A health screening test is a medical examination conducted on individuals who show no symptoms of a particular disease in order to determine their likelihood of having it. While we often associate screening with early cancer diagnosis, like Pap smears for cervical cancer or colonoscopy for colon cancer, there are various other tests commonly used. For instance, newborns are screened for congenital hypothyroidism using thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), cholesterol levels are checked for heart disease, urine drug screens are performed to detect illicit drug use, and blood pressure is measured to identify hypertension. Some screening tests are carried out on a large portion of the population, like all adults over 50, while others target a smaller subset, such as pregnant women. In India, many screening tests are widely utilized, and healthcare providers agree that early diagnosis of a life-threatening illness with an effective treatment is beneficial.
A doctor/ physician recommends screening for the following common conditions:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Obesity and overweight
- Cervical cancer screening in women
- Breast Cancer screening
- Colorectal cancer screening
- Prostate cancer screening in men
Medical professionals provide health screening exams for medical conditions based on the following requirements:
- The medical condition is a significant public health issue that is prevalent enough to justify the expense of screening for a specific population.
- It has a substantial impact on a person’s quality of life and longevity.
- A viable treatment option is available.
- There is an early stage of the illness when a person would not experience symptoms, but identifying and treating it would greatly enhance long-term outcomes.
- A cost-effective and straightforward screening examination is available.
Screenings refer to medical tests that are conducted to detect illnesses even before they manifest any symptoms. These tests are beneficial because they can identify diseases in their early stages, making them easier to manage. While some screenings can be performed in your doctor’s office, others require specialized equipment, which may necessitate a visit to a different facility. The type of screening tests you require depend on several factors, including your age, gender, family medical history, and presence of risk factors for certain illnesses. It is essential to inquire about the expected time of receiving the results after undergoing a screening test and the medical professional to consult for further guidance.
The main idea conveyed is that screening guidelines differ and it is crucial to consult your general physician about the suitability of various screening tests. Dr. Ananda Sagari suggests that your doctor will evaluate your individual risk factors and suggest the most relevant screenings based on your age and overall health condition.