There is a growing debate concerning health check ups. Here we will discuss whether health check ups are beneficial or just a campaign promoted by the medical profession.
Much of the literature centers around the Cochrane Systematic Review and Meta Analysis. Researchers performed 16 randomized trials on 182,880 persons. Of these, some persons where chosen for the study who had a health check and compared to another group that did not have a check up.
Results were studied by two independent researchers who submitted their findings. The trials were performed on sub groups to determine mortality rates, cardiovascular disease and cancer. By groups here are the findings:
9 trials were conducted on mortality with 11,940 deaths. The risk ratio was .99 to 1.03
8 trials were done on cardiovascular disease with 4,567 deaths. The risk ratio was 1.03 to 1.17.
8 trials were conducted on cancer patients with 3,883 deaths. The risk ratio was 1.01 to 1.12.
The conclusion stated that health checks had no beneficial effects on mortality, hospitalization, disability, additional doctor visits or work absences.
1 trial reported a 20% increase in total new diagnoses per person over a 6 year period.
We ask: “Are these findings true and accurate?” The answer is Yes. “Are these findings meaningful?” Probably not. Then why not?
First off, the medical profession does not know the CAUSE of diseases. They only treat symptoms and prescribe treatment AFTER you have a disease. Since the medical profession does not know the CAUSE of death any finding that concludes that health check ups had no effect on mortality is true but meaningless. The same is true for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
Let's take some examples. Two patients are diagnosed with high blood pressure, both with the same numbers. Both are given the same dose of medication, On patient goes on to live a normal, healthy life, while the other suffers multiple heart attacks.
Two patients have the same high blood sugar levels. Both are given the same dose of medication. One lives a normal life, while the disease in the second person becomes worse, resulting in amputations and death.
Prostate cancer cells can be diagnosed with a blood test. Here again two persons have the same diagnosis, both are given the same medication. In one person the cancer cells are contained and the tumor shrinks. In the other patient, the cancer cells spread throughout the body resulting in death. Why this happens is still a medical mystery.
What each person must ask is: “Do I want to know if I have a conditions that need treatment. Most would say yes, and some just don’t care. It would seem beneficial to know is you have high blood pressure, or high blood sugar or the presence of cancer cells in your blood. What you choose to do about it is your own personal decision.
To answer the question whether medical check ups are beneficial is, in the final analysis, an individual decision.