Singer Taylor Swift famously presented her mum with an overall health screen check appointment as a seasonal gift in 2015. When the results came back they gave an early diagnosis of cancer. This early diagnosis ensured an early treatment plan and an increased chance of fighting the disease.
At the time, Swift said, “Your parents may be too busy juggling everything they’ve got going on to go to the doctor, and maybe you remind them to get checked, which could possibly lead to an early diagnosis and an easier battle. Or it could just give you peace of mind knowing that they’re healthy and there’s nothing to worry about.”
Spotting the first signs of any condition will help to ensure a quicker and more successful recovery. Some of the most aggressive conditions are deemed “silent” in the medical profession, as they present subtle symptoms that are harder to detect. The only way to check that these symptoms aren’t a sign of something more serious is to get a routine health assessment. As a reminder as we approach Mother’s day on 26 March, top parenting bloggers offer their views on what it means to get a routine health check.
Tayla Stone, founder of top 1% parenting blog Motherhood: the Real Deal, says, “Knowledge is power, and I think most of us have no idea—or even have the time to think about what shape we are really in… I actually ended up discovering that I had pre-cancerous cells in my thyroid a few years back just from a health check I decided to have, which was really forced upon me by my partner, and thank goodness I did or life could have been very different now.”
London-based Highgate Private Hospital recently launched its own health screening service for both men and women designed to both reassure and determine the onset or future risk of developing diseases, enabling early treatment or preventative measures to be taken.
Diana Von Retting, founder of Hampstead Mums, the largest community resource for parents in the Hampstead NW3 area, says, “We should embrace the opportunity for health screenings as a preventative measure—we can’t look after others properly if we aren’t well ourselves”.
Here, Highgate Private Hospital provides a guide to what you should expect from a health screen service:
Who will benefit the most from a health screening?
A health screening is of benefit to everyone, regardless of medical history, age or vulnerability. There are of course, however, some people who would benefit from more regular screening, and these include:
• Anyone over the age of 50
• Those with a determined genetic risk factor for a disease
• Those who are starting a new physical regime or event
• Those who have experienced severe or prolonged stress
• Women who have just had a baby
What to expect
When the patient arrives the GP will explain the procedures to the patient before carrying out some basic tests. After the basic tests, the GP will take a full medical history, discuss your diet and lifestyle, and will then complete your examination.
Upon completion of all the tests, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled for the GP to discuss all the results and provide a written report with recommendations.
How long does it take?
The whole process will take approximately one and a half to two hours.
You will need to fast for approximately 8-10 hours prior to the scheduled screening. This means you shouldn’t eat or drink anything other than water during this time. Fasting is to ensure your blood-glucose and cholesterol levels are accurate.
What types of test are included in the health screen?
For each assessment, the standard measurements and tests included will consist of:
− Height/Weight measurements
− Body mass index (BMI)
− General examination of the heart
− Blood pressure examination
− General examination of the lungs
− General examination of the abdomen
− Breast or testicular physical examination (including advice on self-examination)
− A urine analysis
− Blood tests to help detect diabetes
− Kidney function test
− Liver function test
− Thyroid function test
− Chlamydia examination
− Abdominal ultrasound (to help detect abnormalities of the blood vessels)
− Prostate cancer screen (for over 40s males only)
− Cervical smear and HPV test (to detect the presence of a virus linked to cervical cancer) (for all women)
− Cholesterol and lipid blood tests (to help assess the risk of heart disease and strokes)
− Ovarian cancer blood test and ultrasound