Ageing is a natural phenomenon and an inevitable truth of every individual’s life. Owing to the fact that nutrition, lifestyle, economic status, and socio-economic factors affect the process of aging, each person experiences unique changes that are associated with it.
Age-related degenerative diseases, including those of Gastro-intestinal tract, Central Nervous system, hormonal imbalances and sensory degeneration, and the high risk of an attack of infections increases the burden on an aging body to stay healthy. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative to subscribe to preventive health checkups available in abundance for the senior citizens of the society.
Preventive health checkups are different from basic health checkups, in that it provides a deeper insight of the status of the body. Besides conducting tests and sharing the reports, preventive health check-up programs involves a team of expert doctors, consultants and counselors, who provide unparalleled guidance to the probable problems and outcomes of the tests, and the available solutions to them.
How are the preventive health checkups done?
Preventive health checkup usually consists of two steps.
– In this step, the medical practitioner looks for signs and symptoms of a disease, based on which certain screening tests are recommended to the patient. The results of a screening test are considered to be “positive” if signs of the disease are found, and ”negative” if no signs of the disease are found.
– The second step involves undertaking more sensitive tests to provide accuracy to the diagnosis. This is only done if the first step reveals any abnormal findings.
Are preventive health examinations worth the extra effort and time?
According to a study conducted, General Health checks did not reduce morbidity or mortality, neither overall nor for cardiovascular or cancer causes. However, they increased the number of new diagnoses.
Research says that the percentage of patients opting for preventive health checkups and subsequent screenings was about three times higher than those opting for basic health checkups. This led to the timely diagnosis of life-threatening diseases like cancer.
Ailments that arise during the later stages of the life may threaten the longevity of a person. A preventive health checkup program, thus, promises to indicate any probable risk of a disease at an early stage. This ensures a timely treatment, without any further delay.
How reliable are the preventive health checkups?
The screening tests performed as a part of the preventive health check-up programs does not necessarily “prevent” a disease. It, rather, points towards the percentage of the risk factor associated with an illness.
A screening program can only be considered to be a “preventive” measure since it aims to determine and analyze any risk factors or detect and treat any abnormal changes that could later develop into a disease.
An example of this is endoscopy of a bowel, which makes it possible to detect and remove any intestinal polyps, quite common in elderly. The existence of any such polyps could lead to probable cancer during the later stages of life.
Mortality rate due to age-related life-threatening diseases can, therefore, be reduced by timely diagnosis and treatment, thus, reducing the pace of ongoing degenerative process in the body in a healthy manner.