Free health check draws 500 in Penang

Quick test: People getting check-ups at Wadda Gurdwara in George Town, Penang. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: It was a wake-up call for families at a free medical screening here when many of them, including children, were found to have high levels of blood cholesterol.

Many were also diagnosed with high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and oral hygiene issues.

Another prevalent health issue found in members of the public who participated in the medical screening organised by humanitarian aid organisation United Sikhs Malaysia was high eye pressure, which could lead to glaucoma in later years.

An estimated 500 people underwent the health screening at Wadda Gurdwara here yesterday.

Housewife Elizabeth Dass was there with her two children.

The 47-year-old was shocked to hear that her 11-year-old son has high blood cholesterol.

“It is not too high, but I would not have expected this because he is still young.

“The doctor advised him to cut down on fried food, and I will be more mindful of what he eats from now on,” she said.

Dass said she was grateful for the cancer and blood tests.

“The blood test results will be sent to me privately, which I appreciate. The doctor also checked our eye pressure, which I had never thought of doing before,” she added.

The screening was open to the public, including foreigners.

British national Ella Williamson, 28, who is on holiday here, said she was shocked to find out that her cholesterol levels are high.

“I am seven months pregnant and never thought it would be an issue, but I will be more careful of what I eat now,” said the teacher.

Dr Simeran Kaur Sachdev said many people were not aware that they had high blood cholesterol or high eye pressure, which seldom produces outward symptoms.

“The event today serves as a wake-up call to make people understand that they cannot take their health for granted.

“We treated patients of all ages and from various backgrounds, be it those who are health conscious or the homeless community, and we noticed that many of them were unaware that they are suffering from various health issues until they underwent these health screenings.

“One prevalent issue is high eye pressure, which can cause glaucoma – an eye disease that causes blindness,” she said at the event.

Dr Simeran advised everyone, especially young people, to reduce their intake of fast foods and even hawker food because this could lead to high cholesterol levels.

United Sikhs Malaysia president Sunil Shukvir Singh said this was the first time the association had organised such an event with an extensive range of tests in the northern region of the peninsula.

“These tests will cost quite a bit if they were conducted in private hospitals. We offered extensive screening for eyes and heart, bone density, cancer marker tests, and dental checks,” he said.

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