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health screening

Dr Tan Chiu Woan, Primary Care Doctor

1 August, 2023

Life Expectancy with Regular Health Screening

Today, the average life expectancy across all populations has increased considerably. As people live longer, the ages at death are becoming more similar. When stepping into a healthcare facility, one may be presented with a plethora of health screening tests.

What are the benefits of regular health screening? Let us check it out.

health screening

Life expectancy and health screening

Think of screening as a sieve that separates people who likely have a condition from those who likely don’t. A screening test is never 100% accurate; it provides a probability, not certainty, of being at risk or risk-free.

The purpose of screening is to identify individuals at higher risk in a healthy population, allowing for early treatment or intervention. This can result in improved health outcomes for those screened.

Many hesitate to undergo comprehensive health screening without symptoms, fearing the discovery of an underlying illness. However, unawareness of a possible pathology doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Studies show that the decision to undergo cancer screening strongly predicts life expectancy. It’s crucial to note that the screening itself doesn’t cause this increase.

Life expectancy can be influenced greatly by our lifestyle choices. Here are some positive steps to adopt for a healthier lifestyle:

health screening

Quitting cigarettes can increase life expectancy!

Smoking is strongly linked to disease and early death. Those who smoke may lose up to 10 years of life and have a threefold higher risk of premature death compared to non-smokers. Remember, it’s never too late to quit.

life expectancy

Avoiding overeating can increase life expectancy!

The link between calorie intake and longevity currently generates a lot of interest. Animal studies suggest that a 10–50% reduction in normal calorie intake may increase maximum lifespan. Studies of human populations renowned for longevity also observe links between low-calorie intake, an extended lifespan, and a lower likelihood of disease.

Furthermore, calorie restriction may help reduce excess body weight and belly fat, both of which are associated with shorter lifespans. However, it’s important to note that long-term calorie restriction is often unsustainable and can have negative side effects, such as increased hunger, low body temperature, and a diminished sex drive. Moderation is the key.

Stay physically active can increase life expectancy!

It should come as no surprise that staying physically active can keep you healthy and add years to your life. Just 15 minutes of exercise per day may help you achieve benefits, potentially adding an additional 3 years to your life. Additionally, each additional 15 minutes of daily physical activity may decrease your risk of premature death by 4%.

A recent review found a 22% lower risk of early death in individuals who exercised, even if they worked out less than the recommended 150 minutes per week. Those who met the 150-minute recommendation had a 28% lower likelihood of early death, and for those who exercised beyond this guidance, the number rose to 35%.

In a nutshell, it is vitally important for everyone to have the awareness to go for regular health screenings and to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices in their daily lives for their own benefit. Don't forget to get your health screened regularly!

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