Top 5 benefits of having a health screening
Why would you have a health screen?
In the UK we are lucky to have the NHS at our disposal, but we have a tendency to only seek medical attention when we become unwell. By the time we develop symptoms, our health is already compromised.
We routinely attend dental and eye sight check ups, but we underestimate the importance of regular health screening.
This can help us to identify any underlying health issues, so we can significantly reduce our risk and improve the prognosis of illness.
Here at London Doctors Clinic, we are committed to early detection and prevention of disease through our LifeSmart health screening program.
All our health screens include an in-depth lifestyle review and detailed analysis of your medical history. Patients are provided with a fully comprehensive medical report, complete with diagnostic findings, recommendations and any necessary specialist referrals.
What are the benefits of health screening?
Here are 5 of the top reasons you should consider having a health screen.
1. Identifying Health Risks Early
Both acute and chronic conditions benefit from early diagnosis. The most obvious is cancer, since early detection can prevent malignant tissue from spreading elsewhere in the body. The earlier the diagnosis, the more effective the treatment will be.
According to Cancer Research UK, bowel, breast, ovarian, prostate and lung cancer survival rates are drastically improved with early diagnosis. These simple non-invasive tests can save lives: -
- Bowel cancer- faecal occult blood (FOBT) and calprotectin tests.
- Breast cancer- examination and mammogram.
- Ovarian cancer- examination and ultrasound.
- Prostate cancer- examination and prostate specific antigen test (PSA).
- Lung cancer- sputum cytology and chest X-ray.
Heart conditions tend to remain undiagnosed until symptoms such as, chest pain and breathlessness become apparent. An ECG can detect electrical conductivity issues or vessel blockages early. Medication and lifestyle changes recommended as a result, can help to prevent the progression of heart disease. This could potentially prevent a future heart attack.
Health screening is not only useful in detecting life threatening illness, it can also help with underlying health concerns which could be effecting your day-to-day energy levels.
This includes thyroid function, hormone levels, nutrient deficiencies and blood sugar. Small fluctuations in these delicate balances can have a big impact on our everyday wellbeing.
Early detection is very important when it comes to chronic and acute conditions.
2. Lifestyle Changes
By identifying ways in which your lifestyle is effecting your overall wellness, health screens can help you to take positive steps towards a healthier you.
This could include dietary changes, an exercise regime, smoking cessation and stress management approaches.
At the bare minimum, everyone should make an effort to keep an eye on their BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and general vitality. Booking a health screen can help to incentivise you to be more mindful of your health and address any bad habits.
Small changes in lifestyle can have huge long-term benefits on overall health and wellness.
Knowing you are living a life that fully supports you in reaching your optimal health, can give you extra confidence and peace of mind.
3. Family History & Genetic Risk Factors
Sporadic visits to your GP are not always in-depth enough to thoroughly assess your family history. This means you could be at risk of having an inherited condition, which may manifest itself later on in life.
By knowing your risks, you might be able to make lifestyle changes to lessen the likelihood of developing certain hereditary diseases. Diabetes, heart failure and hypertension can run in families, but a healthy lifestyle can help to counter-compensate for some genetic disadvantages.
4. Specific Health Screening
Health screening is carried out on a case-by-case basis. This means factors specific to the individual are taken into account when deciding which tests are required. Not only is this more cost effective and convenient, it ensures the diagnostics are well targeted.
Endoscopy is an invasive test, involving the insertion of a camera into the colon. However, if other preliminary non-invasive tests are carried out beforehand, such as FOBT, they may rule out the need for more drastic measures.
That’s not to say endoscopies are unnecessary, they are, but only when recommended as part of a full clinical picture i.e. age, family history, symptoms etc. The same applies for other tests, which can be harmful to health, such as overuse of x-ray imaging. The benefits of screening must always outweigh the risks.
Age, gender, family history and life-style, can all influence certain disease risk factors. Therefore, any assessment plan should be specifically tailored to the individual.
5. Up to Date Research & Patient Empowerment
Medicine is ever-evolving and it's important that patients are treated in line with the latest research findings.
The NHS recommends those between 40-74 should have a health check every five years. This is a conservative estimate, based on the age at which heart and kidney disease, diabetes and stroke tend to develop. NHS Health Check findings estimate that: -
- 1 in 27 are diagnosed with high blood pressure.
- 1 in 110 are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
- 1 in 265 are diagnosed with kidney disease.
Generally speaking, research trends in disease prognosis, point towards early detection and prevention, as well as leading a healthy lifestyle. This allows doctors to treat the cause rather than the symptoms, which enhances disease risk reduction and responsiveness to therapy.
According to the World Health Organisation, one of the key considerations for health screens should be transparency. People should be well-informed by neutral health guidelines available the public, so they can decide for themselves whether or not to have a screening test.
Good health screening practices are centred around patient choice and empowerment, as well as leading innovations in medicine and science.