Medical check-up: When to do it and What routine exams

The medical check-up corresponds to the periodic performance of several clinical, image and laboratory exams in order to assess the general health status and to diagnose early any disease that has not yet manifested symptoms, for example.

The frequency of the check-up must be established by the general practitioner or physician accompanying the patient and varies according to the person's state of health, his history of illnesses and diseases in the family. Thus, it is usually indicated that the exams be performed at the following frequency:

  • Healthy adults: every 2 years;
  • People with chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes or cancer: every 6 months;
  • People with risk factors for some disease, such as obese people, smokers, sedentary people or those with high cholesterol: once a year.

It is also important that people who are at risk for heart problems should pay special attention to health, always paying attention to changes in the body, with easy tiredness or chest pain, for example. In addition, it is also indicated that women over 40 and men over 30 undergo specific tests. See when to go to the cardiologist.

Most common exams

The tests requested at the check-up allow the doctor to check the functioning of some organs, such as kidneys, liver and heart, for example, in addition to being useful in identifying infections and changes in the blood, such as anemia and leukemia, for example.

The main exams are:

  • Fasting blood glucose;
  • Blood count;
  • Urea and creatinine;
  • Uric acid;
  • Total cholesterol and fractions;
  • Triglycerides;
  • TGO / AST and TGP / ALT;
  • TSH and free T4;
  • Alkaline phosphatase;
  • Gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT);
  • PCR;
  • Urine analysis;
  • Stool examination.

In addition to these tests, other tests can be ordered according to the person's general health, such as transferrin, ferritin, tumor markers and sex hormones. In relation to radiological exams, abdominal ultrasound, chest X-ray, echo and electrocardiogram and ophthalmological exams are usually requested by the doctor.

In the case of diabetic patients, a glycated hemoglobin test can also be ordered, which assesses the amount of circulating glucose in the three-month period. See what glycated hemoglobin is for.

1. Check-up for women

In the case of women, it is important that specific exams, such as Pap smears, colposcopy, vulvoscopy, breast ultrasound and transvaginal ultrasound, are performed annually. From these exams, the gynecologist can check if the woman has any infection, cyst or changes in the reproductive system. Find out which gynecological exams are usually ordered.

2. Check-up for men

It is recommended that men from 40 years of age undergo specific exams such as prostate ultrasound and PSA hormone measurement. See how to understand the PSA exam.

3. Check-up for smokers

In the case of smokers, for example, in addition to the tests normally requested, it is recommended to measure some tumor markers, such as alpha-fetoprotein, CEA and CA 19.9, spirometry with respiratory function assessment, electrocardiogram with stress test and sputum analysis with research of cancer cells.