies, jobs that exposes you to radiations, quarrying, health workers and commercial sex workers.
You can go for a medical check in both private and government-owned hospitals. However if you want a medical report issued after the health check for either of the following purposes:
- Immigration (request from embassy)
- Court case/court request or legal reasons
- National programs like NYSC, police recruitment, military recruitment, Customs etc.,
Then you are advised to go for a check up in government owned hospitals because most organisations only accept medical report from government health facility.
Seeing a doctor
You don’t need to specially prepare for a general medical examination. Medical check-up entails the following:
- Interview: It is an interactive session. Here the doctor will ask you basic questions like age, occupation, history of smoking, alcohol intake, diabetic history, hypertensive history, asthmatic history, cancer history or history of cancer in your family, history of chronic cough, urinary problems, history of stomach ulcer etc.
- Physical examination: Here you may be required to remove all or most of your clothes for physical evaluation. Here the doctor will do a neurological examination, neck examination to check for thyroid enlargement, chest examination, cardiovascular examination (blood pressure check, pulse rate, and heart sound), abdominal examination, vaginal examination or pubic examination (you can decline), digital rectal examination(especially for males that are 40 and above to check for prostate enlargement), musculoskeletal examination, eye check, ear check, speculum examination for women in order to check your cervix (very important).
- Tests: Depending on the clinical findings of your doctor and your medical history, a series of blood tests, urine tests, radiological investigations and other investigative procedures may be requested by the doctor to be carried out on you.
List of Tests carried out during medical check up
You doctor determines this and also based on her clinical impression from your interactions and medical evaluation. Sometimes, you are permitted to outrightly request for a test and the doctor will oblige.
The following are tests that are routinely requested:
- Body mass index (height and weight measurement) for obesity checks
- Sugar test to screen for diabetes (fasting blood sugar or random blood sugar)
- Lipid profile for cholesterol
- Full/complete blood count (packed cell volume)
- Urinalysis to check for sugar, or urinary tract infection
- Urine microscopy culture and sensitivity
- Kidney function test
- Lung function test
- Liver function test
- Thyroid function test
- Blood pressure check
- Eye check (fundoscopy)
- Ear check
- Prostate specific antigen (PSA)- for men that are 40 years old and above
- Screening for HIV
- Screening for hepatitis B and C
- Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer
- Breast examination for females in order to check out for lumps.
- Chest X-ray especially for 40 years old and above
- Ultrasound scan (if indicated)
- Mammography for women
- MRI (sometimes)
- Stool test
- Dental check
- Throat check
- Pregnancy test for ladies that are sexually active (you can decline)
- CT scan
Cost of Medical check-up
The reason most people don’t go for routine health check-up is because of the cost especially if the pay out-of-pocket. Health insurance like the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS) in Nigeria and National Health Services (UK) covers health check up. However, health insurance not cover MRI.
If you are not on health insurance and you are paying from your pocket, it is expensive. For a full body medical examination, you will pay up to #70,000 to #100,000 Naira excluding MRI and CT scan. Sometimes you may pay less and if you don’t have a health insurance please register for one today to cut cost.