Get Moving Challenge Week 1: Get Checked Out

Decrease your risk of disease and illness by having a regular check-up with your GP or specialist.

What is a health check?

A health check is an examination of your overall current state of health and wellbeing, often carried out by your GP. As we age we become more susceptible to illness and disease. In order to reduce this risk, a number of screening tests or health checks are recommended at different stages of our lives.

Having a regular doctor or practice has several advantages, including the building of relationships and feeling more comfortable to talk openly. Furthermore, your regular doctor will get to know you and your health needs and keep your medical history up to date- meaning they may pick up on areas of concern more quickly.

Why are health checks important?

Health checks are important for a number of key reasons, including:

  • To find out if you are at risk of any health issues or disease.
  • To find out if you currently have any unknown health issue or disease.
  • To lessen the effects of any health issue or disease you may have.
  • To prevent any health issues or diseases from occurring. It is much better to avoid it than to treat it!

What can a health check involve?

Health checks generally involve:

  • Updating your medical history and examining any health issues
  • Performing tests (if required)
  • A follow up appointment to obtain results, or if any problems are identified
  • Advice on how to improve your health, lower risk and prevent disease
  • An opportunity to discuss any concern or ask any questions. No questions are ‘bad questions’ especially when it comes to your health and wellbeing! 

Health checks throughout adulthood

In your 20’s – 30’s the last thing on your mind may be health issues, which is why health checks at this age are especially important. It is recommended that at this age you should be checking:

  • Blood pressure – at least every 2 years by your GP
  • Cholesterol and glucose levels – as directed by your GP
  • Pap tests and pelvic exams (for women) – every 2 years or as directed by your GP
  • Dental check and cleaning – based on the condition of your oral health by a dentist
  • Skin cancer check – self-check regularly, and by your GP- or dermatologist if required
  • Healthy weight assessment – at least every 2 years
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STI) – depending on how sexually active you are, arranged by your GP
  • Testes examination (for men) – self-check around every 4 months, or by your GP if required

In your 40’s you may be distracted by career and/or family life. While you may have other concerns, it is important not to forget about your health. Be sure to continue the regular health checks from your 20’s to 30’s, but also consider these new tests:

  • Eye check – every 2-4 years depending on eyesight or conditions, by an optometrist
  • Breast checks – regular self-checks, or your GP can arrange a mammogram if required
  • Health assessments for risk of disease or type 2 diabetes – at least once, or as advised by your GP or specialist
  • Prostate checks (for men) – if you have symptoms speak with your GP (needing to urinate more than twice a night or having difficulty with the strength of your stream)

In your 50’s or later you are at higher risk of poor health, therefore regular checks with your GP are particularly important. As well as continuing on with previous health checks, you should also consider:

  • Bone density scan – depending on risk factor, as advised and arranged by your GP
  • Breast check and mammogram – every 2 years by your GP and self-check regularly
  • Faecal occult blood test – every 2 years or as advised and arranged by your GP
  • Hearing assessment – if you have trouble hearing or other symptoms speak with your GP