4 HEALTH CHECKS THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE



Your health is in your hands. Prioritise regular, routine health checks or screenings that can help to detect any disease or health issues early. This will give you the opportunity to make positive lifestyle changes to prevent or manage possible health problems. There are lots of different health checks and screenings for various aspects of your physical health. Here are a few of the most important health checks that you may need to have.


BLOOD PRESSURE
This is a measurement of how well blood is transported to your organs. If you have high blood pressure, you aren’t getting enough oxygen to your heart, lungs and brain. This can lead to a heart attack and/or stroke. Lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking, stress and genetics can all lead to hypertension (high blood pressure).


Ideal blood pressure values for adults are below 120/80 to 129/84.
High normal values, considered as pre-hypertension, are between 130/85 and 139/89, and these should be monitored and/or treated.

High blood pressure or hypertension is considered to be:

  • mild between 140/90 to 159/99; 
  • moderate between 160/100 to 179/109, and 
  • severe if it is over 180/10.
What you can do: If your blood pressure is too high (from high normal values upwards), consult your healthcare professional. Additional self-help tips include: eating more fruits, vegetables and calcium-rich foods, and cutting back on fat and salt. Get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week and practice relaxation techniques. Total-body strength training can also help.

BLOOD GLUCOSE
A blood glucose test is a measurement of the amount of sugar in your blood. It can tell you if you have diabetes, which can lead to heart, kidney, eye and nerve problems.

You can measure your blood glucose by having a fasting blood-glucose test.

A fasting-test result higher than 126 (7.0 mmol/L) on two occasions is abnormal.

A normal random blood glucose level taken before a meal is between 4 and 7.8 mmol/L(72 mg/dl and 141 mg/dl).

What you can do:If your results are high, indicating that you have hyperglycaemia, or elevated blood sugar levels, you should consult a healthcare professional. Nutrition and exercise are also of key importance. Exercise can prevent type-2 (adult-onset) diabetes and help control symptoms. When people start exercising and eating a balanced diet, blood sugar often comes down without medication.

CHOLESTEROL
Your body makes cholesterol, and you get it from eggs, meats, and dairy products. When you produce or eat more than your body needs, cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in your arteries. This plaque can clog your arteries like a blocked pipe, reducing blood flow. Reduced blood flow can lead to a stroke or heart attack.

Blood cholesterol levels are measured from a small blood sample taken from your finger or arm. The blood is tested for total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol levels. You can have this test done at a pharmacy, clinic or hospital or at your doctor’s rooms. No special preparation is required.

Different measurements:


Triglycerides

These are a type of fat in the blood that increases after you eat. People with high blood triglyceride levels may also have high total cholesterol and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels.

HDL cholesterol (also known as ‘good cholesterol’)

High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) carry cholesterol back to the liver for reprocessing or removal, helping to prevent cholesterol from building up in the walls of arteries. If your HDL level is low, your risk of heart disease is increased.

LDL cholesterol (also known as ‘bad cholesterol’)

Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) carry most of the cholesterol in the blood. Excess LDLs cause a biological ‘traffic-jam’ in the arteries slowing down blood flow. The more LDLs in your blood, the greater your risk of a heart attack, heart disease and stroke.

According to the South African cholesterol guidelines, acceptable cholesterol levels are:

  • Total cholesterol less than or equal to 5 mmol/L 
  • LDL cholesterol less than or equal to 3 mmol/L 
  • HDL cholesterol greater than or equal to 1,2 mmol/L for women and greater than or equal to 1.0mmol/L for men
  • Triglycerides less than or equal to 1,7 mmol/L
What you can do: Regular physical activity and a diet low in saturated fats and high in fibre can aid in lowering cholesterol levels. Additionally medication can be prescribed, so consult your healthcare professional about your options.

BODY MASS INDEX (BMI)
Individuals who are overweight or obese are at greater risk for many of the lifestyle diseases (diabetes, heart disease etc). By calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI), you can tell whether or not you are overweight.


BMI =  weight in kg _____________________

                                       X (height in metres)

The ‘healthy’ range is 18.5 – 25. Overweight people score 25 - 30 and obese people, over 30. These cut-off points are not absolute and people with high muscle mass (such as body builders) may have a high BMI without being overweight.

What you can do: If you are considered overweight or obese according to your BMI, consult your healthcare professional to establish if there is an underlying medical cause, but also consider adopting a balanced, appropriate-calorie diet and starting an exercise regime.


Positive Choices
Remember that, although all the measurements from preventative health checks can help you to assess some important aspects of your health, it is not enough to know where you stand. You need to make positive lifestyle changes to return to healthy levels: diet, exercise and stress reduction can make all the difference to the ‘numbers’ before medication is required and your quality of life is negatively impacted.

Know your numbers
Jet Club family, don’t forget that through the Pharmacy Clinic Services benefit you have access to screening services at reduced rates to find out exactly what your ‘numbers’ are. The clinic sister will also give you more information about your health checks and ways to improve your and your family’s health. Simply contact the Jet Club call centre on the numbers below and our agents will book your clinic visit in advance so no more waiting in queues.

For more info or to book a clinic visit at a Clicks or Dis-Chem pharmacy clinic near you. 
Please call 0800 00 45 45 or dial *130*3272*01# and we will call you back.

Information and benefit is powered by Healthi Choices.


4 HEALTH CHECKS THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE 4 HEALTH CHECKS THAT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE Reviewed by Zandile Xabendlini on November 28, 2018 Rating: 5

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