Preventive Health Checks: When and Why?

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Preventive health checks

Overview

We live in a world where we get many things at our fingertips without moving from our couch. Therefore, leading an active life seems like a thing of the past. And with a sedentary lifestyle comes health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. A switch to an active lifestyle and including preventive health checks may help identify and prevent certain health issues.

This blog highlights the importance of health checks and who should get them done.

Let’s continue to read.

What is a regular health check-up or health screening?

Health is a consolidation of physical, mental and social well-being, which you can regularly improve through a balanced diet, physical exercise, adequate rest and recreation, and managing stress. Despite taking the required steps to stay healthy, we are at risk of developing several illnesses unexpectedly. Therefore, getting a regular health check-up is crucial to identify such health risks during the initial stages.

Working individuals between the ages of 30 and 60 are at an increased risk of developing lifestyle diseases due to unhealthy choices, family history of health issues, and sleep deprivation. Research indicates that preventive health check-ups identify and reduce potential health risks before they progress to severe or critical stages requiring expensive treatments, financially burdening the healthcare system. Good health boosts positive outcomes in multiple domains, such as happiness, mental wellness, academic drive, creative aptitude, social connections, and relationships. Sustaining a positive health status depends upon preventing or reducing the risk of onset and progression of chronic illnesses by timely detecting them with regular health screenings.

In clinical practice, a screening test detects potential chronic health conditions in asymptomatic or apparently healthy individuals at increased risk of disease, helps initiate lifestyle modifications, and, if needed, a management approach. Screening tests can help gauge requirements for additional follow-up tests and consultations to consolidate a diagnosis.

How frequently do we need health screenings, and what general parameters do health screenings assess?

Although physicians usually prefer annual preventive health screening, some may recommend a bi-annual frequency for those with risk factors. During your regular yearly check-ups, your doctor reviews your health history, conducts examinations to evaluate your health and updates your records, and may schedule necessary screening tests. An annual health check-up should include medical history, family history, any medications you are currently taking and any allergies you have.

Basic preventive health screening for individuals between 18-40 years should include the following:

  • Basic diagnostic tests for cardio-metabolic functions (ECG, lipid profile, blood glucose, liver function, kidney function, thyroid function)
  • Imaging tests for lungs and abdomen
  • Basic cancer screening:
  1. Prostate cancer (PSA) for men
  2. Breast (mammogram or ultrasound) and cervix (Pap Smear) for women
  • Physician consultations
  • Diet and lifestyle modification counselling
  • Counselling regarding vaccination status and additional requirements

Screening assessments can also be personalized or individualized. Personalized screening assessments integrate “person-specific” outcomes such as gender, age, lifestyle and personal history, medical history (including acute illnesses or comorbidities), and family history, facilitating improved disease risk prediction and clinical evaluation.

However, if you have chronic illnesses like diabetes or COPD, you should visit your physician frequently, irrespective of age. Your doctor may recommend the time for your next visit based on your risk factors, results from your health screening tests, and current health issues.

Why are health screenings important?

Regular check-ups help you in several ways. Some of them are as follows:

  • Prevent health issues: You can detect the onset of and prevent several health issues with routine check-ups. For example, a regular check-up can indicate if you are susceptible to developing diabetes and high cholesterol levels in the future. Preventive health screening helps predict the risk of the onset of chronic diseases, identify early warning signs and symptoms, and implement personalized management protocols. Therefore, you have better control over your health.
  • Decrease healthcare costs: When you get a regular check-up, you can identify illnesses and get treated during the early stages. Thus, eliminating the chances of surgeries and reducing the cost of healthcare.
  • May prevent the progression of illnesses and lower long-term treatment costs: Certain medical conditions, such as cancer, become challenging to diagnose and treat when identified at later stages. Regular personalized preventive health screening can identify chronic diseases at an earlier stage and timely initiate management approaches, minimizing the risk of complications, morbidity, and disability and lowering your long-term treatment expenditure.
  • Increases life span: Regular health check-ups can help monitor the onset and progression of clinical issues, detecting the potential onset of chronic medical conditions, thus, increasing your lifespan.
  • Maintaining a stronger immune system: With regular check-ups, you can stay up-to-date on your vaccinations, thus, strengthening your immune system.

Some points to keep in mind before you go for your preventive health check-up

  • Carry all your medical information, including your insurance, old medical records, and vaccination cards. The physician may advise a blood test to check for antibody levels if you don’t have a vaccination card.
  • Ensure you have updated your medication list; include all vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter medications, and any herbal remedies you consume.
  • Update the physician about any changes to your medical or surgical history since your last health check, including any new symptoms or allergic reactions.
  • Many diagnostic tests require an overnight fast (8-12 hours), and we recommend you undergo your health check in the morning.

Conclusions

One of the ways to stay healthy, know what is happening with your body, and improve your health status is to get regular personalized preventive health screening. Personalized or individualized health checks allow for timely detection of the onset of chronic diseases. Your doctor may ask you to regularly get a health check-up based on age, risk factors, personal and family history, and current medical conditions. Although physicians usually prefer annual preventive health screening, some may recommend a bi-annual frequency for those with risk factors. Individuals with chronic medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or lung disease, should schedule consultations with their physician more often, irrespective of age.

The Apollo ProHealth full body checkup is an excellent way to manage your health and identify potential health problems proactively. Join Apollo ProHealth’s preventive care program and obtain a personalized, comprehensive, full body check up to spot underlying medical conditions before they progress.