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    Gynecology 110: HEALTH SCREENING (Part 2 of 10 series)

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | February 5th, 2017

    Gynecology 110: HEALTH SCREENING (Part 2 of 10 series)

    I do not want to be the 1 in 5 adults in the United States that has high blood pressure and do know they have it.

    I do not want to be the 1 in 4 adults in the United States that has diabetes and do not they have it.

    I do not want to be the 9 out of 10 people who do not know they have prediabetes.

    I am hoping that I will not be the 1 in 2 women at age 50 and older that will break their bones due to osteoporosis.

    And I am pretty sure that you do not want to be any of those people either. I also know that you would not want your family members and your close friends to be one of those people.

    It is true if you do not check, then you would not know that you have the problem, but not checking does not stop the problem from occurring. It just makes those things that we can prevent not preventable.

    Let us take prediabetes for example- If you are found to have prediabetes, we can actually prevent diabetes. We have programs that can prevent diabetes. One of the programs that have been shown to prevent diabetes through research is the National Diabetes Prevention Program. It is a lifestyle change program that provides a trained lifestyle coach, a CDC- approved curriculum and group support over a year.  Click here to find a program near you. You would not know if you would need the program unless you have been screened for diabetes.

    As I mentioned, in last week’s blog, the purpose of screening is to find a problem in a person before they have symptoms so that we can make a difference.  The difference could be preventing another disease from happening or catching things early when they are treatable. Screening is about PREVENTION.

    There were three items mentioned under health screening in the sheet you downloaded two week ago – high blood pressure, diabetes and bone density for osteoporosis.

    High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) – 75 million Americans have high blood pressure and only about half of them have their blood pressure under control. Thirty percent have prehypertension. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and kidney disease.

    What do you have to do? Know your blood pressure. If the top number is 140 or over and the bottom  number is over 90, have a discussion with your physician regardless of whether you have high blood pressure or not. If the top number is between 130 – 139 and the bottom number is between 80 – 89, you might want to make some lifestyle changes early and monitor closely.  Everyone can benefit from the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) Diet.

    Diabetes – Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness. There are four ways to be screened for diabetes – fasting glucose (not eating for 8 hours and then getting your blood checked), hemoglobin A1C test, 75 gram glucose tolerance test or a random glucose. You can use these tests to make the diagnosis of prediabetes.

    What do you have to do? Know your numbers. Go get the test, know the number and then take action if the numbers are abnormal.

    Osteoporosis – The bone density scan of the spine and the hip is the screening test for osteoporosis. We do not screen for this disease until you are 65 years old. You might be checked after age 50, if you have risk factors. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes little bone or both. The bones become weak leading to falls. When a person appears to be shrinking as they get older, it can be due to little breaks in the spine due to osteoporosis. Most hip fractures are due to osteoporosis. Unfortunately, we do not talk about this disease until it is too late.

    What do you have to do? You can do a lot before you are 65 years old to help with your bones so that when you are older, the bone loss will not be as bad. Women at all ages (yes,  that includes millennials) should make sure that they are getting adequate calcium and Vitamin D. Getting it through your diet is truly the best, but if that is not possible, then talk with your doctor about the right amount of supplement for you.  There is a free calcium calculator app that you can download to see how much calcium you are getting. Weight- bearing exercise is a must. Weight bearing exercise are exercises that carry your weight including walking, jogging, yoga, free weights and resistance bands to name a few.

     

    Bottom line: There are other health screening tests that your doctor may order based on your story. Getting the test is just the beginning. Make sure you find out when to expect the results. Get an understanding of what is normal and what is abnormal. If it is abnormal, make sure you find out what you need to do.

    If you are new to the blog, this is part of a 10 part series addressing the top reasons why women should have a well woman exam. If you have read this blog and have learned something new, please share the information. Together we can make a difference in the health of women.

     

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    Secure Your Copy of Letters to My Sisters by Dr. Ngozi Osuagwu.
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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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