01 Jul 2022

1 in 2 people 'put off' potentially life-saving health checks, new research finds

1 in 2 people putting off potentially life-saving health checks, new research finds.

1 in 2 people 'put off' potentially life-saving tests and checks, according to new research from Laya Healthcare.

20% of people said they delay health screens because they are afraid of finding a health issue.

80% of people understand the importance of preventative healthcare screening, and of those who have participated in screening, more than a third (32%) identified a condition they were unaware of.

55% required medical treatment and 38% needed to make lifestyle changes.

For a quarter of people (25%) who found a condition through screening, the issue could have been terminal if not identified.

Fear of the unknown, the cost, and lack of awareness around preventative health screenings were big factors for people who said they postpone health checks.

Head of Health & Wellbeing at Laya Healthcare, Sinéad Proos said the research shows the 'overwhelming majority' of people in Ireland believe that health screening is important but that distinct and enduring barriers to participation remain. 

"It can be a challenge for people to get to grips with the different types of preventative health screening options that are available, and more importantly, relevant to them. Taking care of your health from a preventative perspective can be as simple as going to the GP for a check-up or stepping on a scales and going online to calculate your BMI." she added.

Ms. Proos said it is important for the public to get into a routine of checking in with different elements of their health throughout life. 

The research finds that awareness levels amongst the public of certain health screenings are high for areas in female cancer screenings, blood tests, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

The analysis finds awareness levels fall for other important tests like male cancer screening which came in at 39%, bone density scanning (32%), genetic cancer screening (27%), and cardiac screening (44%).

24% of people said they are less willing to attend screenings due to the ongoing pandemic while 39% said they are afraid of attending the hospital due to Covid-19.

Lead Cardiologist at Advanced Medical Services, Professor Carl Vaughan said there are many reasons why people choose not to participate in preventative screening but there is power in finding health conditions as early as possible in order to have the best possible outcome.

He said: "An important first step is educating yourself on what the important checks are for you and how you can begin engaging. This can be something as simple as stepping on a weighing scales, having your cardiac check, sharing your family medical history with your GP, or having a simple blood test."

"Fear of the unknown is natural and something we can all understand but people shouldn’t be afraid of finding something early because that gives us the best opportunity to overcome an issue. By taking the time to look into your health now you are investing in a healthier and brighter future." added Professor Vaughan. 

The research was conducted by Laya Healthcare in October 2021. 

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