The early detection of chronic disease plays a pivotal role in improved outcomes for patients.
It paves the way for early treatment, better management and significantly better results in terms of both longer life and a superior quality of life.
A chronic disease is any long-lasting, often permanent condition that evolves through the passage of time.
Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and kidney disease are among the most common chronic conditions.
Others such as arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain and asthma may not necessarily be as serious or life-threatening but are no less persistent.
Nearly half of all Australians (46.6%) have suffered one or more chronic conditions with 18.6% having had two.
Mental health is also considered a chronic disease and was recorded by more than one in five Australians (20.1%) in 2020-21.
Early detection of these conditions allow doctors and their patients to regain a level of control over many of these diseases and minimise their impact.
Your family history gives you a wealth of information about diseases of which you should be wary.
If breast cancer runs in your family, it is imperative to remain extremely vigilant, engaging in regular screening as the first line of defence.
Diagnostic imaging may also be able to indicate the presence of some diseases while they remain dormant or asymptomatic.
There is even a belief that earlier detection of diseases may lead to more cures.
Early detection of chronic diseases allows for early intervention and administration of treatments which can significantly improve outcomes for patients.
This is particularly true for the discovery of cardiovascular diseases which can strike with sudden and often fatal consequences.
Early interventions are generally less invasive and often more effective at slowing the progress of chronic diseases.
They are also likely to be more cost effective and may also help prevent or limit complications.
For instance, most cancers are more treatable and have a much higher survival rate when detected early.
Promoting lifestyle changes
Knowledge is power.
That’s why early detection gives healthcare professionals the opportunity to educate their patients about the benefits of various lifestyle changes to help slow or delay the onset of their condition.
And it gives those patients the time to make recommended changes, potentially enhancing and prolonging their lives.
These changes may include:
- Improving diet
- Tailoring fitness programs
- Quitting smoking
- Quitting drinking
- Learning relaxation techniques
The early detection of disease buys both doctors and patients time.
It’s an invaluable commodity when it comes to your health.
It allows doctors to formulate strategies over a long-term period, based on a patient’s particular age, stage of disease and overall health.
This leads to better outcomes for patients.
Having time on a patient’s side also gives them the ability to consider and ‘buy in’ to any proposed treatment programs, based on their own choices.
With time on their side, patients can make decisions about the management of their own health in consultation with their doctor.
It empowers patients to take the reins when it comes to their own health.
It’s a luxury they would not have in the event of a medical emergency.
Risk versus benefit
It should be noted that early screening, detection and treatment is not always beneficial for all diseases.
Some diseases, such as osteoarthritis, may not be life-threatening and in mild cases, treatment may be unwarranted.
Patients with non-aggressive prostate cancers may suffer more from invasive interventions than if the condition had been ignored or undiagnosed.
There are some leukemias and lymphomas that progress so slowly that the risks of treatment outweigh the benefits.
Equally, overofficious screening may cause needless stress and expense for patients.
Book an appointment
Do you have a lingering health concern or fear a malady that runs in your family may be preparing to strike again?
When it comes to your health, peace of mind goes a long way.
Why not take the plunge and make an appointment with your GP?
Many people suffer unnecessarily feelings of anxiety about their health which can be avoided by a quick and painless visit to their doctor.
At AHA Clinics, our doctors will take the time to listen to your concerns, talking to you about your family history in a calm and relaxed environment.
They’ll suggest an appropriate course of action in consultation with the person who matters the most – you.
If they deem it beneficial, they will encourage you to consider diagnostic screening and talk to you about how you can make lifestyle adjustments for the overall benefit of your health.
It’s also worthwhile considering a check-up, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms.
These should become more frequent as you age.
Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.