Other Tests of Importance:
Urinalysis: this is a standard assessment of urine to screen for a variety of health and disease indicators.
Blood Pressure: high blood pressure is a critical risk factor for heart disease and stroke (along with high cholesterol and smoking). Your blood pressure should remain below 140/90. The upper reading is a measure of the force of contraction of the heart muscle (measured in mm of mercury pressure), and the second reading indicates the pressure resistance to blood flow created by the muscle tension of the artery wall (arterioles).
ECG/EKG: the electrocardiogram provides details about the heart’s performance. Abnormal electrocardiogram readings can indicate insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle, impaired conduction of nerve impulses throughout the heart, or asynchronous contraction patterns called fibrillations.
PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen): this is a blood test recommended for all men over 50 years of age, at regular intervals, to screen for the presence of prostate cancer. A reading higher than 0.4 ug/L (4 ng/mL) is cause for concern. It may also indicate prostate inflammation. Note that a rapid rise in PSA within the normal range also requires assessment for the presence of prostate cancer, according to some experts. Picking up prostate cancer in the early stages enables doctors to prevent it from spreading outside the prostate and becoming a lethal disease. Presently, one in eight men in most developed countries develop prostate cancer and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in men after lung cancer.
Pap Smear and Internal Exam: this is common testing used routinely to screen for cervical cancer and cervical dysplasia (precancerous condition) in women, as well as to screen for other uterine abnormalities.
Colonoscopy/ Sigmoidoscopy: these procedures are recommended for individuals over fifty years of age to screen for early detection of colon cancer. Colon cancer affects one in 16 adults over their lifetime in most developed countries. As such, these procedures can catch it early, before it spreads and becomes a lethal disease.
Bone Mineral Density: This test is used to screen for osteoporosis, which is estimated to affect one in four women and one in eight men by age 50. The consequences of hip fractures from osteoporosis result in more deaths each year than the combined mortality rate for breast and ovarian cancer, in women. Osteoporosis problems are on the increase as society age, therefore, individuals answering yes to any of the following risk-related questions should be screened for osteoporosis by use of a bone mineral density test:
- Are you a woman over the age of 50?
- Are you a woman, who entered into early menopause (40-45), or premature menopause (before 40)?
- Are you a woman who has had both ovaries surgically removed before normal menopause (45-55)?
- Are you a woman under 45 years of age who routinely misses menstrual cycles or has greatly diminished menstrual flow due to estrogen and/or progesterone deficiency?
- Have you ever suffered from anorexia nervosa or bulimia?
- Are you a woman who at some time in your life exercised excessively or competitively to the point where your body fat was very low?
- Have you undergone treatment with oral glucocorticosteroid (prednisone, cortisone etc.) drugs for more than 3 months at any time in your life?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism?
- If you are a woman, did your mother or a sister develop osteoporosis?
- Are you a man over 65 years of age?
- Are you older than 45 and your doctor has told you that you are underweight?
- In general, do you have poor muscular development and strength?
- Have you ever taken anticonvulsant medication for more than 2 years?
Tests Not Paid For By Insurance Plans
Note that certain tests mentioned above are not commonly covered by government or private health insurance plans. This is most often the case for homocysteine, vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, vitamin D, PSA, fructosamine and IGF-1, vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, Holotranscobalamin II..Nevertheless, it is worth the small investment in your health to know your blood levels of these important health indicators.
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