HEALTH & FITNESS
#12 Prioritise preventative care Annual visits to your GP are important, even if you feel perfectly healthy, according to DR VIVIAN CHU, a family physician at StarMed Specialist Centre. She says that well visits can be key to catching many conditions early, particularly those diseases that are not at all obvious in the early stages but can be treated when discovered early. For example, heart disease may not cause symptoms until a heart attack occurs. Dr Chu suggests speaking with your GP about the screening tests that are right for you, based on your medical and family history, diet and lifestyle factors. Some of the most important checks for adults, she says, include blood pressure, screening for diabetes and high cholesterol, and screening for colorectal cancer. For women, cervical and breast cancer screening is also recommended, while she says that men may want to consider prostate screening in their 50’s. Additionally, Dr Chu advises lung cancer screening for adults who smoke. #13 Schedule screenings Obviously, nobody wants to carve out time for a colonoscopy. But, being proactive about your health can pay off, as early detection means early treatment. So, Dr Chu suggests scheduling those screenings without dragging your feet for too long. “Early detection greatly increases the chance of a cure even in cancers,” she says. “It can also minimise chronic complications of poorly controlled diseases.” #14 Visit your paediatrician rather than waiting for signs of illness Even if your child isn’t sick, visits to the paediatrician are key to tracking their development and knowing whether or not they’re meeting developmental milestones, according to DR SHERMELA APPAN, senior consultant paediatrician at StarMed Specialist Centre. In fact, she says that the value of assessing a child’s development and growth in the first few years of life can’t be emphasised enough; the same goes for regular annual checks in older children up to adolescence. For newborns, visits to the paediatrician are usually scheduled between three to five days after birth. This is followed by visits at one, two, four, six, nine, 12, 18, 24 and 30 months. From the age of three, a well child visit to the paediatrician is usually scheduled yearly. Apart from assessing whether your child is meeting the appropriate developmental milestones, Dr Appan says that wellness checks are a great opportunity to discuss preventative health measures and any parental concerns such as feeding, sleep problems, behavioural issues and more.
What’s more, a simple visit to the paediatrician couldmean identifying certain conditions you may have otherwise missed at the right time. “Some parents tend to slip up on yearly assessments after the second year on completion of vaccinations. In doing so, they run the risk of delayed diagnosis of certain conditions, which may present later in childhood,” says Dr Appan. Some of the things your paediatrician might look for during a wellness check or annual examination include eye problems, congenital heart defects, walking abnormalities, hearing problems and scoliosis. #15 Take steps to protect your musculoskeletal health Like many people, you may not give bone density and joint health much thought until you experience pain or find yourself asking, “Why do my joints hurt?” However, taking steps to safeguard your musculoskeletal health can go a long way in keeping you pain- and injury-free as you age. Staying active is one of the best ways to do this, as it eases joint stiffness, prevents muscle strain and preserves bone density, says DR TAY EILEEN, senior consultant and orthopaedic surgeon at StarMed Specialist Centre. She suggests weight-bearing exercises such as walking or running to help foster strong bones, and bodyweight exercises like push-ups or pull-ups, functional movements like climbing stairs and weight training exercises to build muscle. “Just make sure that your exercise routine includes core-strengthening exercises for your abdominals and back muscles. A strong core helps you maintain your balance and prevent falls.” Low-impact exercises such as swimming and cycling, she says, are particularly effective in strengthening muscles without putting strain on the joints. Plus, they’re great activities that can be done as a family! Yoga and Pilates, too, are great low-impact exercises. “They’re good for increasing flexibility, core-strengthening and improving your balance, all of which can help to prevent falls,” says Dr Tay.
StarMed Specialist Centre 12 Farrer Park Station Road, #01-01 6322 6333 | starmedspecialist.com
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