Wednesday, June 23, 2010

5 Must-Have Medical Tests

1.  Cholesterol/Lipid Profile Screen
When you go to the doctor to get blood tests, they check for HDL, LDL and total cholesterol. HDL (High Density Lipoproteins) are healthy cholesterol that should be at high levels in the body—55 or greater for women and 45 or greater for men. On the other hand, LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) are bad and should be kept at levels under 100. Added together, the HDL and LDL levels equal one's total cholesterol, which generally should be low.

2.  Blood Pressure/Obesity Screen
High blood pressure is one of the most important, and yet preventable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It’s often called "the silent killer" and can harm a person’s body for years before actual symptoms develop, which is why it’s even more important to get your blood pressure tested.

3.  Fasting Blood Sugar Screening for Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common health problems in the country. Many experts agree that a fasting blood sugar level above 100 mg/dl is abnormal, between 100 and 125 mg/dl is a warning sign that you may develop diabetes, and levels above 125 mg/dl are highly suggestive of diabetes.

4. Cardiovascular Screening with Exercise Stress Test
According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new heart attack in 2009 and about 470,000 will have a recurrent one. Even more powerful is that every minute an American will die from a coronary problem such as a heart attack, which is why it is important to get a cardiovascular screening with a stress test. If you have two or more cardiovascular risk factors such as a family history of heart disease, then get the screening done before vigorous exercise.

5.  Colon Cancer Screening with Colonoscopy and FOBT (Fecal Occult Blood Testing)
Colorectal cancer becomes more common as you age, so doctors usually screen people for colorectal cancer when they turn 50 and older. Screening should begin earlier if you have risk factors that make you more likely to get colorectal cancer at a young age such as a family history of colon cancer.

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