If you, like most Americans, made a New Year?s resolution to take better care of yourself in 2016, there are some things you should know.
First off, you are not alone! About 45 percent of Americans make a resolution every New Year ? and the top goal is to lose weight. Other resolutions include getting organized, saving money, staying fit and quitting smoking.
Making a resolution to be healthier is only the first step. The second step is understanding where you are health-wise and, along with your healthcare provider, setting realistic goals. Screenings can be an important part of achieving these goals.
?The best place to start out screening wise is to stand on the scales every morning,? according to George Privett, M.D., of Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI. Whether you need to lose, maintain or gain weight, this daily reminder will help you stay on track.
Another simple screening that can make a big difference in your overall health is getting your blood pressure checked regularly. You can have this done at your doctor?s office, at the local pharmacy or even at home. The point is, high blood pressure ? also called hypertension ? can damage your heart, brain, kidneys, eyes and entire circulatory system. There?s no reason not to know what your blood pressure is and to take steps to keep it under control.
?If your blood pressure is elevated ? generally greater than 120/70 ? talk to your doctor. He or she knows exactly what to do to help bring your blood pressure under control and help you avoid complications associated with hypertension,? he said.
Get your eyes examined and take care of your dental health, too. The eye exam can uncover a number of potential problems, including changes in visual acuity, glaucoma, diabetes and macular degeneration. And don?t forget about your teeth. That six-month checkup is essential!
As we age, it becomes more and more important for us to stay on top of our health ? to get regular checkups and recommended screenings to ensure a healthy, active future. We all dream of a healthy old age ? but we have to take steps to get us there!
Screenings for Men
Prostate cancer is one of those diseases that scares men, but it doesn?t have to be that way. ?Ninety-five percent of prostate cancers are very slow growing and will never result in a problem,? Privett noted. Nonetheless, men should receive appropriate screenings as recommended by their physicians. This may include a laboratory test called a Prostate Specific Antigen test (PSA) and a manual exam.
There is some controversy surrounding the PSA test, Privett noted. ?A positive result almost always results in additional testing or procedures, much of which may be unnecessary? because prostate cancer grows so slowly. In fact, Privett said, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is now recommending that men not undergo PSA testing. ?That?s probably a little extreme,? he said, adding, ?We need to educate medical specialists to practice watchful waiting and active surveillance rather than rushing to prostate surgery that leaves men impotent and possibly incontinent.?
Surveillance may include a Multiparametric 3T prostate MRI. The procedure looks at the prostate from many different angles and aspects, and can find and diagnose tumors and determine whether or not they may be malignant.? This also allows physicians to perform a biopsy with better accuracy and may help you to avoid surgery or radiation. The procedure is typically covered by insurance when preceded by an elevated PSA.
The abdominal aorta is the major blood vessel that delivers blood to the lower half of the body. Men, in particular, and smokers are at risk for developing a weak area in this vessel, called an aneurysm. A ruptured or split abdominal aortic aneurysm is a life-threatening medical emergency. Fortunately, these aneurysms are easily found using ultrasound technology. The test is simple, painless and can be a true lifesaver. Insurance will cover the cost of a AAA screening based upon certain criteria. Be sure to ask your doctor or healthcare provider.
Screenings for Women
Mammography is a safe and effective screening test for breast cancer. Women should have a baseline mammogram at 40 and every year thereafter, as recommended by their care provider. Women who are at risk for breast cancer may start screening earlier. An annual clinical breast exam is also recommended. Should abnormal results be found, additional testing may be required, including breast ultrasound, biopsy or breast MRI. It?s also recommended that women receive an annual Pap test every year beginning at age 21 through age 65.
Tests for Both
Osteoporosis ? thinning of the bones ? affects both men and women. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends osteoporosis screening for women beginning at age 65 and every three to five years thereafter. Screening for men may also be recommended. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider.
Calcium scoring ? This test looks for the buildup of calcium deposits in the arteries that provide blood to the heart muscle. An elevated score may indicate the beginnings of heart disease, allowing healthcare providers to intervene early before a cardiac incident occurs. This non-invasive test is performed using a CT scanner. The test is available at Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI without a physician order. While the test is not covered by insurance, the cost is relatively low when compared to the knowledge and reassurance it can bring. Visit lexingtondiagnostic.com for a special coupon.
Lung cancer screening ? Until recently, there has been no safe, reliable screening for lung cancer. A screening test called a low-dose CT has changed that. The test uses CT technology to detect abnormalities in the lungs that may indicate cancer in its earliest stages. Early detection of any cancer helps increase the chance of cure. The low-dose CT screening is available without a physician referral and insurance will pay for the study and for follow up testing if the patient meets the criteria.
Colon cancer screening ? If you are age 50 and haven?t had a colonoscopy, it?s time! At Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, we offer a less invasive test, called virtual colonoscopy, that requires no sedation and fewer risks of complication. A virtual colonoscopy is performed using the CT scanner and provides excellent images of the interior of the colon. Should a polyp or tumor be found, we?ve made arrangements with a local colorectal surgeon to see patients the same day, thus avoiding a second bowel prep. One benefit of the virtual colonoscopy is that it provides good views of other abdominal organs, including the pancreas, spleen, lymph nodes, liver, uterus, ovaries, kidneys and gallbladder.
Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI is located at 1725 Harrodsburg Road, Suite 100, Lexington. To find out more about our services and how we can save you money on your medical care, please check us out at www.lexingtondiagnostic.com or give us a call at (859) 278-7226.