BENGALURU / December 24, 2021: Annual preventive health screening is a low-cost way to add extra years to one’s life, as it can detect many deadly diseases in early stages and the individual can get prompt treatment when the chances of positive outcome are the highest. Early diagnosis can also save huge amount of money in healthcare expenses later when the disease has progressed to middle or late stages. Promising oneself to undergo preventive health screening every year is the best New Year resolution one can have this festive season. This was said by doctors of Bengaluru-based NURA diagnostic center, a collaboration between Fujifilm Healthcare and Dr. Kutty’s Healthcare.
Said Dr. Tausif Ahmed Thangalvadi, Medical Director, NURA: “Cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, stroke and cancer are the top four killers in India. The country is seeing a remarkable shift from infectious diseases to lifestyle diseases in terms of death burden. The latter, such as cancer or cardiovascular disease, are slow acting but irreversible with no cure. They can only be controlled by prompt and early treatment, for which early detection is critical. These four types of diseases must be made a part of annual preventive health screening. There is a strong case for government and private sector making annual preventive health screening mandatory for all their employees to reduce the healthcare burden in society.”
He added: “Majority of cancers in India are diagnosed late, leading to eventual death of the patient. Early diagnosis can dramatically improve survival chances through curative treatment and avoid physical, emotional and financial hardships later for the patient. Cancer is rarely checked in preventive health checkups in India today. If this attitude changes, there will be significant reduction in mortality and morbidity due to cancer. It is recommended to screen for four important cancers in men including oral, lung, colon, and prostate. In women, five cancers should be checked routinely: breast, cervical, oral, lung and colon.”
Cardiovascular diseases occur due to slow build-up of cholesterol and plaque along the walls of coronary arteries. This leads to narrowing of blood vessels and reduced blood supply to heart muscles, increasing chances of heart attack. Preventive screening tests like heart calcium scan can detect these plaques early when the build-up has just begun. Forewarned, the patient can take preventive measures to reverse the condition by lifestyle modifications. Said Dr. Tausif Ahmed Thangalvadi: “A low-dose CT scan can non-invasively detect the presence of calcium deposits in heart arteries at very low levels of just 10-20 percent.”
Diabetes can lead to several diseases related to the eyes, heart, kidney, brain and nerves. It also reduces immunity, making one susceptible to infections. The HbA1c levels are an indicator of sugar control in an individual. Preventing screening for diabetes in people with family history of the disease is important to know the risks early. Said Dr. Tausif Ahmed Thangalvadi: “In diabetic patients, screening of HbA1c levels can help them achieve better sugar control and avoid complications. The HbA1c test, that checks for one’s sugar control over the last 3 months, is considered a much more accurate test to monitor sugar control than routine fasting and post-prandial blood sugar.”
He added: “Countries like Japan have made annual preventive health screening mandatory for all citizens. The result: its disease burden remains low, while life expectancy, at 84.2 years, is the highest in the world. In India, in contrast, people remain complacent and unconcerned about preventive health check-ups. No wonder that India’s average life expectancy is only 68 years. In other words, Japanese live 16 years longer than Indians!”
Considering all the benefits of preventive health exams, the best resolution you can make this New Year is to go for one as soon as possible. In case of killer diseases, prevention is always better than cure. The second-best option is early detection, the doctor said.
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