Preventive care is an important aspect of health care. With preventive screenings and annual exams, it is easier for patients to avoid illness and stay healthy. Some preventive screenings may seem pointless or a waste of time, but these tests are set in place for a reason, to keep patients healthy and aware of their health.

Cancer and age related preventive screenings are important, and we hope that most patients take them seriously and stay up-to-date on these exams. But other screenings that don’t check for life changing health problems may be a little less important in the patient’s eye.

At Integrative Health, we understand the importance of these regular screenings and we want our patients to understand as well. Things like blood pressure, fitness assessments, and even depression should be regularly monitored and checked on, especially as we age. But many people do not see the importance in these screenings. That is why in this blog we will be going over some of these screenings and why they are important to get regularly.

Blood Pressure

For those who are unsure what blood pressure is actually measuring, Blood Pressure UK gives a simple explanation. Basically, when your heart pumps it sends blood around your body. This blood pushes against the sides of your blood vessels and the strength at which it pushes is your blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure is the more strain it puts on arteries and your heart, which can cause problems.

An ideal blood pressure is a top number, or systolic number, between 90 and 120 and a low number, or diastolic number, between 60 and 80. Anything over 140 and 90 is beginning to hit the high blood pressure status. The American Heart Association states that blood pressure is on of the most important screenings. This is because high blood pressure doesn’t offer any obvious symptoms that make it detectable, meaning a screening is the only way to know for sure if you have unhealthy blood pressure.  

Having high blood pressure is dangerous because it greatly increases your chance of heart disease and stroke. Getting regular blood pressure screenings allows for you to treat the problem before it worsens. This can be as simple as lifestyle changes, but may also require medication. If you have high blood pressure, you will want to get a check-up at least once a year, but your doctor may suggest getting checked more often. Check out this Healthline article to learn more about blood pressure and some preventive measures.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is made by your body and is used to build cells, along with other things. When it comes to cholesterol, you have a good and a bad. The HDL (high-density) cholesterol is the good cholesterol and the LDL (low-density) cholesterol is the bad. Your body naturally makes cholesterol, and generally only makes as much as your body needs. Other cholesterol comes from foods you eat—high saturated fat and trans fat foods raise cholesterol.

LDL is known as the bad cholesterol because it carries cholesterol to your arteries, which can start building up, reducing the flow of blood. This plaque buildup has the possibility of rupturing and increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Like high blood pressure, cholesterol doesn’t have any obvious symptoms, so a screening is important. While medication can help control your cholesterol, other factors that can help include: controlling weight, altering diet, increasing exercise, and avoiding tobacco smoke. To learn more about why cholesterol tests are done, check out this article from the Mayo Clinic.

Fitness Assessment

As we all know, exercising regularly is a key aspect of living a healthy lifestyle. Getting fitness assessments is important when you are starting a new exercise program. Even if you are in relatively good shape and of decent health, a fitness assessment can help to determine what exercises will be most beneficial to you while keeping you safe.

According to T&N Health, a fitness assessment is also important in checking for risk factors and symptoms of pulmonary, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease. While it may seem like this screening process is purely for fitness ability, it actually helps to discover other health issues that you may not have been aware of.

After a fitness assessment, a doctor can help you design a prescription of exercise, allowing you to work toward your fitness and health goals but in a way that is safest for you. A Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center article mentions that a regular fitness assessments can also help you:

  • Keep track of your progress
  • Stay motivated and stick with the program
  • Determine if your current exercise plan is working
  • Alter you plan to achieve goals safely

Depression

Maybe you didn’t even know that there is a screening for depression. But when you see your physician, a mental health screening should become part of the regular check-up. While talking about mental illness, and depression openly is hard, it could be the step in the right direction that helps you more than anything else.

Depression rates are increasing in the United States and anyone  can experience symptoms of depressions—age, race, gender, present diseases, and other factors have no say in who gets depression. A Sovereign Health article states that an independent panel of health care experts have recommended that depression screenings are done during every regular checkup. They put this screening in the same category as annual mammograms, lung cancer screenings, diabetes screening in overweight patients, and many others.

Depression and other mental illnesses are just as important as physical illnesses, meaning that screening is just as important. While these issues are hard to talk about, speaking up can get you the help you need.

At Integrative Health, we understand the importance  of preventive care. These screenings may not be your main concern when visiting your physician, but they should become part of your annual screenings. Staying healthy is hard, but with a team of doctors who take the time to get to know their patients and health history, it can be easier. See what makes us different and what our memberships offer, and be sure to get your annual screenings, even if they don’t seem important.