Clinical evidence indicates that yearly health checks can identify undetected health issues early on, ensuring the appropriateness of ongoing treatments and promoting overall better health. These health checks include screening in their early stages, before symptoms develop, or immunization — improving the outcome.
For discreet and convenient medical check-ups and procedures, you can rely on the reputable services of a Dexa scan, helping you stay in optimal health long-term. With that in mind, here are seven essential health checks you should get:
This test screens women for breast cancer. It involves compressing a woman’s breasts between metal plates, capturing X-rays that help experts detect any signs of breast cancer. Health experts recommend that women over the age of 50 get a mammogram once every two years, but some suggest women get annual screenings at 45. Overall, if you have a family history of breast cancer or have any other concerns, consult with your doctor about beginning your annual screening as soon as possible.
Blood Sugar Test
Tests for type 2 diabetes include the “fasting blood sugar level” test, which measures the amount of glucose or sugar in the blood after fasting or not eating anything for a set period. It can help determine if you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes, a condition that affects over 2.7 million people in the UK alone. Additionally, taking a blood sugar test can help you monitor your progress in reaching your treatment goals — if you already have diabetes.
Overall, you’ll need to be tested every year or once every three years, depending on your risk levels.
HIV and STI Screening
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that all sexually active people around the ages of 13 to 64 should get tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) annually regardless of their risk factors. For people who experience higher-risk sexual activities, it’s best to get tested every three to six months for HIV.
Meanwhile, if you’re sexually active and engage with different partners, you must be tested for STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea every year, especially for adults under 25. Screening for HIV and other STIs can help you detect them earlier, allowing you to receive treatment and prevent a host of health problems from developing later on.
From the age of 21 until the age of 65, women are recommended to get a Pap smear every three years. It’s used to screen women for cervical cancer. During a Pap smear test, the doctor uses a speculum, widening the vaginal canal and taking cells from the cervix. They then examine these cells for any changes indicating cervical cancer.
If you’re over 30 years old, you can get a Pap smear test every five years if you combine it with HPV screening, an STD that contributes to the development of cervical cancer.
Recommendations for men to test for prostate cancer, specifically PSA screening, vary widely among healthcare professionals. However, this test can help lower the chance of a man developing prostate cancer as it can help them get treated before the cancer cells spread. But make sure to talk to your doctor about the screening to determine what’s best for your health.
Patients recommended to get screened for prostate cancer can choose between digital rectal examination or the prostate-specific antigen test.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Screening
Monitoring heart health is important regardless of age, making this health check crucial for everyone, particularly older adults. Medical organizations recommend that adults over 20 years old get their blood pressure checked at least every two years and their cholesterol levels every four to six years. Although risk factors like obesity or diabetes put someone at an increased risk for high cholesterol, even asymptomatic individuals can have excess cholesterol levels.
Overall, everyone needs to get their heart checked, regardless of how you perceive your heart health is.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
This health check can be an uncomfortable experience for many individuals. However, colonoscopy is a crucial test for both men and women since it can help detect colon cancer early on. Examples of risk factors include existing chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or a family history of colon cancer. If you’re at increased risk, you’ll need to consult with your doctor about when to begin testing and how often.
The recommendations mentioned usually refer to screening for the general population, but they may differ for individuals with particular risk factors. Make sure to talk to your general practitioner about health checks, which you should have, and when to get them — ensuring better health long-term.