2007 epidemiology statistics shows Chronic disease contributes to 83% of premature deaths ( death before 75 yo ) and 64% of these are potentially avoidable. Coronary heart disease Cancer and depression are the main causes affecting those in the 45-64 yo age group most.
60% of Australian older than 15yo have 3 or more risk factors for developing a chronic disease.
The most common risk factors are: smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity and raised cholesterol.
All of which are readily managed often by the patient and often by lifestyle changes only.
The reduction in smoking rate from 50% of the population the 1950’s to the current 15% has seen a reduction of 40-70% for lung cancer and obstructive lung disease like emphysema.
Cessation of smoking before middle age reduces the risk of lung cancer by 90%!
A family history of a preventable or treatable disease should prompt patients to consider discussing regular check ups with their family doctor with the initial check at 35 yo. Similarly a regular discussion with your GP about significant illnesses appearing in the family may lead to some preventive health screening being suggested which may be of benefit.
Cholesterol and diabetes testing is recommended from the age of 45 but earlier if heart disease or diabetes has presented in the family at a younger age. Pap smears and breast screen mammography should start from 19yo and 30yo . Bowel cancer screening from 40 yo and Coeliac, haemachromatosis screening at the age of familial diagnosis or earlier depending on family history. Prostate testing is not precise and should be discussed with your GP.
Bowel cancer screening has lead to 3 times more cancers being diagnosed as Dukes A early cancers which now have an 88% five year survival and Dukes B locally advanced bowel cancers now have a 70% five year survival rate. Making bowel cancer screening and early detection very worthwhile.
Men’s health check ask your doctor about checking you for BP, weight, ECG, Cholesterol, diabetes, prostate, bowel cancer, skin cancer, bone density, immunisation, hearing and dental problems.