You’ve heard the expression, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well today’s guest blogger, Dixie Somers, shares with us 6 tests we could get to help prevent some of the most common illnesses these days.
For most healthy individuals, a yearly trip to the doctor is enough to make sure everything is in check, and make any necessary adjustments. However, as we age, we become more susceptible to diseases and medical conditions that can be life changing and even life threatening. That is why medical screenings are the easiest way to stay healthy and on top of any developing conditions.
Some tests can pick up on problems within the body before there are any obvious signs or symptoms. For those that would like to steer clear of some of the most common medical problems, here are five screenings that you should never pass up.
While type 2 diabetes may be preventable, the number of adults with this disease is on the rise. According to studies carried out by the American Diabetes Association, over 75 million Americans are on the verge of diabetes and this medical condition will increase a patient’s risk of life-threatening heart problems. Anyone that is 45 years of age or older, has a family history of diabetes, or is overweight should have glucose tests at least once every 1 to 2 years. This will help you stay ahead of the diabetes game and make the necessary changes to ward off the disease before things get out of hand.
Those with high blood pressure are at an extremely high risk of issues such as heart attacks and organ failure. Blood pressure tests are quick, affordable, and easy to carry out and should begin at the age of 20. Blood pressure tests should be carried out at least once a year alongside any other blood or heart tests. These tests should be done more frequently if you have a family history of high-blood pressure or related issues.
Those with high cholesterol could permanently damage their eyes, heart, brain, and kidneys before ever feeling any other side effects of this condition. Starting in your 20s, everyone should have a comprehensive cholesterol test. If the results come back within a safe and healthy range, further tests need to only be carried out once every 4 to 5 years. If you have a cholesterol problem, your doctor will likely schedule more frequent tests in order to safely monitor any changes.
You have probably noticed an increased push in the past decade for women to get regular mammograms after the age of 40. This extra push comes with good reason. Since 1990, mammograms have helped reduce breast cancer mortality by one third (in the United States.) According to the professionals of ADU, who offer a bachelor’s degree in radiology, early detection of breast cancer gives patients a better chance of avoiding the need for intensive treatments. Even if a patient doesn’t show any signs or symptoms of breast cancer, waiting to get a mammogram could allow the cancer to develop into further stages.
A pap smear is one of the most important health screenings for women, and should begin around the age of 21 or as soon as the woman becomes sexually active. These important tests are designed to catch serious health issues such as cervical cancer and STDs in their earliest stages. Women with 3 healthy pap smears in a row only need to be tested every 3 years after the age of 30.
As the third most commonly-diagnosed type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths (in the United States) colon cancer is a growing concern. A colonoscopy is a quick and easy test that will allow a medical professional to find any signs of this aggressive form of cancer. Tests should begin at the age of 50 and every 5 years after that.
For those with a family history of any other serious health issues, screenings should take place as often as possible in order to prevent these problems and minimize any risk in the future. Even if you feel healthy, don’t forgo regular tests and screenings—there is always the chance that a disease or problem is lurking beneath the surface and hasn’t shown itself yet.
Take advantage of the widespread access to medical equipment and technology we have today, and undergo the tests necessary to keep you healthy in the years to come.
About the Author
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer from Arizona. You can find her on Google+.
Are there any regular tests you and your family doctor perform? Please share with us so we can also talk to our doctor about adding an extra preventative test to our list.