Regular Health Checkup: Do we really need it?

October 14, 2022

Health is wealth!

All of us would have said this very often, but today we live in a fast paced world, where many of us hardly get enough time to even look at ourselves in the mirror once a day, forget about looking at and taking care of our bodies on a routine basis. Let me ask you a question: How many of us at least monthly once check whether every member of our family is eating healthy food, is having a balanced meal, is getting enough sleep, is exercising regularly, and so on. We need to realize early that it is these small things when put together help us stay healthy and fit both in body and mind. Falling sick often rings an alarm bell just to tell us that many of the ailments could have been identified early or even prevented. Often when we realize this it’s too late!!!!

Let me give you an example of my 42-year-old friend who was working as a government official. From the past 2-3 months she was feeling extremely tired and unable to do cope with her routine work. One day she felt giddy and had a black out at her office. As she was extremely busy managing her work and home she thought it could be due to stress. However, a few weeks later when she had the second episode of fainting, she was taken to a doctor who examined her and asked for routine blood tests. Looking at the reports the doctor informed her that her blood sugar levels were extremely high due to which both her kidneys were already affected and she was in early stages of renal failure. This came as bolt from the blue for this 42-year-old mother of two young children. Not to forget this friend of mine had a strong family history of diabetes, but did not take it too seriously, nor did she think that she needed to keep a check on her health as well as she felt she was too young to get diabetes in her 40’s.

Many of us would also be thinking on the same trajectory and we often assume that diabetes, hypertension, kidney and heart disease will develop only after we get older. But that’s not always true. This is precisely the reason why many organizations these days, make it mandatory for their employees it get a health checkup done every year, so that their work force stays fit, healthy and productive. This now brings us to the main question.

Is it important to have regular health checks? What are the advantages?

• The answer is DEFINITELY YES

a) Regular health checks can identify early signs of health issues: by finding out problems that already exist or are about to surface in the near future. For example, if you do a routine check of your sugar levels, you will know early when your blood sugar levels are at the borderline and your doctor can advise you appropriate control measures.
b) If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes or any other disease and are on treatment, regular health checks help you understand whether your condition has improved or deteriorated since the start of the treatment.
c) A regular health check-up can also save your money in the long run as it can reduce the risk of developing complications of a disease (like the complications of diabetes, hypertension which can be dangerous as well as expensive to treat)
d) Regular check-ups improve quality of life and can ensure that our body stays healthy as we age.

What do regular health Check-Ups cover?

• Most basic health checkup packages today cover the essential blood and urine tests, cardiac stress test and few other tests that help to assess the function of the heart, lungs, digestive system, kidneys, liver and the immune system and also to screen for lifestyle diseases.
• In addition to this certain age and gender specific tests may be required: such as PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) for men and mammography & cervical cancer screening tests for women.
• When you go for a health check up, your doctor will talk in detail about your medical history, your family history of disease, your lifestyle, including diet, weight, physical activity, alcohol use, smoking etc.

Who needs to have a regular health check-up?

The answer to this question is that all of us irrespective of our age need to undergo regular health checks

• Unlike earlier days where we thought that only the elderly required regular health checks, we now know that younger people (in the working-age group of 30-50 years) are at a higher risk of developing lifestyle diseases. Unhealthy lifestyle changes, family history of disease, sedentary work and lack of sleep can cause early onset of health problems in this age group.
• Children also need to have regular health checks to assess their growth, nutritional status, immunization coverage, eye, ear and dental examination.
Pregnant women need regular antenatal health checks with the obstetrician to ensure the well being of the baby and the mother. This will include ultrasound scans, urine & blood tests and also genetic testing in some cases. It is very important to regularly monitor the mother’s blood sugar and blood pressure to identify pregnancy associated diabetes and hypertension.

Can we do some basic health checks at home?

Definitely yes, we can do some of the basic health checks routinely at home

Once a month do a dental check to examine the health of your teeth and gums. Check if there is any discoloration or cavities in the teeth, any redness or bleeding in the gums or any unusual patch inside the mouth. (Remember it’s important that at least once a year you visit a dentist to check on this)
Once a month check your skin to look for unusual moles or freckles
• Women need to do a self examination of the breast every month to look for any lump in the breast or underarm, check for any dimples, puckers or bulges on the skin of the breast, any recent changes in the nipple (inverted nipple), redness, pain, discharge etc.
Once in six months check your weight & BMI to look for any obvious weight gain or weight loss. Check for any swollen joints.
Once a month review the type of food you and your family members are consuming. Whether your diet includes enough of fruits, vegetables and protein. Whether you are consuming too much of salt, sugar, fried and processed food.
Once a month review the level of physical activity that you are doing. Do you get enough exercise, are you seated most of the time (more than 10 hours of sedentary office work). Are you getting enough exposure to sunlight? Aim for 30 minutes to one hour of moderate physical activity a day.
Once a month check on the amount of alcohol consumed and cigarettes smoked. As excessive alcohol intake can permanently damage the liver and smoking is known to increase the risk of stroke, heart and lung disease.

Health checks for your heart

Blood pressure – If you are less than 40 years of age with no family history of high blood pressure it is good to have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. If you are over 40 years and have a family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack check your BP more often as per the advice of your doctor.
Blood tests – Check your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels at least once in every two years. High cholesterol levels may indicate an increased risk of heart disease. If you are over 45 years and have a high risk or family history of heart disease you should be tested every year.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) – this is a simple and painless test that detects abnormalities in the electrical activity of the heart as it contracts.
Obesity tests – being overweight can be a risk factor for many health conditions, like joint pains, heart disease and diabetes. We can easily calculate our BMI at home and it’s good to do it once every year. BMI = Weight in kg/height in m2. Based on the BMI we get to know if a person is underweight, overweight or obese.

Routine health checks for diabetics:

As all of us know that diabetes is a condition that leads to high blood sugar levels. Too much of sugar in the blood can lead to complications that develop gradually. The longer a person has diabetes with poor blood sugar control higher will be the risk of complications. Possible complications of diabetes include:

Complications in the heart & blood vessels: Diabetics are more prone to develop coronary artery disease that leads to chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis).
Nerve damage: Too much sugar in the blood can damage the nerves especially in the legs (neuropathy). This can cause tingling sensation, burning, pain, or numbness in the toes and under the feet.
Foot damage: Poor blood flow and numbness in the feet will make a diabetic person more prone to develop diabetic foot ulcers that will get infected and take a long time to heal
Kidney damage: Over the years, high blood sugar will damage the kidneys leading to kidney failure.
Eye damage: Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina in the eye leading to blindness (retinopathy)
• Diabetics may also develop bacterial and fungal skin infections

To prevent these complications, a person with diabetes must routinely undergo these tests as per the advice of their treating doctor:

a) Fasting blood sugar level
b) HbA1C test: to know the average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months
c) Tests for kidney function
d) Eye examination to screen for diabetic retinopathy

Regular eye and ear check up:

• Eyesight tends to deteriorate with age due to age related complications such as glaucoma (increased pressure in the eyes), cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Hence people older than 65 years should have their eyes checked at least once a year to identify these conditions early.
• Hearing loss is common among the elderly and can severely affect the quality of life. Hence it is important to undergo hearing assessment and provide a suitable hearing aid to persons with loss of hearing.

Health check of your bones:

• As age advances bones become brittle and fragile due to hormonal changes, or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D. This condition is called osteoporosis and is more common in women. Ideally all above the age of 50 years should undergo bone density test once a year to identify and treat osteoporosis early.

It’s for each one of us to decide and take a leap forward to prioritize our health by opting for preventive rather than curative medicine. This will in the long run ensure a better quality of life for us and our families.

A healthy outside starts from the inside - Robert Urich



By Dr Rouchelle Tellis
Dr Rouchelle Tellis MBBS, MD, PhD is the laboratory director of Anand Clinical & Diagnostic Laboratory, Kulshekar, Mangaluru. She is also the head of Hospital Infection Control and a consultant microbiologist at Yenepoya Medical College Hospital. For further queries she can be contacted on 9449075102 or email
To submit your article / poem / short story to Daijiworld, please email it to mentioning 'Article/poem submission for daijiworld' in the subject line. Please note the following:

  • The article / poem / short story should be original and previously unpublished in other websites except in the personal blog of the author. We will cross-check the originality of the article, and if found to be copied from another source in whole or in parts without appropriate acknowledgment, the submission will be rejected.
  • The author of the poem / article / short story should include a brief self-introduction limited to 500 characters and his/her recent picture (optional). Pictures relevant to the article may also be sent (optional), provided they are not bound by copyright. Travelogues should be sent along with relevant pictures not sourced from the Internet. Travelogues without relevant pictures will be rejected.
  • In case of a short story / article, the write-up should be at least one-and-a-half pages in word document in Times New Roman font 12 (or, about 700-800 words). Contributors are requested to keep their write-ups limited to a maximum of four pages. Longer write-ups may be sent in parts to publish in installments. Each installment should be sent within a week of the previous installment. A single poem sent for publication should be at least 3/4th of a page in length. Multiple short poems may be submitted for single publication.
  • All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format or text file. Pictures should not be larger than 1000 pixels in width, and of good resolution. Pictures should be attached separately in the mail and may be numbered if the author wants them to be placed in order.
  • Submission of the article / poem / short story does not automatically entail that it would be published. Daijiworld editors will examine each submission and decide on its acceptance/rejection purely based on merit.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to edit the submission if necessary for grammar and spelling, without compromising on the author's tone and message.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to reject submissions without prior notice. Mails/calls on the status of the submission will not be entertained. Contributors are requested to be patient.
  • The article / poem / short story should not be targeted directly or indirectly at any individual/group/community. Daijiworld will not assume responsibility for factual errors in the submission.
  • Once accepted, the article / poem / short story will be published as and when we have space. Publication may take up to four weeks from the date of submission of the write-up, depending on the number of submissions we receive. No author will be published twice in succession or twice within a fortnight.
  • Time-bound articles (example, on Mother's Day) should be sent at least a week in advance. Please specify the occasion as well as the date on which you would like it published while sending the write-up.

Comment on this article

  • francis lobo, Mangalore

    Sat, Oct 15 2022

    Thanks for a well-written article. I started my yearly medical check when I was 30 years old and for the past 25 years, I do the same . During these years I became diabetic, and cholesterol, triglyceride, and BP gradually crept into my life. Triglyceride and cholesterol started when I was 30 years. Diabetic at 40 years and BP when 50 years. Regular tests helped me to detect these and treat the same. I had to take regular medicine . Now my tests have become quarterly and a cardiac/optometry checkup once a year. I have maintained a record of reports for the past 25 years with the medication which has helped me in consulting with my doctors. Apart from this, I have my own glucometer, BP machine, and weigh scale to monitor my daily or weekly parameters so that I am well aware of what is happening. This has helped me in my consultation with the doctor and in controlling my personal diet. Most of the patients take medicines but do not take them or consult the doctor which results in the escalation of the disease and complications. Sufficient knowledge of the medication we are taking is also needed so that when you consult the doctor you are aware of what he is giving and for what and why the doctor is changing the prescription.

  • Fr Richard Mascarenhas SJ, Puttut/Bhadravathi

    Sat, Oct 15 2022

    Congratulations Dr. Tellis. It is a well written article. It contains examples, insights, guidelines and suggestions. Thank you very much.

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Sat, Oct 15 2022

    Thank you Dr Tellis. A very good article, and hopefully the readers take the suggestions seriously. Two of my father's siblings died due to lung complications at around 60 years of age. One sibling died due to diabetes around the same age. These were all based in a village where they walked quite a bit every day. The city-living people today have greater disadvantages as there are no opportunities for any exercises (for most), sedentary lifestyle, bad food choices, etc etc. I am a vegetarian, non-alcohol-consumer, non-smoker, and I do a moderately fast walk of about 3-4 kilometers every day. And occasionally get tested. So far no issues. Someone I know who did not follow any of these died last year due to lifestyle diseases. He was 60.

  • Rita, Germany

    Sat, Oct 15 2022

    Do we go to doctor regularly ?Of course ,we do .Fact that sometimes we do send or take our Parents out of thinking or check up .At the same time we forget we are sick look healthy and parents are alright.In my own case was checked by doctor and couldnt findout I had diabetes first grad for many years even though had symptoms.Since was working hard ,so that my sugar level was low..Many times men always dont like to go to doctor thinking they are healthy .They hide many times their problems to show they are healthy.

  • Ambrose Pereira, Bajpe

    Fri, Oct 14 2022

    Regular Health Checkup: Do we really need it? We asked the question to our parents and grand parents!!!!!.... My parents never visited a doctor and all Bajpe villagers of that generation never had the luxury of a doctor.......... For that matter, there was no qualified doctor (MBBS) in Bajpe village till a PHC was set up by the Govt (around 1955). But they were typically healthy and many of their generation lived to age 70, 80 and 90. They showed us how to live healthy by example and if we follow the handed down "healthy living style" they gave us, we do not think we need a regular health checkup

Leave a Comment

Title: Regular Health Checkup: Do we really need it?

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.