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What Common Conditions Do Health Checkups Help Detect?

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.

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One of the most significant benefits of going for regular health screenings is the early detection of health conditions that will save lives, prevent complications and reduce medical costs.

In fact, Singaporeans are at higher risk of having certain health conditions as compared to people in other countries due to environmental and genetic factors. Our little red dot has one of Asia’s highest rates of colorectal cancer while nose cancer is the sixth most common cancer in males.

Other even more common health conditions include high cholesterol; 8.3% of people aged 18 to 69 have it, and heart attack; 12,533 cases in 2019 compared to 7344 cases in 2010.

Hence, a full health screening plays an important role in detecting these conditions (even when symptoms have yet to appear) or to help you understand more about your risk factors so you can take steps to prevent future and potential morbidities. Read on to find out more.

Common Conditions a Health Checkup in Singapore Can Help Detect 

1. Hypertension

Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a silent killer that often goes unnoticed until complications such as heart and kidney failure occur. It is recommended that you get screened for hypertension once every two years if you are above 18 and have a family history of the condition, or yearly if you are above 40. An electronic blood pressure meter is typically used at a medical check-up to determine if you have hypertension.

Blood pressure monitoring

2. High Blood Cholesterol

High cholesterol can contribute to your risk of developing heart disease which can ultimately lead to a fatal heart attack and stroke. As it usually does not present symptoms, it is, therefore, vital to go for regular health screenings that will help to detect the condition should you have it. You can consider going for a high cholesterol screening if you are above 30, have family members with the same condition, and have risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure. A blood test will be done and you will be required to fast beforehand.

3. Diabetes

Diabetes has long been a source of concern for Singaporeans and statistically speaking, nearly one million people locally will have the disease by 2050 if left unchecked! Having abnormally high glucose levels in your blood can result in the failure of various organs and thus, should not be taken lightly. Screening for diabetes at a health check-up is typically done if you are above 40 but there can be exceptions if you are pregnant, have a sedentary lifestyle, and have a family history of the condition. A blood test will also be done and you will be required to fast beforehand.

Doctor consultation for colorectal cancer

4. Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is common among both men and women in Singapore so if you are considered high risk (have had breast or cervical cancer, or have relatives with the condition), you will have to go for screening at a younger age and more frequently. On the other hand, if you are considered low risk, screening for colorectal cancer is usually done when you are above 50. There are several tests that can be done during a health check-up to detect colorectal cancer – a fecal occult blood test to check for the presence of blood in stool, double-contrast barium enema which is an x-ray of the large intestine, flexible sigmoidoscopy to examine the internal lining of the lower end of the large intestine, and colonoscopy to examine the entire large intestine.

5. Cervical Cancer

Did you know that cervical cancer is the 10th most common cancer in Singaporean women? But with early detection and treatment, the chances of surviving are as high as 92%. You may be at a higher risk if you smoke, have a history of sexually transmitted diseases, and have tested positive for HIV. Thus, it is important to go for a health check-up if you are above 25 and a pap smear, in which the doctor obtains scrapings from your cervix, will be done.

Mammogram breast screening

6. Breast Cancer

Over 2000 women get diagnosed with breast cancer yearly but as intimidating as it sounds, going for regular health screenings that include mammograms can save your life as it is the most reliable way to detect breast cancer. If you are above 40, it is recommended to go for one every year and if you are above 50, a mammogram screening every two years would suffice. Prevention is always better than cure – women above 30 years of age may opt for a yearly breast ultrasound to screen for abnormalities in their breasts.

Schedule a Health Screening in Singapore Today

Take charge of your life now by booking a health screening.

Here at Thomson Wellth, we provide a wide range of affordable health screening packages that are catered to different needs.

Contact us to find out more!

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