Health checks in the Netherlands

In brief

In brief

  • A health check is used if you do not have any symptoms or an increased risk of a disease.
  • You can buy certain tests yourself or have them performed in a clinic.
  • Some tests can be obtained from the government.
  • The tests have advantages and disadvantages.
  • Think about this carefully.
  • Do you have symptoms or are you concerned about your health? Then make an appointment with your GP.
What is it?

What is a health check?

Is my blood sugar good? Do I have an STI? Is my cholesterol good? Is my PSA good? Am I HIV-positive? Is my lifestyle healthy enough? Do I have cancer somewhere in my body?

We call all of these tests health checks: You want to do a test to find out something about your health. But you do not have any symptoms or any increased risk of a disease.

Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages and disadvantages of a health check

Advantages

  • If the results are good, a test can put your mind at ease.
  • You can buy a test yourself and do it without anyone else knowing.
  • Many tests can be done at home, without involving a doctor.
  • After a test, you might improve your lifestyle.
  • You decide what you do and do not want to check.
  • You decide what you do with results.
  • It is often quick and easy to do a test.

Disadvantages

  • The results are not always correct:
    • If the results are bad (but incorrect), you may worry unnecessarily.
      Abnormalities might be found that later turn out not to be abnormalities after all.
    • If the results are good (but incorrect), you will be happy even though you actually are ill or at risk.
  • If the results are bad, you could get a shock. It can be better not to be alone when you get the results. Bad results can cause a lot of anxiety and worry.
  • Something else might be found than what you were looking for. This can make you worry.
  • You often have to figure out what the results mean yourself.
  • You usually have to pay for a test yourself. Some tests are inexpensive while other tests cost a lot of money.
  • If you are tested for a genetic disease, the results could also be important for your children and other family members. This can be difficult.
    It is also possible that the results cause you to have problems with your health insurance coverage.
  • Test manufacturers and providers are commercial businesses: they are mainly interested in earning money and making a profit. Your health is not the most important thing for a business.
Advice: contact with GP

Advantages of contact with and examination by your GP

If you want to find out if you are healthy, you can see your GP.

This has advantages:

When to contact

When to contact your GP if you are interested in doing a health check?

Make an appointment with your GP:

More information

More information about health checks (information in Dutch)

  • At rivm.nl/gezondheidstesten (in Dutch) you can find questions to help you decide whether or not to have a certain test done.

The information about health checks is based on:

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