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Getting an annual health checkup

A regular health checkup is a proactive and preventive approach to your health and well-being. It allows you to learn about your current physical health.

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A regular health checkup is a proactive and preventive approach to your health and well-being. It allows you to learn about your current physical health and helps detect diseases in an early stage, which have a higher chance of curing.

What are done during a physical exam?

  • History taking
  • Vital signs check: A nurse checks your body temperature, pulse and respiratory rate, blood pressure, weight, and height.
  • Physical exam: Your doctor looks for signs that may indicate existing health conditions, checks your physical appearance – skin, hair, and nails - and examine your eyes, ears, throat, and nose with a medical device. Your doctor will listen to the heart and lung sounds, palpate your abdomen for abnormalities, test your motor functions and reflexes, and may examine the genitalia and rectum.
  • Laboratory tests: These include blood tests for a complete blood count, blood chemistry test panels, lipid profiles, urine examination, etc. Blood chemistry tests can detect if you have any problems with your liver, kidneys, or immune system. A lipid profile can help identify if you are at risk of developing heart diseases. Additional blood tests for thyroid or diabetes may be ordered if screening test abnormality is detected.

Screening tests

Women, for instance:

  • Breast exam: to check if there are signs or any abnormal lumps in the breast, which can be breast cancer
  • Mammogram: for women aged 40 or above with low or average risk of developing breast cancer. It should be performed every 2 years. If you have a family history of breast cancer, more frequent screening test may be required
  • Pelvic exam: to examine the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries for signs and symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or other diseases
  • Cervical cancer screening: Pap smear is recommended for women starting at 21 and repeating every three years if the test result is normal. Women aged 30 - 65 should have a pap smear with an HPV DNA test (co-testing) every five years. Most women over 65 do not need a pap smear if they do not have a history of moderate or severe abnormal cervical cells or cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer screening: start at the age of 45. Consult your doctor for the most appropriate test. A colonoscopy procedure enables the removal of precancerous polyps and some small cancers, if found, in one setting.
  • Osteoporosis screening: bone mineral densitometry test for women at menopause and repeat 10 years afterward is appropriate.
  • A lipid profile: is recommended for women aged 40 and above. If you have a family history of heart disease or diabetes, the test can begin when you reach the age of 20.

Men, for instance:

  • A lipid profile test: begin at 35 or as early as 20 if you have a family history of heart disease or diabetes.
  • A testicular exam: to look for lumps, tenderness, or changes in size.
  • Prostate cancer screening: starting at 50 or as early as 40 if you have a family history of prostate cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer screening: begin at 45, the same as for women.
  • Osteoporosis screening: bone mineral densitometry test at 70-year-old or above.
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm screening: an ultrasound screening test recommended for all men aged 65-75 who smoke or are used to smoking.

Both men and women, for instance:

  • Diabetes: Your doctor may order an HbA1c test or the fasting blood sugar test if you are overweight or your cholesterol and blood pressure are high.
  • Depression: Your doctor will look for signs and symptoms of depression which can be hard to recognize.
  • Lung cancer screening: CT scan of the lungs for men and women aged 55-80 who are smokers or ex-smokers.
  • Hepatitis C: take a blood test for hepatitis C at least once in a lifetime. It increases the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer despite being asymptomatic.
  • STI screening: depending on your personal sex life, you should test for HIV and syphilis if you have unprotected sex.
  • Vaccinations: Discuss with your doctors the vaccines you should receive.

Click here to learn more about how to prepare yourself before your medical health checkup: Instructions for Preparations of Medical Checkup Program






Article by
Dr Niyawan Suphamongkol
Preventive Medicine and obstetrics & gynecology
Doctor profile

Article by

Published: 18 Oct 2022

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