Regular Medical Check Up, Remedy For Sudden Death
Let us not think we are fine, know you are fine. The need for regular medical checkup cannot be overemphasized. As the first half of the year winds up, create time and have it done. Many with one form of disease or the others were detected during routine pre-employment or pre-admission medical checkup. Unfortunately many still manipulate their way through without having these checks done. Some only get those certificates of fitness filled while they habour a disease that can be nipped in the bud for a healthier future.
Except in cases of sudden accident especially that of road traffic accident, it is extremely rare for someone to die without an underlying silent disease in the body.
Most time, obituary reads ‘death after a brief illness’ How brief was the illness? This reminds me of a chief executive in far Asian country who was on the way to a meeting and stopped to say hello to his friend in an hospital. The doctor who happens to be a cardiologist encouraged the friend to have his cardiovascular status checked. Amazingly, the ECG showed evidence of coronary artery disease which was later confirmed by coronary angiogram that the three major arteries that supply the heart nutrients and oxygen had been blocked. The meeting was canceled and this was a man who was apparently hale and hearty. It took some time for the friend to convince him that he needed an operation of the heart to correct those blocked arteries. I am not a prophet of doom, the friend cardiologist was a saving grace for that busy chief executive, if not, probably the man would have slumped while delivering a speech and the blame will be put at the doorstep of his political opponents or as in the African context, witch or wizard. This coronary artery disease is now present in this country and we should not be too busy to check ourselves out.
Sudden deaths among busy chief executives in the country are on the increase. Many of our rulers hardly have time for themselves. It is meeting upon meeting especially at night. I once in a while appreciate the tension on them when you see them sleeping on the television during a day programme. Nature cannot be cheated. Find some time off those activities and rest. Create time and money for medical checkup. Anytime there is a hot argument in national and state assemblies, I always pray none of them will fall and die. The lives of our leaders are so important to everyone of us.
It is not proper for our chief executives to be flown abroad for treatment of hypertension-related issues when this could have been prevented at home. We want you healthy to serve us better. Prevention is better than cure.
General checkup may be expensive for some of us, but there are subtle signs that can suggest an impending big health issue that can be minimally investigated. I will discuss few of them.
Headache is a common complaint among many. There are various types but the tension headache associated with stress is the commonest. It resolves with adequate rest. Headache that comes up early in the morning with nausea (feeling of vomiting) is not normal but must be investigated. If it worsen with cough and when lying flat is ominous sign of problem with brain. When it is associated with poor sleep pattern, it may be an indicator of underlying hypertension.
Persistent eye pain should not be neglected. It may be caused by glaucoma (hypertension of the eye), and the normal range for the eye pressure is 10-20mmHg.
Other things you look out for is constant collusion on one particular side with objects or people. It is not ordinary for your eye to flash or spark light anyhow. Kindly consult your eye doctor for thorough examination. Damages done by glaucoma are not reversible. God will preserve your sight. There are differences between Optometrists (specialist in recommended glasses and other refractive errors) and ophthalmologists (eye doctor). Recognize your complaints and attend appropriate clinic. There are some people wearing glasses today without refractive error.
Weight loss when programmed can be helpful in preventing cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, when weight loss is spontaneous and significant it may indicate hidden health problem. Weight loss with excessive passage of urine and consumption of food may invoke diabetes mellitus. You need to examine your urine and blood for sugar. When you have weight loss combined with chronic cough and fever, there is the need to rule out chronic infections like tuberculosis. Meet your doctor for x-ray of the chest and other simple blood test that can help in the diagnosis.
Self examination of stool assists in making the early diagnosis of intestinal problems. Check for blood in the stool especially when you are above 40 years which may be early sign of cancer of the colon. If detected before major spread, it can be managed. Before you flush away that stool, check it. Excessive passage of watery stool associated with weight loss needs to be investigated for HIV. Even when it is positive, there are drugs and it is no more a stigma. I want you to know your HIV status today. Avoid casual sex.
Aging is associated with wear and tear. At age forty and above, it is important for a man that is sexually active to check prostate regularly. Prostate is part of the sexual gland that increases in size as men grow older. If you need to urgently enter the toilet to pass urine and you feel your bladder is not completely empty, just ensure you do ultrasound of your prostate. Don’t wait till when you can’t pass urine again and rush to hospital for assistance. Let your physician send you for prostatic specific antigen (PSA). When it is too high, it may signal underlying cancer of the prostate. It can be handled when it has not spread to other parts of the body.
As I conclude, health personnel are not excluded in this regular check up. A man who attended one of my lectures on prevention of cardiovascular diseases approached me recently. He asked me to tell him those precautions I personally take against all these preventable cardiovascular diseases. I replied him, ‘I watch my weight and eat less. I exercise regularly and I don’t take alcohol or smoke cigarette.’Share