What is a preventive examination?

A preventive examination takes place at a general practice and is aimed at detecting, at an early stage, any risks you may have of developing a chronic disease (even before the symptoms or signs of the disease appear), or indeed any chronic disease you may already be suffering from. 

The examination focuses on the prevention and early detection of the following chronic diseases: cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, arterial hypertension, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hereditary forms of cancer, depression and osteoporosis. After the examination, you will find out whether you are at risk of developing a chronic disease (and which one) or whether you are, in fact, already suffering from a chronic disease. You will also receive:

  • advice on living healthily and improving your health
  • any drug treatment you may require
  • advice on the health promotion activities available at health promotion and health education centres, if you wish to take part and are at risk of developing or are already suffering from a chronic disease

If the risk of developing a chronic disease is detected in time, this can prevent or delay the development of the disease. A disease detected at an early stage of development often requires a less radical form of treatment. You can therefore prevent the numerous negative consequences of having a chronic disease, thereby affecting your quality of life for the better.

How are preventive examinations carried out?

A preventive examination is carried out by a registered nurse at the general practice at which you are registered. The following form part of a preventive examination: 

Laboratory tests
After your blood is taken, the laboratory will test for the following:

  • blood-sugar levels from venous blood (on an empty stomach) and your
  • lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides).

If necessary, you will also undergo an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to determine whether you are suffering from any blood sugar metabolism disorders. It is up to your doctor to decide whether other laboratory tests are necessary.

Consultation on your lifestyle
You will talk to the nurse about the health-related aspects of your lifestyle (with the help of questionnaires), specifically:

  • diet
  • physical activity
  • smoking
  • alcohol consumption
  • experience of stress
  • recognising the symptoms of depression
  • observing the warning signs of cancer
  • participation in screening programmes for the early detection of cancer

Blood pressure, height, weight and waist measurements
These measurements are taken every time you undergo a preventive examination. If you are found to be at risk of developing a chronic disease, more frequent measurements may be taken.

Additional measurements/tests
The results of the preventive examination might indicate that you require additional measurements. These can include:

  • an electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • a spirometry test
  • a 24-hour blood pressure test
  • an ankle brachial index test

What follows a preventive examination?

Depending on the results of the examination, you will be given advice on improving your lifestyle and strengthening your mental health.

Your doctor will follow up on the preventive examination in the following cases:

  • if the results of the preventive examination show that you are at high risk of developing (or are already suffering from) a chronic disease
  • if you yourself request a follow up regardless of the results of the examination.

At the end of the preventive examination, the nurse or your doctor will, depending on the results and your wishes and interests, direct you towards activities to improve your health at a health promotion or health education centre.

What if I have already recently undergone an occupational health check?

Preventive examinations at a general practice and medical examinations at an occupational, transport and sports clinic are both aimed at protecting your health. The range of tests offered by the two types of examination are similar. The main difference lies in the fact that:

  • an examination at an occupational, transport and sports clinic is directed towards preventing the consequences of work-related stress and reducing risks to health and safety at work, while
  • an examination carried out at a general practice aims to prevent the most common chronic diseases, or detect on time any chronic diseases that the patient may already have, enabling the appropriate action to be taken.

Why do we undergo occupational health check-ups?

Preventive occupational health check-ups are provided to those in employment in order to protect life, health and capacity to work, and prevent accidents and injuries at work, occupational disease, work-related diseases and disability. Preventive occupational health check-ups establish the employee’s state of health and their capacity to perform a particular type of work at the workplace.

Based on the risks to health and safety at work and with the help of targeted tests, the occupational, transport and sports medicine specialist assesses the threats to the employee’s health, and whether the employee meets the health requirements particular to their line of work.

After completing the preventive occupational health check-up at the occupational, transport and sports medicine clinic, you receive the results of the check-up, which you then deliver to your own doctor. Depending on the results, your doctor will:

  • judge whether therapeutic measures are needed or
  • carry out further diagnostic procedures or
  • direct you to a registered nurse who is part of the team or
  • direct you towards health promotion activities at a health promotion or health education centre with the aim of encouraging you to change your lifestyle and strengthen your mental health.

This rounds off the flow of information that enables the best possible treatment to take place.