Dr. M. R. Krishnamurthy is a primary care physician with 42 years of experience. After completing his MBBS, he has worked in the U.K. and Canada.
In this article I would like to discuss what tests one needs to do, to detect chronic diseases at an early stage. With this, one can take steps to prevent complications and in some cases, reverse the disease altogether.
Anyone over 25 years of age should first have a yearly physical examination, which includes weight and height, and blood pressure measurement. We need to take steps at this early stage to reduce weight because the basal metabolic rate starts to go down at age 25 and weight starts creeping up even if food intake and activity levels remain the same.
Laboratory tests should include - 1. A complete haemogram 2. Fasting blood sugar and Hba1c 3. Serum creatinine 4. Lipid profile 5. TSH 6. Vitamin D 7. Liver function tests. 8. Urinalysis.
Routine chest X-ray and ultrasound of abdomen is not required in the absence of symptoms. Any test result should be reviewed by a competent physician and suitable action taken for any abnormal results.
Where there is a positive family history of either diabetes or high blood pressure or premature heart disease, special blood tests (serum homocysteine level, apo lipoprotein A and B, high sensitive CRP) may need to be done and treated appropriately. Heart disease due to high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol is very common in Indians, even in vegetarians, where 100% of the cholesterol is manufactured in the body at a very young age. Diet has very little effect in reducing this, and usually requires medications. One should try to lose weight and increase good cholesterol by aerobic activity first and resort to medicines if there is no improvement.
Prevention of chronic disease is your hands-
Moderate alcohol (don’t start if you don’t drink already)
Maintain ideal weight
Get regular exercise
Get a yearly physical exam and treat any abnormalities.
This article was originally published in TheTeacher.in magazine in the month of September 2018 theteacher.in magazine