健康体检中心关劼主任医师接受《中国日报 CHINADAILY》采访：Reading the reports right 正确解读体检报告（2012年11月14日）
Medical checkups are the first steps toward maintaining good health, and it is important to interpret them properly, say experts. Care must also be taken to follow up on problems identified during the checks, although there is no need for unnecessary panic.
The first page of the report will normally list any suspected problems found, with suggested treatment by the doctors. But things are not quite as simple as the reports suggest.
Some patients are terrified when there are problems identified, or if there are abnormal readings, and they can overreact.
"Stress is harmful, no matter if you are really ill or not," says Guan Jie, director with Medical Checkup Center of China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing.
"You must understand that the reports are just danger signals based on the results of tests and examinations on the specific day of the checkup. Some may be temporary. Patients should calm down, and follow suggestions to visit the relevant specialists to find out more."
Xu Peng, director of the Medical Checkup Center of Tsinghua University No 1 Hospital, warns about the other extreme - people who throw away the reports because they think there are no big issues, even though doctors may have pointed out some potential problems and advised them to do follow-up.
It is still better to be safe than sorry, even if subsequent visits to the doctors find nothing wrong. Abnormal readings still indicate potential, if dormant, problems.
According to 2010 statistics from the Beijing Physical Examination Center, among the 2.38 million Beijing residents who underwent medical checkups, about 32 percent of men were overweight, about 24.4 percent had osteopenia and osteoporosis (in which the bones lose density), and about 23.8 percent had fatty liver symptoms.
In women, the top three health issues were being overweight, osteopenia and osteoporosis, and cervicitis.
"Abnormal indices always predict underlying health conditions, even if it is not yet a disease. At least they indicate that people are not completely healthy," says Xu, who is also a committee member of the Beijing Health Management Association.
"Also, the changes of the indices in subsequent years are useful measurements for the patient's health status."
Finally, Xu suggests that it is still best to go to the professionals for advice on diet, exercise and other health maintenance issues, and to avoid fad diets, or exercises and practices that are only rumored to be beneficial.