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Prevention is better than cure

Dr Chris Browne says prevention is better than cure, and detection is better than ignorance. 

Illnesses can often be prevented by how we live our lives. Smoking, excessive drinking, being overweight, a poor diet, lack of exercise and too little exposure to sunlight are likely to lead to illness.

With increasing age, comes increasing risk of illness. That is a fact.

Health problems can be detected before the onset of a serious illness, chronic condition or medical emergency by screening.

As medical technology advances, screening has become more effective for a larger range of conditions, allowing the necessary treatment to start as early as possible.

Early treatment is more likely to prevent the illness becoming serious.

The NHS Health Check programme provides screening for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease. Bowel cancer will be added by the end of 2009. Available for those over 40 years old, a NHS Health Check will also test blood pressure, cholesterol levels and Body Mass Index.

Private Health companies also offer a comprehensive range of tests and screening, but at a price. Life Line Screening specialises in cardio-vascular checks and can screen for osteoporosis.

BUPA's Mature Health Programme is aimed at the over 65s and includes more than 40 tests, including hearing and vision.

Saga also provides screening tests for the over-50s. 

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