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important medical test

Annual medical tests you shouldn’t skip

It isn’t always possible to get to the doctor for a check-up. Most people have busy lives; so between working and running a household, prioritising annual check-ups usually drops to the bottom of the list. But, there are certain tests that shouldn’t be missed, even if it means setting a time way in advance and making sure to plan around the consultation. If you aren’t healthy, every other task becomes a little more difficult to execute. 

If the price of going to the doctor is a concern, having a good health insurance plan from a reputable insurer like Affinity Health will be very beneficial. Affinity Health aims to make affordable healthcare available to all South Africans with healthcare plans designed to suit your health and financial needs.

Affinity Health has designed a range of options, including Day-to-Day and Hospital plans.

Here are three tests that you should definitely book with your doctor each year. 

Blood Pressure

It is very important to get your blood pressure checked often, or at least once a year. It could be the difference between life and death. A BP test is a measure of the pressure of your blood against your arteries. If it’s too high, your chances of heart disease and stroke go up, explains WebMD. Normal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. Doctors define high blood pressure, or hypertension, as 130 over 80 or higher. You should get your blood pressure checked at least every two years. If it’s high, you may have to have it done more often. Ask your doctor how often you should have yours taken.

Blood Sugar Test

Everyone should check their blood sugar level each year, but this test is especially important if you are overweight, have had high cholesterol or blood pressure and if you have gestational diabetes.

Having your blood sugar tested is also a form of preventative healthcare, to check for diabetes or prediabetes. It’s a simple test that measures the level of sugar (also called glucose) in your blood. You should start routine testing once you reach age 45. The test entails getting a small prick on your finger. The drop of blood it draws it then put into a tiny machine that reads your blood sugar level in a matter of seconds. Some facilities do a more time-consuming glucose test, especially in pregnant women who show signs of gestational diabetes. The blood sugar measurement of the patient is taken before the patient is given a glucose solution to drink. Then, another blood test is taken an hour later, to see how the body has processed the sugar. 

Most pregnant women have a glucose screening test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.


Colorectal Cancer Screening

Both men and women should have a colonoscopy — a test that detects changes or irregularities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum — every ten years beginning at age 50, suggests Reader’s Digest

The procedure is minimally invasive, even though it seems scary. A long, flexible tube is inserted into the patient’s rectum and through to the large intestine. The entire procedure takes between 30 and 60 minutes, during which the patient will be sedated.

The test can reveal irritated and swollen tissue, ulcers, polyps, and colon or rectal cancer.

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