We can do a lot to keep you healthy and fit for a long time. In everyday life, this is often not easy: Stress is on the nerves, lack of time thwarts the plans for healthy eating, the full desk prevents us from sufficient movement. But even with a healthy lifestyle it can lead to illnesses. One more reason to regularly undergo a health check. Especially since the health insurance companies cover the costs for a check-up every two years for people over 35 years.
What is the purpose of the health check-up?
The main aim of the health check-up examinations is to detect and treat illnesses at an early stage.
At the check-up one is specially checked for cardiovascular and kidney diseases as well as diabetes mellitus. But other illnesses that have not yet made themselves noticeable can be ascertained during the check-ups.
What does the cashier pay?
From the age of 35, the health insurance companies pay a so-called health check-up every two years as part of the statutory early identification and screening examinations for men and women. You can have this check-up 35 carried out by the family doctor. However, only underlying assets are charged - if you want to know more, you need to get your own wallet back.
Services of the basic health check-up
As with any medical examination, this includes interviewing patients with pre-existing conditions, risk factors and family-related medical history as well as a full-body examination. This includes the following examinations:
- Listening to the heart and lungs
- the measurement of blood pressure and pulse
- determination of body weight and body mass index (BMI)
Through these examinations, for example, the doctor can detect or rule out COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or high blood pressure (hypertension).
In addition to such physical examinations, laboratory values are also relevant. For this blood is taken and - as well as the urine - examined in the laboratory. On the basis of the determined values, the physician can identify possible metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or kidney diseases.
High blood lipid levels such as cholesterol levels may indicate an inappropriate diet or hereditary lipid metabolism disorders. These represent an increased health risk with possible consequences such as a heart attack or stroke and should therefore be recognized and treated as early as possible.
Always a medical final discussion should follow, in which the findings and consequences are discussed. In the best case, the doctor will advise those affected and help them with concrete tips to eat healthier, to move more and to work more relaxed.
Additional services of the health check-up
The regular health check-up can be extended by a variety of additional services as desired and required. Most additional examinations can be done flexibly, individually and without prior agreement.
However, these further examinations must - if they are not justified by a presumptive diagnosis - be paid out of their own pocket, as they are not obliged to pay by the statutory health insurance funds. Therefore, these additional benefits are also referred to as IGeL (individual health services). Nonetheless, additional benefits may be useful in individual cases.
To assess the cardiovascular situation, a resting or exercise ECG may be performed in addition to the benefits paid.
In addition, a large blood count and the identification of other blood levels can help detect diseases. These include, for example:
- Thyroid value (TSH)
- Kidney value (creatinine)
- Liver values (GOT, GPT, GGT)
- Uric acid (blood value for the detection of gout)
In humans (usually) from the age of 50, an ultrasound examination of the heart (echocardiography) may be recommended, supplemented by an ultrasound (duplex) of the cerebral vessels. However, these examinations are usually performed only in case of complaints or suspected heart disease.
The function of the lung can be checked by means of spirometry in order to detect possible respiratory disorders. The abdominal organs can be checked by ultrasound.
Often, a check on the eyes and ears is advocated at the check-up: The hearing test (audiometry) can detect the first signs of age-related hearing loss. In the reflection of the fundus, changes in the vascular system can be detected, for example, indicating hypertension or diabetes, but also providing information about general vascular status. Ophthalmologists also recommend measuring the intraocular pressure.
Screening for the early detection of cancer
Often the health check-up is coupled with cancer screening for cancer detection, which varies according to age. The costs of the following services are covered by the health insurance companies:
- From 20 years once a year examination for cervical cancer
- From 30 years once a year examination for breast cancer by scanning, from 50 years every two years Invitation to mammography
- From 45 years once a year examination for prostate cancer
For men and women:
- From the age of 35 every two years Skin cancer screening
- From 50 to 54 years once a year Examination for colon cancer by stool sample, from age 55 years by colonoscopy (one-time repetition after ten or more years) or instead of the mirroring every two years test for fecal occult blood
These examinations of the legal screening program are voluntary.