As of 2017 the leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes and stroke. This is with a total of nearly 3 million deaths. Fortunately, these are all conditions that can be caught and treated early. Preventative care is key to helping to catch these and other conditions early for better treatment.
Preventative care is best described as any medical service that helps to prevent medical emergencies. Annual wellness checks are an example of this but any test or screening for a condition or disease falls under it. Here are some common examples of what’s included:
Diabetes refers to one of a group of diseases that affects how your body processes glucose (blood sugar). Of the 29.1 million people in the US that have it, at least 8.1 million are still undiagnosed.
To test for it, there are several blood tests that are performed:
- A1c: This test examines your average blood glucose levels over the past few months.
- Fasting plasma glucose: Performed after fasting this test examines your immediate blood glucose levels.
- Oral glucose tolerance: This examines how well your body processes sugar.
- Random plasma glucose: This is for people showing signs of diabetes for immediate results.
These tests are for different types of diabetes and are advisable to patients that are at risk.
High cholesterol screening
Cholesterol is a natural substance that creates hormones to help you digest food. High levels of bad cholesterol (low density lipoproteins, or LDL) can lead to multiple conditions including heart disease and stroke.
An accurate high cholesterol test can be done with a prick of the finger. The results will give you information such as the number of HDL (high density lipoproteins, or good cholesterol), LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides (another type of fat in your blood) in a test sample.
This will help determine the risk of getting heart disease, stroke and other conditions and what can be done to avoid them.
High blood pressure screening
A very common chronic condition that contributes to heart disease and stroke and contributes to about half a million deaths in one year alone, it is very simple to test for.
The blood pressure monitor you see in just about every doctor office with the inflatable arm cuff is the standard method of testing. This test measures the pressure in you arteries as your heart beats (systolic pressure) and the the pressure in your arteries between heart beats (diastolic pressure) Normal blood pressure is below 120/80.
There are numerous tests to take to screen for the different types of cancer. So testing will be likely based on family history, age, diet and things relevant to each patient.
As a result, cancer screening could include one or more of the following:
- Blood tests: Drawing blood to measure materials in the blood for cancer
- Urinalysis: Examination of urine for cells and chemicals that may point to cancer.
- Diagnostic imaging: Transmission, reflection or emission imaging is used to get pictures of the body.
- Genetic tests: A test that looks for mutations in genes that might increase risk of cancer.
- Tumor biopsies: Tissue is removed from the body to test for cancer.
Diet, family history, smoking and other factors all contribute to possible risks of many types of cancer.
So if you haven’t been to your in a while, it might be time to schedule some screenings to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Make an appointment with Dr. Bastien-Montpeirous and RevaMed Primary Care Associates to get some preventative care for a long and healthy life.