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Caring For Your Health

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The government has been encouraging Singaporeans to go for health screening for some time. Find out why you should get your health checked regularly.

Many people think that they should only go for a health screening when symptoms occur or when they are feeling unwell. This is a fallacy. In fact, going for a check-up is important for everyone.

Health screening enables you find out if you have a particular condition even if you are free of symptoms and/or signs. It involves the use of tests, physical examinations or other procedures to detect conditions early in people who look or feel fit. This is different from diagnostic tests, which are done when someone is already showing signs and/or symptoms of a condition.

Early detection of a disease, followed by treatment and good control of it can result in better outcomes. It also lowers the risk of serious complications. It’s therefore advisable to get yourself screened even if you think you are in tip-top shape.

Going for health screenings is preventive medicine. It helps detect risk factors that make a person vulnerable to certain diseases. Heart attacks and strokes, for example, don’t take place out of the blue. The primary causes of these diseases are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and lack of exercise. Many of these diseases can be ‘silent’ in their early stages. Men are also more prone to heart disease. If a patient is at high risk of developing heart disease, doctors will examine the heart with a treadmill ECG, arrange for a stress echo test to assess the heart’s function or a CT angiogram, which shows narrowed or blocked areas of a blood vessel.

Getting yourself checked at recommended intervals is crucial. This is because, if you do it only once, it will pick up health conditions that are present at the time of screening. Regular screening helps to detect conditions that may develop after the previous session. Hence, you should get yourself tested at the recommended frequency.

Basic health screenings can range anywhere from $40 to $500. More specific and specialised lab tests add to the tab. The Health Promotion Board’s national health screening programme, Screen for Life, offers generous subsidies for Singapore citizens. Eligible citizens pay $5 or less. You can screen for diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and colorectal cancer.

Screening Tests By Age Group
According to the Screen for Life programme, the following are the recommendations of tests for different age groups:

Credit: Healthhub.sg

Other tests may be recommended, depending on whether there are risk factors present. Examples of these are a family history of hereditary or chronic diseases, existing chronic medical conditions, and exposure to factors that can lead to certain diseases.