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Sunday, November 1, 2020

6 Vital Health Checks That Deserve Your Attention

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Health they say is the greatest wealth, and wealth is the dream of every average man. The health of a person comprises of the total physical mental and social well-being of such individuals and not merely the absence of diseases or infirmities.

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No matter how old a person is, it is vital to make sure you are always in good health to guarantee a healthy living. This is why we have compiled 6 vital health checks that deserve your attention.

Healthy living, however, requires some efforts, and part of that effort includes getting appropriate knowledge of what is beneficial and what is detrimental to one’s health, health problems while they are still treatable and how to go about treating them.

To ensure that a person is healthy, one mustn’t wait to fall sick before visiting the hospital. We must always be conscious of our health and undergo necessary medical tests to always keep their health status in check.

The 6 vital health checks that deserve your attention include;

1. Skin checks

The skin is the outer layer covering the body. It is the largest organ found in the human body. It consists of up to seven layers of ectodermal tissues, and it serves to protect the underlying muscles, ligaments, bones, and internal organs.

The human skin is like every other mammalian skin, especially the pig’s skin. Although, sometimes the skin might appear hairless. Generally, the two types of skin are hairy and hairless (glabrous) skin.

Skin performs the following functions:

  • Protection: Because the skin creates a boundary between the external and internal body environment, it protects the body against pathogens and damages. The adaptive immune system is made up of Langerhans cells found in the skin. During perspiration, lysozyme breaks the bonds within the cell walls of bacteria.
  • Sensation: Different types of nerve endings found in the skin reacts to changes in temperature, touch, pressure, vibration, and tissue injury.
  • Heat regulation: The skin holds an excess supply of blood, and this allows it to precisely control energy loss by radiation, conduction, and convection. When the blood vessel dilates, it increases perfusion and heat loss. On the other hand, when it constricts, it reduces cutaneous blood flow and conserves heat. The skin retains heat when the body too cold and losses heat when the body is too hot.
  • Control of evaporation: The skin controls the amount of fluid loss from the body, especially during burns. It performs this function by providing a relatively dry and semi-impermeable barrier. It also resists the flow of water out of the body so that essential nutrients are not lost from the body.
  • Communication and aesthetics: By the look of our skin, other people can access our mood, physical state, and attractiveness.
  • Synthesis and storage: The skin stores lipids and water. It also synthesizes vitamin D by the action of UV Ray’s on certain parts of the skin.
  • Excretion: through the skin, some unwanted substances such as urea found in sweat are excreted. However, the concentration of urea found in sweat is just about 1/130th found in urine. Hence excretion by sweating is only a secondary function as the primary function of sweating is temperature regulation.
  • Absorption: drugs can be administered through the skin from where it gets to the target site. The outermost part of the skin contains cells whose supply of oxygen is from external oxygen, although the donation of this oxygen to total respiration is negligible.

How to take care of the skin

  • Use a non- toxic mild face wash to wash the face thoroughly at least twice a day. This is to ensure that the skin and pores are free from bacteria.
  • Rest and sleep every day (7-9 hours a night) to rejuvenate the skin cells for proper functioning. It would also help to relax before sleeping so you can sleep better. Read a book for fun, listen to music or watch TV.
  • Avoid polluted air, especially those polluted with cigarette smoke and heavy artificial fragrance. This can form free radicals and/or cause skin irritations.
  • Make use of antioxidant products (olive leaf, Green Tea, vitamin c, etc.) and include them to your diet
  • Do not scrub the skin with abrasive ingredients, especially when the skin is dry and flaky.
  • Exercise always. This enhances blood circulation to the skin to help keep it free from toxins. Exercise is also an efficient way of fighting stress, which is harmful to the skin.
  • Always use a moisturizer on your skin every day. It helps to prevent dry skin, and it also enhances the performance of skin cells.
  • Keep hydrated at all times. Drinking water keeps the skin soft and smooth, while dehydration is known to cause dry and flaky skin.
  • Keep the skin protected from too much sun. It could cause dark spots, wrinkles, and unwanted fine lines.
  • Be your own expert and be cautious of the products you buy and use. Make sure to use only the products that are friendly to your skin.
  • Eating healthy is also a good way to stay healthy. Fruits and vegetables are known to be essential for proper skincare.

Because the skin is of utmost importance, an individual must preserve and maintains it. From age 18, it is advised that an individual undergoes a skin check once every month To be on a safe side.

The type of examinations offered by Medical professionals depends on a patient’s risk factors.

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During a skin check, a dermatologist screens the skin over the entire body (including your genitals, scalp and between your toes), and searches for suspicious lesions, When these abnormalities are detected, they are treated immediately to ensure healthy living.

2. Cholesterol check

Cholesterol, a fat-like substance, is found in all the cells of the human body. In other to make hormones and other substances that aid in digestion, the body needs cholesterol. The human body can synthesize all the cholesterol it needs.

Some foods, such as egg yolk, cheese, and meat, have been found to be a good source of cholesterol.

In combination with other substances, excess cholesterol forms plaque. This plaque sticks to the walls of the arteries and causes a condition known as atherosclerosis. It can lead to the narrowing or even the blockage of the coronary arteries (coronary artery disease).

What are HDL, LDL, and VLDL?

These are lipoproteins, a combination of fat (lipid) and protein. These lipids need to be attached to the protein so they can be transported through the blood.

HDL means high-density lipoprotein. Sometimes, it is called “good” cholesterol because it transports cholesterol from other the liver. The liver then gets rid of the cholesterol from the body.

LDL means low-density lipoprotein; sometimes, it is called “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level causes the buildup of plaque in the arteries.

VLDL means very-low-density lipoprotein. It is also called “bad” cholesterol because it also contributes to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.

Causes of high cholesterol

  • An unhealthy lifestyle which includes unhealthy eating a lot of saturated fat found in meat, chocolates, baked goods, and dairy products, and trans fat found in some fried and processed foods.
  • Smoking lowers HDL, especially in women, and increases LDL cholesterol.
  • Genetics can also cause people to have high cholesterol as some form of high cholesterol is inherited.
  • Some medical conditions and some medicines.

Some risk factors of high cholesterol include;

  • Age: The cholesterol levels tend to increase as one grows older. Although it is uncommon, children and teens can also have high cholesterol.
  • Heredity: It can run in families and transferred through genes.
  • Weight: An over-weighted person is more likely to have a higher cholesterol level than a person who is not over-weighted.
  • Race: Some races may have a higher risk of high cholesterol than others. For instance, African Americans have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than whites.

To measure the level of cholesterol in the body, a blood test is used, and your doctor may insist you don’t eat for 9-12 hours before the test. A cholesterol test generally measures your level of total cholesterol, good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, and triglycerides.

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A typical overall cholesterol goal should be below 200mf/dL. Adults should have their cholesterol level checked for any abnormalities.

Teenagers and kids as well who have high-risk factors, should also go in for a cholesterol check. This will help in preventing early detection of a disease or condition, and treatment to ensure that an individual achieves overall health.

3. Pelvic exam and Pap smear

These two tests are used to determine the gynecological health status of a woman. While the pelvic exam access the reproductive system, pap smear tests for cervical cancer.

The pelvic test is performed to diagnose a disease’s condition associated with abnormalities in the reproductive tract. These two tests may be performed at the same time, which is why it is often confused.

A woman above the age of 20 should endeavor to have both tests at least once in 3 years. This is to detect signs of cervical cancer and other reproductive tract infection.

4. Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease condition that occurs when blood glucose levels are higher than usual. Glucose is gotten from the food we eat, and it is our primary source of energy. The pancreas is responsible for the production of a hormone known as insulin.

Insulin helps glucose from food get into our cells to be used for e energy. Sometimes the body makes less or no insulin, and then, the glucose stays in the blood and doesn’t reach the cells.

Accumulation of too much glucose in the blood over time causes health problems.

Types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

In this type of diabetes, the body does not make insulin. The immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. This type of diabetes is mainly found in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age.

Such people need to take insulin daily to remain alive.

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Type 2 diabetes

This is the most common type of diabetes, and it occurs mostly in middle-aged or older people, although it can develop even during childhood. In this type of diabetes, our body doesn’t make or use insulin well.

Gestational diabetes

This type of diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. It usually goes away after the baby is born. However, women who have gestational diabetes have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Risk factors of diabetes (type 2)

  • Heredity
  • Age over 50 years
  • Physical inactivity
  • Race
  • Specific health problems that include high blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
Problems associated with high blood glucose level (diabetes)

Adults over that age of 50 years should endeavor to get checked for diabetes at least twice a year. Diabetes does not show any symptoms at an early age, but it is essential that one gets tested if he or she experiences any of the following symptoms;

  • Extreme thirst
  • Weakness at all times
  • Frequent urination
  • Cuts that won’t heal
  • Unclear vision
  • Feeling very hungry even after eating
  • Blood pressure higher than 135/80mmHg

Although diabetes has no cure, it can be managed. Early diagnosis is the key to living a comfortable life even as a diabetic patient. Also, an improved lifestyle can also guarantee that a healthy life, especially if you follow these 6 vital health checks that deserve your attention.

5. Hepatitis

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It is a self- limiting condition, although sometimes it can graduate to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis, or liver cancer.

Hepatitis is mainly caused by hepatitis virus although it can also be caused by other infections, toxic substances such as alcohol and autoimmune diseases

There are five main types of hepatitis virus know as types A, B, C, D, and E.

  • Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is found in the faces of an infected person and is most times transmitted through the consumption of contaminated water or food. HAV can also be transferred through certain sexual practices. In most cases, infection is mild, and most people make a full recovery and remain immune to subsequent HAV infections. However, in some cases, it can also be severe and life-threatening. Vaccines are available for the prevention of this hepatitis.
  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is found in infected blood, semen, and other body fluids. It can also be transmitted at birth from infected mother to child. Transmission may also occur through contaminated injections during medical procedures, through contaminated blood and blood products. Health workers who sustain needle injuries are at risk of getting infected. Safe vaccines are available for the prevention of HBV.
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is mainly transmitted through exposure to infected blood. Although this is less common, hepatitis C is also transmitted through sexual intercourse. There is no vaccine available for this type of hepatitis.
  • Hepatitis D virus (HDV) occurs only in those infected with HBV. Both infections can result in more severe disease and worse outcomes. Hepatitis B vaccine provides protection against hepatitis D infection.
  • Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a type of hepatitis that is transmitted mostly through contaminated food or water. It is the primary cause of hepatitis outbreak s in developing parts of the world. A safe vaccine has been designed to prevent this infection. However, they are not widely available.

Symptoms

Acute infection may occur with little or no symptoms. It may include symptoms such as abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.

Hepatitis can be silent in many people.when this happens, the individual does not show any signs or symptoms. For this kind of people, hepatitis C could be wearing down his immune system and might lead to liver cancer if left untreated.

It would be nearly impossible for an individual to achieve healthy living without the proper functioning of the liver. Therefore, extra care should be taken to make sure that the liver is protected from infection, hence the need to follow 6 vital health checks that deserve your attention.

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6. Blood cancer

Blood cancer is a type of cancer that affects the production and function of the blood cells. This type of cancer starts from the bone marrow. Stem cells in the bone marrow mature and develop into three types of cells; white blood cells, red blood cells o,r platelets.

In a cancerous case, this process is disrupted due to the growth of anomalous blood cells

Three types of blood cancer

Signs and symptoms of blood cancer

Some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Loss of weight
  • Bleeding gums
  • Enlargement of the lymph nodes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive skin rashes and irritation
  • Fatigue
  • Night sweats
  • Back pain, bone pain a, a d abdominal pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent infections or fever
  • Nauseousness
  • Anorexia
  • Difficulty in urination
  • Hysteria
Some of the causes of blood cancer include:
  • Aging
  • Family history
  • Weak immune system
  • Certain infections

Blood cancer can most times be diagnosed through a simple blood test, which helps to detect the type of blood cancer, the extent to which cancer has spread, how well the body is handling the cancer treatment, and this test is also used to diagnose other non-cancerous conditions.

Blood cancers can be treated through biological therapy to kill the cancers, through chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant. During a bone marrow transplant, the damaged bone marrow is replaced with a marrow stem cell.

The blood serves as a means of transportation in the body, carrying different substances from one place to another.without the blood, it would be difficult to transport some vital substances to where they are needed.

Therefore it is crucial to check for blood cancers and treat them when discovered immediately to ensure healthy living.

Conclusion

Health is a state of complete well-being which includes mental well-being, physical well-being, social and emotional well-being. To maximize one’s potential in life, healthy living is of utmost importance, and this can be achieved through prevention rather than cure.

Diseases can be prevented through living a healthy lifestyle and carrying out vital checks in the hospital to detect underlying conditions. In essence, hospitals aren’t meant to be visited only when one is at the brim of death.

What vital health checks do you pay attention to? How often do you visit the hospital for a proper check-up? If very often, is this only when there is a medical condition? What lifestyle steps do you practice that helps you stay healthy all year-round? Kindly share with us in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Oluwafemi Michael
Oluwafemi Michael is an online Mental Health Therapist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness, a programmer, and also a content creator from Edo state, Akoko-Edo LG.
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