It is not only possible to get a Full Health Check in Thailand, but you can do it with just one day’s notice. The days’ notice is so you can fast from midnight to get the most accurate results.
So why not get checked out when you are here? It is not difficult, nor expensive.
If you are sick when in Thailand then look no further than this post for quick fixes, from the pharmacy to the hospital.
Recently my friends came to visit me here in Thailand, late last fall. While here one of them got a complete medical checkup. He was pleasantly surprised that it only took about 4 hours and when completed he was given all the results from the checkup. Back in Canada checkup results are not distributed to patients. The doctors hold the results and only discuss their interpretation of them and what they feel the patient requires. I don’t know about you, but I would like to know what is happening with my body and my life. Well, here in Thailand you can find out.
A Full Health Check in Thailand – Overview
I had not had a checkup for a couple of years, so I decided to go through the procedure myself, the following article is what I found. My health checkup was done at Pattaya Memorial Hospital. I arrived just before 0800 and I was done by noon.
I walked out of the hospital with a complete set of results, for a total cost of 10,500 THB (~283 USD at 37 baht = $1).
The brochure listing the tests and costs available at Pattaya Memorial Hospital can be seen here:
Brochure from Pattaya Memorial for Health check-up Packages
My Choice was Executive Man
The tests available and the costs are shown on the right.
Tests Included in the Health Checkup Included:
- Overall Examination and Blood tests
- Kidney Function tests
- Liver Function tests
- Urine and Stool examination
- Chest X-Ray
- Specific tests
- Whole Abdomen Ultrasound
- A consultation with the doctor and a full copy of the results.
Overall Examination and Blood Tests
I had not eaten anything since about 7 PM the night before, and I abstained from drinking my morning coffee. That was a trial, but I wanted accurate results, so I did without. I did take some water with my AM medication for mild hypertension.
Upon arrival at the hospital, they confirmed my appointment, and I proceeded through the process.
First, my vital signs such as weight, blood pressure, and temperature were taken.
This was followed by the nurse taking blood samples to send to the lab for analysis.
Also, urine and a stool sample were required. Luckily, I had to go.
I was then allowed to have some breakfast if I wanted to. I stepped out for a coffee and a breakfast sandwich.
There was actually nothing close by so I went to Kungs, just off Soi Buakhao. They have a great breakfast there.
This was followed by a chest X-ray and an ECG to check my heart. The review of the ECG happened during the physical examination at the end of all the tests when I was having a consultation with the doctor. They were professional and easy to speak to. The conversation was in English.
I was taken to the ultrasound room where the technician asked me if I had urinated recently. I had not needed to piss since giving a urine sample, earlier that morning, so she encouraged me to drink plenty of water until I needed to piss. Four or 5 bottles of water later I finally needed to piss. Once that was over, I had a full abdomen ultrasound to check on my liver and kidneys, prostate, etc.
I was then encouraged to wait for the results and the doctor’s examination. It was already around 11 Am at this point and I did not have long to wait. The doctor brought me in and told me I was okay, with no major problems, except that I was too heavy and had mild hypertension. I knew of these issues already, so I was happy with the results. I asked if my prostate was enlarged or not as I am 62, and he told me that the ultrasound showed ~3.5 cm and I was ok, also the PSA test showed low values. I was a happy camper.
The Major tests carried out
- Complete blood count
- Fasting blood sugar
- Lipid profile
- HDL – Cholesterol
- LDL – Cholesterol
- Test to scan for PSA (Prostatic Specific Antigen)
Blood work was carried out as soon as I arrived, and the tests were presented at the end of the process.
Tests carried out included:
- Blood type
- Clinical Biochemistry – Blood, sugar, and urea.
- Clinical Hematology each of the following results included a reference value so you can see where your values compare to accepted Normals – CBC (complete blood count), WBC, Neutrophil, Lymphocyte, Monocyte, Eosinophil, Platelet count, RBC, Hb, Hct, MCV, MCH, MCCH, RDW-CV, Red cell Morphology, Basophil, Atyp. Lymp, Band orm, %NRBC/100WBC, Corrected WBC, Blast, Promyelocyte, Melocyte, Metamyelocyte, Other [CBC].
- Clinical Biochemistry with your results and reference values for Triglycerides and Total Cholesterol, followed by HDL and LDL cholesterol, Creatinine, and eGFR
- Clinical Immunology & Serology with reference values, HBs Ag, Syphilis (by Anti-TP), HIV, Anti HBc. Anti HBs, Anti HCV
- Tumor marker, AFP (Alpha-Fetoprotein, CEA
Kidney Function Tests
This was done from the blood sample and included BUN and Creatinine.
A BUN test is Blood Urea and Nitrogen levels test in your blood. Urea Nitrogen is a waste product and if the levels are too high in your blood, then your kidneys may not be functioning properly. They are not removing all that they should be.
A Creatinine test is a gauge as to how well your kidneys are performing their filtering of all the toxins you put into your body (alcohol and fast food). Creatinine is left over from your muscles’ energy-producing processes. Healthy kidneys filter it out of the blood.
Liver Function Tests
The Liver function tests include: SGOT – stay with me. This is a mouthful (serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase) This test is part of a liver profile to check that the liver is healthy and measures one of the 2 enzymes in a liver profile.
and SGPT – This one has changed its name like the artist formerly known as Prince. SGPT measures the enzyme created in the liver formerly known as Serum Glutamic Pyruvic Transaminase, now known as ALT (Alanine Transaminase). This is also a measure of how your liver is performing and or if there is any liver damage or disease. Low levels are expected.
The alkaline phosphatase test measures the amount of ALP in your blood. Elevated levels of ALP can be an indicator of a liver disease, or a bone disorder, though doctors often use it as an indicator of blocked bile ducts. ALP is found throughout the body, (the two main sources are your liver and your bones), so an ALP test alone cannot diagnose a condition.
Total protein test measures the total protein in your blood, (albumin and globulin, along with the ratio between the 2). Proteins are good for the health and growth of body cells and tissue. Elevated levels may mean you have inflammation or infection. Low levels may indicate kidney problems, malnutrition, and several other possibilities – consult your doctor to be sure.
Urine and Stool Tests
Well, if you have had a medical checkup before you are aware that both tests are standard, and I will not go into details, because well just because. If you are interested in the details, I will be adding a document that covers the specific tests and normal ranges for those tests.
Stool – Clinical Microscopy – Color, Character, Occult blood, WBC (White Blood Cells), RBC (Red Blood Cells), Ova (Eggs) & Parasite (nasty things).
Urine – Clinical Microscopy – Color, turbidity clear or not), Sp. gr. (specific gravity), pH, Protein, Sugar, Ketone (produced when your body breaks down fats), Ur bilirubin, Bilirubin, Blood, Leukocyte, Nitrite, WBC, RBC, Epith, Bacteria, Amorphous, Mucous, and Other (UA).
Full Abdomen Ultrasound
I had to wait for the full ultrasound. The nurses wanted my bladder to be empty for the procedure and asked me repeatedly if I needed to urinate. Since I had had little to drink since the night before I did not need to urinate at all.
Therefore, I was encouraged to drink water before having the ultrasound. Five bottles of water later and a few trips around the hospital to encourage myself, I finally needed to urinate, and we could get started with the procedure.
It did not take very long, they simply spread some conductive gel on my abdomen and passed the ultrasound “wand/receiver” across my stomach. Not a small feat I can assure you.
However, soon it was finished, and I was able to retire to the waiting room, for the results of the various tests to be collected and analyzed.
Physical Exam and Consult with Doctor
The final step in my health check-up was a physical exam with the doctor and a review of the results presented by the various tests. The actual physical exam was limited, but the doctor did listen to my heart and lungs to make sure the ticker was still ticking, and the bellows were still blowing.
He discussed the results of the blood tests with me and said I am in good shape with the exception of slightly high cholesterol, and slightly high blood pressure – who doesn’t have high cholesterol, I asked, and he agreed that there were many expats in and around the area who did have elevated levels of cholesterol.
He recommended that I continue with my daily walking as much as possible and that I attempt to eat a sensible diet.
The entire check-up took most of the morning and was a pleasant experience. The doctors and nurses involved made me feel welcome and answered any questions that I had at any time. I was not rushed into or out of any office, or station.
The results from the various tests were discussed with me and I was encouraged to answer questions and follow the doctor’s advice.
Everything took approximately 3.5 hours and if I had not needed to drink so much water, it would have been less than 3 hours.
I was given a comprehensive report of every test that was performed on me and an explanation of anything that I had questions about. The cost for the morning was exactly what I was quoted in the literature. The price quoted was 10500THB and that is what I paid. There were no hidden charges. Overall, I was very happy with the result.
These types of check-ups are available at almost every hospital and even some laboratories in Thailand. The tests run and the results given will differ with the price that you choose to pay. However, if you would like to know how things are physically for you or your family, I encourage you to get a check-up done while you are on vacation here. It does not take long, and you will sleep better for it.