When it comes to our health, we’d all like to think that we do a good job of looking after our bodies, however, many of us are also guilty of avoiding routine medical tests that can help diagnose potentially dangerous conditions early on. Find out what the medical tests we need to stop postponing are – how many are you guilty of putting off?
Blood Pressure Check
With high blood pressure being the third biggest risk factor for diseases in the UK – behind smoking and obesity – it’s important that you have your blood pressure regularly checked. While hypertension is a significant risk factor, a regular blood pressure check will also be able to diagnose if you suffer from low blood pressure, which can cause lightheadedness and fatigue. Once you are over the age of 40, it’s recommended that you have your blood pressure checked every 5 years, but you can start measuring your blood pressure at home even earlier, using a digital blood pressure monitor.
Hearing tests are often forgotten about when it comes to the medical tests we’re all guilty of avoiding. Like many other check-ups, getting your hearing checked regularly can help you identify any issues before they worsen. To get the most from your hearing test, make sure that you have a baseline test in your early 20s so that this can be used to monitor any changes when compared against later test results. With many pharmacies and opticians now offering a free hearing test, there’s no excuse to not have your hearing checked.
Many of us make the mistake of not visiting our dentist until something is wrong, but regular check-ups and dental hygienist appointments serve as vital preventative measures. These appointments can often spot problems before you realise they are even there, screening for everything from periodontal disease to oral cancer.
The thought of a pelvic exam makes most women squirm but a few minutes of discomfort could save your life. With around 1 in 20 of cervical screening tests coming back with abnormal results, the earlier you have yourself checked the better. Cervical screening is typically offered for women aged 25 and over, so if you haven’t had your first cervical screening test yet and are aged 25 it’s recommended that you make an appointment for one.
A lipid profile is used to measure the lipoproteins in your blood. We all carry two types of lipoprotein, although you probably know them by their common names as ”good” and “bad” cholesterol. There’s plenty of evidence to indicate that high cholesterol increases the risk of dangerous conditions such as coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, along with increasing the odds of you having a stroke or a heart attack.
Regular eye exams are important not only to check that your eyes are healthy but also because symptoms for a variety of underlying conditions can be diagnosed by a routine eye test, long before you present any noticeable symptoms. High cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes are just a few of the condition that can be detected during an eye exam, meaning that you can have them diagnosed and treated much earlier if you are affected. Having regular eye exams is especially important as we age because our eyesight tends to worsen over time. You should also make sure that you have your eyes regularly tested if you have diabetes or have a family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration.
Breast Cancer Screening
With new research estimating that, on average, 1 in 2 people will receive a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives, regular screening is vital for an early diagnosis. Thankfully, breast cancer can often be caught in the early stages thanks to regular breast cancer screenings, also known as mammograms. As the risk factors for breast cancer increase with age, it’s especially important that you attend your regular screenings once you receive your letter from your GP inviting you to do so.