When To Get A Private Health MOT

Why is health screening important?

Often the only time we go to see a doctor is when we feel unwell, have symptoms that worry us, or something goes markedly wrong with our health.

There is however, another option. To ensure you stay in the best possible shape, it’s better to diagnose potential problems early, that way they are easier to treat and you ensure the best possible outcome.

Booking a health screening can act as a preventative measure, as well giving you access to the right treatment quickly.  

Sometimes this can mean identifying a condition even before a patient starts developing symptoms.

I am passionate about providing a holistic approach to patient care, and actively involving patients in a personalised treatment plan.

This may involve advice on adjusting lifestyle, trying medication or surgery..

What does health screening involve?

It may be that you want a general health check to take stock of your wellness and gain complete peace of mind. This is the perfect way to identify if there’s any changes you need to make in order to stay in shape. This involves:

A plan for healthy living is then drawn up between you and your doctor, and further tests may be offered, which focus on the most common conditions. We not only want to identify disease but then work with you to manage and hopefully cure any condition we may find.

Targeted health screening

It may be that you feel you have early symptoms of a condition, or worry that you are at risk of developing it due to a family history or lifestyle. If this is the case, it’s ideal to tell the GP that you come to see, so that they can offer specific tests that act as markers to this condition. Here are some of the lifestyle factors and associated conditions that could put you at risk of the major diseases in the UK.

Heart disease

Risk factors include:

  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • raised cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • being overweight 

As part of the screening process we use all the information above to calculate a risk score for you – essentially the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years.

We can then compare this risk to the score of a healthy person with the same age, sex and ethnicity as you. Furthermore, we can also use this data to calculate your heart age and compare this to your actual age.

Bowel conditions

Risk factors include:

  • history of inflammatory bowel disease
  • smoking
  • obesity
  • polyposis syndromes (FAP) 
  • a diet high in meat and low in fibre and vegetables

Making positive lifestyle and dietary changes can help lower your risk of developing bowel conditions. Depending on our assessment of your potential to develop bowel problems, there are a number of different screenings available:

Faecal occult blood (FOB)

This is a stool test which identifies blood in the stools even if it’s not visible to the naked eye. This is useful for picking up conditions such as ulcers, haemorrhoids, diverticular disease and early signs of cancer. We recommend annual tests for patients over 50.

Colonoscopy

This test gives doctors a clear picture of the large bowel and is usually performed under sedation. This detailed test has the advantage of being able to take biopsies of any suspicious looking lesions. We recommend a colonoscopy ever ten years for low risk patients.

Lung conditions

Risk factors include:

  • smoking
  • passive smoking
  • exposure to asbestos
  • exposure to radiation

Low dose CT scanning is now recommended for patients considered to be at risk of developing lung cancer.  Screening tests are usually offered to those over 55 with a significant history of smoking or other risk factors.

Breast Cancer

About a quarter of cases of breast cancer occur in younger women, before the age of 50, so there is a case for early screening. What’s more, early detection and a improved treatments have vastly improved outcomes. 

Risk factors include:

  • family history
  • certain genes
  • hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • the combined contraceptive pill (small increase in risk)

The best screening tool is annual mammography after the age of 40, this uses X-rays to identify any suspicious breast lesions. However, we would consider both breast MRI and mammography in high risk individuals after the age of 30.

Prostate Cancer

Attitudes towards prostate cancer have developed into a more proactive approach towards diagnosis and management.

Risk factors include:

  • age
  • family history 
  • ethnicity (more prevalent in the Afro-Caribbean population)

We recommend combining a PSA (Prostate specific antigen) blood test with a detailed multiparametric prostate MRI using the latest state of the art 3T MRI scanners. A normal MRI scan can then avoid an unnecessary biopsy and furthermore any biopsies that are planned can be targeted to specific lesions.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is an important condition that causes bone thinning, that’s often neglected or diagnosed late. Fractures can occur from a relatively minor impact, often in the hip, shoulder and wrist. Also fractures in the vertebrae of the spine can lead to chronic back pain and loss of height. 

Risk factors include:

  • women after the menopause
  • premature menopause
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • low BMI
  • a family history
  • use of steroids
  • smoking
  • alcohol
  • an underactive thyroid
  • diabetes (type 1)

Osteoporosis itself doesn’t cause any symptoms and most people find out they have it after a fracture.

Screening for osteoporosis is done by use of a risk assessment tool and a DEXA scan. Treatment can then be decided depending on the bone density (as measure by DEXA), the risk score and relevant history.

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 as well as medication may be advised.

 

Find out more about health screenings here. For an appointment with Dr Raindi, or to make a GP appointment at Twenty-five Harley Street call 020 3883 9525, or email [email protected] . If you require an out of hours GP,, wait and listen to the options offered. Press 1 and you will be diverted directly to an out of hours GP. Simply quote ‘25’ and you can access to the highest quality GP service in London.