Here’s something you need to understand: even though you may be feeling healthy, it may not be an accurate measure of your actual health. Why? Because there are a number of conditions which remain silent until the disease is finally diagnosed. This is why it’s essential for every individual to receive regular health screenings. Early detection can help minimize many illnesses.
Health screening guidelines differ according to age, gender, race and environment. In this article, we’re going to offer a brief overview of the various health screening processes that should be considered throughout a person’s life.
Screening Starts Even Before Birth
Anatomical and physiological problems can be detected during prenatal check-ups such as regular ultra sounds. Not only is your baby’s growth monitored, doctors can also uncover serious conditions such as hydrocephaly, spina bifida and other congenital anomalies. If there are any indicators that your baby’s health is danger, more invasive tests can assess the degree of the danger.
After birth, every newborn undergoes a variety of health screening exams. Usually these tests are performed between day two to day seven of life and involve the drawing of a few drops of blood from each newborn. The focus is primarily on genetic diseases such as phenylketonuria or sickle cell anemia which can become life threatening if left undetected. Children with such conditions are often required to adhere to strict diet and immunization guidelines. Therefore, parents need to be educated about the illness right from the beginning.
The importance of health screening continues through childhood. If corrected in childhood, some problems can be nipped in the bud, allowing your child to live a safe and healthy life. Vision and hearing tests are prime examples of such conditions. If your child has a slow response to noise or you notice a squint, a specialist opinion is essential to learn more about the condition.
Lead poisoning has become so rampant in society, that children with any exposure should be evaluated as soon as possible to prevent the irreversible consequences of a heavy lead load in blood. Exposure usually comes from being in or around any old house where lead paint was used and is now chipping or peeling.
As the child grows, the dangers he or she faces change over time. Overall health includes mental as well as physical health, so screening is also recommended for children showing initial signs of mental disorders, eating disorders, abuse, etc.
Other common health screenings for children: blood pressure checks, regular vision and hearing checks, cholesterol test (especially if there’s a parent with high cholesterol or a parent or grandparent with early heart disease), dental check-ups, anemia test, and a tuberculosis skin test (especially if a child has come in contact with a person who has TB).
For women, there are a variety of health screening tests that help ensure your health is on the right track. For instance, a thyroid test should first be taken at age 35. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly, no less than every two years. Your first diabetes blood test (assuming you’ve demonstrated no previous signs of diabetes) should be undertaken at age 45. Mammograms every one to two years. A Pap test and pelvic exam every one to three years. Vision tests every two to four years, hearing every ten years. Regular cervical screening is recommended for older women (yes, even if you’ve cleared menopause or have had a hysterectomy. Dental exams once or twice a year. Tetanus-Diphtheria booster, every ten years.
For men, a regular routine examination should be undertaken every three to five years. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly, no less than every two years. Cholesterol every five years. Diabetes every three years if you’re at high risk. Prostate exams generally begin around the age of fifty and many physicians recommend annual exams after that. A colonoscopy is recommended for every ten years beginning at the age of fifty, a sigmoidoscopy every five years. Tetanus-Diphtheria booster, every ten years.
Preventive health care relies heavily on regular physical exams and health screening tests. Early detection and treatment of common diseases can often prevent further complications and help you get back on a healthy track. As with any form of medical treatment, always consult your doctor first.
About the Author
David Silva is the webmaster of Healthy Considerations, a website dedicated to disseminating helpful health information.