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May/June 2013
and even as severe as an inability to read or
define details. “It is important for men over
50 to take precaution as glaucoma has age
incidence more in people above 50 as the risk
of serious problems like glaucomatous optic
atrophy which leads to loss of vision, diabetic
haemorrhage which leads to distraction of
retina and loss of vision, haemorrhage of
vicrous due to other atherosclerosis changes
and eventually blindness,” she says. “However
the most important test for the eyes is a fungus
check-up which should be done annually.”
Thyroid function
Why It’s Important:
The thyroid, says Dr.
Graham Simpson, Medical Director at Eternity
Medicine Institute plays an important role
in regulating how fast your body is running
(metabolism.) “Testing the thyroid can be done
through blood and through various diagnostic
tests,” he says and in fact, the T4 and T3
hormones are responsible for controlling the
rate of metabolism of every cell in the human
body. The most common problems of the
thyroid gland consist of an overactive thyroid
gland (hyperthyroidism) with symptoms of
which include fatigue, anxiety, sudden weight
loss, rapid heartbeat, irritability, difficulty
sleeping, and others. While an underactive
thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) has symptoms
which include fatigue, weight gain, depression,
memory loss, and others, he says. This test
should be done annually.
Intima Media
Thickness (IMT)
Why It’s Important:
An extremely
important test, Dr. Simpson says that with
this test, the thickness of tunica intima and
tunica media, the innermost two layers of the
arterial wall are measured. “An IMT test is
used to detect the presence of atherosclerotic
disease in humans,” he says and by using
a handheld ultrasound device, it measures
the carotid arteries, which are arteries that
supply the brain and face with oxygenated
blood. “You have one of these arteries on each
side of your neck and the blood flow in this
artery can become partly or totally blocked by
fatty material called plaque,” he says. “Such a
blockage can reduce the blood supply to your
brain and may cause a stroke.” This should be
done annually.
Bone Density Scan (also using
the EBCT machine)
Why It’s Important:
Bone density scanning
(also known as BMD – bone mineral
density testing) is used to assess bone
density and diagnose osteoporosis, says Dr.
Simpson. “Osteoporosis is a condition that
is characterized by bones that are less dense
than, and thus not as strong as normal bone
and this and low bone mass affect millions,”
he says. “Less dense bones (the result of the
bones thinning) may occur as a result of aging
and diets low in calcium and vitamin D.” This
should be done annually.
Why It’s Important:
Homocysteine is an
amino acid that is found in the blood of the
human body. “Hundreds of studies have been
done over the years and prove that high levels
can cause damage to the arteries and cause
blood clotting problems,” says Guillaume
Safah, registered nutritional consulting
practitioner and natural medicine consultant
in Dubai. “This test should be done bi-
C-reactive protein
Why It’s Important:
This test measures
an inflammatory response
in the body that has
been proven to
play a role in
and blood clotting
formation. “Hs-
CRP is the name of
the test that patients
should ask their
doctors for, because
it helps determine heart risk, and elevated hs-
CRP is related to increased risk for heart attack
and narrowing of blood vessels which can lead
to restricted blood flow of coronary arteries
after angioplasty, stroke, and peripheral
vascular disease,” Safah says and should be
done annually or bi-annually.
Insulin Level
Why It’s Important:
This is a simple
glucose test to check fasting glucose
level, tells Safah. “It is possible to
have low fasting glucose but still have
significantly elevated insulin levels,” he
says. “The American Diabetes Association
recommends that all people age 50 and
older get screening for type 2 diabetes,
even if they have no symptoms or risk
factors other than age.” However, if there
are additional risk factors, screening is
especially important. This should be done
Vitamin D
Why It’s Important:
Vitamin D, says
Safah, influences about 3,000 of the
30,000 genes in the body, which is why it’s
involved with the expression of so many
diseases, from cancer to heart disease
and rheumatoid
“Vitamin D level should be
regularly checked, but you must obtain
the correct test,” he says. “There are two
vitamin D tests: 1, 25(OH) D and 25(OH)
D and of the two, 25(OH)D is the better
marker of overall vitamin D status.” If a
man’s vitamin D level is at optimum after
the first test, Safah advises that this test
should be done annually, provided the
individual take vitamin D3 supplements
or are exposed to the sun daily for 15
Comprehensive heath check-ups, especially in men over 50, can be of great benefit as
many conditions do not reveal themselves and can go undetected for many years with
detrimental effects. HEALTH explains the top 10 most recommended health screening
tests for men aged 50 and over to enhance wellbeing and health.