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  • These Are The Tests You Should Add To Your Annual Physical Exam

    These days, investing in your health is more important than ever.
    by Angelica Gutierrez .
These Are The Tests You Should Add To Your Annual Physical Exam
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  • Before the pandemic, many of us skipped our company’s free annual physical exam (APE) since we were simply too busy with work. And today, many would rather avoid going to the hospital unless absolutely necessary.

    However, COVID-19 is not the only sickness we need to watch out for. And it is always better to catch diseases early than to wait until your symptoms become severe.

    “A regular checkup is essential because it’s important for patients to know their baseline health status,” says Dr. Krista Gutierrez-Rubio, medical director at Centre Médicale Internationale (CMI).

    “It’s also a good opportunity for physicians to provide preventive care. Also, there are many screening tests that are important for us to be able to catch diseases before symptoms appear.”

    She adds that annual checkups help detect what doctors call “silent diseases” such as hypertension and diabetes. These are illnesses that you don’t know you have until you experience symptoms. And by then, the diseases have already done some damage.

    These silent diseases are much easier to manage when they’re detected early. It’s also worth noting that if you find out you have diabetes and hypertension, you can already register to get vaccinated for COVID-19 under the A3 (persons with comorbidities) classification.

    Annual physical checkups are also a good opportunity for you to develop a relationship with a regular physician. Dr. Gutierrez-Rubio explains that everyone should have a primary physician who is familiar with their entire medical history.

    “Over time, if ever you do develop medical issues, it’s better to already have a doctor that you trust [and] have our relationship with. So that they know [what] your health values are and they can help you make informed decisions about your care.”

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    In fact, having a primary care physician can actually help you save time and money in the long run.

    “Seeing the same doctor is advantageous because they already know your history. They know what tests you’ve done and they can help you prioritize so that you don’t end up doing the same tests over and over again,” Dr. Gutierrez-Rubio explains.

    For example, if your doctor sees that some of your test results are consistently normal over the years, they can tailor your next checkup to exclude unnecessary tests. Since they know your medical history and lifestyle, they can then suggest ways to decrease your chances of developing illness later on. This isn’t possible if you keep taking your APE results to different doctors every year.

    Tests to take on top of your annual physical exam 

    You should consider taking a few tests on top of your APE, depending on your age and gender. After all, prevention is better than cure, and your health is always worth investing in. Here are some of the additional tests recommended per age group:

    What to get tested for 19 to 39 years old

    Dr. Gutierrez-Rubio says that it’s essential to talk with your doctor about practicing safe sexual behaviors and getting screened for STDs for this age group.

    “And it’s hard to discuss that if you don’t know your doctor, right? This is something that you need to do with someone who you’re familiar with and have a good rapport with,” she adds.

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    It’s also crucial for women ages 25-65 to get screened for cervical cancer. If your company-provided APE doesn’t include a pap smear, make sure to schedule one with your gynecologist.

    What to get tested for 40 to 49 years old

    When it comes to middle-aged groups, Dr. Gutierrez-Rubio recommends checking for colon cancer once you turn 45. If you prefer not to get a colonoscopy, you can opt for an annual stool occult blood test instead.

    Women in their 40s should get tested for breast cancer as well. “A mammogram is recommended to screen for breast cancer every 1-2 years. A breast ultrasound though can be useful for looking at lumps (especially those that can be felt but not seen on a mammogram),” Dr. Gutierrez-Rubio explains.

    What to get tested for 50 years old and up

    For this group, doctors begin screening for age-related diseases such as dementia. Men need to be tested for prostate cancer via a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and prostate ultrasound.

    “For older adults, it’s also important to screen for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and men over 70. Men 65 to 75 years of age who ever smoked should also be screened for aortic aneurysm with an abdominal ultrasound,” Dr. Gutierrez-Rubio adds.

    Once you get your test results, it’s vital to have them interpreted by your primary doctor to determine if you have underlying issues. Your doctor may ask for additional tests if they see anything unusual in your results. While this means extra expense, it’s worth finding out whether you’ve developed any illnesses so that they can be treated as soon as possible.

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    In this pandemic, taking care of our health is more important than ever. However, staying safe doesn’t necessarily mean putting off checkups that are essential for detecting diseases early. In the end, investing in preventive care ultimately pays off.

    Many people are hesitant to go to the hospital for routine tests. If this is your concern, try CMI located on the second floor of the Ore Central building in Bonifacio Global City. It will have fewer people than a mall clinic. Call +632 8816- 1036 or search @cm.care on Instagram.

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