Doctor

The Importance of Health Screens

Having screening of your overall health carried out is important as it can help to identify any issues that might be affecting your health or any potential health concerns that might arise in the future. Having a screen of your health carried out involves a number of different tests, assessments and exams, to help a medical professional gain a better overall understanding of your health.

The main aim of a screen is to find any diseases or medical conditions that may cause you to suffer from health problems in the future. Identifying a problem early in life, can mean you are less likely to suffer and the condition will be less expensive to treat.

Health screening also helps to determine the risk factors that a condition might have on both your physical and mental health. Some of the most common risks factors picked up during a screen include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart problems, high cholesterol and even cancer. Knowing the risks associated with a potential condition allows us to change our lifestyle to help prevent it from occurring in the future.

The test results from a screening will also help to build up your medical profile, providing doctors with a basis for diagnosis should you suffer from particular symptoms later down the line. If you’re someone who doesn’t regularly visit a doctor or medical professional, then having annual screening carried out offers a range health benefits.

Overall Benefits of Screening

Having a screening carried out to assess your overall health, offers a range of benefits for both the person having it carried out and for businesses who choose to have their employees undertake regular health checks. Some of the benefits of screening include:

  • Help to identify medical conditions and diseases
  • Can identify risks that might lead to further health problems
  • Heart disease, cancer and other serious diseases can be identified in the early stages
  • Risk assessments for activities in the workplace can be carried out
  • Businesses can put appropriate measures in place to deal with medical conditions

Health Screen

When It Might Be Worth Having a Screening Test

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has a set criteria for worldwide screening tests, these criteria can help to identify whether or not testing should be carried out. The WHO criteria includes a number of different factors.

They recommend screening should be done for people who are at risk of suffering from diseases that have serious health consequences, so having a screen carried out will be beneficial to their long term health.

The test that is carried must be reliable and not detrimental to the patients’ health in any way. Another thing is the disease being tested for must have an effective treatment for early detection. WHO also points out that all screening information should be neutral and made available to the public, whether it be positive or negative information regarding them.

Who Might Benefit from a Health Screen

Not all people are at risk of developing particular diseases this can depend on a number of factors from age to lifestyle and much more. These factors can be a deciding factor on whether the screen is necessary as you might not develop the disease at all.

When it comes to a screen of overall health it’s about the statistics and whether you fall into that particular category. 500 people out of 10,000 might be at risk of developing a certain disease, having all 10,000 people have a test carried out isn’t plausible. Whereas if statistics show that 400 of the 500 are over the age of 60, then it’s more advisable for screening of that disease to be carried out on people over the age of 60.

In some cases screening is looked at on an individual basis, so seeing a health care professional, doctor or even a private GP, can help to ensure your checked for the types of diseases you might be at risk of developing.

Discussing Health Screening With A GP

Deciding on Health Screening

Question to Ask Yourself

  • How likely am I to get the disease at my age?
  • Would detecting the disease at an early stage, benefit my long term health?
  • Are there any effects that the screening might have or the treatment after the screen?
  • How common are false positive results?
  • How long will test results take to come back?

Although screening has a number of benefits, certain types of tests associated with the screens can have adverse effects on long term health in other ways. Before having any type of health testing or screens carried out your doctor should make you aware of all the benefits and possible harmful effects.

Balancing the Benefits and Harmful Effects

Also there might be harmful effects associated with a particular type of screening, that side effect might not be as dangerous as the outcome if you aren’t treated for the disease.

Weighing up the benefits and harmful effects is a difficult decision for anyone to make on their own, so ensuring discussing them with healthcare professionals, family and friends can help you to make a more informed decision.