With the current boost in growth of corporate sectors and a mind-numbingly rapid increase in no. of employees working there, it currently has formed a world of its own. As it grows involving more and more people in it, this excessive rate of development has unknowingly taken a toll on the health of its people at an alarming rate.as the people cannot maintain a healthy lifestyle religiously along with added workload and stress, it has become a necessity for them to visit a physician on a regular basis. Since monthly visits seem impossible with the work schedule, an annual check-up is thus recommended for them which helps in the early recognition of the risk factors and starting early treatment. Corporate offices can be advised to introduce this awareness along with collaboration with healthcare companies for efficient working of its employees thus increasing the productivity of the company as well.
So when should one have an annual health exam?
- Medical checkups be referred to as Periodic Health Assessments or Examinations and that they be performed every five years (for adults over 18) until age 40 and every one to three years thereafter. The requirements are for more frequent evaluations for those taking prescription medications.. since most people working in this sector belong to the age group of 25 and more, it is highly likely for them to be exposed to the risk factors.
- If there is a positive family history of chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease (CAD, IHD) its recommend to do the exam earlier after the age of 30. Majority of heart attacks is due to diabetes and the early a diagnosis of diabetes is done the better is the outcome in terms of control and prevention of complications.
- Between the age of 40 to 50 if you have a family history of certain tumors where occult blood testing or flexible sigmoidoscopy would be helpful.
- After the age of 50 should be a reasonable age to do the annual exam for an otherwise healthy individual.
The common risk factors mainly seen are-
- Late working hours
- Continuous usage of desktops
- Binge drinking
- Increased stress
- Prolonged sitting
- Infrequent meals
The common diseases mainly seen are-
- High Cholesterol
- Low backache
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Vision defects
- Anxiety, Depression
So, what does an annual health check-up include –
- A regular history taking including all the previous symptoms and signs of a disorder,
- A family history for those with a positive family history of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, heart disease, thyroid disorders etc.
- Any form of bad addictive habits such as smoking, regular alcohol consumption.
- A regular full body physical examination which includes checking of vitals like blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, BMI, general appearance, head and neck exam, a heart examination for heart murmurs, abdominal exam, neurological exams.
- A mental health exam to rule out any signs of depression, or work-related stress
- Laboratory tests – a complete blood count, biochemical tests such as LFT, KFT, RBS, a screening lipid profile etc.
ACCORDING TO A STUDY, 40 – 50 PERCENT OF EMPLOYEES SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION, ANXIETY ASSOCIATED WITH WORK.
Why do we need annual check-ups?
- To detect any underlying disease or risk factors
- Regular follow-up for existing conditions
- Early detection of underlying diseases e.g. diabetes, heart diseases.
- Early treatment thus reducing complications
- Counselling for health promotion either before or during a health problem may decrease the burden of suffering or prevent the disease.
There is still an ongoing debate, as to whether an annual exam is necessary or helpful. But, in a recent survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a majority of the patients and doctors alike i.e. on an average 9 out of the 10 surveyed still believe annual examinations do more benefits than harm.
Regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. An annual health check-up is a report card of health. They can help find problems early when the chances for treatment and cure are better. Respective workplaces can be advised to spread the awareness about the importance of an annual checkup.