Published On: Fri, Apr 8th, 2016

Know your numbers

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By Pharm. Sesan Kareem


What are your numbers? I’m not talking about your phone numbers or account numbers. No, I’m talking about your health numbers – your Blood Pressure (BP), Blood Glucose Level (BGL), Body Mass Index (BMI) and other vital numbers that depict your health status.

I work with numbers. If a person tells me his number, I can quickly predict whether the person has been a Health Conscious Person (HCoP) or a Health Careless Person (HCaP). Further questions will reveal to me whether he is a Hereditary Advantaged Person (HAP) or a Hereditary Disadvantaged Person (HDP).

A Health Conscious Person is someone who is always aware of his vitals because he often checks his health status regularly. A Health Careless Person is someone who doesn’t care about his health status; thus, he doesn’t have current information about his health vitals.

A Hereditary Advantaged Person is someone who has little or no family history of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, cancer etc. A Hereditary Disadvantaged Person is someone who is predisposed to more than one non-communicable disease because of his family history.

Why know your numbers?

Information is vital. What we can’t define we can never FIND. And ignorance is not an excuse in the court of health where justice is based on our lifestyle. Science is objective. It works with facts, procedures and figures. Therefore, it is pertinent for health-conscious people to often check their health status by going for regular medical checkups.

Medical checkup, also known as comprehensive health examination, periodic health examination, general health check, and preventive health examination, is an important preventive and diagnostic tool. It helps to monitor one’s health and assists with the prevention of disease or illness. It involves a medical history, a brief or comprehensive physical examination and sometimes laboratory tests.

Some advanced medical checkups also include ultra sound and mammography, depending on the age, gender, medical or family history of the person in question. I always counsel those between the ages of 40 and 60 to go for a comprehensvfi eexamination once in a year. Senior citizens above 60 should go or their general health check once in six months. However, getting a routine comprehensive health examination is important for everyone, regardless of age, gender or economic status.

Essence of medical tests

A medical test is a medical procedure performed to detect, diagnose or monitor diseases, disease processes and susceptibility, as well as determine a course of treatment. It helps to screen for illness, diagnose the cause of symptoms and monitor health conditions or the effects of treatment.

Medical tests can be broadly grouped into two: Pathology test and x-rays. Pathology tests include blood tests, stool tests, urine tests etc. X-rays includes, Computed Tomography (CT) scans, ultrasound and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Medical tests are an important part of medical practice for proper diagnosis and treatment. However, absolute care must be implemented in carrying out the right test, because the wrong test may actually do more harm than good. The right test for the right patient at the right time always leads to right diagnosis and treatment.

Tragedy of ignorance

Many people have died ignorantly because they failed to know their health status. In May 2015, one of my good friends’ uncle was driving along Ikorodu road, when he suddenly packed his car by the roadside, placed his head on the steering wheel and slept to eternity. He had had a heart attack. Further investigations revealed that his sudden death was due to uncontrolled hypertension which had been detected very late.

I’ve heard of individuals who died of cancers because of late diagnosis. If these people had been doing their medical checkup regularly, perhaps they would have been alerted early to quickly treat themselves and avoid the huge consequences of late diagnosis, including untimely death.

So, having read this far, what opinion have you formed?  Do you think knowing your health numbers is a bit important or very important? Is going for a regular checkup to be quite sure of your health status somehow important or absolutely important? Is being a health conscious person is something you will give a try or something you must do?

Your honest answers to the above questions will open your mind to the importance of knowing your health numbers.

Action plan

When last did you check your health numbers? What is your Body Mass index (BMI), Blood Pressure (BP), Blood Glucose Level (BGL) and other important vitals? Do you have a place you record your health numbers?

My advice? Find out your health vitals. Have a specific place you record it and go for your medical checkup regularly.

Affirmation: Knowing my health number is very important. I commit to a healthy lifestyle.


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Know your numbers