As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure. However, in the scheme of things, our health generally takes a backseat, letting manageable diseases fester to toxic levels. Here are 8 tests that men should undertake regularly to ensure that manageable health problems are detected at the outset, reducing risk factors for diseases by modifying habits and diet.
Regular tests also ensure that genetic or hereditary diseases are detected in their nascent stages and could be managed effectively, if not completely cured or eradicated. So, here are 8 tests men should undertake to get a holistic view of their health:
1) Lipid Profile:
A lipid profile is a series of blood tests to determine the number of lipids like Cholesterol and Triglyceride in a person’s body. Lipid profile test can also detect genetic diseases, the probability of cardiovascular diseases and pancreatitis among others. The tests include keeping a count of HDL or good cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol. In a healthy body, HDL and LDL are well-balanced.
Triglyceride is a variety of Lipid strongly associated with Diabetes. High Triglyceride coupled with uncontrolled Diabetes increases the chances of coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke due to Atherogenic Diabetic Dyslipidemia.
2) Blood Sugar Tests:
Blood Sugar tests are conducted to gauge the amount of glucose in a person’s blood. It is an effective test for Diabetes screening, especially for an overweight person with a family history of Diabetes. A person is diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus only when the glucose level in their blood comes within the following range, under given conditions:
- Fasting: Above 126 mg
- Post Prandial/After meal: Above 200 mg
If a person’s glucose levels are between 101-125 mg while fasting and between 141-199 after having a meal, they are diagnosed with Impaired Glucose Tolerance meaning that the said individuals are at a risk of developing Diabetes in the future.
However, it should be noted that one reading or one random test is not sufficient to diagnose a person with diabetes as glucose levels of a person may fluctuate depending on the amount of sugar in their food. A person is positively diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus only when their blood sugar levels are high along with raised HbA1C on more than 2-3 occasions. Hb1AC is a quarterly test to evaluate the status of Diabetes Mellitus and should be kept under 7% in Diabetes patients.
Another test for diagnosing Diabetes Mellitus is Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) in which glucose is given orally to an individual and 5 blood samples are taken at half hour intervals. The most important readings are the zero hour and the two-hour readings which determine the rate at which glucose is expelled from the body.
Diabetes is a notorious disease known for causing strokes, heart ailments, cardiovascular disease, damaging eyes and kidneys, repeated infections among other health problems. However, if detected early, diabetes is also an easily manageable disease.
3) Liver Function Test:
Liver Function Test reflects the functionality and state of one’s liver. The general recommendation for this test if once a year and includes tests for useful markers of liver functionality like Bilirubin (direct and indirect), Liver transaminases (AST or SGOT and ALT or SGPT), Albumin, Globulin among others. Early stage symptoms of Liver-related disorders are not so profound or severe but if not detected early these disorders may lead to life-threatening complications. Albumin-Globulin ratio or A/G ratio indicates liver functionality, Transaminase is directly linked to Hepatic cellular integrity and are useful biomarkers for evaluating/diagnosing and managing liver ailments like fatty liver and Hepatocellular diseases.
4) Kidney Function Test:
Kidney Function Test is a simple series of urine and blood tests to determine the functionality of an incumbent’s kidneys. Kidneys play a key role in removing metabolic waste from the blood, maintaining pH value of blood and regulating electrolyte balance.
High levels of Urea, Creatinine and Blood Urea and Nitrogen in a person’s blood confirm the loss of kidney function. Other indicators include low levels of sodium, potassium, bicarbonates, chlorides, calcium, uric acid and others in the blood of the patient. It should, however, be noted that presence of high levels of Uric Acid in the blood may be an indication of Gout.
Urine analysis is carried out for routine and microscopic analysis and presence of sugar, albumin, white cells, red blood cells, casts among others in the urine may indicate kidney diseases.
5) Cancer Screening Test:
Cancer mortality is the 2nd largest epidemic in India. Cancer Screening is a process of detecting risks of cancer even before a patient develops the symptoms. Regular screening tests like colonoscopy, a painless process which requires not more than 15 minutes may lead to the early detection of colorectal cancer, more common among men in their late 40s and early 50s. This early detection results in an easy treatment and removal of precancerous growths before they become malignant.
Prostate Specific Antigen is a screening test for evaluating the risk for or diagnosing prostate cancer, the leading killer of men above the age of 50 years.
Men are also highly susceptible to Lung Cancer, and hence an annual screening test called Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) is recommended for high-risk groups like smokers who have quit smoking within the last 15 years and are between the ages of 55-80 years.
6) Complete Blood Count:
Complete Blood Count is the most common test ordered by doctors. This test is carried out to determine all the formed components in a person’s blood especially to determine the amount of Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells, Platelets in a person’s blood along with the percentage of hemoglobin. A low amount of hemoglobin indicates Anemia. CBC can also be used for diagnosing Blood Cancer.
7) Chest X-RAY (PA view):
Chest X-Ray is the process where images of the organs, bones, and tissues of the chest area of a person are taken by exposing the area in focus to small amounts of radiation. The test is carried with the person standing straight, and the images are taken such that the heart is visible on the right side of the image. Chest X-Rays can be instrumental in detecting several diseases of the Lungs, Ribcage, and heart like broken ribs, pneumonia, and enlarged heart to name a few.
8) Abdominal Ultrasound:
Abdominal Ultrasound is used to detect and evaluate structural abnormalities of organs in a person’s abdomen like Gallbladder, Liver, Pancreas, Spleen, Kidneys, urinary bladder, Prostate, Appendicitis among others.
This ultrasound could also be used to detect vascular abnormalities especially Aortic Aneurysm (In the Indian scenario, smokers are at a high risk of developing this abnormality). This condition is known as Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm which has no defined symptoms until it becomes fatal. Regular ultrasounds can help detect and ensure quality treatment.
These eight tests provide a complete picture of a person’s health by focusing on every part of their body and determining the normalcy of their functionality. Medlife Lab with a presence in over 465 cities in India offers lucrative packages for most of these tests, the samples for which would be collected from your home.