Promoting Health and Wellness: The Importance of Health Screening Tests | Only 75% of Americans have a primary healthcare physician—and only 64% of those in their 30s have one. With fewer and fewer adults visiting a doctor regularly, more patients are living with dangerous health conditions and don’t even know about it.
How can you best look after your health? In addition to visiting a doctor, you can also have health screening tests done.
They’re a quick and easy way to find out more about your overall health, so it’s certainly worth your time. To learn more, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about health screenings.
What Are the Most Common Health Screening Tests?
If you go for a health screening, which tests are likely to be done? The answer will depend on where you go and how comprehensive the testing is, but some of the most common lists of screening tests include:
- Blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Skin cancer checks
- Colon cancer screening
- PSA testing for prostate cancer
- Body mass index (BMI)
Not every health screening will offer each type of test, but you can always ask your doctor if you’d like to have them done.
Where Can I Get Screened?
There are many health and wellness centers where you can have a health screening done, often for free or for low cost. Many grocery stores and pharmacies will offer health screening days, or your local doctor’s office might do them occasionally.
Pharmacies also often have blood pressure machines, letting you walk in and take your blood pressure, without needing an appointment.
You can also keep your eyes peeled for upcoming community events, as many will offer health screening to the public. Health fairs can be a great way to get yourself checked out.
What Are the Benefits of Health Screening?
Health testing is so important, especially as we age and our risk of disease increases. If you’re undecided about having screening tests done, here are some of the benefits to help you make your decision.
Before agreeing to a test, always talk to the health professional about the pros and cons of testing, such as false-positive results or finding out that you have a serious disease. This is called informed consent and ensures you’re prepared for the test results.
Improve Your Knowledge of Your Health
How much do you know about your blood pressure, cholesterol, or risk of cancer? Many of us take our health for granted and don’t know much about our specific situations.
Doing health screenings are one of the best ways to improve your understanding of your health. It also establishes a baseline, helping you find out which areas of your health need improvement.
Catch Any Problems Early
Screening is an incredible tool for diagnosing illnesses or diseases before they progress. Many cancers, like prostate cancer, have effective treatment options if caught early, but are much harder to cure once they’ve become advanced.
Or, another common health problem is high cholesterol. If you find out you have this early on, it can often be managed with changes to your diet and medication—but if left untreated, it can increase your risk of a heart attack.
Undertaking screening tests can literally be a matter of life and death, helping you catch and treat health problems before it’s too late.
Provide a Catalyst for Change
Sometimes, seeing the results of your health screening can provide you with the motivation you need to make changes. For example, our metabolisms slow down as we age, and it’s easy for the pounds to creep on each year, without us realizing it.
However, seeing your weight or body mass index can sometimes be a bit of a shock, reminding patients that they aren’t as fit as they used to be. Although this can be painful to see, it can also give you the motivation to ditch the unhealthy habits and live a better life.
Or, if you’ve recently started working out or eating better, seeing positive results from your health screening can provide you with the encouragement to keep going.
Encourage Patients to Visit a Doctor
When was the last time you had a physical from your doctor? Many of us live busy and hectic lifestyles, so making time to visit the doctor is low on the list of priorities.
Taking the time to do health screenings, however, will help you find out more about your health status and will raise awareness of potential problems. In that case, the next step is to visit your family doctor for additional tests and/or medication.
If you don’t yet have a family doctor, your health screener can recommend where you can go. They might also know of some free or low-cost clinics, important for those who don’t have health insurance.
Consider Getting Health Tests for You and Your Family
Health screening tests are an essential tool for improving public health. If the guide above has encouraged you to find out more about your health, take the time to get health screening tests done.
Not only for yourself, of course, but also for any other adults in your family. You can even go together, if it makes you feel more comfortable.
The more you know about your health, the easier it is to take charge of your wellbeing and make improvements, so get started today!
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