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Are You About to Have a Medical Screening? Here is What You Need to Know About the Process

A man receiving a medical screening from a doctor across the table, learning what he needs to know about medical screening.

Medical screenings help you stay healthy by identifying the possible presence of an as-yet diagnosed illness, even before you experience signs or symptoms. Your doctor may recommend medical screenings, or you might ask your doctor for them.

About Medical Screenings

There are several types of medical screenings. Blood tests can screen for high cholesterol, diabetes, and other metabolic conditions. Imaging tests can detect heart disease, colon cancer, lung cancer, and other types of cancer. The type of medical screening you need depends largely on your age, gender, personal medical history, family medical history, and other risk factors.

Blood tests for cholesterol, diabetes, and many other conditions require fasting, which means you should not eat or drink anything but water for 8 – 12 hours prior to the test. Take all medications as normal, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor, nurse, or laboratory tech scheduling the appointment. Bring something to snack on after the test if you tend to feel weak when fasting, especially if you do not have someone to drive you home. Not all screening tests require fasting, though, so consult with your doctor or lab when scheduling your test.

Some types of imaging tests require fasting and special preparation, or “prep,” to ensure that your bowels are sufficiently empty for the test. The prep is usually in the form of a liquid that you drink or an enema, or both. Many types of imaging tests for screening require fasting for three or more hours without a prep so that radiologists can use a special contrast dye.

Colonoscopy is a common screening test in which doctors can detect colorectal cancer early. In this test, the doctor uses a scope to look inside the rectum and colon. The test can show ulcers, swollen and irritated tissue, polyps, and other signs of cancer.

Certain tests, such as the EBCT Virtual colonography, EBCT Heart Scan, EBCT Full Body Scan, and EBCT Lung Scan require either minimal preparation or no preparation at all. These non-invasive tests use computed tomography (CT) technology. Most EBCT scans do not require any special preparation – only the full body scan requires fasting and a special prep; your doctor or imaging professionals will provide you with more information about preparing for this test.

For more information on what you can expect during the screening process, consult with your doctor. The more you prepare for your screening test, the more accurate the results may be. Contact Virtual Imaging today for more information by calling 770-730-0119.

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