Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Want A Full-Body Check-Up

Everyone's getting more educated and informed nowadays. They know heart attacks, strokes and cancer are the major killers. They also know it is potential to detect determined conditions early, hence manufacture it potentially treatable. Breast cancer would be a good example. Mammograms have been able to pick up the disease at such an early stage that it is potentially curable. There is a good occasion now that if it is detected early, the outpatient is more likely to die of some unrelated cause. Early detection of other conditions, for example diabetes, allow rehabilitation , so preventing added complications of the disease.

In the old days, population only went to see the physician when they felt sick. Now they are starting to see the physician even when they feel well. They want to know if they have any risks for diseases , or if they are in the early stages of some diseases, where early rehabilitation can supervene in a cure. Hence, the birth of condition screening as an industry. In some countries, it's a business. You can buy condition screening packages, where tests are done on every part of you - blood samples, urine samples, stool samples can all be taken, and a scope can be stuffed into almost every orifice. all can be seen nowadays. Unfortunately, not all conditions can be detected early. And not all tests are equally good at detecting conditions. Some tests sold as part of a unblemished condition check-up may not necessarily exclude a condition, or reduce one's chances of dying if picked up. In fact, over-investigation may even lead to unnecessary added tests, procedures and a lot of anxiety.

Health Check

So who should do condition screening ?

I Want A Full-Body Check-Up

People with family histories of determined healing conditions should go before they fabricate symptoms. Eg, a strong family history of heart attacks, determined cancers. Most population above 40 should consider getting themselves checked at least once, and then maybe 3 yearly if no problems are detected.

Companies use condition screening to resolve if potential employees are suitable for the job. Others use it to resolve if their employees are still fit on the job. Some jobs can be risky for population with determined healing conditions ( would you precisely want a truck driver to have a history of uncontrolled fits?) , and other jobs can be risky for the worker's condition ( eg. Industries with machines that produce loud noises would need to ordinarily screen their workers for hearing problems).

So what about otherwise well population who are just worried and want to get tested, just to make sure ?

There are no hard and fast rules. In some countries, you pay the money, you get the test. No problem right ? Well, there are some things you may want to look out for before deciding to do the test.

Is the test safe ? Will it harm me ?
Colonoscopy ( a scope inserted up your rear end to check the large intestine) has a small risk of perforation or bleeding. Your physician needs to resolve the risks versus the benefits of the test.
A Ct coronary angiogram ( a scan of the heart arteries to see if they are blocked) has small risks when done on patients with determined healing conditions like kidney disease or asthma.

Is the test easy to do ?
Testing blood for high cholesterol or high sugar, is easy. So is a Pap smear for cervical cancer.

Is the test precise ?
No use doing a test if the results don't give you a good answer. Eg. The blood test for the cancer mark for colon cancer may go up in other healing conditions, or not be raised in early cancer. So a "normal" supervene doesn't mean anything. Neither does a "raised" result.

Pap smears, mammograms, tests for blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol are reasonably accurate.

Does the test make a difference?
Mammograms do detect breast cancer early adequate for treatment. Pap smears detect cervical cancer in its pre-cancerous stage. Cure rates are high. So the tests are worth doing.

What is the test trying to look for ?
Some population just want to have their whole body scanned in the hope of detecting some small tumour. It doesn't work that way. Perfectly healthy population may have variations in their organs, or benign cysts and growths. We don't all look the same inside. This may lead to unnecessary added tests, even operations, not to mention the terrible stress the outpatient has to feel while waiting for results.

So before you go for condition screening, ask you physician about the tests you are going to do. It's good to have more knowledge about your own body. And it helps if you can take steps today to prevent diseases. But you do need to understand what you are going to do.

I've summarised some of the tasteless condition screening tests ready and what they detect in my blog at http://www.whyhealthmatters.blogspot.com.

I Want A Full-Body Check-Up

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