Everybody knows that bad nutrition, a lack of exercise, and stress all damage our health. Nevertheless, many do not change their behaviour. In everyday life, other things often seem more important. The challenges are the so-called civilisation diseases: Cardiac infarction, cancers, (particularly lung cancer and colon cancer), diabetes, peptic ulcers, arterial vessel ailments (smoker's leg), and venous vessel ailments (thrombosis). At the top of list of causes of death in Germany is the cardiac infarction. Approximately 300,000 people suffer a cardiac infarction every year; 2/3 of them will die of the infarction or its results, 1/3 will survive with decreased efficiency. About 55,000 people fall ill in Germany with colon or rectal cancer every year. Colon cancer is the second-most frequent cancer, after lung cancer in men.
The key to good health lies in prevention; in taking precautions. Many illnesses can be detected much earlier these days due to recent medical advances. In addition, early diagnosis clearly offers better chances of healing. For example, with early detection, colon cancer can be cured in over 90% of cases.
The first step in the prevention of disease is the early diagnosis examination, the so-called check-up. The main focus of the check-up is on the early diagnosis of cardiovascular and cancerous diseases. Particular interest is paid to the ascertainment of cardiovascular risk factors. Blood pressure, blood fat levels, weight, blood sugar level, as well as risk factors such as smoking, bad nutrition, lack of exercise, stress, and hereditary factors are all considered closely. In the prevention of cancer, in addition to the physical results of the test, factors such as nutrition and hereditary risk factors including smoking and alcohol are also considered. In men over 40, a special blood test can indicate the patient's prostate cancer risk.
A check-up can be carried out by the family doctor. This includes laboratory examinations of the blood, the urine, a test for hidden blood in the patient's excreta, as well as a complete physical examination. Rest and exercise ECG, lung function test, ultrasound examination of the abdominal cavity and, for men over 40, cancer prevention is also a component of the check-up. The analysis of birthmarks can also be useful in the early diagnosis of cancers. Gynaecological cancer prevention for woman should be carried out from the woman's 20th year, every year, by their gynaecologist. In special risk cases or previous diseases, additional examinations can be arranged. According to the latest knowledge, a partial or complete colon endoscopy is recommended from age 50.
Following the check-up, possible changes gleaned from the personal risk profile regarding lifestyle and nutrition are discussed, with the help of the results, in a detailed personal conversation. Included in the consultation are individual solutions regarding useful sporting activities and relaxation exercises related to coping with stress.
The health insurance schemes support prevention by funding annual check-ups. However, there are considerable differences between the public and private health insurance schemes. The "health examination" by the public health schemes consists of only the laboratory examination of the blood sugar value, a complete cholesterol check, as well as a urine test and a physical examination. However, it is the individual components in cholesterine that play a large role in cardiovascular disease. Depending on the findings and the judgement of the doctor, a relaxation ECG can be carried out and funded. An exercise ECG, which can provide evidence regarding a stenosis of the coronary vessels, is not included. With cancer prevention too, the public health insurance schemes have made some serious reductions in their services. In contrast, many enterprises have recognised the health of their employees as important, and some cover the cost for an annual check-up.
Each individual is responsible for themselves, and they must decide for themselves how much their own health is worth. Because one’s quality of life is connected inseparably to one’s own health. Early diagnosis of risk factors and the early treatment of illness can often prevent a subsequent worsening of the situation.
Dr. med. Sabine Eversheim
Specialist in General Medicine • Specialist in Alternative Medicine • Specialist in Acupuncture • Travel Medicine
Limburger Str. 1 a
Phone (0 61 74) 96 88 96
Fax (0 61 74) 96 88 98