Do You Really Need A Preventive Health Check-up?

Time to read 4 min

What does prevention mean to you? Is it simply the absence of disease, or is it living healthy? 

The first thought that comes to most people’s minds when they think of prevention is that disease can strike them anytime. The stress that illness, chronic or otherwise, puts on a household cannot be quantified. This not only causes mental and physical stress but also creates financial stress for the family.   

Some of us rely on self-purchased or employer provided medical insurance to cover for such unforeseen risks. As of two years ago, only 3.9% of India’s population was insured. Add to this the rising costs of healthcare worldwide, and we have a recipe for disaster. 

Recently, there has been growing awareness regarding preventive health in the country with the Government providing income tax benefits under section 80D for these check-ups.

Perhaps this has caused more (angst?) amongst us to depend not on sound wellness plans to stay fit, but on annual master health check-ups. Once a year, we trudge to the nearest clinic and sign up for one of the preventive health checkup plans, which promises a battery of tests and scans, never fully aware of what those tests means and how to use it to become healthier. Indeed, if such check-ups could be a preventive measure (as they’re expected to be), why do we still have 50 million people in India with type-2 diabetes and 30 million people suffering from cardiac disease? The reason lies in the fact that master health check-ups can only identify underlying disease. They are not tuned to the dysfunctions in the body, which when left uncorrected develop into a disease. 

You might have read in your reports, or your doctor would have told you that your blood test results are completely normal, but instead of feeling relief, you have an uncomfortable feeling knowing that something is wrong. That frequent indigestion, acidity, fluctuating weight, fatigue, joint stiffness, mood swings and insomnia are all not normal! 

Let us take a simple example here of why standard tests fail. Vegetarians in India are often plagued by anemia. Microcytic anemia, a condition in which blood cells are smaller than usual, is the most common manifestation. It is important to note that anemia doesn’t always show up as a falling level of hemoglobin alone, and is often studied in tandem with parameters such as cell volume (MCV), hemoglobin density in blood cells (MCHC), etc. However, most people who report clinically acceptable ranges of hemoglobin are never identified as being anemic. Over time, as the iron reserves in their bodies deplete, severe and long term side effects such as fatigue, hair loss and insomnia are observed. Then, the healthcare system churns into action, loading the person up with iron supplements, but only until the time when their hemoglobin levels are up again. The real problem, which is nutritional iron deficiency, remains unattended to. 

Would you believe us if we told you that there is a way to manage stress, do more, rest better and eat well simply by making changes to your diet, exercise and lifestyle habits? 

Time to Think Of Prevention Differently 

If you had the choice between avoiding poverty and being rich, which option would you choose? Choosing wellness over ‘lack of disease’ is a similar situation. If you (we) aspire to improve your (our) health and wellbeing, you (we) need to shift away from thinking “Preventing disease” and to “Being Healthy”. And for that to happen, we need to put in some work. 

When you commit to being healthy, you choose goals for where you want to be. 

‘I want to have the energy to play with my toddler after a long day at work.’ 

‘I want to do more on my weekends than just sleep and eat.’ 

‘I am having trouble sleeping, and I want to be able to sleep and wake up refreshed.’ 

‘I’ve been trying to lose weight for very long now, but my weight never stays off! I want to lose weight permanently.’ 

These are all real requests from real people, which we have then simplified into 13 Health goals based on global best practices. 

In the first step, we ask that you choose three or more of these goals to get started with. Based on the goals you choose, we suggest to you the tests and diagnostics that assess your foundational health and are relevant for your goals. We baseline not only on the clinical ranges for testing, but also on the optimal ranges- values to detect the dysfunction. 

The second step is to identify health improvement areas and basic nutrient needs. Furthermore, we also understand where you currently are on the continuum, and we do this not by guessing but based on pure data from your diagnostics. 

In the third step, we understand your overall life demands (work, family, travel, etc.), what drives you and what stresses you out. We also analyze your eating and exercise patterns and then create a systematic, time-bound plan to achieve the (realistic) goals you have set for yourself. If you are too busy at a certain point, a certified Health Coach can do this for you and keep you in progressing in the right direction. (Instead can use: work with you to ensure you progress in the right direction) 

Doctors can treat patients, but what if you’re just on the brink of illness? Should you wait until you’re tagged a patient, or should you act immediately to move up the wellness scale and avoid falling ill altogether? Think of prevention as a state of continued wellness, and not as a parameter that can be measured once in a while 

*Medical Disclaimer - The following information is for educational purposes only. No information provided on this website, including text, graphic, and images, are intended as substitutes for professional medical advice. Please consult with your doctor about specific medical advice pertaining to your condition(s)

Tests to consider

Supplements to consider