If there are any lessons to be learned from the sudden death of Italian professional footballer, Piermario Morosini, and the near-death experience of retired English professional footballer, Fabrice Muamba, back in 2012, it is there are few guarantees in life.
The pair have a lot in common. Both young men aged in their early 20s, elite sportsmen in the prime of their lives, both were actually playing football at the time, and it is fair to say they both shared the reasonable expectation they had a lifetime of living ahead of them.
Tragically that wasn’t the case. Both men suffered catastrophic cardiac arrest, leaving only one alive to tell the tale. How Muamba survived after his heart stopped beating for 78 minutes is nothing short of a miracle. Morosini tragically suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on the field.
The 7th of April each year marks the celebration of World Health Day and serves as a timely reminder that looking after our health should always remain a priority.
While we’ll never know if more regular health check-ups may have made a difference in either of these athlete’s cases, the one thing that is clear is that regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they manifest into much bigger issues.
The biggest difference between a check-up and seeing a doctor due to illness is the focus on overall health rather than diagnosing and treating a particular condition.
By going to see your GP regularly and getting access to the correct health services, screenings and treatment, you are taking important steps towards living a longer, healthier life.
Health insurance providers say that unlike seeing a doctor when you are ill, it can be difficult knowing how often to go for a check-up where the focus is more on overall health.
They say that when it comes to scheduling your check-up, your age and health status will play a large part in determining frequency.
Australian Unit says if you’re under 45 and in good health, you should have a routine check-up every two to three years. As you get older, you become more vulnerable to illness so if you’re aged over 45 you should have a check-up with your doctor every 12 months.
Because a check-up is very broad, a number of different checks will likely take place to ensure you’re on the right track with your overall health.
These will include things such as a physical examination (listening to your chest, feeling your pulse, thyroid check, blood pressure test and BMI test), as well as an examination of any conditions you currently have or suspect you may have, as well as a look into any lifestyle problems you have that may be negatively impacting your health (such as sexual health, smoking, alcohol consumption and weight management).
In addition, there are also a number of age-related checks and screens you should request as you pass certain milestones.
These include: Cervical Cancer testing for women aged between 18 and 69, Testicular Cancer screening for men aged between 18 and 69. Tests for cardiovascular disease should be carried out every two years for people over 45, and we should undergo diabetes type two testing every three years from the age of 40.
Once we hit the 50-plus age bracket, the types of tests we should be undergoing during our health check include those for: bowel cancer, breast cancer, bone density and prostate cancer.
For those aged 60 and over visual and hearing impairment testing should also be part of our routine check-ups.
Others, such as those for melanoma or skin cancer, and dental health screening should be done by all ages and advice sought on early detection of issues.
After examination, your doctor will advise of any health problems they identified, provide treatment options for those medical issues and prescribe medication, if necessary. If any symptoms or medical issues are identified, your medical history will also be updated accordingly.
It’s important to detect potentially life-threatening health conditions or diseases early to increase chances for treatment and cure. Closely monitor existing conditions to limit the risk of complications and look after yourself.