To diagnose a disease correctly, we have three tools in our hand. The first one is meticulous history taking. Taking history with due sympathy, empathy and expertise can help physician 40-60% in diagnosing a disease.
Second option is proper physical examination. By proper physical examination 20-40% of the diagnosis can be achieved.
The third option in our hand is the laboratory investigations. By doing proper lab examination, diagnosis can be made and in some cases, get confirmed.
Investigation should be rational and cost effective. But what about routine investigations?
One of my honourable teachers of pathology was apparently good both physically and mentally. But on a routine examination, he was found to be a diabetic patient, which he was not knowing.
One of my relatives had no problem. But doing an ultrasonography out of curiosity, she became a patient of cholelithiasis (gallbladder stone).
After the age 40, routine lab examinations once or twice in a year is recommended. In Bangladesh, government service holders need to go through a medical check up each year, which is quite important and worthy. In annual confidential report we are supposed to attach our medical reports as well.
History, physical examination and lab examinations, all are important for diagnosing a disease, but who are apparently healthy may be benefitted from routine lab examinations also.
Some are afraid of doing any lab examinations. They think lab exam reports may disclose some unwanted, undesirable chronic diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, even malignancy etc.
So, it is advised that do lab examination from a good and reliable pathological laboratory once or twice in a year to confirm that you are free from any disease. Even if you have any disease, early diagnosis through routine checkup can help you to take treatment early and to enjoy a healthy disease free life.
Always be happy and healthy.
The author is a Professor of Paediatrics at Community Based Medical College, Mymensingh.