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8 Diagnostic Medical Tests Patients Should Understand

The notion is simple enough: in order to treat a patient, doctors must understand the root cause of the problem. In many cases, certain diagnostic tests are needed in order to confirm a doctor’s suspicion regarding a patient’s health issue. In other cases, regular examinations and testing are performed in order to catch and prevent diseases that a patient may be at special risk for, even if doctors do not see any obvious signs of that disease. After all, it is always better to discover a disease before any of its symptoms begin manifesting, if at all possible.

Patients who are informed about their health and their healthcare tend to have the best outcomes, which is why we have compiled this brief list of common diagnostic health procedures. It is important to remember, however, that this not anywhere near comprehensive. In order to determine which diagnostic medical tests are necessary for you, an honest and ongoing relationship with your doctors and healthcare professionals is a must.

  1. That’s right — taking your own weight is actually an important (and super-easy) measure of preventative medicine. Being overweight or obese is strongly linked with a number of health problems. Rapid, unintended weight loss is often an indicator of chronic illness. Keeping track of your weight once a month is a good way of noticing any troubling trends before they get out of control.
  2. Blood Pressure. Another highly simple yet highly crucial test that everyone should participate in is a blood pressure check. High blood pressure often has no noticeable symptoms, but left unchecked can wreak havoc on the heart, the brain, the nervous system, and other important organs.
  3. Blood Sugar. Type two diabetes emerges based on factors such as diet and physical activity levels, and can be mitigated or even reversed with lifestyle changes — which is exactly why catching this disease is so important.
  4. High Cholesterol. Also known as a lipid profile, this exam will give doctors an idea of your good and bad cholesterol levels. Cholesterol tests are generally recommended every few years starting at age 35 for men and age 45 for women. However, based on your health, your doctor may recommend earlier and/or more frequent testing.
  5. Breast exam and mammogram. For most women, these tests are recommended once every two years beginning at age 50 — but your family history or other risk factors may warrant a different testing schedule.
  6. Pap smear and pelvic exam. Starting at age 21, doctors recommend that women receive a pap scan once every 3 to 5 years in order to detect the early onset of potentially deadly conditions such as cervical cancer.
  7. Periodic STI tests are recommended, changing in frequency in accordance with your sex life and other lifestyle factors. Most STIs show no symptoms at first, which is why clinical testing is important.
  8. Mental health screening. A simple conversation with a psychologist could help you identify and treat mental health conditions that greatly affect your quality of life.

Of course, a number of other important diagnostic tests, such as skin examinations, metabolic panels, and hormonal tests can also help identify and treat important health conditions. Speak with a trusted medical provider today about which diagnostic exams you may need!

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