In Singapore the medical check-up is ubiquitous. Children have been exposed to the annual medical check-up as young as six years old, yet the actual procedure has become taboo to many adults. Why do we have medical check-ups? Are they necessary? What do medical check-ups really tell us? Or rather, what can’t we not deduce from medical check-ups?
Why have a medical check-up?
Medical tests are done for different reasons. For adults below 30 to 40, medical tests are often only done if a person shows up symptoms. This actually makes sense because to do detailed testing without a reason is a waste of time and money.
Medical testing detects only pathology. Pathology is defined as abnormal organ, tissue and/ or cell function where there is change in tissue, organ and enzyme level. This is a good definition to treat illness, but a poor one to promote wellness.
So, many people can have lowered organ, tissue and or enzyme function with no cellular or tissue change. They will experience symptoms, feel unwell but be told there is nothing wrong with them. This often occurs with ageing. All the medical tests will often prove negative. This is when functional medicine and naturopathic type screening that looks at quality of life rather that pathology can prove useful.
After about 40, routine medical screening is habitually suggested in order to detect early warning markers for potential health problems. A general medical screening will include blood pressure test, full lipid profile, screening for diabetes, full blood examination, kidney function, bone study, gout study, liver function test, screening for veneral disease, urine examination, screening for thyroid function, screening for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, screening for rheumatoid arthritis and screening for cancer markers. This also includes bone density scane, mammagrams, and PAP smears.
List of Medical Norms
· As you grow older, a higher weight according to your age is acceptable.(Look at height, weight tables for different ages)
· When you develop idiopathic hypertension (high blood pressure), it’s a perfectly acceptable consequence of ageing. Simply start medication
· Until your fasting blood glucose is 120 mg/dL or more, you are safe.
· Its acceptable to age and lose function and quality of life.
· Its also acceptable to get aches and pain as you age
· When older people get moody and grumpy, that is also a function of ageing. Just live with it.
· Treat all your problems with drugs. Modern science is so advanced.
Another look at the above acceptable “medical” norms:
· Every 5% weight gain above your optimum weight in your twenties increases your risk of diabetes by 200%.
· High blood pressure is often linked to obesity, sub-optimal diets and emotional stress
· In fact, you should start watching out when your blood glucose exceeds 80 mg/dl. You are heading towards Syndrome X (precursor to diabetes, heart disease and cancer)
· According to studies at Tuft’s University, significant quality of life issues like strength, fitness, endurance and health can be maximized with optimum diet and nutrition
· Manual medicine practitioners can help most people minimize aches and pains regardless of age
· Mood changes associated with ageing are often forerunners of dis-ease conditions or significant drops in sex hormones
· Fourth biggest cause of mortality is surgery and adverse drug treatments
Data interpretation is often a bone of contention between the different schools of thought. The Western medical practitioner is trained to look at the test results and check if they fall into the Normal Curve distribution(Bell Curve). The top and bottom five percent are pathological, either too high or low. The rest are normal. Functional medicine practitioners however will often adopt a different view. Optimal health often revolves around results that are a more in the middle.
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
…..Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”