By Amarnath K Menon: As young people increasingly lead extremely stressful and unhealthy lives, it is vital to regularly monitor their health after the age of 30. These tests and procedures can help.
ambulatory blood pressure
Monitor blood pressure continuously.
Glycosylated Hemoglobin (HbA1C) Test
Instantly screens and measures blood sugar status and screens for diabetes. HbA1C is an indicator of glycemic control (or sugar levels) over a period of three to six months and is an essential test for diabetics to monitor their status.
Blood grouping and Rh typing
Checks the group for genetic problems.
Detects early signs of osteoporosis, which affects nearly one in three postmenopausal women. If found, several treatment options are available. The gold standard for the detection of osteoporosis is a DXA-based bone densitometry scan.
Spot abnormalities or lesions, given the significant increase in the incidence of colorectal cancers. Periodic colonoscopy is an effective screening tool for people over 40 to diagnose cancer and other abnormalities.
Coronary CT Angiography
Identifies any blockages in the blood supply and can also find calcium deposits on the walls of the arteries using a high-speed 128-slice CT scanner. This is non-invasive and can be performed in 30 minutes as a simple diagnostic procedure. Conventional angiography is an invasive procedure in which a dye is injected and a catheter may also be injected.
Detects signs of breast cancer using very high resolution X-rays and is recommended as an annual preventive test for women over 35 years of age. The sensitive mammography system is non-invasive. Early detection makes the difference in effective breast cancer treatment.
Detects and delivers essential information about heart function and blood flow to the heart muscle by relying on Doppler-based imaging of the heart.
Reveals early signs of heart defects and serves as the primary test in heart care, which then leads to other preventive tests. The Stress TMT test induces physical stress and then the EKG is taken to determine if there are any stress-induced changes in heart function.
Continuously monitors the heart during exercise and rest to detect any abnormalities.
Liver function test
Assesses the condition of the liver to determine if excessive alcohol consumption and dietary habits have led to diseases such as fatty liver and cirrhosis.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Uses a combination of a uniform magnetic field and radio frequency waves to provide highly sensitive imaging of the brain, spine, joints and tissues. It is widely used in the treatment of back problems, joint problems, neurological disorders such as epilepsy, stroke and tumors, as well as specialized procedures such as functional spectroscopy and diffusion imaging. Magnetic Resonance Angiography is a relatively new application for detecting heart defects.
Checks the urine for the presence of a protein called albumin, which is normally found in the blood. It is filtered by the kidneys, which show signs of damage when small amounts of albumin leak into the urine.
Myocardial Perfusion Scan
Finds out if there are any blockages in the circulatory system and provides specialized and highly sensitive information about heart function and blood flow to the heart. A radioactive isotope such as technetium tagged with a tracer is injected and imaging is performed using a SPECT Gamma camera.
PET CT (Positron Emission Tomography)
Detects cancer present at the cellular level using a radioactive isotope such as FDG to perform a highly sensitive imaging procedure. The built-in CT scanner also provides anatomical localization of any abnormal hot spots.
Pap smear test
Reports early stages of cervical/uterine cancer in women and should be done periodically after the age of 35.
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test
Measures the level of PSA, a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland, in a man’s blood. The level is often elevated when there are signs of prostate cancer and is therefore recommended for those over 50.
Stress Treadmill Test
Indicates a heart risk where stress is caused by exercise on a treadmill and evaluates changes in the EKG, which can serve as clues.
Serum uric acid test
Measure the amount of uric acid in the blood. It is performed for routine health screening or if disease or toxicity is suspected. This includes decreased blood sodium, gout, low back pain, small joint pain, heat stroke, high blood pressure, kidney stone and leukemia.
Detects lung function, especially in asthma and lung diseases.
Identifies the cause of chest pain and is an essential cardiac marker.
Thyroid profile (T3, T4, TSH)
Reveals thyroid dysfunction. Since the thyroid regulates many of its important functions, this is a critical test and with an increased incidence, all women and men should be screened periodically.
Vitamin B 12 Test
Checks for deficiency, as low levels of vitamin B12 in the blood can cause permanent damage to nerve tissue if left untreated for more than six months.
Vitamin D3 test
Checks for deficiency because low blood levels of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin pose a number of health problems, including its effects on the cardiovascular system, mood and neurological function, immune system health, environmental sensitivities, autoimmune function, healthy cell renewal and blood sugar metabolism .
Spot abnormalities of all soft tissues such as the liver, kidney, gallbladder and spleen.
X-ray of the chest
Determines whether the lungs are clear and without mass, lesions, or congestion. Smokers should do this periodically for any adverse conditions.