Periodic Health Checkups

With the current technology, we can only work on maximizing our chances to stay healthy. However, sometimes we just get sick.

Fighting disease in early stages significantly improves chances of beating it, so it’s critical to detect dangerous diseases early. For that, we need regular tests.

The following list is a good balance between risks and resources required for getting tested (costs and time). Some of them are included in your health insurance.

Blood pressure

Since it can vary due to various factors, your should perform two or more blood pressure readings at various times, and evaluate the average.

Blood tests

Routine blood tests should include

Urine & Stool

When you go to labs for blood tests, bring urine & stool as instructed, for

Ultrasound

Ultrasound is safe, noninvasive and does not use ionizing radiation. Check

  • upper and lower abdomen, including the liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and uterus/prostate
  • thyroid

Breast ultrasound isn’t good as a screening tool. It doesn’t show microcalcifications, the most common feature of tissue around a tumor. Mammography is better at detecting early sings of cancer, but uses ionizing radiation.

Ideal: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

MRI is safe, noninvasive, and does not use ionizing radiation. Ideally, do a whole body MRI scan yearly, it might discover some cancers early. Do not overuse contrast agents.

If your liver blood tests were abnormal, do an abdominal scan.

Women: do a breast MRI.

Ideal: Capsule endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy is a procedure that uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of your digestive tract, which help screen for signs of colorectal cancer. Unlike a traditional colonoscopy, it doesn’t require anesthesia and discomfort. If polyps are found, a traditional colonoscopy will be required to remove them and take biopsies.

Dentist

The dentist will give your teeth a thorough cleaning, scraping off plaque and tartar. She/he will examine your teeth, gums, and mouth, to look for changes or signs of a problem.


That’s all, for now. We’ll continue to update the list and Monthly Actions reminders as science advances, and costs for medical tests go down.

Get reminded when to do each health checkup

More checkups

In some cases, additional checkups are recommended

Electrocardiogram (EKG / ECG)

Only for people who have risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or chest pain. EKGs can sometimes show mild nonspecific abnormalities that are not due to underlying heart disease, but cause worry and lead to follow-up tests and treatments that you do not need.

Computed tomography (CT)

As it exposes tissues to radiation, perform a CT only when specifically asked by your doctor. Use MRI instead when possible.