Our plucky Body and Mind editor, Nyree Barrett, heads out to discover the health tests that could save your life
Medsol women’s standard profile
Who is it for? Every woman in Dubai.
What it looks for Almost everything: diabetes, cholesterol levels, infections in the body, iron levels, UTIs, kidney and liver function, tuberculosis, platelet counts and hepatitis.
Why you should be tested This test is an important regular check-up – we decided to try it because we have a history of heart disease in our family, and our tendency to be angry when hungry prompted someone to suggest we may be diabetic. This test checks for both these things. We avoided making the appointment at first, but are definitely glad we took the plunge – walking to the metro that night knowing we had a clean bill of health was a great relief.
How it works This test is quick and easy: it involves a blood test, a urine sample and an optional stool sample. It’ll only take 10 minutes and will get the results the same day, although you’ll have to fast for eight to 12 hours beforehand (perfect timing for Ramadan).
What it costs You’ll normally pay Dhs760, although on Tuesdays it’s half-price (Dhs380). Medsol, nine locations across Dubai (800 633765)
Who is it for? People with chronic nasal symptoms, asthma, atopic eczema and suspected food allergies.
What it looks for Allergies to anything from nuts to wheat and seafood to cleaning products.
Why you should be tested Do you have constantly itchy skin that no cream can cure? Had a cold for five years that no one can explain? You may be reacting to something you’re putting inside your body. If you need an allergy test, it’s important to go to a respected hospital with genuine allergy specialists – there are many tests around that are marketed very well, but that have no scientific backing.
How it works Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and do a full medical history to ascertain what the likely allergens may be, then will perform a skin test. You’ll see the results in 15 minutes – the process involves a small needle scratching the forearm, gently exposing the skin to a droplet of fluid containing a known allergen. If the skin becomes itchy, red and swollen, you know you’re allergic to that element.
What it costs An allergy consultation costs between Dhs500 and 600; the skin test costs Dhs30 ‘per prick’. American Hospital Dubai, Oud Metha Road (04 336 7777)
Well Man check-up
Who is it for? All men aged over 30.
What it looks for The examination includes a cholesterol check, prostate and testicular cancer checks, a general physical examination and lifestyle assessment, and a urine sample to check for diabetes and kidney infection.
Why you should be tested Prostate cancer affects one in eight adult men and is highly treatable if caught early; diabetes is a growing epidemic in the UAE and testicular cancer is the most common cancer in younger men. Don’t take risks – just get checked.
How it works You’ll start with a lifestyle assessment and a full medical history check, then your height and weight will be measured and your blood pressure taken. Finally, there will be blood tests and examinations to check for cholesterol, diabetes and testicular and prostate cancers.
What it costs The full check-up will set you back Dhs935. Dubai London Clinic, Dubai Festival City (04 232 5751)
Three more tests to think about
Dental check-up Yes, yes, we know this is a costly exercise, but you should go every six months. We once waited four years between check-ups and our wallet paid for it in the end (five fillings!). We recommend trying Dr Michael’s dentist clinic, where a check-up will set you back Dhs290 (04 349 5900); or Villafortuny, where a check-up will cost Dhs175 (04 394 3618).
Mole mapping Living in a hot climate means the risk of contracting skin cancer is higher. Catch this disease early by getting a mole map. Noticed a mole with uneven edges, or any that have changed colour? If so, this test is a must. We recommend Dermacare (04 342 0088): having up to 10 moles analysed by the nurse and the lab will cost Dhs750 – you’ll then pay Dhs300 for every extra mole.
A UAE-specific test: pre-marital screening Due to the prevalence of consanguineous marriages in the UAE, there is a high rate of blood conditions such as thalassemia (an inherited blood disease that leads to an excessive destruction of red blood cells), so it is mandatory for those marrying in the UAE to receive a pre-marital screening. The test costs from Dhs1,000 at Eastern Biotech (04 369 2061).