How to conduct lifestyle screening

Lifestyle screening has become popular all over the world as a method of being able to monitor a person’s lifestyle and recommend lifestyle change to benefit the person’s overall quality of life and, hopefully, to add to their quality of life.

There is, however, one area of debate about health screening. This is that certain types of screenings can lead to ‘false reassurance’. What this means is that a person – who has a screening – may gain the impression that they have a clean bill of health if no risk factors have been uncovered. As a consequence of this, they may choose to pay less attention to their health overall and, in addition, lead a less healthy lifestyle than they would otherwise have done.

Lifestyle screening for men

On average, men die six to eight years earlier than women do – most of the time from preventable health conditions.

Cholesterol

If you are older than 40, it is generally recommended that you have your cholesterol tested annually. If you smoke, suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease is in your family speak to your doctor about regularly monitoring your cholesterol. Unfortunately, we are seeing increasing numbers of young people with obesity. In this case, you must also be testing your cholesterol levels.

Hypertension

Also called high blood pressure, hypertension is a condition which presents without symptoms. High blood pressure is just a number in a machine however it can be an early sign of a number of more serious illnesses which is why you should get it checked regularly.

Colon cancer

If you don’t have a history of colon cancer that is present in your family, you can wait until you turn 50 to being colon cancer screening. However, if you do have a history of colon cancer in the family talk to your doctor about scheduling a colonoscopy.

Diabetes

If you have high cholesterol or, alternatively, high blood pressure, you should also be regularly tested for diabetes. This is a simple blood test. Those who have large bellies are at risk for diabetes.

Lifestyle screening for women

Women do usually live longer than men. However, the social demands on women today are far more stressful than they used to be years ago due to the economic climate and having to juggle home life with their careers.

Overweight and obesity

The best method to learn if you are overweight or obese is to get your body mass index (BMI). You can get your BMI by entering your height and weight into a BMI calculator:

  • A BMI from 18.5 to 25 indicates a normal weight
  • A BMI of 30 and above may indicate that you are obese

If you are obese, according to the BMI, talk to your doctor or nutritionist about seeking intensive counselling and help with changing your behaviour to lose weight. Overweight and obesity can lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Thyroid (TSH) test

Discuss with your health-care professional if you need to take one of these tests.

Breast cancer

Ask your health-care team if a mammogram is right for you based on your age, family history, overall health and personal concerns.

Cervical cancer

You need to have a pap smear between one and three years if you are between 21 and 65 years old and have been sexually active. If you are older than 65, and your recent pap smears were normal, you do not need a pap smear. In addition, if you have had a hysterectomy for a reason than cancer, you do not need a pap smear.

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