I was preparing for my wedding four years ago, I began to experience mild numbness and tingling in my hands. The sensation wouldn’t dissipate, and coworkers’ opinions and stories about conditions such as diabetes and heart disease weren’t helping. The longer the numbness lasted, the greater my anxiety grew. Was something seriously wrong? Would the happy future I was envisioning as my wedding date drew closer be compromised by a health condition of which I was unaware?
Had I not been experiencing intense uncertainty, I probably wouldn’t have cared that my office was offering biometric screenings for all employees. But health was on my mind, and my worries drove me to set an appointment. The screening was surprisingly short and simple. It was painless. Taken together, the questions and general procedures I completed lasted no more than 15 minutes. The results, however, brought lasting peace of mind.
Screenings are about timing. Sadly, too many Americans recognize the value of screenings only after being diagnosed with a late-stage illness. Up to half of all premature or early deaths in the United States are due to preventable factors, according to a report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Prevention often depends on early detection, and early detection often depends on screenings.
My own experience with screenings has increased my awareness of their importance and my gratitude for the local healthcare establishments that promote them. At the Madison Community Wellness Fair, healthcare professionals will be available to provide information about screenings to men, women, and children at all stages of life. It took me fifteen minutes to ease months of worry—but that same fifteen minutes just as easily could have saved my life.
Organizational Communication and Advocacy Major at BYU-Idaho