People avoid going to the doctor for many reasons. In fact, it’s so common that the healthcare industry has come up with a term to define it: avoidance behaviour1. Studies show that around 33% of adults don’t go to the doctor, even when it may be necessary2.
The reasons for not seeking medical care despite needing it have been well-researched, and these barriers have been categorized into three main groups3, which include: (1) Financial, (2) Structural and (3) Cognitive.
In one study, researchers found that 24.1% of people avoided body checks due to cost, 8.3% because they were uninsured, 15.6% because they had time constraints, 12.2% didn’t see the need to seek medical care, 33.3% said they had unfavorable interactions with healthcare providers, and 4% said they thought their symptoms would simply improve on their own over time4.
Whether it is related to fees, limited availability of care, long waiting times at facilities, fear of diagnosis, reduced awareness of prevention facts, distrust of medical professionals or any others, avoidance behaviour may be doing you more harm than good. It may have a negative impact not only on your ability to manage your health, but it may increase the burden of care on your family and even have consequences on the economy.
The truth is, that preventative health screening and having body checks throughout your life can have long-term positive effects, including the facilitation of early diagnosis of disease and treatment thus prevention of early death, an overall improved quality of life and lower burden of care on your family5.
Keep reading for some of the best reasons you should include body checks into your general health-boosting routine.
Reasons for getting a body check in Hong Kong
#1 - Early detection
While it may be scary to go to the doctor and leave with the diagnosis of a disease, the earlier it is detected, the more likely it is that you may receive the appropriate treatment, which increases the potential to be able to manage the condition.
When you know what is causing you to feel the way you do, and you receive the treatment you need for it, it can improve your quality of life, be the reason your condition doesn’t worsen and thus reduce the suffering you may experience in the long run should you not put measures in place to manage it6.
It’s important that, even if you feel fine, you go for the annual body checks in Hong Kong, as they can even help you to detect problems before you even experience symptoms. These tests are called screening tests, and different ones are offered, specific for those periods in your lifetime where your risk of certain diseases may be increased.
For example, when you are 40 years and older, the risk of disease steadily rises. It’s the time of your life where it’s not only more difficult to maintain a healthy weight, your body recovers from disease and injury at a slower rate. It only becomes more or a challenge as the years tick by! So, what you do when you’re in your 40s, can have a significant impact on your fifth, six, seventh and even eighths decade of life when your chances of treatment and a cure are better, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
#2 - Improve your quality of life and protect from future diseases
In one study, researchers found that 17% of patients who went on to be diagnosed with rectal tumor waited on average a year before having a body check to analyze their symptoms. Some waited up to five years7!
Living with alternating constipation and diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain and cramps as well as severe discomfort in the abdominal region can have a serious impact on your day-to-day life. It can affect everything you do, from the food you eat to the activities you can take part in.
You don’t have to live like that.
A simple body check to determine the health of your colon after the age of 40 can provide a significant amount of information on what is going on inside your bowels. If your results are clear, this allows you to make informed decisions about your health and, along with your healthcare provider, put practices in place to maintain the health of your digestive tract. Should the results come back as positive, however frightening it may be, the sooner these changes are detected, the better for your prognosis and care.
It’s the same for many other chronic diseases. When you look at the top diseases plaguing Hong Kong, namely cancer, heart disease and cerebrovascular disease like stroke8, having your annual body check can help to improve the success of the treatment9 and reduce the impact it can have on your quality of life. You can continue to take part in the activities you enjoy, stay active, and manage your condition in a healthy way.
#3 - Get emotional and mental health support
A survey of employees in Hong Kong reported that mental health problems were rife in the working population, with low levels of help-seeking10. Mental strain can have a serious impact on your overall health, where inflammation can increase the risk of disease.
A simple body check and assessment by a healthcare provider can help to identify these underlying causes of disease and help you to better manage them.
Are you ready to take charge of your health?
From the information above, we hope that you are encouraged to overcome the barriers that have previously stopped you, and you’re about to schedule your body check in Hong Kong. After the age of 40, it’s best to know what your cholesterol levels are, the health of your colon, whether you are at risk of diabetes or any other disease so that you and your doctor may be able to put the best prevention and treatment protocol in place so that you may be better able to manage your health no matter what your age.
Lund-Nielsen, B., et al. An avalanche of ignoring--a qualitative study of health care avoidance in women with malignant breast cancer wounds. Cancer Nurs. 2011. 34(4):277-85.
Kannan V., & Veazie, P. Predictors of avoiding medical care and reasons for avoidance behavior. Med Care. 2014. 52(4):336-45.
Carrillo, J., et al. Defining and targeting health care access barriers. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2011. 22(2):562-75.
Taber, J., et al. Why do People Avoid Medical Care? A Qualitative Study Using National Data. J Gen Intern Med. 2015. 30(3): 290–297.
Bell, N., et al. Better decision making in preventive health screening. Canadian Family Physician July. 63 (7) 521-524.
Byrne, S. Healthcare avoidance: a critical review. Holist Nurs Pract. 2008 Sep-Oct; 22(5):280-92.
Ristvedt SL, Trinkaus KM. Psychological factors related to delay in consultation for cancer symptoms. Psychooncology. 2005. 14(5):339-50.
Centre for Health Protection. Department of Health. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Statistics - Non-communicable disease.
Duboyova, T., et al. The impact of the intensity of fear on patient’s delay regarding health care seeking behavior: a systematic review. Int J Public Health. 2010. 55(5): 459–468.
Zhu, S., et al. Health-related behaviours and mental health in Hong Kong employees. Occupational Medicine. 2017.67(1):26–32.