Other Health Screenings

Certain kinds of health screening get a lot of public attention, and with good reason. Getting tested to evaluate your blood pressure and cholesterol levels—as well as checking for common diseases that don’t show symptoms in their early stages—are essential first steps in looking after your health.

Aside from the commonly-performed screenings, however, doctors can screen for mental health issues and STDs, as well as hearing and eye problems.

Mental Health Screening

Clinical depression affects roughly 19 million Americans each year—that’s one in four women and in one in ten men, according to Mental Health America (n.d.).

Many people with clinical depression often don’t seek a diagnosis or treatment; unlike other diseases detected by health screening—like heart disease or cancer—people with depression may think they should just “snap out of it” or toughen up.

Consider mental health screening if you’re experiencing a combination of these symptoms:

  • Change in eating habits
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of great sadness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

Health Screening and the STD Test

Many STDs are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t cause noticeable symptoms. However, they can still be contagious and devastating to your health. This is why health screening for STDs is particularly important if you feel at you’re at risk.

STDs that may be asymptomatic in the early stages include:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis
  • HIV
  • Trichomoniasis.

An annual STD test for both gonorrhea and chlamydia is recommended for women under 25, men who have sex with men and people having sex with multiple partners. If you notice genital sores or discharge, request a STD test from your physician.

Health Screening for Your Eyes

Prevent Blindness America (2005) recommends regular eye exams in which a physician dilates your pupils to thoroughly examine your eyes. The frequency for this, like other health screenings, depends on your age and health:

  • For African-Americans age 20-64: Every two to four years
  • For Caucasians age 20-39: Every three to five years
  • For Caucasians age 40-64: Every two to four years
  • For people over age 65: Every one to two years.

Health Screening for Your Hearing

Many people associate hearing loss with aging, but, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, close to 8 million people between age 18 and 44 have hearing loss (n.d.). The Association recommends health screening for hearing loss once every 10 years until age 50, and every three years after that.

Resources

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.). Hearing screening. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/testing/

Mayo Clinic. (2010). Heart disease. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/std-testing/ID00047/METHOD=print

Mental Health America. (n.d.). National depression screening day. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/depression-screening-day

National Health Information Center. (2010). Get screened. Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://www.healthfinder.gov/prevention/PrintTopic.aspx?topicID=20

Prevent Blindness America. (2005). How often should I have an eye exam? Retrieved October 25, 2010, from http://www.preventblindness.org/eye_tests/near_vision_recom.html