Health checks you must do this year

By KIMBERLEY HIBBERT

Monday, January 01, 2018

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IT'S day one of the 365 days of 2018, and the perfect time to start afresh as far as getting your health in tip-top shape is concerned.

If you've been loyal to your health commitments through the years, take a bow, but if you're a backslider, there is still room for forgiveness.

Below Dr Alfred Dawes, general, laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon, shares some health checks we must be sure to do this year.

Blood pressure

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that only 46.5 per cent of those with high blood pressure were aware of their condition, and just 32.5 per cent of patients who were aware of the fact that they had high blood pressure were effectively keeping their condition under control. According to Dr Dawes, high blood pressure is referred to as the 'silent killer' and can potentially destroy your eyes, kidneys, heart and even cause strokes.

Waist-to-hip ratio

“This should be less than 50 per cent,” Dr Dawes said. He also pointed out that it is the strongest predictor of getting a chronic non-communicable disease, especially diabetes.

Sex-specific organ tests

Breast, prostate and cervical cancers can all be fatal, but are also highly preventable once the necessary screens are conducted yearly. Dr Dawes shared that Jamaica has high rates of these cancers, but once discovered early enough they can be treated effectively.

Eyes

If you're diabetic and hypertensive, especially, you should do a visual field test. “Check the pressure in your eyes because you could have glaucoma, and you won't know it until irreversible damage has been done,” Dr Dawes cautioned.

HIV

“Some people seem to have forgotten about AIDS but it's still out there, and many people who have it are not getting adequate treatment while they are still sleeping around. Ensure you do this test regularly,” Dr Dawes said.

Sleep studies

Dr Dawes said sleep patterns are usually overlooked as many people think that snoring is normal. However, he noted that it could be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea. “That could be the reason why you're not getting restful sleep, you're tired in the days and are putting in weight. The more weight you put on is the worse the sleep apnoea gets. It is a vicious cycle,” he warned.

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