top of page

Check It, Before You Wreck It

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Photo by AdventHealth

Getting probed by someone other than yourself can be terrifying. Seriously, not many enjoy being the subject of examination in a white room full of medical equipment.

As intimidating as they sound, health screenings are not as scary as most people think. These screenings are done to identify any underlying health conditions that might not have shown any symptoms. With early detection, some diseases will still be at a treatable stage before they have the chance to turn dangerous.

Unfortunately, many budding adults seem to lack the understanding of how important these health screenings are. Sure, they might see their grandparents visiting doctors for regular checkups and probably do not think too much of it, but do they know how much this small effort can change the course of their lives?

According to iMoney, the number of people who are hospitalised aged 18 to 40 years old has doubled. These results are worrisome because going for health screenings is not difficult at all, even annually getting a simple blood test helps with early detection of blood disorders and clotting. Therefore, youths neglecting this matter is inexcusable as it can lead to detrimental health complications in the future.

Graphic by

Cholesterol Screening

I know what you’re thinking: ‘I’m supposed to get a cholesterol test while I’m still young and kicking?’ Well, it is common to identify cholesterol screenings as something that only needs to be done when you reach your late 30’s. However, according to iMoney’s infographic, 26.5% of Malaysians suffering from high cholesterol levels are between the ages of 20-29 years old.

What does it mean to have high cholesterol and why should you be concerned? According to Healthline, cholesterol is a type of fat that the liver produces and is circulated in the bloodstream of your body. While LDL (bad cholesterol) carries the cholesterol to the arteries, HDL (good cholesterol) carries LDL back to the liver to be excreted. The situation starts going south when your LDL levels get too high. It begins building up along the walls of the arteries which could be followed by blockage of the arteries in the brain or heart. When that happens, it could mean having a stroke or a heart attack.

Yes, it sounds daunting and rightfully so, but prevention is simple! According to The American Heart Association, adults aged 20 or older should get examined every four to six years. You just need to give a small sample of your blood and you will have your results back in no time. So, wait no longer!

Blood Pressure Test

Similar to cholesterol screenings, going for blood pressure screenings is crucial in preserving your health for the future. Unfortunately, people often overlook its importance. This is shocking because according to Healthline, hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is the most common cardiovascular disease.

Going for a blood pressure screening is no fuss whatsoever. It is a simple test that measures the pressure in your arteries as the heart pumps. Blood pressure is the force that pushes against the arteries. A perfect analogy would be like blowing a balloon: blowing too much air can cause it to pop. If one has hypertension, the high pressure can damage the arteries.

Although this screening is usually done during a general doctor’s appointment, some might not test this. This is concerning as you could have hypertension without showing any symptoms, even when the readings are off the charts. The longer you have it, the greater the damage. Negligence can lead to heart attacks or kidney failures. Therefore, it is recommended that you get your blood pressure checked biannually once you turn 18. After all, we do not want to end up like a popped balloon.

Photo by HealthyWomen

Knowledge on Female Health

It is devastating that knowledge on female health is not widespread enough in Malaysia. Even though there are certain screenings that are pivotal for women once they are of age, it is a shame that people still do not address this as it is a taboo topic to certain conservative individuals and cultures.

Breast Cancer Screening

As the name suggests, this screening is done to detect breast cancer, which can happen when the cells in the breasts start growing abnormally. Once they build up, they form a growth that is called a tumour. Are you thinking that this only applies to females? Wrong! Men can get breast cancer as well. If they have high estrogen levels, it can cause the cancer cells to grow uncontrollably.

Breast cancer should not be taken lightly as it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Malaysia according to National Cancer Society Malaysia. The only way we can tackle this is through early prevention. So, the earlier you detect it, the better chance you have for the cancer to be treatable.

There are two ways to ensure early detection. The first and easiest is by doing a self-examination on your breasts. As we are one with our bodies, we should be familiar with how our breasts normally feel. Use your hands to gently rub to feel for any lumps. If something feels off, contact a doctor to schedule an appointment as soon as you can!

Alternatively, you can opt for a clinical breast exam. It is typically conducted by doctors when you reach the age of 20 during regular checkups. Instead of yourself, the doctor or nurse will feel for lumps in your breasts. As someone who just had this screening done recently, the experience I had was slightly uncomfortable. However, I realised that receiving a detailed diagnosis from a specialist was critical for me to better understand my body.

Pap smear test

If breast cancer screenings are rarely talked about, then you could say that awareness of Pap smear tests is basically non-existent. According to statistics from the HPV Information Centre, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women aged 15 to 44 years old in Malaysia. A Pap smear test detects the presence of these cancerous or abnormal cells on the cervix which causes cervical cancer.

A common misconception is that cervical cancer can only occur if you are sexually active. That is false. The HPV virus that causes this type of cancer can be transmitted through any skin-to-skin contact of the genital area, putting all women at risk.

Leaving your cosy nest and venturing out into the open world can be thrilling - an abundance of adventures right at your fingertips. It is dangerous to overlook the importance of health screenings. As an adult, it is essential to not only know but also act upon it. In order to shield our bodies from disease we must take these precautionary measures. Early detection is key, so if you have not done so, go to your nearest clinic and get examined.

For more information of this topic click here

By Yuki Teh


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page