Screening is defined as a process of identifying apparently normal individuals at a high risk of certain diseases. Once the screening tests turn positive, individuals can then undergo confirmatory tests for early diagnosis & prompt treatment. It is possible to cure many diseases this way before they get worse.
Types of Screening
There are two major types of screening:
Biochemical / Enzyme Screening: This method is based on detecting certain enzyme levels in blood or tissue samples of selected individuals.
Molecular /Genetic Screening: This type of screening focuses on the mutations seen in one ethnic group and those seen in people of other backgrounds.
Difference Between Diagnostic and Screening Test
Screening tests detect disease risk factors in healthy and asymptomatic persons, essentially indicating suspicions that warrant diagnosis. These tests are simple and generally acceptable to selected group of people. Diagnostic tests establish absence or presence of diseases in symptomatic patients. Diagnostic tests are are the next step after a positive screening test.
Why Certain Diseases Run in Family?
Disorders are described as familial when more than one family member has the same disease. They occur due to gene mutations, which can be inherited i.e. passed down from parent to child.
Following diseases have high risk with family history:
High blood pressure
Commonly Screened Diseases in Pakistan
Pakistan is a country where many diseases are often diagnosed very late. There is an alarming rise in genetic diseases in Pakistan. Screening tests play a crucial role in identifying such diseases before they turn bad. It is crucial to be aware of diseases that run in your family. Get screening tests done if any of the following disease is present in your family:
Hypertension, Diabetes, Heart diseases, Blood disorders, Cancers, Postpartum depression, Genetic conditions like Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s, Albinism and Epilepsy, Communicable diseases like Tuberculosis.
Screening for Prevention
The aim of screening is to help prevent a disease. When there is a positive family history of high blood pressure, heart diseases and diabetes, it is a goo idea to run screening tests are on healthy family members for prevention. These members should also engage in diet control, regular exercise, and a stress-free life. Detecting pre-cancerous lesions helps prevent cancers by early surgical removal of cancer before it expands. Communicable diseases can be prevented by isolating the diseased from healthy persons.