Why Do I Need Preventative Health Screenings?

Preventative health screenings are a very important aspect of healthcare. While it’s important to see your doctor when you’re already sick, these screenings can help keep you from falling ill in the first place. Routine screenings can also help your doctor detect any risk factors for a chronic disease you may have, address early signs of these conditions before they worsen, and provide important lifestyle guidance for keeping you as healthy as possible. 

At Gulf West Medical Associates, board-certified internist Dr. Rajesh Dave helps his patients practice preventive healthcare. Read on to learn why preventative screenings are so important.

High blood pressure is a “silent killer”

Routine blood pressure tests could help save your life. Nicknamed a “silent killer,” high blood pressure shows virtually no noticeable symptoms and raises your risk for serious conditions, such as heart disease, heart failure, and stroke. In other words, you may not realize you have high blood pressure levels until you have a cardiac event. In many cases, these events are fatal. Once you know you have high blood pressure, we can help you by recommending lifestyle changes and prescribing any needed medication.

You can address cancer-related risks

Each year, upwards of two million people in the US are diagnosed with cancer and hundreds of thousands don’t survive. Not only can preventative health screenings help determine lifestyle changes you could make to lower your risk for developing various forms of cancer, but early detection of cancer can help your medical team save your life. Cervical cancer, for example, has become significantly less prevalent thanks to Pap smears, which detect precancerous cells. Colonoscopies can help ensure that early signs of colorectal cancers are stopped in their tracks.

Type 2 diabetes is preventable

When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t process glucose, or blood sugar, as it should. This can happen for genetic reasons, particularly in the case of type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, however, can stem largely from lifestyle habits, such as eating an unhealthy diet or skimping on sleep or physical activity.

Having your blood sugar checked, as well as your blood pressure and weight, can help Dr. Dave assess whether or not you have pre-diabetes. This stage can be reversed with appropriate effort. If it turns out that you have full-fledged diabetes, early diagnosis and treatment can go far toward staving off complications.

You can preserve bone strength

Throughout the aging process, your bones get thinner and weaker. If this happens at a high or severe rate, you can gradually develop osteoporosis, a condition marked by brittle bones and a high risk for fractures. 

Maintaining strong bones starts early. If you help your kids increase their peak bone density by 10%, they’ll have a 50% lower risk of osteoporosis later. During adulthood, you can take other steps to ward off the worst of osteoporosis. A bone density screening can help you and Dr. Dave understand and address your risk. Improved eating habits or supplementing your diet to ensure you meet your calcium and vitamin D needs can help, as well as medication.

To learn more about preventative healthcare or schedule a preventative screening, call Gulf West Medical Associates or request an appointment on our website.

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