The Health Checks You Should Not Be Missing

A stethoscope is above. Underneath is the blog post title : "The health checks you should not be missing".

We all know how important our health is and that it’s helpful to be proactive when we can. For those of us with chronic illness, we may be all the more aware of our bodies and symptoms so we can better pick up on any new oddities that may need investigating. There are ways in which we can seek early signs of potential problems and monitor our health to ensure that our bodies are doing as well as possible. This collaborative post covers just a few of the health checks that you might want to consider in proactively looking after your health.

Reactive Vs Proactive : The Importance Of Health Checks

We do what we can to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, but the need for this is often heightened when we experience something untoward. Generally speaking, we only tend to go to the doctors when something is wrong and we need to be checked out.

Modern medicine is fantastic and these days many illnesses and conditions can be treated, or at the very least managed. Unfortunately, there are still various conditions that have no cure or that can’t be treated further down the line if they’re not quickly identified.

It’s sensible to have regular health checks, but many of us typically wait until there’s something wrong to be checked out. There could be various reasons for this, like cost implications, not wanting to bother a doctor without any symptoms, or White Coat Syndrome, aka fear of doctors and all things medical. These sorts of tests and assessments can be quite quick and simple, and one of them may just be a game-changer.

Your health is worth looking after, so consider these checks part of your self-care when being proactive to look after your wellbeing.

Weight & BMI Checks

If you have a reliable set of scales – preferably digital, so there is no chance of confusion over the results – this is one thing you can do and monitor at home. There are also tools on devices, such as the Wii Fit, which will calculate your body mass index (BMI). This measure is used to gauge a rough idea as to whether your weight is ‘optimal’ for your height, gender and age.

Knowing your weight can be helpful when it comes to setting achievable goals, whether it’s for losing, gaining or maintaining weight. If you don’t have access to scales or fitness tools for BMI measurement then your general practitioner or nurse can weigh you, or even your local pharmacist. They will also give you advice on weight management if you’d like it.

Eyesight & Hearing Tests

Hearing difficulties are becoming increasingly common among young people due to the use of earbuds and headphones, working in loud environments, and the likes of exposure to noisy jet engines and music concerts. While it was generally deemed an older person test before, it is something we should be routinely tested for at a younger age now to pick up on any problems that may be beginning with our hearing. 

Regular eye tests are also necessary, both to check eye health and to keep an ‘eye’ (pun intended) on our vision. Eyesight may gradually worsen with age without you being all that aware of it, or it may be that you’re finding certain things harder to see than you once did. Benign and potentially serious issues, from dry eyes to tumours, can be picked up during eye tests too. These days, optical appointments are more convenient than ever; if you do need glasses, you can get the lenses easily by obtaining your prescription, mailing it in and having them sent out to you.

A woman with her chin resting on the apparatus used by opticians to check eye health.

Glucose & Cholesterol Health Checks

High cholesterol has long been thought of as a warning sign as it may cause clogging of arteries, increasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Meanwhile, high blood glucose levels can be a symptom of diabetes and can be fatal if left untreated. Detecting these early will make a major difference for health in general, allowing for appropriate treatment or diet and lifestyle changes to be implemented early.

Bowel Cancer Screening

It is recommended that people over 50 years old be screened for colon and bowel cancer every couple of years. There are various ways to screen for this, either through internal checks or through basic tests on stool samples. In the UK, the NHS bowel cancer screening service involves a letter being posted out to you, where you complete the sample request and pop it back in the post. If you are younger than 50 and have any signs of bowel cancer, you can book with your physician for testing as soon as possible.

Dental Health Checks

It is recommended that you go to your dentist every six months for hygiene check-ups and any minor dental work that may be required, such as fillings. Like other check-ups, they may show us that there is an issue to be aware of, like chipped teeth, plaque or weakened enamel. From there, we can get advice on what to do and what to avoid, which may just prevent the need for more invasive procedures being required.

Blood Pressure Tests

Frequent blood pressure checks are needed because high blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, can place a significant strain on the arteries and organs. In turn, this may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Low blood pressure doesn’t get as much attention as it’s not seen as extreme, but some people can experience dizziness and fainting spells and severe low blood pressure can be very dangerous.

Your GP may test BP routinely or you may want to ask for it to be checked on if it’s been a while. There are also home blood pressure machines that can be purchased at a reasonable price so you can keep an eye on your levels yourself.

A birds eye view of a grey table with a medical chart on it and a patient's arm stretched out as the doctor inflates a blood pressure cuff.

A Final Word On Health Checks

These are just a sample of health checks that can be done, but there are plenty more important tests that could be included. For instance: mammograms, bone density tests, mole checks, various blood tests, smear tests, prostate checks, and so on. You may want to consider all manner of tests as routine, whether or not you have any symptoms, family history or other potential dispositions.

It’s important to remember that even if you have such tests on a regular basis that you may still have queries or concerns. If you experience anything you’re unsure of or feel is a little ‘off’ with your body, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss as soon as possible. Your health is worth monitoring and looking after.

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[ This is a collaborative post & as such the ideas expressed here are those of the author ]

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28 Comments

  1. July 12, 2020 / 4:00 pm

    Ow~ a much needed reminder! 🌸🙈💕

    • July 14, 2020 / 2:21 pm

      Quite a few things I need to get on top of, too! Thanks for commenting lovely, I hope you’re having a good week so far 😄 xx

  2. July 12, 2020 / 4:59 pm

    Hubby and I were fortunate to get our health screening done prior to Covid 19. I finally got a dental appointment and we’re going to get our eyes checked shortly. We’re on top of this even though we had a shutdown.

    So important to make sure all is well with our bodies.

    Have a fabulous day, Caz. ♥

    • July 14, 2020 / 3:22 pm

      That’s brilliant, Sandee. I think a lot of people will be behind on routine checks at this time which is quite worrying, but gradually more precautions are being put in place for dentists, doctors, opticians and so on to safely reopen. I’m glad you’ve been able to get the appointments you need, it’s definitely important.xx

  3. July 12, 2020 / 6:24 pm

    “Low blood pressure doesn’t get as much attention as it’s not seen as extreme, but some people can experience dizziness and fainting spells and severe low blood pressure can be very dangerous.” – Hear, hear! Although I’ve been told that the medicine available for low blood pressure often has more negative side effects than it does good.

    I should get my eyes checked, though. Keep postponing it, this is a good reminder I should make work of it.

    • July 14, 2020 / 2:23 pm

      It’s difficult (and annoying) when a medication to help with one issue, like low BP, causing a range of problems itself. I’ve always heard how low blood pressure is good, but that’s not always the case, especially if it drops too low. I’m overdue my eye test too, Samantha. The opticians in the UK are open again for routine checks but I’m not sure how keen I am to go – I hope you can get an appointment soon when you feel comfortable enough to do so! xx

  4. July 12, 2020 / 8:57 pm

    Done, done, done, done….all of them. I’m a doctors’ child after all.

    • July 14, 2020 / 2:24 pm

      Nicely done, Bo! 😄 xx

  5. July 12, 2020 / 10:05 pm

    Very good post. I have most done regularly.

    • July 14, 2020 / 2:25 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, Peter, and it’s great you’re already on the ball with getting these done 😊

  6. thegreatcanadianhousewife
    July 13, 2020 / 12:37 am

    Great reminder! We can’t see anyone here in person at all unless it’s an emergency and even then it depends on what the emergency is and if it can be dealt with by zoom or something similar due to covid-19. But this post reminds me of something I heard on the news from our childrens hospital stating that in the last few years about 4 children a month came through the childrens emergency and were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and since covid-19 started in April not one child has been diagnosed, which is scary. These kids are still out there! And the reality is it might be too late to save them if warning signs are ignored by parents who don’t want to go near an emergency room for fear of getting covid-19. To me that is a terrifying prognosis, not just for type 1 diabetes, but for other critical diseases as well that are being missed.

    • July 14, 2020 / 2:32 pm

      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment – I’ve found your blog & started following on Insta & Twitter. I’m sorry there’s nothing available where you are for in-person appointments. While a lot is tele appointment only here in the UK still, some dentists and opticians are starting to reopen for routine care, not that some of us feel safe enough to book an appointment yet.

      That is scary about the lack of diabetes diagnoses. I’ve heard similar for cancer diagnoses, with people not going in to have things checked out through not wanting to risk it or through simply not being able to access the care they need. And with diabetes, the suggested link between that and vulnerability to Covid-19 is an extra worry. Even without the virus, diabetes that’s not managed can be very dangerous as you say, and then the fear of seeing emergency help should it be needed… More needs to be done to encourage individuals and parents to get the tests and checks required, and more needs to be done to assure those people that all the precautions are in place. I totally agree with you, it’s an excellent point to make. xx

  7. July 13, 2020 / 2:02 pm

    Routine health checks are so important, aren’t they? My dental appointment is now well overdue. I had an appt which had to be cancelled due to the weather, then another cancelled due to a road closure, then along came Covid. Who knows when it will be now.

    • July 13, 2020 / 2:46 pm

      Im three months late for a dental check due to Covid also. The best we can do is brush well daily until the office opens again.

      • July 14, 2020 / 3:08 pm

        Brush well & keep your fingers crossed, Darnell! x

    • July 14, 2020 / 3:06 pm

      Oh dear, if only that first appointment went ahead, eh. I’m overdue my dental appointment too (and eye test) and had an email from the clinic recently to say they’re now open for routine appointments again. Whether anyone feels safe enough to go in is another matter… Do you have any issues with your teeth at the moment? Hopefully not so the check up can wait, fingers crossed! xx

      • July 14, 2020 / 3:28 pm

        I think my teeth are ok. Kind of hard to tell because my teeth hurt anyway. I normally go for my dental check up and the dentist says, “Anything new? Any pain apart from your normal pain?” They’re opening up here as well, but not for fillings etc.

        • July 14, 2020 / 3:33 pm

          That’s a tricky one, Liz. I can see why it’d be hard to tell when you’ve got so much pain anyway with TN. How bizarre though that the practices are re-opening for routine checks but not actual treatment like fillings, that doesn’t make much sense! x

  8. July 13, 2020 / 2:48 pm

    Thanks for the reminder Caz. Little check ups can prevent big problems. Its a challenge now during Covid-19, but worth the effort to get the checks in.

    • July 14, 2020 / 3:09 pm

      Absolutely. It’s part of the preventing-is-better-than-cure type of thing, being proactive in the hopes of preventing smaller issues becoming bigger ones. Hopefully more places will re-open for routine appointments soon once adequate measures are in place to protect staff and patients. x

  9. July 16, 2020 / 7:30 am

    Awesome post, Caz! I think it’s true, the saying by Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When there is something going wrong with our health, early detection can really save lives! I’ll be honest with you though, I’m absolutely terrible about going to the doctor any more. One, it’ll nearly bankrupt you in the USA, even with insurance. Second, my confidence in the medical community these days is dismal, at best. Yet, I do realize the consequences of keeping my head in the sand, so to speak.

    I didn’t realize in the UK you could do bowel cancer screening tests in the UK? Wow. I can only imagine how many lives that one test is saving! It’s much less invasive, sending a sample in the mail. I’ve had 5 colonoscopies, as well as a few endoscopes. I could think of much more enjoyable things to do! 😂 I’ll admit though, the dancing and singing nurse was a lot of fun, seeing as how I was already uncomfortable with my bum flapping in the breeze on full display!

    Yet another fantastic and timely post from you, Caz! I think you’d be surprised how many lives you are helping to save through your awareness campaigns and compassion for others. You’re a difference maker and are deeply appreciated! 🌺

    • July 17, 2020 / 3:46 pm

      Prevention is better than cure where possible, and that Franklin quote captures that so well! Honestly, I don’t blame you not being quick to see the doc, I can understand that from both the financial and emotional aspects. It can be exhausting and soul destroying, especially when you feel like you’re speaking to a brick wall.

      That’s right, you can do the bowel cancer screening, at least the first part of it, by sending the sample in the mail (not a whole ‘sample’ of course, just a small bit! Oh yes, colonoscopies aren’t the most pleasant thing to have done. I empathise with you there, and you’re a glutton for punishment having 5 of them! Hopefully the indignity of such tests and any embarrassment will be outweighed by the potential benefits, and I really do hope more people feel confident in getting these sorts of things done. Thank you for sharing your thoughts & experiences, Holly!  I hope you have no more colonoscopies in the near future – I can say na-na-na-na-naaa because now I’ve got no large bowel I can’t have any more! 😂 xxxxx

  10. July 16, 2020 / 7:33 am

    Hah! That’s what I get for not being in bed right now at 3:30AM. (can’t sleep!) Forgive me Caz, that one sentence should have read, “I didn’t realize in the UK you could bowel cancer screening tests in the mail?” Oops! Perhaps I should proof-read a little better. 😀

  11. July 17, 2020 / 10:43 am

    I couldn’t agree more! And a really crucial time to be reminding people to look after their health as a lot of people, understandably, are frightened to go to the hospital/doctors at the moment. I recently went for my first cervical screening, which is another important health check, and I was nervous but I knew that looking after my health is more important than a few minutes of discomfort in the long run. Great post. 🙂

    Gemma

    • July 17, 2020 / 3:50 pm

      You’re absolutely right. It’s worrying to read how many problems are going undiagnosed and untreated in these past few months due to people not being able to get the tests they need or from being understandably too concerned about the virus to leave the house. I hope all went well with your cervical screening – have you had the results? Fingers crossed it’s all clear for you, Gemma. I think that program is fantastic. I had to have pre-cancerous cells removed about 1-2yrs ago and I’ll be forever grateful for the screening, even though I do wish they’d open it up for younger women, especially those with worrying symptoms.xx

      • July 17, 2020 / 7:52 pm

        It really is worrying! I hope things improve soon. Yes, everything is fine re the cervical screening, thank you, and I don’t have to go for another 3 years. 🙂 I’m so glad the program proved effective for you, but I also wish they would open it up to younger women. Fingers crossed things may change soon. x

        Gemma

  12. bingingonabudget
    July 17, 2020 / 1:49 pm

    Great post! I agree with you on all of these points. Everyone’s health is so important and these checkups are great things to put in the back of everyone’s minds.

    • July 17, 2020 / 3:51 pm

      Hopefully it can put a little focus back on health rather than illness, which is what’s happening a lot more I think with fear over the virus. Thanks for the comment lovely, glad you liked the post! 🤗 xx

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