Get mandatory based on your age health checkups in Korea

What does a 'health checkup' mean?


A health checkup refers to the early diagnosis of risk factors or changes in the body that may cause disease by the provision of appropriate tests in the absence of symptoms. This is an opportunity to learn and practice good living habits. Therefore, it is critical to start getting regular health screenings from a young age if you have cancer records in your family history.


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Health checkups based on age


  • In your 20s: “It's okay because I am young”? The purpose of health checkups is disease prevention.

People tend to get a medical checkup when they are not feeling well. However, those in their twenties drink, smoke, and overwork thinking they are still young. Therefore, they have to be careful because in the future they can develop chronic diseases. In recent years, the average age of cancer patients decreased, so in order to prevent disease and stay healthy, you are recommended to get basic health checkups once every two years, even if you are in good health.

In addition, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is important to closely monitor levels such as glucose and cholesterol. Obesity test, blood pressure check, chest radiography, dyslipidemia (cholesterol, triglyceride) test, liver function test, AIDS, syphilis, cervical cancer screening, urine test, chest X-ray, etc. are recommended every two years.



  • In your 30s: “Thyroid and breast cancer screening begins”.

It is recommended that people in their 30s receive additional tests compared to those they were receiving in their 20s. One of them is thyroid function and thyroid cancer test. Thyroid dysfunction is caused by problems with the regulation of thyroid hormones. Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and thyroid cancer have a high incidence in those in their 30s. If you have thyroid abnormalities in your family, it is recommended to have regular thyroid function and thyroid cancer tests.

For women, breast cancer screening is also recommended. It is effective to conduct regular check-ups along with self-diagnosis at the same time because breast tissue in the 30s is dense and therefore it's difficult to screen with a mammograph.



  • In your 40s and 50s: “Detailed examination of 5 major cancer types is required”.

Middle-aged people in their 40s and 50s should undergo various cancer screenings meticulously. For Koreans, there are mandatory screenings for five major types of cancer: stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and liver cancer. You should be more careful If someone in your family has had certain cancers.

It is recommended to check the condition of the stomach through an angiography or endoscopy for gastric cancer screening if you have irregular eating habits and are under frequent stress. Also, if you have hepatitis B, you should have a liver ultrasound checkup every 6 months for early cancer detection.

It is recommended that before and after menopause, women receive annual or biennial checkups for breast cancer and cervical cancer, as well as pelvic ultrasound screening and bone density tests.



  • In your 50s: “Regular colon cancer screenings needed”.

From the age of 50, regular colon cancer screening is essential. A fecal occult blood test should be performed every year to detect colorectal cancer.

It’s recommended to undergo a colonoscopy every 5 years, but if you have a family history or risk factors for colorectal cancer, the examination interval and timing should be adjusted through consultation with a specialist.

In addition, since the risk of cardiovascular disease increases rapidly in middle-aged people, in case you have a family history of cardiovascular disease or high-risk factors, it is desirable to undergo a detailed examination of the heart and cerebrovascular vessels along with carotid ultrasound.



  • In your 60s and older: “Advice on dementia and degenerative diseases needed”.

People in their 60s must undergo eyesight and hearing tests, identify their dental problems to detect geriatric hearing loss and cataracts. It is also important to diagnose cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and geriatric changes in the cardiovascular system.

Especially when in the 60s, bones become very weak and fracture easily even with a small impact. Therefore, it is necessary to undergo regular examinations for musculoskeletal

It is important for men to regularly measure PSA levels from the age of 50 since prostate cancer increases rapidly in the 60s. In addition, it is good to monitor and maintain positive mental health with depression tests since old-age depression is emerging as a serious social problem.



Follow-up care after receiving a health checkup is very important. If it is not a disease that requires immediate surgery, the results of the checkup are usually considered insignificant, but that’s not the true meaning of a health checkup. Diet control, smoking cessation, and exercise are necessary if even one of the checkup contents is abnormal.


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Precautions before health checkup


  • Check the medications you are taking currently.

If the medications you are taking contain thrombolytic drugs such as aspirin, warfarin, or coumadin, you should stop taking them a week before the test and then visit the hospital. If you cannot stop taking thrombolytic drugs, you should consult with your doctor before the checkup.



  • Checking your past medical history

The required test contents may differ according to each individual’s health condition. Therefore, it is important to check your past medical history, family members' cancer history, and genetic diseases before getting tested. And it's always a good idea to find out which tests you additionally need and then get tested.



  • Avoid getting a checkup while on your period

In women’s cases, it is recommended to avoid checkups during the menstrual period because it may cause difficulties or affect the result of gynecological examination or urine test. The best time to receive a health checkup is 7 days after menstruation.



  • Avoid driving after a sleep endoscopy

Sufficient time is required for full recovery after sleep endoscopy. Therefore, it is recommended to use public transportation or be accompanied by a guardian rather than driving immediately after the examination. Keep in your mind that leaving the hospital and driving immediately after a sleep endoscopy is similar to drunk driving.



  • Avoid urinating before getting your morning test

If you need to do an ultrasound of the lower abdomen, such as the prostate, bladder, or ovaries, it is recommended that you make an appointment in the morning because you have to hold back a lot of urine. It is also recommended to come to the hospital prior to the reservation time wearing comfortable clothes for a smooth checkup.



  • Do not eat or drink for at least 1 hour after gastroscopy

You should avoid eating for at least 1 hour after the gastroscopy, and after that, it is recommended to eat small amounts of soft food such as porridge slowly. If a biopsy was performed during the gastroscopy, it is recommended to drink water after 1 hour and eat after 2 hours. It is also recommended to avoid consuming stimulant foods for 2-3 days.



  • Women who are planning for pregnancy should avoid some tests

It is recommended to avoid CT scans, gastrointestinal angiography, bone density tests, and mammograms for women who are planning for pregnancy. A breast ultrasound is suggested rather than a breast X-ray.



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