The health of your family is probably the most important thing in your life. While healthy lifestyle habits help to ensure that you and your family remain free from illness, you also need seek family medical care on a routine basis. Here are some medical tests that your doctor may recommend to help keep your family healthy.
Blood Glucose Test
Diabetes can raise your risk for cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, and stroke. A simple blood glucose test can alert your doctor to elevations in your blood sugar levels. If your initial blood glucose test is high, your physician will repeat the test, and may recommend other tests, including those that evaluate pancreatic function.
When diabetes is diagnosed early, maintaining a healthy weight, following a diabetic diet, and getting adequate exercise may help prevent the need for insulin or oral diabetes medications. If you or a family member already has diabetes, it is even more important to visit your physician regularly.
At your appointments, your doctor will check your vital signs, use a glucose stick to check your urine for excessive glucose or ketones, and may even examine your eyes to check for diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes-related eye disorder. Diabetic retinopathy refers to blood vessel damage behind your eyes caused by longstanding elevated blood glucose levels.
High cholesterol is another risk factor for heart attack and stroke. To check for abnormal levels, your doctor can order a lipid profile, which will evaluate your total cholesterol level, as well as your high-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins, and your triglycerides.
If any of your blood lipids are abnormal, your physician may tell you to follow a low fat diet, exercise, avoid smoking, limit your consumption of alcohol, and avoid eating too many processed foods. If your lipids cannot be managed by healthy lifestyle choices, your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs, or statins.
These medications lower your total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, or "bad cholesterol," and your triglycerides. They also help raise your level of high-density lipoproteins, or your "good cholesterol." High-density lipoproteins are thought to play a role in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Make an appointment with your family medical care practitioner to discuss diabetes and cholesterol testing for you and your family. During your appointment you can also discuss other health-related concerns you may have including chronic pain issues, smoking cessation treatment options, and whether or not you should start taking a daily aspirin tablet to further help reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke.