With work, studies, and household issues to take care of, your to-do list on a regular basis is probably longer than you wish it to be, and so you might be tempted to let your annual checkup slip. But don’t let that happen. Going to the doctor might be the last thing on your mind right now but regular tests might save your health and your life too. A little idea: Each year around your birthday, give yourself a gift. Schedule a visit to your dentist and consult your doctor to see if there are important tests you should take. With an investment of an hour or two, you may be able to add years to your life. For starters, we consulted Dr Devish Pyakurel of Samyak Diagonstics to lay out the five essential medical tests you need once you are in your 30s.
Complete Blood Count
CBC or complete blood count should be done at least once a year after you pass the age of 30. It is an easy and very common test that screens for certain disorders that can affect your health. A CBC determines if there are any increases or decreases in your cell counts. Normal values vary depending on your age and your gender. Your lab report will tell you the normal value range for your age and gender. A CBC can help diagnose a broad range of conditions, from anemia and infection to cancer. This test will give you a baseline view of your health as well as screen for any health problems. It won’t take much time and you don’t need any special preparations for it. Just pop by a lab at anytime you are free in the day and get yourself tested.
A complete cholesterol test or lipid profile is used to measure the amount of “good” and “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy fat that your body needs to function properly. However, too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis, a clogging or hardening of your arteries. If you’re a man, you should get your cholesterol levels checked regularly, starting by age 35 or younger. If you’re a woman, you should begin routine cholesterol screening by age 45 or younger. To be on the safe side, you may want to get your cholesterol tested every five years beginning as early as 30. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure, or if you’re taking medication to control your cholesterol levels, you should check your cholesterol every year.
Thyroid function test
After the age of 30 it is important to take a thyroid test, especially for women. Thyroid function tests are a series of blood tests used to measure how well your thyroid gland is working. The thyroid is responsible for helping to regulate many of the body’s processes, such as metabolism, energy generation, and mood. The thyroid produces two major hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). If your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of these hormones, you may experience symptoms such as weight gain, lack of energy, and depression. This condition is called hypothyroidism. If your thyroid gland produces too many hormones, you may experience weight loss, high levels of anxiety, tremors, and a sense of being on a high. This is called hyperthyroidism.
Blood sugar and urine routine and microscopic
Diabetes or blood glucose test is very important for both men and women after the age of 30. Pregnant women, those who are physically inactive, and women who are obese are more likely to develop type II diabetes. Those who have a family history of diabetes should also have their sugar levels monitored on a regular basis. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body’s cells use the glucose. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and released into the blood when the amount of glucose in the blood rises. Normally, your blood glucose levels increase slightly after you eat. This increase causes your pancreas to release insulin so that your blood glucose levels do not get too high. Blood glucose levels that remain high over time can damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels. A routine urine test or a microscopic urinalysis may also help in diagonosing urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney problems, metabolic disorder such as diabetes, or a urinary tract injury.
Pelvic exam and pap (for women only)
The bad news is pap smears can be a bit uncomfortable. The good news is that they are very quick.10 minutes of mild discomfort from the pelvic exam pays big dividends in protecting you from cancer and diseases that can cause infertility. Pap screen testing should begin at age 21. Routine screening is recommended every three years for women 21 – 65 years old. For women 30 to 65 years who have a normal pap test with a negative HPV test, screening can be done every five years. Sexually active women also need to have a gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV screening. You should still get regular pap smears even if you’re in a monogamous relationship. That is because the HPV virus can be dormant for years, and then suddenly become active.
Get a blood lead level test. This test measures the lead levels in your body. A high level of lead in the body indicates lead poisoning. Children and adults who have been exposed to lead should have their lead levels tested. Lead is especially harmful to children. It can damage their developing brains, leading to problems with their mental development. In the early stages, lead poisoning typically doesn’t cause symptoms. That’s why routine testing is necessary in children and adults exposed to lead.