Being Risk Averse: GET SCREENED
A Quick Glance
- Health screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Screening tests can find diseases early, when they’re easier to treat.
- We need these because diseases like cancer and heart disease don’t show symptoms early in their development.
- America is not well screened. Currently, only 8% of individuals who are over 35 are up-to-date on all of their recommended screenings.
- Covid has made screening rates even worse. At the peak of the pandemic, screening rates were 90% lower than pre-pandemic levels.
- This will have huge implications as more cases will be detected later – leading to more deaths and higher medical costs.
- Screenings are free when you meet the criteria and are covered by insurance.
- Determining eligibility for a screening is complicated and confusing.
- RESOURCES: Check out all of our assessments that assess your risk for a condition and determine if you are eligible for a screening!
What are Health Screenings?
According to MedlinePlus, “health screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Screening tests can find diseases early, when they’re easier to treat.” Unfortunately, a number of the deadliest conditions affecting society today often do not display symptoms when they are at their earliest stage (i.e. cancer, diabetes, heart disease.) This makes it hard for you to identify, or feel, when something is actually wrong until it progresses to a much larger issue – when survival rates are low and treatment costs are high.
That is okay though, as we have invented a number ways to proactively test for these conditions and detect them at earlier stages. The key is to stay up-to-date on screening recommendations and in regular contact with your doctor to ensure not tests are missed. The best way to do this is to attend your annually recommended wellness visit with a Primary Care Physician.
Now, we get it. Going to see the doctor is a pain and can be inconvenient, but its totally worth it and I am about to tell you why.
What Makes Regular Screenings Worth it?
1 . They Can Literally Save Your Life!
I really am not being overdramatic here. Regular screenings have prevented stage IV cancer diagnosis, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and so much more. Getting screened when recommended is truly a matter of life and death.,
2 . They're Free! (with health insurance)
What’s better than free stuff? Free stuff that can save your life. One of the major deterrents of individuals to seek medical care is fear of high costs, but there are actually a number of procedures in place that can support you throughout your life to stay healthy and keep costs way down. Proper utilization of these benefits is the best way to keep yourself medically happy and healthy!
According to healthcare.gov, the following tests must be covered at no cost to you:
- Blood Pressure Check (Heart/Kidney Health)
- Cholesterol Check (Heart Health)
- Blood Sugar Check (Diabetes)
- Bone Mineral Density (Osteoporosis)
- Colonoscopy/DNA Stool Test (Colorectal Cancer)
- Lung CT for Heavy Smokers (Lung Cancer)
- Prostate Exam (Prostate Cancer)
- Mammogram (Breast Cancer)
- Pap Smear (Cervical Cancer)
- Depression/Anxiety Screening (Mental Illness)
- Substance Misuse Screening (Addiction)
- Annual Wellness Visit
- Nutrition Assessment/Counseling
- Sexual Health Screening (STIs)
Many People are Missing Out on Screening Services
Some eye-opening statistics to paint a picture of the state of screening services in America:
The above statistics are certainly disappointing, but not all of the blame can be put on the patients themselves. There are a TON of barriers preventing people from receiving treatment, including transportation, language barriers, and limited medical literacy. It is hard to do what you’re supposed to when it is not very clear what to do…
These numbers are a few years old. New metrics are coming out since the start of Covid…care to guess the type of impact Covid has had on screenings?
Covid Strikes Again - Impact of Covid on Health Screenings
At the peak of the pandemic, cancer screenings were down as much as 90%. Although the numbers have rebounded as the pandemic progressed, there is still room for improvement, as screening rates are still as low as 44% less than to pre-pandemic levels.
These decreases in screenings are going to be felt for years to come with later stage diagnoses leading to lower survival rates and higher medical costs. Now that we know missing screenings is bad and covid has caused further hiccups, what exactly is the implication of missing your recommended screenings.
Health Screenings = Awesome
Breast Cancer 5-Year Survival
Colorectal Cancer 5-Year Survival
Just two examples of how much a game changer screenings can be when executed properly. Hard to argue with an increased chance in survival of over 50%! Remember the reason that screenings are so important is these early, localized stages, are often asymptomatic. Therefore, to detect these at this stage, you pretty much HAVE to be screened. So who should be screened?
Determining Who is Eligible for a Screening
Unfortunately, this is not always black and white. The screenings mentioned above set criteria that you must meet in order for the screening to be covered. Examples of this criteria include age, gender, family history, tobacco use, diet, and many more factors.
To make things more complicated, each condition has different criteria (different age ranges, # of family members that had the condition) due to their different origins. So, you need to be able to remember the criteria for blood work, blood pressure, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, mental health screenings, as well as some more….that’s a lot to ask, no?
Let me add another layer to this equation. On top of the conditions having different factors required for screenings, not all health plans follow the same screening criteria so you need to also know the criteria specific to your insurance…WOOF.
Don’t worry, we make it easier for you in the next section!
Check your Risk and Screening Status
We have compiled all factors in your life that research have identified as affecting your risk for each of the conditions and compiled them into assessments. By taking in this information, we are able to assess your risk and if you are due for a screening in as little as one minute! Do yourself a favor…Take An Assessment. Get Checked. Live Free.
One More Health Screening Resource From us to You
Don’t want to take an assessment, but want to expand your knowledge on cancers, chronic conditions or mental health? Look no further than our Guide to Understanding Chronic Disease
Your Guide to Understanding Chronic Diseases
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