Sunday, July 8, 2018

The importance of Medical Tests for Seniors


Prevention is better than cure, and early diagnosis is preventive care. Medical tests are an important component of preventive medicine. However, many seniors have an aversion to taking medical tests for the following reasons:

1. Lack of knowledge about the tests and the reasons for taking those tests

2. Fear of the outcome of the tests (many simply wanting to hear no evil and see no evil)

3. Exorbitant costs incurred by some medical tests

4. Uncomfortable feeling experienced when taking some of these medical tests, e.g. pap smears and mammograms

All in all, being in a doctor's office or in a medical setting is enough to unnerve many seniors and deter them from getting the medical tests they need. However, not taking these medical tests may be too hefty a price to pay, because taking certain medical tests on a regular basis is a health necessity in preventive medicine. Nowadays, with the advancement in innovative technology, such as the state-of-the-art ultrasound and magnet resonance, these medical tests are quite accurate in identifying underlying health problems, and therefore can effectively save lives.

Bone density tests

Bone density tests are getting easier and cheaper these days. There is no reason why you should not take your bone density tests to help diagnose hin bones to avoid the devastating effects of osteoporosis. Do not let your bones become dangerously thin.

Colon screening

Colon cancer is the No.3 most prevalent cancer among women. Regular colon tests can detect the presence of polyps, which may be a precusor of colon cancer. After age 50, a woman's risk of colon cancer doubles.

Taking colon screening is particularly important under the following conditions:

1. You are over 50, especially if you are a woman.

2. You have a family history of colon cancer.

3. You have been eating a high-fat and low-fiber diet.

4. You have been having constipation problems. "Regular" means you have a bowel movement at least once a day, not once every other day. Ideally, you should have two bowel movements, if not three, per day. Inefficient elimination is the major cause of colon cancer. Colon cleansing is an important part of colon health.

5. You do not exercise regularly. Walking at a normal or brisk pace one hour a day can reduce your risk of colon cancer by more than 40 percent, according to some experts. Regular exercise may prevent colon cancer. Get Fit While You Sit, by a professional trainer, shows you how to exercise almost anywhere and anytime without exerting too much effort.

Digital rectal examination (DRE)

You should have an annual checkup for prostate and rectal cancers.

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

Take an annual electrocardiogram (EKG) to diagnose heart disease, which is the No.1 killer in the United States. An early diagnosis may help you change your diet and lifestyle to prevent heart disease from worsening. 

Glaucoma tests

An annual glaucoma test may save your vision. Glaucoma hardens your eye's lens, thereby restricting vision. If untreated, glaucoma may lead to blindness.

Mammograms

Despite the controversy, women over fifty should have annual mammograms.

Ulcer tests

According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, ulcer tests may reduce the incidence of getting antibiotics, as well as avoid exorbitant endoscopy costs, (endoscopy is an expensive invasive procedure involving swallowing a tube to detect ulcers).

Urinalysis tests

Urinalysis tests to screen for diabetes, gallbladder, hormones, and urinary tract infections should be taken every year after age 50.

X-ray for tuberculosis

You should have your chest x-rayed once every five years.

In addition to the above, regular checkup on cholesterol and blood pressure is mandatory for longevity health.

Preventive screening is part and parcel of modern preventive medicine. The time taken and the money spent pay off in the end.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

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