What is a Health Screening?
Health screenings are medical appointments that use a combination of tests, physical examinations, and other medical procedures for the early detection of various health conditions.
A health screening is for everyone. Doing a health screening package has important long-term benefits – it serves as a preventive measure, helping to detect illnesses even before you have symptoms in the early stages. The earlier medical conditions are detected, the faster you can receive the appropriate treatment, and the better your chances are of making a full recovery.
Who are Health Screenings For?
Health screenings are important for everyone regardless of gender, age, or health status, as they can pick up signs of illness or disease, even when people are not displaying clear signs and symptoms.
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Why Are Health Screenings So Important? Why Should I Go To a Health Screening?
Even if you are healthy and not displaying any symptoms of illness or disease, you may still have an underlying condition that you are not aware of. Early detection, treatment, and control result in a better chance of a fast recovery and lowers the risk of experiencing any serious side-effects. If you are at a high risk of developing certain conditions, screenings can determine your risk level and help you develop a plan to make necessary changes to reduce these risks.
Types of Health Screening Packages in Singapore
Health screening packages usually involve tests aimed at the detection of common illnesses (e.g. diabetes).
In Singapore, the basic package for health screenings usually consists of:
- A comprehensive health assessment
- Physical examinations
- Blood glucose testing
- Blood cholesterol testing
- Blood pressure testing
Your risk of developing certain conditions often increases as you age – below is a list of the conditions you are recommended to be screened for at certain ages.
At this age, the most important screenings to receive are screenings for high blood pressure and heart disease. It is also important for women to start doing pap smears in order to check for signs of cervical cancer.
Being at a relatively younger age does not make you immune to high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Your personal risk is elevated if you are:
- A smoker
- Obese or overweight
- Genetically disposed to heart disease or diabetes
When you reach your 40s you should be attending screenings for diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, and cancer.
Diabetes is often hard to detect early. Regardless of your health status, you should attend a diabetes screening every 3 years to ensure that if necessary, you can receive the right treatment at the right time to avoid potentially dangerous side effects and complications.
The risk of various cancer diagnoses increases from the age of 40 onwards. You should start attending cancer screenings at this age, particularly if you have any family history of cancer.
Women should continue to take cervical cancer screenings.
At the age of 50, your risk of colorectal and breast (for women) cancer increases. It is important to be screened for these regularly. They are more treatable when detected early.
Early-stage breast cancer shows little to no noticeable symptoms, so it is important to not only carry out your monthly breast self-examination – you should also start attending mammograms. These are effective in detecting lumps that can’t be felt by hand. You should attend a mammogram every two years.
Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in Singapore, You have a higher risk if you have:
- A family history of colon or rectum cancer
- A history of colon polyps
- A history of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- A smoking habit or high-fat diet
You should also continue to attend screenings for cardiovascular diseases and other cancers if you have a family history, and women should continue with HPV and cervical cancer screenings.
How Often Should I Go For a Health Screening?
Health screenings help early detection and treatment of illnesses, encouraging better medical results. Your age, family history, and risk factors all influence your need for health screenings – ask for advice from a healthcare professional to determine what is right for you.
Generally, it is advised that you do not need to attend a screening when you are below 18 years of age. When you move through adulthood, you should start to attend health screening appointments on a regular basis.