The best way to conserve your health is to prevent sickness in the first place. You don’t have to wait until something is wrong to go to the doctor, taxing your system with medication and having to cancel plans. Instead, pay more attention to prevention and to making preemptive steps against disease. According to a recent study, the population knows what steps can be taken, but somehow just do not take those steps. What does this mean in numbers?
According to a 2013 study conducted in Hungary, 71% of people aged 18-60 showed up to some kind of screening. This is not bad, but it is 8% less than in 2010. Lung screenings and dental screenings only drew in around 6-7% of the population, while other screenings (gynecological, oncological or lab tests) did much better. About 63% of those who were asked understood why these screenings were necessary, whereas about 20% stated that they think that the screenings are completely frivolous. Around 29% of the population did not partake in any sort of screenings at all. In our opinion, this is due to the fact that there isn’t any motivation to go to these screenings, the wait is too long, and the doctor may not even have time to see you- the usual drawbacks to universal health care. A full 7% of those who were asked said they were afraid of screenings, 5% were reluctant to go because of monetary issues, and 4% said that they were afraid of the outcomes.
The cohorts who were inspected spent around 100 000 forint, or around 300 euros a year on preventative medicine, and more than half of that was spent on medication. Most of the money went to gynecology and to dentistry, but despite this not much time was spent on preventing problems. Of those asked, a half a toothbrush and around one tube of toothpaste was used per year, even though the toothbrush should be changed every 2-3 months. This negative pattern can be seen in the teeth as well: around 50% of folks above 60 are toothless, and many 14 year olds already have a few missing permanent teeth. According to the WHO, oral cancer is the 8th most common tumor in Hungary.
In 2010, some 57 organization banded together to start a campaign, called the “definitive screening program of Hungary”. The objective of this initiative was to establish a culture that was more health oriented in Hungary. In line with the initiative, many groups will be scouting the country until 2020, and will hold talks and workshops about prevention and the importance of preemptive health measures. This is needed, as there are 3 million people suffering from hypertension, 4 million are overweight, and there are 1 million diabetics as well.
The attitude towards prevention needs to change, and clinics are the places where this can happen. Patients mostly only meet their GP or physician, and so it is up to them to inform their patients. Semmelweis University acknowledged this fact, and started to include new classes about prevention in their curriculum in 2012. Finding motivation for screenings can be done in private clinics. These places do not require you to wait, and you can pick one that is close to where you live. Many dental clinics, including our own Hungarian Dental Clinic in London gives free half year checkups to their patients. When this becomes necessary, an e-.mail and a text message are sent to the patient, and they can get back to us to book the appointment that is right for them. It is also worth it to know about when there are open days and events about dental care, as these invariably offer free consultations and treatment plans.
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