It’s a mistake to think about just putting your health on hold. The phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ is often attributed to the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus in around 1500. And it certainly holds true today. Preventative measures are a guiding principle for most modern health care and social care strategies. This is made easier by the growing and vast array of sophisticated tests that give us the opportunity to track our health outcomes to ensure longevity. Here are the 5 tests you should have. By Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
Preventative Testing Will Add Years To Your Life
The health risks of delaying some tests and exams – especially those for cancer and heart disease, but also other critical appointments – can lead to a life-threatening situation.
#1 Screen For Cancer
When detecting and treating cancer, the timing might mean the difference between life and death.
Routine tests for breast cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer, and other malignancies are due for many people now that a new year has rolled in. Some people, such as those with a personal or family history of cancer, have a strong need to catch up.
People who postpone cancer tests are often diagnosed at later, more advanced stages when therapies aren’t as effective as they are at early stages.
A National Cancer Institute study forecasts an additional 10,000 deaths from breast and colorectal cancer due to low screening rates. The study predicts an increase in fatalities from these new tumors during the following two years.
I am particularly concerned about people having, but not being, evaluated for cancer symptoms like a new breast lump or trouble swallowing. Initially, this may not be particularly worrisome to patients. However, it can signal serious illness, including cancer.
Call your doctor and make an appointment to get the symptoms looked at straight away.
#2 Chronic Illness Follow-Up
If you’re already taking medications for a medical issue, such as diabetes, you might think it’s unnecessary to schedule a follow-up appointment. However, regular health checkups and tests are needed. This is true even if you have reasonable control of your blood sugar levels, are eating healthy foods, and living an active lifestyle.
Diabetes consequences are aplenty. These include eye disease, renal problems, nerve damage, and more. People may have extremely active diseases and be unaware of it, which is a serious worry.
While chronic illnesses can be managed from the comfort of your own home, some procedures cannot be done online or by phone, such as lab tests, wound treatment, and other necessary tests for patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
#3 Management Of Mental Health
Just as the holiday period has added stress to those suffering from physical disorders, it has also taken a toll on those suffering from mental health issues.
Despite the focus on and extension of virtual choices for accessing mental health and substance abuse treatment, we continue to observe high drug overdose rates and emergency room visits for mental health crises.
Regular visits to long-acting psychiatric drug injections, such as drug screening tests and prescription pickups for patients in medication-assisted treatment programs, must be maintained.
Additionally, blood tests for medical titrations should be kept up to date.
#4 Maintenance Of Sexual Health
Some STDs are curable, and the majority are – at the very least – treatable. Without treatment, certain types can cause severe, life-threatening diseases or even disrupt fertility down the road. Suffice it to say, receiving timely treatment is critical.
If you’ve developed new genital or urinary symptoms or suspect you’ve been exposed to a sexually transmitted virus, book an appointment with your healthcare provider immediately. For a list of eight common STDs, click here.
Be open and honest with your provider about your symptoms and concerns.
#5 Include Well-Child Preventative health
Just as you need to take a preventative approach to your own health, the same holds true for your children. Even though they are young, children also require regular checkups, as they are critical for monitoring your children’s development and growth.
Here’s what to expect from a well-childed visit:
- Physical Examination
- Vaccinations and immunizations
- Growth, development, and behavior tracking
- Overall health examination
Well-child visits are vital for keeping your child’s vaccines up to date. HPV, measles, mumps, chickenpox, and other vaccines are all necessary to keep your child healthy.
Preventative healthcare ensures a better chance of good longevity
A commitment to a healthier lifestyle and regular testing will go a long way to ensuring better health outcomes. You can live a healthier, happier life by taking a preventative, rather than a reactive, approach to your health.
Murray Hewlett is the CEO of Affinity Health. His full biography is listed below.