Do you need a health screening? How important is it to have a health check?
Health checks provided as part of a screen:
- Full examination
- Heart check with cardiovascular risk score
- ECG and blood pressure
- Full family health history
- Height, and weight
- Urine analysis
- Lung check
- Bone fracture risk assessment (FRAX)
- Anaemia check
- Liver and kidney function
- Bone health
- Thyroid (TSH and FT4)
- Vitamin D levels
The health checks take place with one our experienced GPs, and include a 30 minute follow up consultation.
With a range of screening packages available, this comprehensive wellbeing check takes place in Harley Street, in a fully integrated clinic, complete with pathology labs to analyse blood works and, a DEXA scanner to calculate bone density.
Cardiovascular risk score check
What can you do to lower your risk of heart disease? The first important step every person should take is to get a heart check. Our doctors will take careful consideration of the risk factors, which include age, sex, history of heart problems within your family and lifestyle factors such as whether you smoke and your weight and diet. The pathology of your blood works will reveal whether your cholesterol is raised.
By gathering all the relevant information, our doctors will calculate the risk of your having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. Using scientific data, this risk score can be compared to others of the same ethnicity, age and sex.
The risk score will reveal your ‘real’ heart age. After this, further tests can be recommended or a referral to an appropriate cardiologist, and if necessary, appropriate treatment given, such as medications like statins to lower your risk.
Bowel cancer check
It’s very important to have a discussion about bowel habits and any changes in bowel habits.
The doctor will ask:
- What changes have you noted in bowel habits?
- Do you even notice blood in your stools?
- Have you had unexplained weight loss?
However, if it’s caught early enough the chances of recovery are good. The statistics show that 95 out of 100 men (95%) with stage 1 bowel cancer will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they're diagnosed. For women 100 % with stage 1 bowel cancer will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they're diagnosed.
As with heart disease family history and lifestyle factors will play a part. Diet is an important issue when it comes to lowering the risk of bowel cancer.
If there are any concerns, the doctor will offer you a referral. Ways to lower your risk levels will also be advised. These will include:
- Cutting down on alcohol
- Stopping smoking
- Avoiding red meat
- Eating plenty whole grains and vegetables
Breast cancer screen
Many women have had their lives touched by cancer – in fact, it’s the most common cancer in females. Screening can help detect breast cancer. All of our Essential Women screens will include a breast examination, and you can discuss any worries you have. Our Essential Woman 50+ also includes a mammogram. However, as around 25% of breast cancer cases are found in women younger than 50, it might be worth asking for a screening which includes this.
Your doctor will talk you through the risk factors, such as any close relatives who have had the condition and whether you have had any hormonal treatments (such as the contraceptive pill or HRT, which can bring a small risk).
Ovarian cancer check
Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer among women after breast cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer, cancer of the uterus (womb) and melanoma. Often referred to as ‘the silent killer’, its generalised symptoms can make women assume any health changes are down to IBS or menstrual/menopause-related side effects. Age is a big factor when it comes to ovarian cancer. Risk increases with age, with most cases occurring after the menopause. Research has shown that 80% of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in women over the age of 50. With this in mind, our Essential Woman 40 + and our Essential Woman 50+ both include abdominal and pelvic ultrasound screening and CA125 and HE4 tests for ovarian cancer markets.
Prostate cancer check
This is the most common form of cancer among men in the UK, killing over 11,000 men a year and rates are on the rise. The prostate is about the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as men get older.
It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra - the tube men urinate and ejaculate through.
Our Essential Man checks will enable you to talk through your risk factors, which include ethnicity. Afro-Caribbean men, for example, are particularly at risk.
Our Essential Man 40 + and our Essential man 50 + both include Prostate MRI to avoid an unnecessary biopsy and furthermore any biopsies that are planned can be targeted to specific lesions.
As 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men after the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis, checking bone health is a vital part of any health screening. Osteoporosis also causes the bones in the spine to crumble, often causing older people (usually women) to lose height and giving them a hunched appearance. The reason women are more affected is because bone density erodes after the menopause, as oestrogen has a protective effect. Osteoporosis doesn’t cause symptoms, making it extremely important that your screening includes a bone health check.
Your health screening will ascertain whether you are at risk from osteoporosis and give you a FRAX score (which uses a range of risk factors to predict a person’s risk of fracture because of weak bones).
Risk factors include:
- Family history of hip fractures
- Enduring a fracture – especially of the fall was minor
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Usage of oral glucocorticoids for three months or more
- Heavy Drinking
- Eating disorders
- Diabetes (type 1)
As the risk for osteoporosis increases with age, the Twenty-five Harley Street Essential Woman 50+ and Essential Man 50 + all include the National Osteoporosis Society’s gold standard diagnostic tool, a DEXA scan.
DEXA – also referred to as DXA – is short for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. DEXA scans are safe, accurate, painless and non-invasive.
A DEXA scan will enable early diagnosis, and allow individuals to make lifestyle changes and, if needs be, enable doctors to prescribe the best medication which can stop osteoporosis in its tracks.
Treatment can then be decided depending on the bone density (as measure by DEXA), the risk score and relevant history (whether you have had a previous fracture).
Lifestyle modifications are important – reducing alcohol intake, avoiding smoking, weight bearing exercises and eating a well-balanced diet with calcium rich foods. The use of calcium and vitamin D supplements may be advised. Medication such as bisphosphonates can help reduce the breakdown of bone and reduce fractures, these are first line drug treatments in osteoporosis.
The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods ceaseFull medical glossary