Regular health checks and screenings are one of the most important investments you can make to ensure good health. Routine examinations, especially if you’re a high-risk candidate, enable early detection of conditions or health problems, many of which can be hereditary, age-related or gender-specific. Discover what essential health checks you need to prioritise as Bloom Financial Services, along with trusted medical partner, Momentum Health4Me, discuss the recommended medical evaluations and must-have health check-ups for overall and specific well-being.
The importance of early disease detection
Regular health checks include procedures like comprehensive health examinations, and medical tests, like cholesterol or blood pressure assessments. There are also certain types of screenings, like prostate checks and mammograms. These health checks provide comprehensive evaluations of one’s health, in specific areas. By prioritising check-ups, you can identify health risks and take preventative measures to lead a healthier lifestyle. If a serious health problem is detected, you can enter into a treatment management plan, which improves your recovery outcome, potentially saving your life and reducing the impact of the disease. If a physician were to detect cancerous lumps in a woman’s breast during a mammogram, they could have an elective mastectomy, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
The most important health checks for children and teenagers
The recommended health check-ups for children and teenagers, along with their age and frequency thereof, are dependent on their circumstances and health risks. If unsure, it’s best to consult with a trained paediatrician. Some of the standard health checks are:
- Developmental screening. This is done to assess a child’s growth and milestone achievements, including physical, mental and social skills. The tests can help identify developmental delays or disorders early so that caregivers can provide their children with the support they need to overcome or manage the condition. Screenings are conducted from infancy to school age.
- Vision and hearing. These tests will evaluate a child’s visual and auditory abilities. If any problems are detected, like hearing impairment, early detection will allow for timely intervention. Vision screening starts a birth and hearing at 4-18 years.
- Scoliosis screening. This test checks for an abnormal spinal curvature and is typically conducted at ages 10-14. Early detection can allow for intervention techniques, like bracing or surgery, which can minimise the impact of the spine’s curve.
- Dental check-ups. This is critical for maintaining good oral health. Dentists can monitor tooth development, treat cavities, and identify any serious dental issues early so that preventative care or interventions can be taken, like fitting a child with braces. Dental checks are recommended annually from the age of one.
- Mental health screening. Assessing a child’s emotional well-being can help identify any potential concerns such as mental disorders or behavioural issues, like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Left untreated, these issues could severely impact a child’s quality of life or school performance.
The most important health checks for adults
The following medical check-ups are recommended for adults. However, the ages and frequencies may vary based on individual personal risk factors and family health history. Some of the standard health check-ups include:
- Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure checks will monitor your cardiovascular health. It’s best to start annual screenings at the age of 18.
- Cholesterol level. This will help assess your risk for heart disease. Cholesterol testing should begin at the age of 20 and be repeated every four years.
- Body Mass Index (BMI). This is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. Obesity has been linked to several serious health complications. A BMI calculation should be conducted on an annual basis from the age of 18.
- Blood glucose testing. This is done to test for diabetes. Adults should begin blood glucose testing from the age of 45 or earlier, depending on additional risk factors, like being overweight or having a poor diet.
- Colorectal screening. Colorectal cancer, or bowel cancer, is a malignant growth of cells in the colon or rectum. This type of cancer starts off as abnormal growths in the inner lining of the large intestine. If left untreated, these polyps develop into tumours. Screenings for colorectal cancer can be done through a stool test or a colonoscopy. It’s recommended that adults start screening at 45 years of age.
- Bone density test. This health check assesses bone health and your risk for osteoporosis. Men and women aged 65 and older should undergo regular testing.
Gender-specific health screenings: who should get checked?
Gender-specific medical check-ups are tailored to address specific health problems that are unique to either women or men. The frequency and age of these checks are also dependent on personal risk factors and personal circumstances.
Important health checks all women should get
- Pap smear. These screenings are critical for the detection of cervical cancer. Women should start having an annual pap smear at the age of 21.
- Mammogram. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa, 1 in 27 women are anticipated to develop the disease in their lifetime. Mammograms are recommended for early detection. Women should start having these health checks from the age of 40 every two to three years.
- Thyroid functioning. The thyroid impacts your metabolism, including weight management, menstrual cycle and other bodily functions. A blood test will screen for thyroid hormone levels. This check-up is used to detect any abnormalities, and screening is recommended every five years, starting at 35.
Important health checks all men should get
- Diabetes screening. Men with high blood pressure and other risk factors, like obesity, should be tested for diabetes from the age of 45.
- Testicular exam. Testicular self-exams are important for identifying any abnormalities, like lumps or swellings, that could be related to testicular cancer. If you identify any concerns, consult your GP immediately.
- Prostate screening. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests and digital rectal exams are used to detect prostate cancer. Screenings should start no later than age 50, or earlier for high-risk candidates. Discover more about Common men’s health issues you should know about.
Get preventative healthcare benefits with a health insurance plan
Bloom supports a healthy lifestyle. Members are encouraged to prioritise their health by taking preventative care in the form of regular recommended health check-ups. Early detection of risk factors or health problems supports a good recovery outcome or management plan. Ensure that you’re covered for preventative care measures with a health insurance plan. Contact our offices to speak with a consultant. We can discuss your options that suit both your individual needs and your budget.