Preventive Healthcare - Prevention is Better than Cure
Dr. Gudrun Sadik
The Vienna based private hospitals Döbling and Confratärnität offer comprehensive health prevention programs.
Dr. Gudrun Sadik, specialist of internal medicine, has been supervising prevention programs at the Döbling Private Hospital for several years.
Dr. Sadik, why is it important to have a regular physical examination?
Systematic medical control is not only an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, but also vital.
Some serious illnesses go on without symptoms for a long time. The person leads a normal life without any complaints or painful manifestations. During this period, almost any disease is curable, so it is vitally important to carry out the correct diagnosis and identify signs of all existing problems. If the disease starts and the necessary treatment is not carried out, then the consequences may not be predictable, for example, complications that are very difficult to deal with.
We can take arterial hypertension as an example. For a long time, this disease can proceed without manifestations and not bother a person. The body adapts to high blood pressure and it becomes invisible. Only special diagnostic examinations can reveal this problem, such as ergometry (examination of the cardiovascular system under stress), 24-hour pressure monitoring and ultrasound of the heart.
Who is recommended to undergo a medical examination and at what age?
In principle, it is recommended to undergo a routine examination for patients of any age. It is especially important and even vital to undergo a complex of preventive examinations for patients with chronic hereditary or acquired diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, viral infectious diseases, etc.). A physical examination will reveal the status of the disease, prevent complications and help keep the patient under control. Together with a qualified specialist, a health support program will be developed, which significantly improves the quality of life.
It is also highly recommended to undergo a medical examination for patients with a genetic predisposition, i.e. patients whose close relatives suffer from chronic diseases. This includes cancer, diseases of the cardiovascular system, metabolic diseases (diabetes, thyroid gland), etc. As mentioned earlier, diagnosis can prevent the development of a chronic disease and stop it at an early stage.
Is there a difference between prevention programs for women and men?
In principle, prevention programs for men and women are almost identical. In women, a gynecological examination (including smears, ultrasound, hormonal status) with mammography (recommended after 40 years) and bone density measurement is added, and in men, a urological examination (PSA tumor marker test and rectal ultrasound).
Also, after 40 years, it is recommended to undergo a more detailed examination of the gastrointestinal tract, gastro-colonoscopy, which helps to identify serious chronic diseases in the early stages.
How important are vaccinations for the prevention of infectious and viral diseases?
In Austria, a lot of attention is paid to vaccinations. Vaccinations are given to everyone, without exception, from infancy. Each patient has a so-called vaccination card, which records when and in what dose they were vaccinated. Based on this card, the physician therapist calculates the next vaccination date.
For a successful vaccination without side effects and consequences, you need a high-quality vaccine, a correctly calculated dose and a correctly calculated interval of vaccine administration. If these conditions are taken into account, vaccination will be effective and safe.
Today there are many developed vaccines against dangerous and serious diseases. With the help of vaccinations, you can avoid such unpleasant diseases as hepatitis A, B, C, chickenpox, measles, rubella (very important for women), herpes virus, human papillomavirus, meningitis, etc.
How are check-ups organised at the hospitals “Döbling” and “Confraternität”?
The check-up begins with a conversation with a specialist in internal medicine. In the course of the conversation, based on the patient's history, the doctor makes recommendations for examinations or specialists in addition to the standard program, if necessary.
Extensive urine and blood tests, basic radiological examinations, cardiovascular examinations and specific examinations (gynecologist or urologist) are done. After all the results are ready, the doctor conducts a final consultation, where he summarizes all medical findings and makes recommendations. There is also an extended check-up, where it is possible to consult specialists of other disciplines.
What can be recommended for the general health maintenance of all patients?
Of course, it is very important to lead a healthy lifestyle – do sport regularly, eat as little fatty foods as possible, do not smoke and reduce alcohol consumption.
These are classic, at first glance, very simple advice, which is very easy to follow, but nevertheless, if you adhere to these rules, the quality of life improves significantly. A healthy lifestyle and regular health checks may conisderably improve the quality of life and help maintain health for a long time.
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