Get Screened

balanceHypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, obesity and physical inactivity. What do these conditions have in common? They are all on the top ten list of leading causes of preventable deaths in the world.

As all the above mentioned things are modifiable through treatment or lifestyle change, it is little wonder that more and more is being done to emphasize the importance of prevention. So much so, that it has become one of the signature issues of the American First Lady.

Whether it is a PR stunt for some of them or they are actually doing it to help causes, an increasing number of Hollywood stars are tied to various organizations, which aim to put a stop to not only the simpler illnesses, but serious diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis as well.

Just this past week a US publication – actually called Prevention – held its second annual Prevention Honors Hollywood Heroes soiree, where among others CSI’s Golden Globe nominated actress Marg Helgenberger and West Wing star Kristin Chenoweth received awards.

Meanwhile under the Obama administration a lot is being done to encourage people to attend screenings and the efforts seem to be paying off. A recent Medicare report estimates that since the introduction of the program last fall, more than five million Americans have taken advantage of the free diabetes, cancer, cholesterol and blood pressure tests as well as the annual “wellness visit”, after which the physician creates a personalized wellness plan for the patient.

The universal healthcare program in Hungary is still some ways off from patients’ being able to get a personalized wellness plan, but a number of private clinics have begun offering such packages, which can include gynecology exams, cardiovascular tests and the increasingly popular manager screening.

Researchers estimate that at least two-thirds of healthcare costs stem from preventable diseases, but only a fraction of that is spent on protecting health, so let’s not forget that beside the obvious benefits, prevention has one more big advantage. Any spending on it – be it individual, corporate or state-sponsored – will more than pay for itself in the long term.


2011. June