As we get older, the more we tend to worry about our health. But undergoing routine health checks can drastically improve the outcome of some age related diseases. Early diagnosis helps save lives as it provides treatment options at the earliest possible stage and often before the disease starts to spread. Methods of screening tests include cancer screenings that search for cancerous cells or tissues within the body. These screenings increase the chance of successful treatment as it helps detect cancer early when it is most likely curable. Studies show that early diagnosis could save between 5,000 and 10,000 lives per year.
It is not just cancer screenings that are important to our health. There are many other health screenings that are just as important such as cholesterol, blood pressure and routine health checks.
Prevention is always better than a cure. Here are 8 tests that could literally save your life.
Bowel / Colon Cancer Screening– Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK. More than 90% of bowel cancers can be successfully treated if detected early.
Breast Screenings– More than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive their disease for at least 5 years compared to around the 15% for women diagnosed at the most advanced stage.
Cervical Screening-Cervical screening is a method of preventing cancer by detecting abnormalities and precancerous cells in the cervix. If left untreated, these abnormalities could lead to cervical cancer.
Skin Checks– Keeping an eye on moles is essential for spotting the early signs of skin cancer. Most moles are harmless, but sometimes they can develop into a rare form of skin cancer called malignant melanoma. If you notice any changes in your moles, it is important to see a specialist.
AAA screening– The aorta is the main blood vessel in the body. It pumps blood from the heart around the body. If a swelling in the aorta is left to get bigger it could burst, causing life threatening bleeds inside the stomach. An abdominal aortic aneurysm won’t have often have symptoms so the test can pick up an AAA before it bursts.
Cholesterol Checks– High levels of cholesterol can build up in the arteries, which increase your risk of heart attack, cardiovascular diseases or stroke so it is incredibly important to have your cholesterol levels checked.
Prostate Check– Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men. If there are any causes for concern such as an increased need to urinate, straining or not feeling emptied after urinating. Men can be offered a PSA blood test that measures the level of PSA and may help detect early prostate cancer.
Blood Pressure Check– High blood pressure can put you at risk for multiple conditions such as heart failure, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and may also be responsible for some types of dementia. This is a common test that is incredibly important and could even save your life.
You can usually expect to receive a letter from your GP or local authority inviting you foran NHS Health Check or Screening. But for more information, contact your GP with any questions or concerns.
Here at the Healthy Life Foundation, our focus is to fund medical research into fighting age related diseases so that we can live longer healthier lives. However, creating a longer healthier life shouldn’t be something that we start thinking about when we get older. It should really start from a young age. By maintaining a strong well-nourished body from our youth, it sets us up with a good foundation for preventing diseases as we get older.
As parents, it is so important that we set a good example for our children and instil healthy habits that they will take into their adult years. The sooner we introduce nutritious choices into our kids’ diets, the easier they’ll be able to develop healthy choices that can last them a lifetime. It is actually much easier and less time consuming than you think!
Here are some tips and tricks to get your kids to enjoy healthy food!
- Disguise the taste of healthier foods.Try adding vegetables to a bolognaise sauce and swap normal pasta noodles for whole wheat. You could also mash carrots with mashed potato or add grated or shredded veggies to stews and sauces to make them blend in.
- Dip It:Try offering a healthy dip to vegetable sticks such as hummus, spinach dip, guacamole or yogurt based dips.You could even offer a sweet treat with fruit such as Carmel Nut Butter. Get some great recipes here:
- Make it fun.Sometimes the more creative food looks, the greater chance your children will try it. You can make smiley face whole grain pancakes, name Broccoli florets “baby trees” and use cookie cutters to turn toast & sandwiches into fun shapes.
- Get them involved.If your children become involved in choosing or cooking meals, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve made. You could take them to the store and let them choose the vegetables. If they’re old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables and mix them into a salad.You could also cook simple recipes’ together so that they can be proud of the home cooked meal that they created.
- Cut back on junk.Remember, it is you (not your children) that is in charge of the foods that enter your home. By swapping junk food for healthy snacks, you’ll force your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein.
- Relax and Enjoy.Remember that it’s what your kids eat over time that matters. Having popcorn at the cinema or eating an ice-cream on the seafront are some of life’s pleasures. As long as you balance these times with smart food choices and physical activity, your children will be fine.
EATING WELL – THE DIRTY DOZEN
12 Foods you should buy Organic
Studies show that less than 10% of us are actually meeting the recommended servings of fruits & vegetables. Which means that for a lot of us, we are lacking an equivalent amount of fibre, calcium, magnesium and minerals that mainly come from produce. It is incredibly important that we consume fruits and vegetables (organic or not) as studies have linked the health benefits to include reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, protecting against certain types of cancer, lowering the risk of eye and digestive problems and lowering blood pressure.
Unfortunately, growing practices can affect produce, which leads to many fruits and vegetables absorbing traces of pesticides. However, buying organic can limit your exposure to extra pesticides and insecticides. If buying many organic foods isn’t affordable or feasible for you, then a good strategy may be to buy organic versions of certain produce that ranks highest in pesticide residue and then buying conventional produce that is less contaminated.
Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the non-profit environmental organization, publishes a list of the “Dirty Dozen” which consist of the fruits and vegetables that have the highest level of pesticides when grown conventionally versus organically. The list is complied annually since 2004, using 40,900 samples for 47 different types of produce.
The EWG Dirty Dozen list can help you prioritize your shopping and give you peace of mind that you’re limiting your pesticide exposure. Read below the 12 fruits and vegetables that the EWG recommends that you buy organic, beginning with the most pesticide residue. We have also listed the “Clean 15” that are less likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue if you are trying to stick to a budget.
The 2019 Dirty Dozen Foods List
The 2019 Clean 15 Foods List
- Sweet Corn
- Frozen sweet peas
- Honeydew melons