Information Screening

Health screening is an important step toward identifying potentially life-threatening medical problems. Many serious health issues, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, don’t cause any apparent symptoms. In these cases, the first warning sign is an eventual heart attack or stroke, which can be fatal.

Medical screening identifies risk factors for certain medical problems, allowing them to be treated before it’s too late. In most cases, early intervention can be life-saving.

Many serious illnesses can be caught early with medical screening. Some of the most commonly screened health issues include:

Why is Medical Screening Important?

Without medical screening, doctors have difficulties identifying and treating people who are at high risk for disease. Doctors can’t treat what they can’t diagnose, and insurance rarely covers preventative measures. Additionally, because many of these diseases don’t cause symptoms, many people don’t even realize that they’re at risk. Health screening tests allow a person to work with his doctor to come up with a preventative plan to combat this risk.

Who Should Get Health Screening Tests?

Anyone who has a family history of a particular disease or otherwise falls into a high-risk category (obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol all can put a person into high-risk territory) should consider medical screening. Anyone over age 50 should receive regular health screenings for vascular issues, such as heart disease and stroke. People with a family history of stroke, heart disease or aneurysms should begin getting medical screening at a younger age, usually after age 40.

What is Health Screening?

You don’t necessarily need to know your risk factors ahead of time to get a health screening test. Generally, you’ll be asked to fill out a comprehensive health questionnaire and provide detailed information about your diet, exercise habits and lifestyle. You’ll need to identify any family history of diseases. You’ll then meet with a health professional who will take your base measurements and uses your information from your questionnaire to determine which health screening tests you should take.

Medical screening is usually painless, using ultrasound equipment or other noninvasive technology to identify potential problem areas. For example, if you’re determined to be at risk for stroke, a technician will typically capture images of the blood vessels near your brain to identify potential clotting behavior. Your doctor will receive a copy of your health screening and will work with you to figure out what, if any, preventative measures should be taken.

Resources

LifeLine Screening (n.d.). Preventative health screening. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from http://www.lifelinescreening.com/faqs/preventive-health-screening.aspx?WT.svl=1.

National Health Information Center. (2010). Get screened. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from http://www.healthfinder.gov/prevention/PrintTopic.aspx?topicID=20.

Voiland, A. (2007). Health screening tests that everyone needs. Retrieved August 24, 2010, from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2007/09/24/health-screening-tests-that-everyone-needs.html.

Volkar, G. (2010). What happens at a health screening? Retrieved August 24, 2010, from http://www.ehow.com/facts_6025523_happens-health-screening_.html.