Diabetes is one of the most common — and most debilitating — chronic conditions that requires specific lifestyle changes and treatment to avoid flare ups. We also know, thanks to recent research, that one in five individuals with diabetes or prediabetes don’t know they have it.
Why? Because many people avoid or skip routine medical care. Even before the pandemic, one in four insured Americans reported not getting an annual checkup, according to a 2019 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fear over a bad result and the idea of adding yet another “to do'' on our exhaustive lists causes many people to live in ignorance while health worsens.
Here are a few of the most common, yet underdiagnosed, health issues that an annual screening can help catch.
An estimated 37 million Americans have diabetes. Type 1 diabetes often presents itself when individuals are children, but the more common type 2 diabetes is harder to catch later in life. That’s because while some of the risk factors are predictable, others aren’t: Individuals who are overweight, 45+, and physically active less than three times per week are at a higher risk of the disease, but so are individuals who experience constant thirst, or exhibit sudden weight loss and feel intense exhaustion.
Currently, the most reliable way to determine diabetes is through an annual health screening. It’s critical to ensure that individuals are screened on a regular basis, especially those with a family history of diabetes and heart disease, in order to identify troubling risk factors before they develop into a costly chronic disease. Individuals diagnosed with diabetes incur on average $16,750 annually in medical expenses. About 2.3 times the medical expenses of a person without diabetes.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, the leading preventable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, affects 1.3 billion people worldwide.. In fact, it’s the most common diagnosis by primary care physicians. But while individuals who use tobacco or eat an unhealthy diet (excessive salt consumption, low intake of fruits/vegetables, etc.) are more prone to hypertension, not everyone falls into these parameters. Plus, high blood pressure usually has no symptoms or warning signs – which is why regular screenings are so critical to ensure early detection and prevention.
Possibly the hardest to catch of all three conditions, high cholesterol — having too many lipids in your blood — can stay in stealth mode for years, because it lacks discernible, obvious symptoms But catching rising cholesterol and taking steps to lower it is crucial because high cholesterol can limit blood flow, which raises the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
A simple blood test administered at an annual physical can detect it, but if otherwise healthy individuals skip preventive blood screenings, it can worsen over the years and cause irreparable damage.
A Case for Home Health Screenings
Because trying to spot “signs” of chronic disease is unreliable at best, it’s imperative to make health screenings as accessible and easy as possible. Home screenings are a convenient alternative to onsite options like a lab or pharmacy.
Using home-based screening tools such as Reperio’s removes barriers to participation and can quickly gauge the presence of a chronic condition before it escalates. Reperio’s patented, flagship screening kit and its FDA-cleared medical devices enable individuals to measure cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, and more within minutes. Because the screening kit is app-connected, individuals know their results within minutes – not days/weeks.
Given that prevention is the best tool we have for staying healthy, combining healthy lifestyles with routine screenings is the best way to live our optimal lives and stay on the right track — so we’re less likely to be derailed by a medical surprise.
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