The human mind has an incredible capacity for ignoring things that we don’t want to know about. When we’re worried about money, it’s a little bit easier to just not open a bill; when we’re scared a friend might be annoyed with us, we might ignore their texts for a while. And for many of us, when it comes to our health, we tend to reason that if we ignore that twinge or this ache, they’ll just go away eventually, and we’d rather not probe any further.

There is an attitude many of us take that says “it’s sometimes better not to know”, and it’s one that many people take when it comes to their health. It’s understandable why people take this approach. They don’t want to take blood tests, because what if one of the numbers is slightly off? It could be nothing, but it could be something, and why spend all that time worrying about cancer when, if left alone, the thing will probably resolve by itself? Well, below, we’ll look at some reasons why it’s never better to not know.

Early detection improves health outcomes

A fatalistic attitude to personal health will often go along the lines that “we’re all going to die sometimes, and if my card is marked there’s nothing I can do to stop it”. That’s nonsense, though. The sooner you know about a health issue, the more you can do about it. If you attend a pre employment assessment and find that you have results which mark you as pre-diabetic, you can make changes to your lifestyle and medical accommodations that mean you never become fully diabetic. There is a certain anxiety to awaiting medical testing results, we all have that. But getting an early answer means you have more options open.

Sometimes, your health doesn’t just affect you

In the most obvious sense, the people around you would be upset if you got seriously ill, or even were at risk of developing an illness, so dodging medical tests isn’t being kind to them. However, aside from that, consider all of the various health conditions that can be hereditary. You may not be all that troubled to know that you have a tendency towards hemophilia, for example – you’ll just avoid strenuous activity. But maybe a sibling of yours is in training to become a paramedic – a job which carries significant risks for people with hemophilia. If you’re ill and can’t figure out why, your test results could help you and your family make decisions with health outcomes in mind.

The reality is rarely as bad as the anticipation

If you’re reluctant to take medical tests, the reason is often because you’re picturing the worst, but the reality will rarely match what you’re anticipating. Test results often come through quicker than expected. Even if it’s not an all-clear, the results provide a road map for treatment – if any is even needed. 

All of us experience thoughts of doom when getting a health check, but if you ignore screening, you’re not going to be spared that nervous anticipation should you become physically unwell – you’ll just be tested when your health starts to deteriorate, and that high-percentage chance that you’re actually fine will become a lot lower. You don’t evade the anxiety by not getting checked out – you just delay it and make it less beneficial.

Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash

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