Health screenings are medical tests performed to check for health conditions and diseases before they show any symptoms. The goal of screening is early disease detection and surveillance to reduce the risk of illness. When a disease is detected early, treatment is easier and more effective. Health screening tests are not part of diagnostic testing. Instead, they are used to identify a population subset that should receive additional testing to confirm or rule out the presence of disease.
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
The Role and Types of Health Screening
If you get a negative result (normal) after a screening test, it means your level of risk of contracting the condition or illness you were screened for is low. This, however, does not mean that you will or can never develop that particular condition in the future, only that you are currently at low risk. Getting a positive result (higher-risk result) means you could have the condition you were being tested for. A positive result means you will be subjected to further tests (diagnostic tests) to confirm (or rule out) the condition. If approved, you will be offered advice, treatment, and support.
Diagnostic tests are to find out what could be the cause of specific symptoms. On the other hand, screening is done in populations who are not ill and with no signs. Screenings are essential as they help find health problems early on, and getting the recommended screenings is a good health strategy for long-term wellbeing. Several critical tests should be routinely performed to rule out disease.
All adults, according to the American Diabetes Association, should be screened for prediabetes or diabetes starting at the age of 45 years. And it does not matter how much the individual weighs. It is particularly critical to be screened if you are obese or overweight or predisposed to one or more other diabetes risk factors.
The Pap test or pap smear is a necessary test for sexually active women below age 65. Pap smears are cell samples taken from the woman’s cervix and can find cancer at its very early stage, often when it has no symptoms. However, if the results are abnormal (positive), that doesn’t necessarily mean cervical cancer is present. Therefore, further diagnostic tests become necessary.
A cholesterol screening test is performed at the clinic through a blood test. Individuals with high cholesterol measurements are at a higher risk of getting the cardiovascular disease than people with normal cholesterol measurements.
The fecal occult screening checks for the presence of blood in the stool. The test entails observing the stool samples under the microscope. Blood in the stool could be an indication of cancerous growth, a potential sign of colorectal cancer.
When to get screened and how often may depend on several factors such as your risk factors, age, gender, and health status. In some cases, the testing is part of the routine medical checkup, but the doctor may recommend specific screening tests. Talk with your health provider if you are considering a screening test. That is an opportunity to learn more about the condition, the procedure to be followed, and how the screening might help you. You also get to know what additional diagnostic testing and follow-up may be required if you get positive results.
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