Health
Fact Checked

What are the Different Types of Health Screening?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

There are many types of health screening. Among the most commonly performed health tests are those that check for signs of cancer, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Health screening tests are can be useful for determining whether or not a person has diabetes.

Depending on their age and other factors, women may see their doctors for health screening tests that detect cancers common in females. For example, many women have yearly pap smears to help detect abnormal cells in the cervix, which is the neck of a woman’s uterus. Abnormal cervical cells may be an early sign of developing cervical cancer. Women may also have mammograms, which look for breast changes that may indicate breast cancer.

Health screening may include blood pressure screenings.
Health screening may include blood pressure screenings.

Men may see their doctors for prostate exams. Prostate exams are usually recommended as a yearly health screening for men who are over 50 years old. During this exam, a doctor feels for lumps on the prostate gland that could indicate the development of cancer.

People of both genders see their doctors for blood pressure screenings. For this screening, medical professionals use a device called a blood pressure cuff to determine whether the patient has a high blood pressure reading. While anyone can have an occasional high blood pressure reading, blood pressure that remains high is typically the result of a condition called hypertension. If a person has hypertension, or high blood pressure, the blood in his body moves too forcefully against his artery walls. Left untreated, high blood pressure increases a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke, and even kidney failure.

Many women undergo yearly exams, to include pap smears, to detect abnormalities in the cervix.
Many women undergo yearly exams, to include pap smears, to detect abnormalities in the cervix.

Sometimes health screenings require medical professionals to draw and test a patient's blood. For example, a doctor may draw a person's blood to check for cholesterol, which is a fatty, wax-like substance. The body naturally produces cholesterol, and it is found in many types of food. Having some cholesterol is normal and even healthy for the body. Having too much of it can put a person at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Prostate exams are typically quick and relatively painless.
Prostate exams are typically quick and relatively painless.

Blood test health screenings are also used to detect diabetes. After a person eats, a hormone called insulin helps glucose, also called blood sugar, to get into the body's cells, where it is used for energy. If a person has diabetes, he may not have enough insulin to handle glucose properly, or he may not have the hormone at all. Some people with diabetes have enough insulin, but their bodies fail to respond to it appropriately. To determine whether a person has diabetes, a doctor usually has the patient fast before drawing his blood and testing his blood glucose levels.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

clintflint

@browncoat - They also do preventative health screening for infants for free and I believe if people are worried about STDs they will give you free or cheap tests at Family Planning.

Personally, I think all health screening should be free and encouraged, because prevention is so much better than treatment after a condition progresses.

But it can still cost thousands of dollars to get certain tests, particularly ones that are patented by a single company.

browncoat

@croydon - I believe most of the conditions that they test for are ones that don't actually need preventative health screening unless you are at risk.

Most preventative health screening is for things that you might be at risk for, like breast cancer in women over a certain age, or colon cancer in people with a family history.

They do screen your blood for several conditions before distributing it, but that's supposed to be in addition to your own word that you don't have those conditions. HIV, for example, might not show up in a screening for several months after you contract it, so being tested when you give blood shouldn't be your way of determining you don't have it if there's any chance at all that you might.

croydon

One of the reasons I like giving blood is that it's a free way of getting a minor health screening regularly. Obviously I wouldn't give blood if I was at risk for any of the conditions they test for, but it's still nice to know that they do test for them and I'm definitively safe.

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    • Health screening may include blood pressure screenings.
      By: aquariagirl1970
      Health screening may include blood pressure screenings.
    • Many women undergo yearly exams, to include pap smears, to detect abnormalities in the cervix.
      By: Zsolnai Gergely
      Many women undergo yearly exams, to include pap smears, to detect abnormalities in the cervix.
    • Prostate exams are typically quick and relatively painless.
      By: nyul
      Prostate exams are typically quick and relatively painless.
    • Drawing a patient's blood and testing it can be a type of health screening.
      By: hadkhanong
      Drawing a patient's blood and testing it can be a type of health screening.
    • Health screenings might encourage people to quit unhealthy habits.
      By: Gajus
      Health screenings might encourage people to quit unhealthy habits.
    • Health screenings can help diagnose people with hypertension who are unaware that they have the condition.
      By: dambuster
      Health screenings can help diagnose people with hypertension who are unaware that they have the condition.