4 Medical Tests You Should Have Every Year

Regular, annual check ups are extremely important for a number of reasons. Making sure you are meeting with a doctor regularly, they are able to detect problems early. By getting the correct health services, screenings, and treatments you are taking vital steps toward living a longer, happier life.

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Routine Blood Tests

Staying healthy and regularly going to the doctor is extremely important. Blood tests are one of the most important tests you can do to make sure your body is functioning as it should be. Blood tests help doctors check for certain diseases and conditions. For example, it can help doctors evaluate how well your organs such as kidney, liver, and heart are working as well as show a lot about your overall health.

Eye Exams

Annual eye exams are important for a number of reasons. Yes, these exams are perfect to keep up with in order to maintain good vision and keep from seeing the world blurry, however, eye exams can also detect other underlying health problems firsthand.

Did you know that you could be diagnosed with conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, or a stroke just from your regular, routine eye exam? During your eye exam, your eye doctor is able to determine the wellbeing of the blood vessels in your retina, which can be a huge indicator of a potential health problem. The retina is the tissue lining the back of the eye and is sensitive to light.

These problems can be found during the seemingly simple tests performed during the eye exam. Slit lamp tests, the test where you rest your chin on the machine while the doctor shines light and moves a mirror back and forth to examine your eye, detects a wide range of conditions that can be evaluated including cataracts, corneal ulcers, and macular degeneration. What most people don’t know, however, is that this test can also determine if you are diabetic.

Another useful test for problems beyond your eyes is the visual field test. This is when you are asked to look at an object directly in front of you, such as the doctor’s nose, and cover your other eye. Although this is generally used to detect blind spots, this test can also determine specific areas of brain damage caused by a stroke or tumor.

Even if you think you have perfect vision, an annual eye exam can be one of the best things you can do to protect the overall health.

Thyroid Test

The thyroid gland is a vital hormone gland. It controls your metabolism,  growth, and development of the human body. There are 2 types of thyroid problems that can arise if certain foods are lacking in your diet. Iodine is a key nutrient in producing the thyroid hormone. Ensuring that you have a balanced diet is the key to good health and making sure your thyroid is functioning properly.

What can go wrong with my thyroid? Hypothyroidism or under-active thyroid occurs when not enough thyroxine is produced for your body’s needs. Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid occurs when the thyroid produces too much thyroxine.  

Skin Exams

Skin exams are especially important due to the severity of the problems that can occur. Cancer is a major risk and most commonly found on the skin. Many doctors recommend regularly checking in with a dermatologist for an exam as checking your skin frequently can help find many skin cancers early, when they are easier to treat.

Regular self-checks in addition to annual doctor’s exams of the skin, are highly recommended. You should check skin spots such as birthmarks, freckles, and/or dark spots. People with numerous moles and freckles have a greater risk of melanoma, but not every mole or freckle has the potential to become a skin cancer. This is another reason why it’s important to get checked. Your doctor can spot the differences between different parts of the skin. Sometimes a mole can be dangerous, yet others are simply harmless. You should also make sure to get checked annually if you are in regular sun exposure.

For self-checks of spots, moles, birthmarks, and freckles, here is a suggestion following the ABCDE rules:

A — Asymmetry: Does one side of the mole match the other, or does the mole have an irregular, or asymmetrical, shape?

B — Border: Does the spot have a smooth edge or a ragged one? An irregular border can be a red flag.

C — Color variation: Is the color the same all over the mole, or are there patches of red, blue, or white?

D — Diameter: Be on the lookout for any spot larger across than the eraser head of a pencil.

E — Evolving: Does the spot/mole/birthmark always look the same, or has it changed in some way recently?

If you happen to be traveling abroad and have any questions relating to any of these issues or need an annual checkup, Doctors Barcelona can assist you. English speaking doctors in Barcelona are available 24/7. We are able to prescribe medication and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Getting sick while traveling abroad can be scary, but with Doctors Barcelona it doesn’t have to be.