Health checks can save your life

Let’s face it; none of us likes the idea of being poked, prodded and pricked if we can help it. It’s one of the reasons that many of us put off getting the health checks that, deep down, we really know we should be having. For others, it can be a case of “what I don’t know can’t hurt me”, so they delay, defer and distract themselves from getting checks done that could potentially save their lives.

The fact is that none of us are bullet proof. We all know someone who was struck by an illness out of the blue – could the next one be you? The good news is that most regular check-ups are fairly simple, quick and painless procedures, so why not get them done and dusted and enjoy a little more peace of mind.

Keep up with the basics
The basic regular checks that most of us have been doing since we were young become even more important as we show the signs of ‘wear and tear’ in our more mature years. These include eye checks, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, dental checks, skin cancer screening and pap tests.

Beyond these, however, there are additional tests that become essential once we reach the 50 mark and risks increase.

Breast cancer
Many breast cancers are detected from self-examination or by GP’s, but with one in nine women affected by breast cancer in their lifetime it’s also important to get two-yearly mammograms (maybe more frequently if there is family history). These are offered free by Breast Screen Australia to women aged 50-65.
For more information: cancerscreening.gov.au

Prostate
Men are notorious for putting this one off, but with 20,000 new cases every year in Australia it is simply too big to ignore. The tests are simple, so speak to your GP about the best screening regime for you. For more information prostate.org.au

Bowel cancer
Australia is one of the bowel cancer hotspots of the world and this disease ranks as the second greatest cancer killer in the country. The good news is that it often be treated successfully if detected early and the screening process is so simple, painless and can be done at home. For more information cancerscreening.gov.au

Diabetes
The emergence of diabetes as a major health risk is closely connected with lifestyle changes in recent decades, which have seen obesity rates increase. The health conditions related to diabetes can be fatal, so everyone over 55 should be seeing their GP for regular checks that again are very simple and non-intrusive. For more information: diabetesaustralia.com.au

Osteoporosis
The rates of this hidden condition are quite staggering and the results can be fatal if left undetected and untreated. Your Doctor can examine your risk factors and refer you for a simple bone density scan test. For more information: osteoporosis.org.au