Screenings tests? Covered!
Having screening tests done is one of the most important things you can do for your health. These medical tests check for diseases before there are any known symptoms and can help doctors find diseases early, when it may be easier to treat. They could save your life!
The article below gives some more information about some of the screening tests offered by the Scheme, but remember that there are more screening tests and vaccines available to you – see your health screening and vaccine benefits on our website.
SCREENING TESTS: GENERAL
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HYPERTENSION)
High blood pressure can be a problem especially if you are overweight; have a family history of high blood pressure; use certain drugs; take appetite-suppressant medication or have heart and lung diseases, liver disease, HIV infection, or blood clots in the pulmonary arteries. If you have any of these risk factors, you should have your blood pressure checked.
HIGH BLOOD GLUCOSE (DIABETES)
Obesity, a poor diet, an inactive lifestyle, resistance to insulin, certain ethnic groups (e.g. Indians) and a family history of diabetes are all risk factors for diabetes and glucose-related diseases. If you have any of these risk factors, you should have your blood glucose checked.
High cholesterol may be caused by hereditary factors, age (the older you are, the greater your risk), gender (women have a higher risk after menopause), an unhealthy diet, and being overweight.
If you are sexually active (this includes oral sex, exposure to semen and other body fluids), it is advisable to be tested for HIV, as this virus may be sexually transmitted. Remember, there are several other ways you could get infected with HIV apart from sexual transmission, including the use of infected blood, blood products and needle stick injuries.
SCREENING TESTS: CANCER
In South Africa, cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women. It is therefore very important to have regular pap smear tests done. This test examines cells collected from the cervix and is able to detect early signs of cancer.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women – in South Africa and globally. Early detection is very important, thus breast cancer screening mammograms should be performed, as appropriate.
More South African men are affected by prostate cancer than any other cancer. Symptoms and signs may include difficulty, burning or pain on passing urine, blood in the urine, and loss of bladder control.