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Health Screenings at Different Life Stages to Help You Take Charge of Your Well-being

Dr. Derek Koh

Head, Health Screening at Thomson Wellth Clinic

MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (Singapore)

Dr. Derek Koh practises preventive medicine through tailored health screenings & wellness programmes including the management of Andropause, Menopause and Obesity. He is also Board Certified in Anti-Ageing; has attained his Fellowship with the American Board of Anti-Ageing.

Table of Contents

Everyone knows the importance of maintaining good health so as to lead a long and fulfilling life but regrettably, not many understand how that is connected with going for regular health screenings.

As a matter of fact, you will be doing yourself a favour by going for a health checkup regularly instead of putting it off just because you have no time, find it a chore, or do not see its importance.

Regular full health screenings will give you peace of mind if all is well, but can also alert you to any possible medical conditions that may arise in the future so that you take the necessary steps to better your health. This is crucial as some diseases or conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and most cancers, do not exhibit symptoms in their early stages; not managing or treating them will only lead to other more severe health conditions and result in deteriorating health.

On the other hand, even if a medical condition is detected through your health screening, then at least this early detection can allow you to seek treatment in time to save your life.

Hence, we cannot stress the importance of going for regular health checkups enough – this is not a want but rather, a need to improve one’s quality of life and prolong one’s lifespan.

If you are considering going for a health screening in Singapore but are unsure where to start or what to expect, this in-depth health check-up guide will help you to make the right decision when picking the most appropriate health screening package. It includes the tests you need to go for according to your gender and age as you could have different health needs at different life stages.

Read on to find out more!

Part 2 – All You Need to Know About Health Screenings in Singapore

2.1 The Importance and Benefits of Going for Regular Health Screenings

reasons for why go for regular health screening

The benefits of going for regular health checkups go beyond just giving you the assurance that your health is in good condition. It is vital even if you feel well, as you could have underlying medical conditions that are not causing any obvious symptoms yet.

It is also a way to detect life-threatening conditions early, which can drastically increase your survival rate and the risk of complications. While regular health screenings are recommended, it is also important to note the frequency required as this depends on the tests you need to take.

Here are more of the advantages of regular health screenings that will convince you to book your next appointment as soon as possible:

  • More time to seek treatment

    Early detection gives you more time to understand your condition, get a second opinion and seek the most suitable treatment for yourself. This will help to reduce a lot of the stress that comes with being unwell and lessen the burden on your loved ones too.

  • More treatment options are available

    There will usually be more treatment options available, ranging from non-invasive to invasive ones, when a condition is detected in its early stages. This would mean having to spend less on treatments as medical conditions might be easier to treat in the early stages. Furthermore, for medical conditions like cancer, an early diagnosis and detection would greatly improve cancer outcomes, by providing care at the earliest stage.

  • Allows you to make lifestyle adjustments

    Knowing whether you are at higher risk of developing certain health conditions allows you to make lifestyle changes, such as opting for a healthier diet, doing regular exercise, quitting smoking, and avoiding sugar. Do not underestimate these simple lifestyle habits, as they could be life-changing for you not just physically, but also mentally.

  • Improves your mental health

    Constantly worrying about whether you will be the next to develop a medical condition, especially if you have a family history of that particular condition, can be really nerve-racking and damaging to your mental health. Therefore, a health checkup comes into play to reassure you that everything is fine or to alert you to take precautions or seek treatment before it is too late.

  • Reliable and accurate results

    Instead of second-guessing the symptoms you are experiencing, going for a health screening will provide you with reliable and accurate results that you can trust. For instance, mammogram screening is currently the most reliable way to test for breast cancer and it can even detect cancerous lumps before they are felt by the hands.

  • Can be affordable

    Going for regular full health screenings in Singapore does not have to burn a hole in your pocket – there are many packages available offered by different screening centres that will surely fit into your budget. Furthermore, some companies offer their employees free executive health screenings while the insurance policies you purchase may come with complimentary health checkups.

2.2 Types of Health Screening Packages Available in Singapore

Health screening centres in Singapore offer a wide variety of packages that include different types of tests to cater to your needs.

Here are the common health screening packages available in Singapore to help you make informed choices when choosing one:

  • Basic

    Health screening packages categorised under Basic are usually recommended for younger people and first-timers. It will give you a general overview of your current health status based on key health indicators, such as blood counts, sugar levels, cholesterol levels, urinalysis and stool testing.

    This is something to consider if you have never gone for a health checkup before or have been leading a pretty healthy lifestyle.

  • Wellness

    If you have family members or relatives with certain medical conditions and would prefer having added assurance, consider packages categorised under Wellness. They include more detailed blood tests and scans to detect the presence of cancers and structural problems in the various organs.

    You may also wish to consider this if you are a smoker, consume alcohol frequently and lead a stressful and fast-paced lifestyle.

  • Comprehensive

    Health screening packages categorised under Comprehensive are a step further and more in-depth. They usually include additional MRI and CT scans that can detect and monitor cancer presence more accurately, as well as determine your current risk of heart disease and stroke.

    These are usually recommended for those above 30 years old, who have a family history of certain medical conditions, and are experiencing symptoms.

  • Specialised

    Packages under the Specialised category focus on diagnosing, treating and managing a wide array of men’s and women’s health-related problems. A female health screening package will include breast cancer and cervical cancer screening while a men’s health screening package will include vitality tests like checking their hormone profiles and for prostate cancer, for example.

    These can be considered depending on your current health and personal needs.

2.3 Important Things to Know Before Going for a Health Screening

how to prepare for a health check-up

Although an appointment for a health check-up can be made easily and quickly, it is also important for you to take note of what you need to prepare and avoid doing. This will help to make the entire process a breeze and prevent causing disruptions during tests and scans.

How to prepare for your health screening

  • Get sufficient sleep

    Lack of sleep can cause your blood pressure levels to fluctuate and may affect your test result. Hence, try getting at least eight hours of good rest before heading to your appointment.

  • Gather past test results or medical records

    Bring along any past test results or medical records for your doctor to refer to for an accurate analysis.

  • Schedule ample time for your checkup

    Most health screenings will take a few hours to complete including the waiting and consultation time so it is always advisable to schedule buffer time for your appointment to avoid having to rush off halfway through.

  • Check if you need to stop medications

    You may need to stop taking beta-blocker medications that help to reduce blood pressure a few days before your health screening. However, this depends on the tests you need to undergo so it is advisable to consult your doctor or the staff at the screening centre for a clearer understanding.

  • Fast eight to ten hours before

    Most health screening packages will require you to fast eight to ten hours before your appointment as vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in food and beverages can impact your blood level readings. You will not be asked to fast if the package you are going for does not require the drawing of blood.

What you need to take note of before your health screening appointment

  • Do not consume alcohol before your appointment

    Alcohol can raise your blood pressure and result in irregularities in your test results. Thus, avoid consuming alcohol at least 24 hours before your health screening appointment for results that are as accurate as possible.

  • Inform the clinic if you are pregnant

    While pregnant women can still undergo x-ray exams since most of them will not expose their reproductive organs to x-ray beams, it is still recommended to inform the clinic of your pregnancy so precautions can be taken. For example, abdominal x-rays need to be avoided and you may have to wear a lead apron to protect yourself from radiation scatter. Your doctor should be able to better advise you if you need to postpone your health screening or whether the exam can be modified to reduce the amount of radiation.

  • Do not wear perfume and deodorant or apply creams

    Take note not to wear perfume and deodorant or apply creams and lotions on your body, especially around the chest and underarm areas if you are going for a mammogram screening. Substances in these products may show up in images and look like calcifications – a sign of an underlying issue in the breast tissues.

  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing

    You will need to change out into a hospital gown for x-rays so it will be more convenient for you to wear comfortable clothing that you can easily remove and put on. A two-piece outfit such as a top with short sleeves and a bottom is recommended so nurses get easy access to your arms for blood tests.

  • Do not participate in strenuous activities

    Partaking in strenuous activities before a health checkup can raise your heart rate and drop your potassium levels which will affect your test results. To prevent that, simply keep in mind to take it easy the day before or on the day of your health screening. It is also advisable to postpone any intensive workout sessions till after the screening is done.

2.4 The Next Steps to Take After Your Health Screening

You do not have to do much after your health screening and simply have to wait for your test results. The average waiting time for a health checkup report is around two weeks but may be faster at screening centres that are more efficient.

The doctor will then review your results and provide you with medical tips on how to improve your health. It is recommended that you continue going for regular health screenings even if the results turn out normal, as health conditions are only detected at the time of screening. But if you do develop signs and symptoms before your next screening, do not hesitate to see your doctor as soon as possible instead of waiting for your next health check-up appointment.

Should any health conditions be detected during the health screening, the doctor is also well-equipped with the knowledge to advise you on follow-up care and treatments. It is understandable to feel worried but know that early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to taking good control of your condition for better outcomes and to prevent complications.

Part 3 – Health Screening for Men and Women at Different Life Stages

3.1 Recommended Health Screenings for Men and Women According to Age Group or Health Needs

Recommended Health screenings for women and men

Health screenings are not a one-and-done affair; going for just one throughout your entire life is not sufficient to help you lead a quality life. Rather, regular screenings are important so you stay ahead of diseases and do not have to spend your wealth trying to regain your health.

Feeling convinced to start taking charge of your well-being by making an appointment for your next health screening? Before you do that, here is what you need to know about the recommended screenings according to your gender and age group because your health needs will change as you age.

basic health screening in singapore

Women in their 20s

  • Basic health screening

    A simple health screening covering the fundamentals such as checking your blood count, sugar level, cholesterol level, stool, urine, tumour markers, and liver profile should suffice if you are in your 20s. This is also usually recommended if you are generally healthy and are not suffering from any symptoms, though of course, you can opt for more comprehensive health screenings if you would like greater peace of mind.

  • Pap smear

    Make sure you go for a pap smear too, which is a screening procedure for cervical cancer, once every three years.

Women in their 30s

  • In-depth health screening

    If you are in your 30s, it is advisable to go for comprehensive health checkups that will cover more aspects. They not only include what basic screenings check for, but also offer scans that detect and monitor the presence of cancerous cells. This will be especially helpful if you have family members who have had cancer, since that means you are at higher risk of developing the condition too.

  • Pelvic exam

    Another vital checkup women should go through is a pelvic exam which is done to check for signs of disease in the female organs. Your uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, and rectum will be examined to assess your reproductive and gynaecological health. A pelvic exam is recommended for women from 20 to 65 years of age, if they have a family history of ovarian or cervical cancer, feel pelvic pain during sex, or have unusual vaginal discharge.

  • Pap smear

    Women should also continue going for a Pap smear once every three years. But if you are HIV positive or have a weakened immune system from chemotherapy or organ transplant, the frequency of the test may have to increase, preferably by having a pap smear once yearly, as you are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer.

Women in their 40s

  • Enhanced comprehensive health checkup

    It is only natural for our body to change or our health to deteriorate as we age but that does not mean you have to resign to fate. Taking charge of your life by going for enhanced comprehensive health checkups will allow you to prevent complications and seek treatment early so you can still do what you love with ease.

  • Mammogram screening

    Women in their 40s should also go for breast cancer screening once every year, especially since breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Singapore. Mammogram screening is a reliable and accurate way to detect breast cancer even before any lump or abnormality is seen or felt. In fact, detection of breast cancer at earlier stages can increase one’s rate of survival by over 90%!

  • HPV test

    A HPV test is much more effective compared to a pap smear, which is why it is recommended for older women since cervical cancer is a slow-progressing condition that can take up to 15 years to develop. The test does not tell you if you have cancer, but can detect the presence of strains like HPV 16 and 18 that cause persistent infection and lead to cervical cancer.

  • Colonoscopy

    Although colorectal cancer is more common in men, women are also just as much at risk. Hence, it is recommended to go for a colonoscopy according to the suggested frequency based on your risk group. You are considered high risk if you have a personal history of colorectal polyps and a family history of colorectal cancer.

  • Hormonal tests

    As most women experience the menopausal transition between the age of 45 and 55, undergoing hormonal tests may be useful in helping you to manage menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and decreased libido.

Women in their 50s

  • Osteoporosis screening

    Our bones become weak and brittle as we get older and this can result in fractures even with minor trauma. Therefore, on top of your routine health screening, screening for osteoporosis to check the density and strength of your bones is essential to prevent injuries that can be more challenging to recover from due to old age. If there has been a decrease in your bone mass, you will be advised on steps to take to improve your bone health such as increasing your calcium intake.

  • Hormonal tests

    Navigating the highs and lows of menopause is undoubtedly frustrating but choosing to undergo hormonal tests during your health screening can help. It checks your estrogen levels so you can be advised on the appropriate ways to regulate your mood, improve skin health and reduce the risk of depression or anxiety.

    speaking with doctor on health screening results

Men in their 20s

  • Basic health screening

    Like women in their 20s, younger men who generally lead a healthy lifestyle will benefit from a basic health screening covering the fundamentals like blood count, sugar level, cholesterol level and more.

Men in their 30s

  • In-depth health screening

    It is recommended that you go for a more detailed health check-up as you age to check for hypertension, diabetes and high blood cholesterol. These are the common health concerns for men in Singapore and early detection will allow you to keep your health in check.

  • Hormonal tests

    Blood tests to check for male hormone levels can be helpful because some men tend to experience andropause, which is a drop in testosterone levels, as they age. Hormonal tests measure the levels of testosterone and other key hormones to assist you in regulating your sex drive, mood, muscle mass, and energy.

Men in their 40s

  • Enhanced comprehensive health checkup

    Going for more detailed checks is especially necessary if you have a family history of health concerns. Regular comprehensive health screenings can help to detect life-threatening conditions such as cancers. In fact, men are at higher risk of having colorectal cancer while prostate cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in males in Singapore.

  • Hormonal tests

    If you are planning to put off hormonal blood tests till you are older, going for one once you are above 40 years of age is something to consider. Some men may experience andropause, also known as male menopause, earlier than others so understanding your hormone levels will help you to regain your quality of life.

Men in their 50s

  • Osteoporosis screening

    Like women, men in their 50s are also recommended to go through osteoporosis screening on top of their routine health screenings, to check their bone density and strength so as to prevent injuries.

  • Hormonal tests

    Male menopause is most common in men above 50 years old and can result in low energy, depression, insomnia, and reduced libido among other symptoms. These symptoms can greatly affect one’s quality of life and productivity which is why going for hormonal tests is important to help regulate your mood, sex drive and muscle mass so you can enjoy the second half and golden years of your life.

Additional Tests for Men and Women

These are not all! Apart from comprehensive full health screenings at different life stages, men and women can also choose to undergo a pre-marital health checkup to prepare for marriage.

The screening helps to detect thalassemia traits (group of inherited conditions) and infections that may affect pregnancy. It can also check for fertility issues, potential infections and sex diseases to ensure optimum health for both the mother and baby.

Going for regular health screenings does not just benefit yourself, but is also a way of showing your loved ones you want to improve your health so that you can spend more abundant years with them.

3.2 How Musculoskeletal Health Affects Everybody of All Ages

heallth check-up for back pain

Although men and women are at risk of certain conditions and cancers at different life stages or age groups, musculoskeletal conditions do not choose when to appear and can affect people of all ages.

The musculoskeletal system includes your bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and connective tissues, and covers your back, knee, ankle, shoulder and elbow. It plays an important role in helping you complete daily activities with ease, from simple ones such as bending and walking, to more challenging ones like running and playing sports.

Unfortunately, musculoskeletal conditions are very common. Sports injuries that impact your musculoskeletal health can be acute and occur in younger people during physical activities, while musculoskeletal problems can arise in older people due to natural wear and tear or repetitive movements.

There is no need to go through health screenings specifically to find out if you are suffering from a musculoskeletal condition as symptoms will usually present themselves (quickly especially for acute injuries).

At the same time, it is important to seek medical treatment early at a sports medicine centre in Singapore to prevent your condition from worsening or recurrences of old injuries.

Here are some useful tips for maintaining your musculoskeletal health so you can continue living life to the fullest:

  • Do regular exercise

    Weight-bearing exercises and cardiovascular activity can help to strengthen your muscles to provide support to your joints and prevent damage.

  • Maintain a healthy weight

    If you are experiencing knee pain due to being overweight, a sports injury specialist will typically suggest that you lose weight to reduce the stress on your knee joint. This is one of the most common forms of conservative knee pain treatment specialists in Singapore will recommend before exploring other options.

  • Quit smoking

    Smoking decreases blood flow but good blood circulation is essential for your bones, muscles and soft tissues to stay healthy. Hence, quitting smoking is one of the most effective ways to regain musculoskeletal health the natural way.

  • Go for regular osteoporosis screening

    It is recommended that you go for regular osteoporosis screening at your health check-ups once you are above 50 years of age. It helps to check your bone density and strength so you can take steps to improve them or maintain their quality.

These tips may help you prevent sports injuries and maintain your musculoskeletal health but sometimes, acute injuries and natural wear and tear may still occur. When that happens, it is imperative that you seek treatment at a sports injury clinic in Singapore as soon as possible.

Sports injury clinics, such as Thomson Wellth Clinic, offer various treatments that will help you to regain mobility and recover in no time.

  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy

    A form of regenerative medicine that utilises the body’s ability to heal itself and works by injecting a concentration of your own platelets into the affected area to speed up the healing of injured ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints.

  • Low-Level Laser Therapy

    A non-invasive sports injury treatment method that uses targeted low-power laser beams or light energy to enhance cellular function and nerve regeneration, reduce inflammation and expedite recovery.

  • INDIBA Active Cell Therapy

    An electromagnetic therapy that works by raising the temperature of the cells in your body to increase oxygen and nutrient circulation which will reduce pain and heal wounds.

Find out more about the above treatment methods here.

3.3 Get Your Health Screening Done at Thomson Wellth Clinic

thomson health clinic tablet

Ready to kickstart your journey to better health? Thomson Wellth Clinic will be there for you every step of the way.

We offer health screening packages that are affordable for both men and women because we believe everyone deserves access to health services that can help them lead long and fulfilling lives.

Our health screening packages can be tailored to your health needs, such as choosing to add certain tests to your package to address specific concerns.

Thomson Wellth Clinic also offers specialised health screening packages including breast and cervical care, men’s vitality screening, pre-marital screening, andropause management, and menopause management. You can choose to add on an osteoporosis screening too.

If you have no idea which package to go for, consider the Platinum Package, Breast and Cervical Care Package, The Pink of Health Package and Wellness Plus Package for women. For men, the Men’s Vitality Package, Comprehensive Package and Platinum Enhanced Package will tick your boxes depending on your health needs.

Take Charge of Your Well-being Today

Preventive healthcare, including going for regular health screenings and managing your musculoskeletal health, is important to help you catch and manage potential problems before they become real problems.

Do not wait till it is too late – make an appointment to get your health checked so you can regain your quality of life, seek early treatment, or simply for peace of mind. Protect your wellness and wealth by investing in good health at Thomson Wellth.

Get in touch with us to find out more about our services!

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