Tiptoe through an annual checkup

THOSE who dread the annual physical exam would be able to handle it with aplomb if they take care of their health on a daily basis, Dr Arthit Kukreja, an internist at Bumrungrad International Hospital said over the weekend.

This particularly applies to office workers many of whom are chained to their desk and computers for eight or more hours every working day.

Dr Arthit“Office syndrome – sitting for long periods, not moving around, posture is often poor.

“Employers should advise their staff to sit close to their table, if you are far away you tend to slump over it, but if you sit closer, your spine is straighter.

“Everything should be ergonomically placed – table, chair, computer, everything.”

Dr Arthit has come across plenty of patients suffering from office syndrome who usually complain about aches and pain, eye strain and feeling sluggish through not moving around much and his advice to them is to change their lifestyle.

“You should walk around every hour, keeping moving, don’t keep still.”

As looking at the computer all day is bad for your eyesight, it is best to look out of the window every 15 to 20 minutes.

Another key point is that office workers usually do not get enough sun and often have vitamin D deficiency which can lead to many other health problems.

“A blood test for this is too expensive, it’s over 3,000 baht, I wouldn’t do that, but employees should be encouraged to get some sun during their lunch break.”

However Dr Arthit knows full well that women hate the sun because they are afraid of becoming dark and getting freckles and for this reason he recommends vitamin D supplement.

Even so, there is no escaping the annual wellness checkup which is mandatory at a lot of companies.

As Dr Arthit and his colleagues see it, annual check-up should start at the age of 35 unless those younger than this cutoff point have a family history of certain health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease, in which case it could be started earlier.

However he has noticed that many companies pay for a basic checkup for the whole staff and add a few more tests for those older than 35 years.

He warned about overexposure to X-ray and for this reason thinks just one chest X-ray is sufficient unless a staff member falls sick in which case additional ones would be needed.

At the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where he is a consulting physician, a new staff member is required to go through a simple check-up, and because this is part of the service industry, also a test for hepatitis B virus.

“Once you have immunity you don’t have to keep checking, if you don’t have immunity we give you immunization.”

Women are advised to have Pap smear and breast examination annually but companies usually do not pay for this.


TOP: Keep fit every single day to breeze through the annual health check up. Photo: Sonny Abesamis

INSET: Dr Arthit warns that vitamin D deficiency can lead to many health problems.

By Nina Suebsukcharoen






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