Mastering the Keys to Personalized Disease Prevention for Women
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It can be tricky keeping up with which the various medical tests and exams and determining which ones are recommended or necessary for you.
Personalized prevention is often related to a patient’s symptoms. But what if a patient has no symptoms of a health condition? This is when family history comes into play. Someone with a family history of heart disease should have their heart checked more than someone who doesn’t, even if the patient has no current symptoms of heart disease.
Cooper Clinic Preventive Medicine Physician Michele Kettles, MD, MSPH explains a few changes to preventive medicine and how family history and medical history play a role in determining which tests you need and when you need them.
Personalized Prevention for Women
New guidelines and changing technology may mean big changes in your preventive care, depending on your age, family history and medical history.
New PAP smear guidelines now more personalized. If you are considered low risk (in a monogamous relationship and have had three normal PAPs in the last five years or over age 65), you no longer need a PAP every year, but can go every three to five years instead. It is still important to go to the gynecologist for a checkup every year but if you are considered low risk, there is no need to stress about getting a PAP every time. Talk to your doctor to find out if you are low risk based on your health history and age.
New mammography technology improves screenings. Dense breasts can make it difficult to get a clear breast cancer screening through a mammogram. If a mammogram is hard to read due to dense breasts, it is possible that signs of cancer could be missed. New 3D mammography technology makes it easier to read mammograms in women with dense breasts. The downside to 3D mammograms? The cost of a 3D mammogram is higher than a normal mammogram and it also involves increased radiation exposure. If you don’t have dense breasts, there is no need for you to spend the extra money or expose yourself to the radiation of a 3D mammogram. However, women with dense breasts should consider this option as it can help detect breast cancer in early stages, which in turn, saves lives.
Hemoglobin A1C test for diabetes. Regular diabetes testing consists of a fasting glucose test. Although this is often successful in detecting diabetes, some people may have a normal fasting blood sugar but still have diabetes. The hemoglobin A1C test is a non-fasting test and is most beneficial for men and women who don’t eat well, or don’t exercise, or who are overweight or have a family history of diabetes.
Do you know your family health history? If not, talk to your family members to learn what health conditions may exist within your family. Even if you were adopted and do not know your biological family, you may be able to obtain medical records.
Talk to your doctor about your family history and be sure to mention any existing symptoms in order to best tailor your preventive care to your specific needs.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.