Medihelp’s 2021 offering includes a basket of added insured benefits on all our medical aid options. These benefits are provided in addition to your option’s other benefits at no extra cost to you.
Preventive care forms a big part of your added insured benefits. You have access to a number of annual health screenings, including the combo test for blood glucose, cholesterol, BMI and blood pressure. These tests are aimed at detecting health risks early on and helping you to manage your medical aid option’s benefits by staying healthy.
Why is this necessary?
In many cases, diseases such as hypertension and high cholesterol can be prevented if risk factors are detected in time. Health screening results will alert you to undiagnosed and potentially life-threatening conditions from which you might be suffering, so you can seek medical attention and make lifestyle changes to be healthier.
How do these health screenings benefit me?
- Blood glucose test
- Blood cholesterol test
- Blood pressure test
A blood glucose test measures the level of sugar in your blood. If your blood sugar level is too high, you can be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a chronic metabolic disease that causes the body to either resist insulin or not produce it at all. Insulin is a hormone that moves sugar from your blood and stores it as energy in your cells. Without insulin, the sugar builds up in your blood and this increases your risk of developing dangerous complications such as stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.
A blood sugar level of less than 140 mg/dL (7,8 mmol/L or millimoles per litre) is normal. A reading of more than 200 mg/dL (11,1 mmol/L) indicates diabetes. A reading between 140 and 199 mg/dL (7,8 mmol/L and 11,0 mmol/L) indicates prediabetes. If you are prediabetic you are at risk of contracting full-blown type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes can be reversed with lifestyle and diet changes. Your doctor might also recommend a course of medication. Once you are diabetic the condition cannot be reversed, which is why early detection of prediabetes is crucial.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that your body derives from foods that contain fats. Your liver discards harmful fats and distributes necessary fats to assist with metabolic processes in your body. If you take in too much saturated fat, found in foods such as animal products and processed foods, the liver can’t discard the harmful fats fast enough, causing fat build-up in your arteries. This narrows the arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow in a normal circulatory system and eventually causing heart disease and fatal heart attacks.
A blood cholesterol test measures the levels of three different kinds of fats in your blood: low-density lipoproteins (LDL), high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and triglycerides. LDL cholesterol is the dangerous kind and the main cause of arterial build-up. HDL is “good” cholesterol, which transports LDL cholesterol to the liver for disposal. Triglycerides are a type of fat stored in fat cells throughout the body.
A total blood cholesterol level of less than 200 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) is considered normal. Borderline levels are between 200 and 239 mg/dL and high risk is 240 mg/dL.
The healthcare professional who assists you with the test will explain your total, LDL and HDL levels and tell you whether you need further medical attention to manage risky levels. With early detection, risky cholesterol levels can be reversed and/or managed with lifestyle and diet changes.
Your BMI or body mass index is a formula used to measure your total body fat in order to determine whether your weight is healthy. A BMI of between 18,5 and 24,9 is considered to be normal, but it may be affected by factors such as your gender, age and current health condition.
There is a direct correlation between a higher BMI and a higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. If your BMI measures too high, your healthcare professional can assist you with advice on lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and moderate exercise that will be suitable for your unique health condition.
Blood pressure measures the force with which blood pumps in the arteries. If the force is consistently too high, it causes your heart to work harder and this can eventually result in fatal conditions such as heart disease and strokes.
A blood pressure measurement is indicated as two numbers – a top (systolic) and bottom (diastolic) number. The top number is the pressure in your arteries when your heart muscle contracts. The bottom number is the pressure when the heart muscle is between beats.
A normal blood pressure measurement is considered to be 120/80. If you have an elevated blood pressure measurement, your healthcare professional will suggest a course of action to determine whether this is a permanent condition or whether it is being caused by an underlying health condition such as an infection. If the condition is permanent, your doctor might describe medicine and suggest various lifestyle and diet changes.
Knowing your numbers can help you to make important and sometimes life-saving choices to improve your health. Early detection of risks can often help you to avoid a lifestyle disease altogether. Medical aid membership will give you access to these crucial health screenings and with Medihelp’s added insured benefits you can determine your overall health at no extra cost! Register for HealthPrint , Medihelp’s free online health and wellness programme, to activate these benefits. Click here to read more about Medihelp’s benefit options.