Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Having A Complete Medical Checkup, Ningen Doc, in Japan - New Year's Japan Travel Day 3

       My husband and I traveled Japan during this New Year's holidays. One of the main reasons why we wanted to visit Tokyo was to have a complete medical checkup, a preventive medical checkup.

       In Japan, a complete medical checkup is called ningen doc, ningen dock (人間ドック). It can discover various diseases such as lifestyle diseases like type II diabetes, but one major objective is the early detection of cancer. It makes people more aware of their physical condition, so they can maintain their health, prevent lifestyle diseases and start getting medical treatments earlier.  In Japan, many companies also offer employees to take a free annual general medical checkup, which is called kenshin (健診). While I was working in Japan, I needed to take kenshin annually (It was mandatory.). I took some blood tests, vision test and chest X-ray and more annually. (As you get older, your kenshin includes more examinations such as mammography, abdominal ultrasound and electrocardiography.)  

      It's been many years since we moved to the U.S. from Japan, so we decided to take a complete medical checkup in Japan. As you might know, US healthcare is incredibly expensive, so even if you pay expensive airplane tickets, accommodation fee and etc to travel to Japan, it's still a good idea to take a complete medical checkup in Japan. (If you buy business class or first class airplane tickets and stay extravagant hotel rooms, you should think twice about it though.) Just keep in mind that most Japanese medical staffs only speak Japanese, so if you cannot read and speak Japanese, I don't really recommend you to fly to Japan for a medical tourism, or you might need to arrange for an interpreter, which costs much money. (These years, medical tourism in Japan has been popular for wealthy Chinese people though.)
  
     Anyway, we made appointments for ningen doc well in advance. :)  On December 29, we finally headed toward the hospital located in Ikebukuro (池袋), Tokyo in the early morning. We got on the train of the JR Yamanote line (山手線).
JR East Yamanote Line


    We arrived at the hospital at 8:50 a.m. and finished our medical checkups by 11:30 a.m. :)


Our medical checkup cost about 48,000 yen per person, which is equivalent to $450 (One US dollar is 107 Japanese yen today.), and included these. 

・height, weight, BMI and abdominal girth
・blood pressure
・vision test and ophthalmoscopy
・audiometry
・EKG (electrocardiography)
・abdominal ultrasonography
・gastroendoscopy
・chest X-ray
・urine test (protein, glucose, blood, specific gravity and urobilinogen )
・stool test (fecal occult blood test)
・blood test (blood type, RBC, WBC, Hb, Ht, PLT, differential blood count,
total protein, bilirubin, protein fraction, AST, ALT, Γ-GTP, ALP, LDH, CHE, AMY,
total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, TG,
glucose, HbA1c,
UA, BUN, Creatinine,
HBsAg, HCVAb, TPHA,
CRP and ASLO)
・Helicobacter pylori test
・breast ultrasonography (female)
・PSA (male)


Barium Swallow Test vs GastroEndoscopy
    In Japan, gastroendoscopy is usually done without sedation, so during the procedure, you can also see the inside of your stomach through a display monitor. After your endoscopy, you can walk as usual. (If you had a sedative, after your endoscopy, you would feel very drowsy and couldn't walk alone for hours. )  However, many people find it difficult to take gastroendoscopy without sedation. An endoscope, which is a long, flexible tube with a tiny light and video camera, is pushed through your esophagus and stomach. When the endoscope is put into your throat, you might have gag reflex, but after the endoscope goes through your throat, you won't have gag reflex.
   Because having gastroendoscopy isn't easy, some people choose barium swallow test instead of gastroendoscopy. However, I prefer gastroendoscopy because during procedure, a doctor can view your stomach for irregularities and remove tissue samples for biopsy and culture if needed. In contrast, if barium swallow test shows tumors or polyps, you will be probably recommended to take gastroendoscopy then. That's why we took gastroendoscopy rather than barium swallow test.


      The result of our medical checkup was sent to my parents-in-law's home by mail because we don't live in Japan now. Then, she sent it to us from Japan last week. I think that we will receive it next week or so. When we visit Japan next time, we would like to take medical checkup again. :)


      When we finished out medical checkup, we were very hungry because we didin't have breakfast. We decided to have some foods around JR Ikebukuro station. I'll write about it next time.

   

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     My entries related to Tokyo can be seen here

     My entries related to Best Japanese Beauty Products can be seen here.
 

     My entries related to Japan can be seen here.

     My entries related to beauty can be seen here.

     My entries related to Japan Haul can be seen here.

     You can find my beauty entries by categories from here.