What Is A Health Screening?
If you visit your general practitioner for a health screening you can expect to be asked questions about your medical history, your lifestyle, and your family history of disease. You will also be asked questions about your lifestyle: your diet, whether you smoke and how much alcohol you drink. Your doctor will likely take your blood pressure, weigh you, and may test your blood glucose and cholesterol.
If you have risk factors for a specific disease, you may undergo further tests. By having a health check on a regular basis, your doctor can pick up early warning signs of disease and start you on a treatment plan. Early treatment for most diseases can give you better health management.
Eye tests and hearing tests are also commonly included in a health screening, especially as you get older. Your eyesight deteriorates naturally as you age. If you are a woman over the age of 40, it is recommended that you undergo routine testing for glaucoma. You are at higher risk of developing glaucoma if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or a family history of glaucoma. If you already wear glasses or contact lenses, you should have your eyes tested every year.
Checking On Your Heart Health
Testing your heart health is usually done by testing for high blood pressure. Blood tests to check your cholesterol levels will also be done as you get older. A weight check and BMI calculation will also give your GP an indication if you are at risk of heart disease, stroke, or heart attack.
If your doctor would like you to have a fasting blood sugar test, you will be asked to fast for eight hours before your appointment. This test is usually performed every one to three years and is a screening test for type 2 diabetes. You are at greater risk of type 2 diabetes if
- You were pregnant and had gestational diabetes
- You are over the age of 45 and have a BMI over 30
- You are a man over the age of 55
- You have a family history of diabetes
- You are a woman with PCOS
- You have an unhealthy lifestyle and do not follow a healthy diet
Bone Density Tests
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens your bones and causes them to become brittle. Bone density tests can determine how strong your bones are. While osteoporosis tends to affect women more often than men, both genders can develop it.
Men and women will also have slightly different screening tests, to test for gender-specific conditions and illnesses.
What’s In A Health Check For Men?
Prostate cancer screening is not part of a general screening test and is usually done for men between the ages of 50 and 70 if they have any high-risk factors, such as
- A family history of prostate cancer
- Unusual symptoms
- Patient concerns
If this is the case you may have a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test performed.
What’s In A Health Check For Women?
Breast Cancer Screening
Women between the ages of 50 and 74 who do not have a family history of breast cancer are recommended to have a mammogram every two years. If you do have a family history of breast cancer, your GP may recommend more frequent testing.
Cervical Cancer Screening
The National Cervical Screening Program is open to women between the ages of 25 and 70. It replaces the previously perform PAP smear test because it detects human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cancer.
What Is A Health Screening: Mental Health
Mental health disorders can be as debilitating as physical health disorders but they may not show such obvious symptoms. It’s always a good idea to discuss your mental health with your GP whenever you are booked for a health screening. While there is a strong genetic component for mental health disorders, they can occur in anyone at any time, and getting treatment sooner rather than later may prevent them from worsening.
To screen your mental health, your general practitioner will ask you about
- Your general mood state and any mood swings
- What your sleep patterns and quality of sleep are like
- Your social habits and relationships
- Whether your eating habits or weight has changed drastically
- Your sexual health
Major life events and changes can affect the state of your mental health. Your doctor may ask more specific questions based on your feedback on the general questions. It’s important that you answer them accurately and honestly.
If you have any questions about what is a health screening or would like assistance in improving your physical, mental or sexual health, please contact us for a convenient appointment: (02) 9884 9300 .
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