As parents we get so absorbed in the humdrum of looking after our families, we forget to prioritize our health needs. But it goes without saying that we need to be healthy ourselves in order to take good care of our children.
Health screening helps in early detection and management of health conditions and should be an integral part of our life.
Here we give you the lowdown on when, how often, what, where and how of health screening to facilitate this important process of your well-being:
How Often to Screen?
Below 50yrs – Every 2 to 3 years
50 yrs and above – Every year
Additionally, annual checkups are highly recommended if one is at high-risk for a specific disease/ condition.
What to Screen For?
As per Health Promotion Board (HPB) guidelines, one should regularly screen for:
- Blood Pressure – Expressed as a fraction of two numbers (systolic and diastolic), blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition in which the heart has to pump harder for blood to flow through narrowed blood vessels. High blood pressure or hypertension is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases. In Singapore, 1 out of 3 adults is suffering from hypertension. Read here to learn more.
- Sugar levels – Diabetes is another rapidly growing lifestyle disease. In Singapore, 1 in 9 persons is suffering from Diabetes Type 2 and the numbers are expected to go up to 1 million by the year 2050. It is important to monitor glucose levels in the body. When fasting, sugar levels should be between 4.0 and 5.4 mmol/L and 2 hours after eating, up to 7.8 mmol/L.
- Cholesterol – Cholesterol levels are an indicator of cardiovascular health and can be detected via a simple blood test. In layman terms, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the bad cholesteral which should be low and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is the good cholesterol which should be high to help remove LDL from the body. Dietary changes and exercise help regulate our cholesterol levels. Read here to learn more.
- Obesity – Body Mass Index (BMI) is the benchmark for assessing obesity. Body mass index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. It is a quick and easy way to indicate and classify an individual weight category from underweight, normal, overweight to obese. Obesity increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Recommended BMI is between 18.5 to 22.9.
Use this 10 second BMI calculator to assess your BMI & health risks.
- Cancer Markers – For Colon, Cervical, Liver and Breast (one can choose the cancer marker as per age, doctor’s recommendation and risk profile depending on family medical history)
- Sexually transmitted diseases & Hepatitis –The screening is necessary to prevent further transmission, disease and mortality.
- Bone Health & Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to become weak, brittle and prone to fracture. For women, bone loss becomes more rapid for several years following the menopause. It is important to detect it early to slow the progression with good nutrition, exercise and prescribed medications.
Which Health Screening Package to Choose?
The most basic health screening packages include:
- Medical History & Risk Profile Screening
- Doctor’s Consultation
- Physical Examination
- Height & Weight
- Body Mass Index
- Blood Pressure Reading
- Resting ECG
- Chest X-ray
- Basic Eye Investigation
- Haematology Profile (Blood tests)
The advanced package can be enhanced by including the following:
- Thyroid Profile (Free T4 and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH))
- Lipid Profile (HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, T.Chol/HDL Ratio and Triglycerides levels)
- Bone & Joint Profile ( Calcium, Phosphate and Uric Acid levels)
- Diabetic Panel – Fasting Blood Glucose and HbA1C
- Urine & Stool Analysis
- Renal Profile (Urea, Creatinine, Sodium, Potassium and Chloride levels)
- Liver Profile
- Hepatitis Profile (Hepatitis A and B)
- STD Profile (HIV antibodies)
- Cervical Screening (Pap Smear)
- Cancer Markers ( Liver, Colon, Pancreas, Ovary)
More comprehensive and premium packages allow a choice from other specific examinations such as:
- Ultrasound Thyroid
- Ultrasound Breast
- Ultrasound Kidney
- Ultrasound Pelvis
- Mammogram (recommended after 40 years)
- Bone Densitometry
- Treadmill Test
Where to Go for Screening?
In Singapore, there are several dedicated health screening centres besides public hospitals, GP clinics and polyclinics that offer health screening packages.
Following are some of the popular private Health Screening centres in Singapore (click on links to learn about their packages and rates):
Locations: Island-wide Find list here
Location: Novena Medical Center, Singapore 307506
Paragon Shopping Centre, Singapore 238859
Location : Orchard: Wheelock Place, Singapore 238880
Siglap: The Domain, Singapore 459108
Locations: Island wide. Find list here
Apart from these, most public hospitals and GP clinics also offer health screening packages.
Basic packages at Clinics and Public Hospitals can start at <$100 while those at Pvt Health centres between $100-200. Premium and comprehensive packages can run upto $1000+