General

How do I pick the right health screening package and effectively understand my results?

From cholesterol and blood glucose levels to cancer and bone density tests, a health screening provides an overview of your health.

In today’s fast-paced world, prioritising your health is paramount, regardless of age. While it is natural to feel wary of what a health check might reveal, it offers a crucial window into your well-being, enabling early detection and prevention of potential health issues.

Dr Leong Shu Yee of the Alvernia Health Screening Centre offers insights into selecting suitable health screening packages, understanding the results, and the next steps.

What a Health Screening Package Entails
A comprehensive health screening package includes various crucial tests and assessments that collectively provide a comprehensive overview of an individual’s health status. These include:

Blood Pressure
Essential for assessing cardiovascular health. High blood pressure is a silent but critical risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Cholesterol Profile
Helps determine heart disease risk. High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with plaque buildup in the arteries.

Blood Glucose Test
Vital for early diabetes detection

Body Mass Index (BMI) Measurement
Assesses weight-related health, highlighting potential risks associated with obesity or underweight conditions.

Cancer Screenings
Depending on age and gender, these may include mammograms (breast cancer), pap smears (cervical cancer), and colonoscopies (colorectal cancer). Early cancer detection significantly improves survival rates.

Liver and Kidney Function Tests
Monitor vital organ health, and identify conditions like liver disease or kidney dysfunction.

Bone Density Scans
Crucial for detecting osteoporosis, especially relevant for postmenopausal women and the elderly.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)
Checks for abnormalities in heart rhythm and function, aiding in the early detection of heart conditions.

Ultrasound
A versatile diagnostic tool that uses sound waves instead of radiation to create images of internal structures in the body.

Other Specific Tests
Depending on individual risk factors, additional tests such as thyroid function tests or prostate-specific antigen tests may be included.

Selecting a package

When choosing a screening package, Dr Leong advises individuals to consider the following factors to ensure that your health assessment aligns with your specific needs.

  • Age and gender: Different life stages have varying health risks. For instance, older individuals might prioritise cardiovascular or cancer screenings.
  • Family History: Genetic predispositions play a significant role in health. If your family has a history of conditions such as heart disease or cancer, opt for screenings for these.
  • Lifestyle and Habits: Lifestyle choices like smoking, diet, physical activity and alcohol consumption, greatly impact health. Align your tests with these factors.
  • Health Goals: Determine your health objectives. Whether it is disease prevention, condition management, or overall well-being, let these goals guide your test choices.

How to interpret your results

The dreaded outcome of a health screening is seeing numbers that fall outside the optimal range in the various numerical values and metrics in the report. Dr Leong acknowledges these may be challenging for some to interpret.

She recommends first to discuss risk factors with your doctor as these may influence the results and guide you in preventive measures. You can also consult a specialist to get a more accurate diagnosis of a result and your doctor can provide more context and recommend further testing if necessary.

Dont’t focus on values in isolation. Instead, look for trends in your results over time to identify significant changes.
– Dr Leong

Finally, she suggests having a discussion with a healthcare provider to talk about treatment options and lifestyle changes to meet specific needs and objectives

Early detection is key

Some might choose to forgo health screenings as they are fearful of discovering abnormalities. Reassuringly, not all abnormalities indicate serious health problems.
On the other hand, it is important to note that while false positives and overdiagnosis are possible, the benefits of early detection far outweigh these concerns.

Lifestyle and preventive health recommendations

Apart from test results, a health screening report usually contains recommendations for the individual to improve their overall health and prevent future issues. These include adjusting one’s diet and nutrition, increasing exercise, managing stress, cutting down on smoking and drinking as well as staying up-to-date with vaccinations.

It is important to work with a healthcare provider to integrate these recommendations into a personalised daily plan so individuals can proactively address their health and well-being.

Making your health screening work for you

Selecting an appropriate health screening package involves careful consideration of personal factors, understanding the package components, interpreting results with professional guidance, addressing common concerns, and embracing preventive measures as recommended in the reports. This proactive approach to health screening empowers individuals to take charge of their well-being and detect potential health issues early, contributing to healthier lives.

The Alvernia Health Screening Centre offers a range of health screening packages that can be customised to your needs. To find out more, call 6347 6215, Whatsapp 9819 1303 or email [email protected] to find out more.