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Opinions of Sunday, 23 September 2018

Columnist: Doreen Hammond

Medical check-up: To go for it or not?

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The past few weeks have been very difficult for me. I lost one of my sisters, and even though death is part of life, it often changes the lives of the bereaved in so many ways and this change is forever because death is permanent.

There is no medication for grief except psychological help; so I am living through it, one day at a time.

With the consolation, show of love and support from friends and family, I am making it.

But I neither intend to write about death nor grief today, my concern is medical screening.

Part of the reasons why I have enjoyed working with the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) is the provision the company has made for health.

Regularly, the company’s doctor organises medical screening for all staff.

Many take active part in the whole process but others don’t.

One of the excuses I have heard for their not wanting to do so is: “why should I go looking into my body for problems when am doing just fine?”

Others say, once you submit your body for a checkup, health/medical workers have the tendency of telling you a thousand and one things that are wrong with your body which need attention.

“After all, what you don’t know won’t kill you”! Really? Seriously?

For those who do not have the privilege of having a company catering for such screening, the cost of the medical check-up is the determining factor.

For others too, financing a follow-up treatment for what the medical screening brings up is the deterrent.

This situation brings to the fore the question: Medical screening/ check-up, to go for it or not?

Typically, however, doctors tell us that the purpose of medical screening is for the early detection of diseases.

It is done to see the presence of an undiagnosed disease in individuals without signs or symptoms.

The results of medical screening help doctors to follow up with treatment and management.

There are many diseases or conditions which doctors are able to manage or treat once they make an early diagnosis.

They include hypertension which could be controlled by medication, lifestyle changes and exercise.

For other diseases such as cancer, early diagnosis is critical to determining to a large extent, whether one has the chance of surviving or not.

Another is HIV/AIDS whose symptoms could be managed with anti-retroviral drugs for instance; therefore early screening remains the key.

Many of our colleagues, friends and loved ones have lost their lives because of diseases which doctors say could have been managed if only they had been diagnosed earlier.

I recently heard of how someone kept feeling unwell but never visited the hospital.

He died sooner than expected and the pathologist’s report mentioned pneumonia, a case which doctors treat all the time.

We often hear people remark when someone passes away that: “there was nothing wrong with him/her oooo, he just complained of a headache, or she just said her stomach was aching and then the next minute she was gone”.

may have been some underlying cause/causes of those symptoms which regular screening could have revealed.

Some people feel nothing at all even when their blood pressure is so high and that is why hypertension is referred to as a silent killer.

It is only a blood pressure monitor which will reveal the real values.

Thankfully, our belief in the spiritual and superstition eventually takes care of most of the causes of death.

In order to save lives, there is the need to educate people on the need to go for regular medical screening/check-ups.

We should be able to save up some money for this purpose once we attach the needed attention to it.

Medical check-ups could be a means of saving cost by nipping an ailment in the bud before it becomes expensive to treat when the symptoms finally show up.

Even if there is no cure for the ailment that is found, knowing can provide the opportunity to keep your accounts in order and prepare you to meet your maker.

I think that, no matter the way we look at it, the benefits of having medical check-ups far outweighs not having it at all.