This month is National Self-Check Month, an opportunity for Americans to become more proactive about their health.

In the U.S, people tend to take a more reactive approach to health and wellness. If they receive a diagnosis, they will likely take the prescribed treatment, and follow any other doctor’s orders. But many of the chronic diseases and illnesses that plague us can be detected earlier, with less harm done.

February is National Self-Check Month, an opportunity to learn about disease prevention, and early detection. National Self-Check Month was founded by the non-profit, Self Chec, an organization that promotes self evaluations for a variety of conditions:

How National Self-Check Month Can Help

Early Detection and Cancer

Self-checkups are most commonly associated with cancer. While the disease can be devastating prevention techniques and early detection can make cancer less threatening. Tobacco use, alcohol, environment, infections, radiation, and immunosuppressive medications can all be significant risk factors for the disease.

The Self-Chec website lists risk factors, and early detection advice for 12 different types of cancer on the site.

Early Detection and Heart Disease

Heart disease kills more men and women in the U.S. than any other disease. There are 720,000 heart attacks every year. Pressure, pain, discomfort, or chest tightness can all be early detection signs. The Self-Chec website lists age guidelines, risk factors, and symptoms. It also has a detailed definition of heart disease and some guidance for reducing these risks.

Early Detection and Diabetes  

There are more than 20 million in the U.S. living with diabetes and 5 million who don’t know that they have it. Preventative measures and early detection can help reduce risk factors with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The Self-Chec website lists risk factors, symptoms, and the necessary key diet changes. It also lists ways to reduce risk for diabetes.

Early Detection and Obesity

Obesity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, orthopedic problems, and even certain types of cancers. It’s officially defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. The Self-Chec website includes a detailed list of side effects, some tools to assess risk, and a BMI calculator.

Take Control of Your Health

National Self-Check Month is a reminder and an opportunity to retake control of your health. Instead of taking a reactive approach, you can learn the risks associated with these major killers, and learn how to prevent them with a healthy lifestyle and some early detection techniques.