We can all hazard a guess as to how good or bad our overall health is. If you eat a balanced diet, exercise often and generally feel well, then it’s likely you’re in good health. On the other hand, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, have a poor diet and smoke, you know you’re at greater risk of developing certain health issues.
When you apply for life insurance, you may be asked to complete a medical exam. But it is also worthwhile booking a medical check-up whether you are applying for insurance or not. So what happens during a medical check-up?
What does a health check-up test for?
The medical check-up determines your risk of developing a range of health problems, such as heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and diabetes. It also provides you with an opportunity to gain practical advice on how to minimise the risk of developing these issues.
Unfortunately, leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you won’t develop health issues, though it will limit your risk. A medical check-up can flag problems before they develop into something more serious.
What to expect from a medical health check
A health check generally lasts around 20-30 minutes and is usually carried out by a nurse, but it could be another healthcare professional. You shouldn’t need to prepare anything in advance, but it’s always worth asking the health centre you’re booked in with.
During the check-up, you may be asked:
- If close relatives have had the illnesses you’re being assessed for
- If you smoke and how much
- If you drink alcohol and how much
- What your typical diet is like
- How much exercise you do
After this, you’ll undergo a series of simple tests and measurements, including:
- Your weight and height to determine your body mass index (BMI)
- Your waist may be measured
- Your blood pressure will be taken using a cuff on your upper arm
- A small sample of blood will be taken from your finger to check cholesterol and possibly blood sugar level
In most cases, you’ll receive the results immediately. You’ll be given a risk score (the higher the score the more likely you are to develop one of the illnesses) and will receive advice on how to adapt your lifestyle to lower risk.
What are the benefits of a medical check-up?
According to the Irish Heart Foundation, in 2016 more than 9,000 people in Ireland lost their lives to cardiovascular disease with almost half dying from heart disease*.
The Irish Heart Foundation argues that in many cases, heart disease and stroke are preventable. Lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, having a healthy diet and stopping smoking, can have a positive impact when treating diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Meanwhile, Healthy Ireland carried out a survey entitled ‘Physical activity and mental health in an Irish population’, and found that people who are physically active are more likely to experience positive mental health compared to those who don’t perform any physical activity. The study also found that of those surveyed, 92 percent said they would like to make a change to improve their health and wellbeing.
Choosing the right life insurance cover for you and those closest to you is important and will provide many great benefits. Visit our Zurich Life insurance page to find out more.
*Irish Heart Foundation: Threats to global health in 2019
**Healthy Ireland: Survey