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These Diagnostic Tests Could Save Your Life

By Mikkie Mills

Often, we don't realize we have developed a serious medical condition until symptoms become perceptible, but, by that time, treatment is likely much more difficult. In some cases, the disease may be far too advanced to be treated at all. That's why early diagnosis is so important and, with these new innovations, early detection has been made that much easier.

NHS Health Check

This is a test to check your overall health, capable of spotting problems early on. In particular, it can identify an increased risk or the early onset of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease. The test requires a 20-30 minute exam, which involves questions about your medical and family history. The caregiver will also take you vitals, such as height and weight, blood pressure, and will draw blood to be tested. Once the results are examined, you'll be contacted by the caregiver, who will tell you which conditions pose a risk to your health and may recommend lifestyle changes to reduce that risk.

Oncotype DX Test

This is a breast cancer recurrence test that examines the genes responsible for interacting with cancer cells. The test is used to identify the risk of developing a recurrence of breast cancer, as well as helping to determine how well the patient will respond to chemotherapy. The test also identifies the risks of developing DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) and the possibility of developing new cancer in a breast previously treated for cancer. The test is intended for women who have stage I or II invasive breast cancer, which has been shown to be estrogen-receptor-positive. Additionally, candidates must not have cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes.

Breath Test for Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is another condition that can go unnoticed, until it's too late for effective treatment. Currently, nearly 80% of lung cancer patients die from the condition, because there's a difficulty in getting clear images of the lungs. This new test, which is expected to become available within the next two years, seeks to change that. The breath test looks for 22 distinctive chemical compounds that are only present when lung cancer has developed. Alkanes and methylalkanes make up most of those compounds. Using a breath test to identify these markers makes it possible to spot lung cancer early and without a more invasive procedure.

Breath Test for Tuberculosis

There was a time when tuberculosis was nearly extinct in the U.S., but international travel and increased immigration has caused a surge in the disease. The new strains have become resistant to antibiotics and, because so much of the population is immune compromised, tuberculosis is even deadlier than it has been in the past. Now, BreathLink is ready to introduce a simple breath test that can tell within minutes whether or not an individual has contracted the illness. The patient is asked to breath into a small tube, which sends the sample to a computer for analysis. Results are returned within 7 minutes.

Skin Exams

There are more than 200,000 cases of melanoma diagnosed in the U.S. every year and, very often, the condition isn't identified until it's too late. An early symptom is the change or discoloration of an existing mole. If an individual notices such a change, he or she should consult a doctor immediately for a more thorough examination. By identifying the problem early, the mole can be removed and any existing cancer can be treated. If left untreated, malignant melanoma can become a life-threatening condition.

Cholesterol Testing

While this isn't a new test, it is important and can help you identify a problem early on. If your doctor identifies high levels of cholesterol in your blood, he may suggest lifestyle changes or prescribe medication to alleviate the condition. While there aren't any observable symptoms of high cholesterol, it can worsen heart problems if left untreated.

There are many tests that can save your life by identifying medical conditions early on. While it's not necessary to submit to every test, if you believe you're at risk for developing a specific condition, you should ask your doctor about getting tested. Even if you haven't contracted the illness, your doctor may be able to advise you about lifestyle changes that can reduce your chances of developing certain illnesses.

About Mikkie Mills: “I’m a Chicago native who loves to share her expertise about personal development and growth. When I’m not writing, I’m chasing the little ones around or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.” More articles by Mikkie.

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