You’ve probably heard of preventive health screenings. They’re known as tests that look for diseases before symptoms are present. In terms of conditions that often show no warning signs, preventive health screenings can be very effective at providing insights about early disease risk so you can take proactive steps with your doctor to prevent chronic illnesses.
Health professionals commonly screen for conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Breast cancer and cervical cancer in women
- Colorectal cancer
- Type 2 diabetes
- Prostate cancer in men
- Testosterone deficiency
- Heart disease
- Carotid artery disease
- Atrial fibrillation
- Lung cancer
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Preventive health screenings are important for a variety of reasons. The first is that if you are at high risk for a condition that exhibits few to no warning signs, screenings can show what your risks are for chronic diseases so you can take proactive steps towards preventing, delaying or alleviating chronic illness under your physicians care. For example, stroke is often known as the “silent killer” because it often has no symptoms, but a carotid artery screening can help identify a person’s risk of suffering a stroke.
How to Know if Preventive Health Screenings are Right for You
Should you have one of the preventive health screenings listed above? There are a variety of factors to consider before making a decision. To start, get the answers to the following questions:
- Why do you need this test? What will it show about your health?
- Have you spoken to your family about testing?
- What will it cost and will your insurance cover it?
- What do you need to do to prepare for the screening?
- What steps does the preventive health screening involve?
- Are there any harms or side effects that could result from the test?
- How will you find out the results of my test?
- How long will it take to get the results?
- What will we know after the test?
- Are you comfortable with getting results that you may need to act on?
Preventive health screenings matter because they allow you to be proactive with your health. They allow you to take charge of diseases that may pop up unexpectedly. They allow you to be mindful of the state of your health.
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