Barcelona, January 20, 2016.- With the start of the new year also comes the annual medical check-ups and, although we are increasingly aware of the importance of this type of check-ups in the early detection of symptomatologies and diseases, according to a survey conducted by Top Doctors® (TibHealth.com) among its more than 50,000 users, 19.4% of men and 25.3% of women have never had a check-up. Of this list, 8 out of 10 women and 7 out of 10 men are between 36 and 65 years old.
Among the main excuses were `I feel fine, so I am too lazy to go to the doctor’ (37.6%), `it is not included as such in my health insurance’ (28.7%), `I forget’ (13.8%), `the appointments conflict with my work schedule’ (13.8%) or `I don’t have time’ (10%).
Men have generic checkups, women have specific checkups
Among those who do check their health, 80% of respondents, the data show that men tend to pay more attention to general check-ups, 77% of respondents having general check-ups. Women, on the other hand, are more concerned with specific check-ups such as gynecological or cardiovascular tests, 78% of respondents.
Among the specific check-ups to which most attention is paid are blood and urine tests, in first place, followed by dental check-ups, gynecological or urological check-ups and ophthalmological check-ups. The study highlights that 34% have never had a cardiovascular check-up.
As for the frequency of check-ups, there are differences. Men between 46 and 55 years of age are the most punctual, 63% go for their check-ups on an annual basis. The percentage decreases with age. Only 28% of men aged 18 to 35 say they have annual checkups, a figure that rises slightly to 38% in men aged 36 to 45. Women, however, are more consistent, with almost 57% reporting annual checkups. The increase by age is more moderate, reaching 62% of women between 55 and 65 years of age.
Why is a medical checkup necessary? What types of checkups are there?
“Many people only have check-ups when something hurts or they start to notice that they are not feeling well,” explains Dr. Luís Asmarats Mercadal, Director of the Intensive Care and Internal Medicine services at the Clínica Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and member of Top Doctors. “However, it is the best way to detect diseases early, such as cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of mortality in Spain, and detectable thanks to check-ups and check-ups.”
There are different opinions but, in general, it is advisable to have a medical checkup every two years after the age of 40. It is important to have a complete checkup, especially for people who have risk factors such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and a family history of any disease. “In people with these risk factors, it is almost mandatory to have a medical checkup once a year from the age of 50 on.
What should a basic checkup include?
Dr. Asmarats explains the different types of check-ups: “In general terms, we can speak of a preventive check-up, aimed at people with no known previous disease, and a diagnostic check-up, aimed at looking more closely at a symptom or a specific complaint that the patient has. We can also differentiate between a basic checkup and more complete checkups. The basic checkup would be a medical history, examination of the patient, physical examination, urine and stool blood tests, electrocardiogram and chest X-ray. The complete checkup would be these tests plus other more specific ones”.
In complete check-ups, functional respiratory tests are added (to know the patient’s pulmonary capacity), cardiological tests (echocardiogram and stress test), abdominal ultrasound (which in men is done after the age of 50). In the case of men, it is also advisable to have a prostate ultrasound and, in the case of women, a gynecological ultrasound and a mammogram. This should be accompanied by a check-up by a urologist in the case of men and a gynecologist in the case of women. There should also be an ophthalmological consultation and another with an ENT specialist.
The following experts from Top Doctors’ list of TOP Spanish doctors have collaborated in the writing of this communication: