What could be better for your general health than starting a new year by doing a health test? While diagnostic tests are often done to determine what’s causing specific symptoms, screening tests (1) are done on people who don’t feel ill. Health testing or screening tests aim to detect diseases at an early stage. That is before you can have any symptoms; this way, you can treat an infection much earlier.
It only makes sense to treat diseases at an early stage compared to later on. It even increases the chances of beating most of these ailments. There are a variety of screening tests that exist.
Opportunistic screening involves visiting a doctor for a specific ailment, and while at your doctor’s office, your doctor recommends another test done. Of course, most of these tests are voluntary, and your doctor won’t force you to take them, but they will highly advise you to take them. For example, in Germany, women aged 50-69 get mammography to screen for breast cancer.
Not all tests look for disease; some health tests detect the risk factors for specific conditions.
Can a Health Test Prevent Diseases?
The main point of doing a health test is mainly “preventative”. Even though a health test can’t prevent disease, it can help you recognize a condition you might develop, helping you treat it or take preventative measures, so it doesn’t advance. A doctor will help you find ways to prevent further development of the disease or recommend treatment. Generally, seeing the condition in its early stages dramatically helps treat it easily.
Common conditions to screen for
Vitamin D test
Vitamin D deficiency is quite common and dangerous for your health. Its deficiency could lead to rickets in children (2). Rickets is a disease that causes children
to have weak and soft bones. Your body needs vitamin D so that it can use calcium and phosphorus to build bones.
Adults with severe vitamin D deficiency often suffer from osteomalacia, which causes weak bones, muscle weakness, and bone pain. Insufficient Vitamin D in the body can also lead to osteoporosis (3) and broken bones in adults. A lack of calcium absorption causes osteoporosis due to inadequate vitamin D in the body.
Research (4) has also connected vitamin D deficiency to other significant illnesses like; diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and autoimmune conditions (like multiple sclerosis). To prevent all these problems, it is necessary to take a vitamin D deficiency test to know the way forward with your doctor’s advice.
The role of your healthy kidney (5) is to remove excess fluids and waste from the blood. When checking for kidney function, you wil need to partake in a blood or urine test or both. These tests help detect how well your kidneys are doing their job of getting rid of waste quickly. A urine test can also see whether your kidneys are leaking abnormal amounts of protein which means they are damaged.
A damaged kidney can lead to gout, anemia (6), metabolic acidosis, secondary hypothyroidism, heart disease, bone disease, high potassium, and fluid buildup (water retention, which could lead to swelling limbs). Kidney failures often occur when your body can’t sufficiently filter waste. Your kidney health could be interfered with by many factors like;
- Acute or chronic diseases
- Some types of medication
- Toxic exposure to environmental pollutants
- Kidney trauma
- Severe dehydration
Liver function test
Liver function tests help diagnose and monitor liver disease or liver damage. A liver function test screens for liver infractions like hepatitis, monitor the progression of a disease, measures the severity, and monitors the side effects of medications.
Your liver’s role is related to metabolism, detoxification of waste, and energy storage. The liver helps you digest food, store it, and convert it to energy. The liver also filters out toxic substances from the bloodstream.
There is a multitude of diseases that could lead to liver damage. These include;
- Hepatitis (7): A viral liver infection that causes inflammation and prevents the liver from functioning as it usually does.
- Fatty liver disease: Caused by the buildup of fats in your liver caused mainly by excessive alcohol consumption.
- Autoimmune conditions: These involve your immune system mistakenly attacking healthy cells in your liver like primary biliary cirrhosis.
- Cancer: Liver cancer could damage your liver. But you can also suffer frm secondary cancer, where cancer moves from another part of the body to your liver.
- Cirrhosis: Normally, the liver regenerates after its damage except when you have cirrhosis which is common in people with cystic fibrosis, syphilis, and liver damage. These diseases cause cirrhosis which leads to scars on your liver, preventing it from functioning correctly.
A health test is a necessary measure to help you recognize possible sicknesses in your body and treat them before they become terminal or dire. The above tests are good for starters as you keep checking your body for other possible ailments. Health testing is even easier as there are available home testing kits you can order online.
Starting the year with a health test is a great way to go about the rest of the year. No one wants to find themselves with a terminal illness when it’s too late. It is better to make lifestyle changes or start using medications recommended by your doctor before the disease completely takes over your body, sometimes causing irreversible effects. For example, a study (8) shows that discovering breast cancer early on improves the chances of survival upto 100%.