Preventative screening tests that are recommended vary by age and gender. Also, pregnant women undergo many additional screenings to detect problems with the baby’s development, diseases that could acquired by the baby upon delivery, and conditions that cause a baby to be delivered pre-term. The purpose of basic screenings are to provide early detection of diseases or early detection of persons at risk for earliest possible interventions and treatments. The sooner a condition is detected, the better the chances for reversal of damage and recovery.
Basic screenings are recommended for women:
- Blood pressure -- to assess overall cardiovascular health.
- Bone density tests -- to test for presence of osteoporosis.
- Breast cancer screenings or mammograms -- to test for presence of breast cancer or abnormal breast tumors.
- Cervical cancer or PAP smear -- tests for cervical cancer annually or every couple of years; typically part of regular gynecological screenings.
- STD screenings for Chlamidia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV -- recommended for women who are sexually active.
- Cholesterol serum panel to assess lipid levels -- additional screenings for coronary artery plaques should be considered for folks with a strong familial history of heart or coronary artery disease.
- Colon cancer screening -- colon cancer is one of the fastest increasing health concerns in the US due to poor diets low in fiber and high in fats and sugar. Colonoscopy is a recommended test for women over the age of 50 and should be performed every ten years. The large intestine is visualized for abnormal growths, lesions, etc.
- Diabetes -- while there is no current uniform screening procedure for diabetes, an overall health assessment by one’s primary health care provider can detect if a person is at risk of developing diabetes in the future. Risk factors for diabetes include obesity, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, age, ethnic background. Most doctors assess a patient’s health for possible development of diabetes starting around age 45 as it is considered a national epidemic.
Basic screenings recommended for men:
- Blood Pressure -- to assess overall cardiovascular health.
- Cholesterol serum panel assesses lipid levels -- additional screenings for coronary artery plaques should be considered for folks with a strong familial history of coronary artery and heart disease.
- Colon cancer screening is recommended for men starting at age 50 and should be performed every ten years. The large intestine is visualized for growths, lesions, etc.
- Diabetes -- while there is no current uniform screening procedure for diabetes, an overall health assessment by one’s primary health care provider can detect if a person is at risk of developing diabetes in the future. Risk factors for diabetes include obesity, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, age, ethnic background. Most doctors assess a patients health for possible development of diabetes starting around age 45 as it is considered a national epidemic.
- STD screenings for Chlamidia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV -- recommended for men who are sexually active.
- AAA (abdominal aortic aneurym) -- screenings of the descending aorta are performed to check for bulging or weakening of the arterial walls of this vessel. A rupture in the aorta can mean a very quick, unstoppable death. Men are at a higher risk of developing AAA than women. Screening should be performed once on men in the age range of 65 to 75.
Basic screenings (part of prenatal care) recommended for pregnant women:
- Urine tests are typically done at every prenatal visit to check levels of protein, white cells, and sugar in urine. This gives an idea of overall kidney health.
- Blood pressure is assessed at every prenatal visit as well. This provides an idea of cardiovascular health. It can also help determine if a woman is developing preeclampsia, which can lead to pre-term delivery.
- Gestational diabetes screening usually happens at 24 to 28 week range. Gestational diabetes can lead to increased blood pressure and pre-term delivery also.
- Group B Streptococcus testing is done at 35 to 37 week range as the baby can contract this bacteria while being delivered. Strep bacteria has much more potential of harming a baby with an undeveloped immune system than it does of harming the mother.
- Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) testing on mother’s serum is typically done in the 1st trimester of pregnancy to assess for fetal risk of having down’s syndrome, spina bifida, or other chromosomal abnormalities. AFP test results in abnormal ranges facilitate the need for further tests (ultra sound, amniocentesis) to determine if the the baby has a problem, if the tests were inaccurate, if the due date is wrong, or if there are multiple babies.
Basic screenings are helpful tools physicians use to catch disease states early so that treatment can be most effective and damage minimal. Basic care doctors provide some of these tests and make referrals for the screenings they do not provide. If your basic care provider does not offer or suggest basic screenings, you could be at risk of having a progressive disease that develops undetected and untreated. The screenings above are considered basic for a reason. They help detect and facilitate prevention of many chronic conditions.
If you suffered a worsening of a condition that could have been prevented by basic health screening that your primary care provider failed to recommend, you may be eligible for damages. Contact the experts at the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts. You may have a medical malpractice case. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning should we decide to accept your case, there is no cost for representation unless there is a recovery of funds or a settlement made on your behalf.