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Are You Sure You're Healthy?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Many people will say they are healthy when asked by a doctor. But on further questioning if they undergo routine physical examination and laboratory work-up, obviously they don't. How then can we say that we are in reality, healthy? Does it mean only the absence of symptoms, or simply feeling nothing? Does that guarantee us of a long and symptom-free life ahead of us?

I guess not. Not because doctors want to have patients all the time that they want people to go to them and look for any kind of illness that will make these people go back time and again. Not because doctors make up illnesses for these people which are in reality not present. The truth is that nobody can guarantee he is healthy even without feeling anything.

There are lots of diseases common nowadays which are often accidentally diagnosed simply because a person does not feel any symptom. Let's take diabetes as an example. Most of the time nothing is felt. It is only during the late stages wherein signs and symptoms appear and oftentimes it is too late. There is no going back.

Hypertension, also a common geriatric illness, is oftentimes misunderstood. People are still waiting for headache or nape pain to appear before they go and have their blood pressure checked. And if the doctor found his blood pressure to be high on several occasions, they would question the absence of symptoms. What if the person's pain tolerance is high that's why he is unable to feel anything? Isn't the blood pressure reading evidence enough?

Central obesity, which is defined as waist circumference > or = 90 cm for South Asian men and > or = 80 cm for South Asian women, is in itself symptom free. But it is a part of a group of symtoms which make up metabolic syndrome or syndrome X. The most important component of this syndrome is diabetes mellitus. And in order for a person to be said to have the syndrome, he must have central or abdominal obesity ( as defined ) plus any two of the following: hyperinsulinemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. And as you can see, most of these conditions are symptom-free. They are usually seen after a thorough physical examination. Now do you still consider yourself healthy?

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posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 11:29 AM   0 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
See my complete profile
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