Make Appointments - Not Resolutions

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Well, it’s the end of January and you probably haven’t done much with those New Year’s resolutions, have you? 

How about a do-over?  Turn those resolutions into appointments – and turn 2016 into the year you focus on better health all the way around.

Sure, we recommend you drink more water, exercise on a regular basis and call your mother more often.  But we’ve also got some pretty good ideas on what appointments you should make throughout the year.

Wellness Blood Screenings

Having your blood work done on a regular basis may reveal health issues you should address with your primary care provider.  A complete blood count (CBC) is a common blood test that measures the amount of various types of cells in a blood sample.  If too many or too few of a type of blood cell – or abnormal blood cells – are found, it could be an early sign of a more serious health issue, like cancer.

Red and white blood cells, platelet counts, glucose levels and cholesterol (LDL and HDL) levels are determined with a basic blood screening.  Such a screening  might find potential serious health problems early – and early is a good time for treatment or for making lifestyle changes.

Greene County Medical Center offers monthly wellness screenings on the second Thursday of each month from 6 to 9 a.m.  These do not require a physician’s order and are provided at a reduced cost.  Monitoring your own lab results can provide peace of mind between yearly provider appointments.    

Pre-diabetes Testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that one out of every three American adults has pre-diabetes and doesn’t know it.  That’s 86 million Americans.

Having a high level of blood glucose (sugar) means you are at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  Addressing pre-diabetes symptoms like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and/or being overweight can help you avoid developing type 2 diabetes, which can, in turn, lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, or even loss of toes, feet or legs.

The first step is to find out if you are one of the 86 million Americans – take the test to learn if you are at risk of having pre-diabetes.  And then, if necessary, make an appointment with a diabetes management nurse to see what can be done to improve your health and decrease your risk of developing diabetes.

Mammogram

A mammogram is an imaging examination of the breast by means of x-rays. It is the main test recommended by the American Cancer Society for early detection of breast cancer.  Two types of mammograms exist – conventional (image on film) and digital (electronic image on computer file).  According to the National Cancer Institute, conventional and digital mammograms have similar accuracy for most women. 

The American Cancer Society released new guidelines in 2015 recommending that women at average risk for breast cancer should begin having a yearly mammogram at age 45.  Beginning at age 55, women can go every other year, or, if preferred, they can continue their yearly mammogram.

Women at high risk (family history, previous diagnosis, etc.) should begin having mammograms earlier and/or more often, according to their provider’s recommendations. 

Greene County Medical Center's imaging department offers digital mammography.  If you're due for a mammogram, call to learn more or make your appointment.

Dexa Bone Densitometry (Bone Density Test)

A bone density test is used most often to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men.  Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break.

Offered at Greene County Medical Center, a bone density test is the only test that can diagnosis osteoporosis.  The lower your bone density, the higher your risk of breaking a bone. 

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a bone density test if you: 

  • are female, aged 65 or older
  • are male, aged 70 or older
  • have broken a bone after age 50
  • are a menopausal aged woman with risk factors
  • are a postmenopausal woman under age 65 with risk factors
  • are male, aged 50-69 with risk factors

Risk factors can include gender, race, age, family history and body size.  Hormone levels, dietary factors, current or past medications and lifestyle choices are also risk factors.

Medicine, as recommended by your provider, can help reduce the chance of breaking a bone for those with low bone density.

Regular Pap Smears

According to Dr. David Jaskey, OB/GYN in Greene County Medical Center’s Advanced Women’s Care clinic, “Pap smear screening should begin at age 21, regardless of sexual debut.”  And then every 3 years between the age of 21 and 30.  After age 30, and up to age 65, pap smears are recommended every five years.  A pap smear is no longer necessary after age 65, except in the follow-up for malignant and premalignant conditions.

The cells collected in a Pap smear can detect if you have cervical cancer or if you may develop cervical cancer.  In most cases, cervical cancer is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection.  Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide, but it's not so common in the United States and other countries where cervical cancer screening is routine.

Colonoscopy

According to the American Cancer Society, colon polyps found and removed during a routine colonoscopy can help keep some from getting colorectal cancer (commonly known as colon cancer).  Colon polyps are small clumps of cells that can be harmless, but can also develop into cancer.

Your chances of preventing colon cancer, which is the third deadliest cancer in the U.S. among men and women, can be improved by having regular colonoscopies.  Beginning at age 50, both men and women should have a colonoscopy every 10 years.  Those with a higher risk, such as personal or family history of colon cancer, should begin having colonoscopies before age 50, based on provider recommendations.

In partnership with Western Iowa Surgery surgeons, the surgery team at Greene County Medical Center is here to care for you during your next colonoscopy - and any needed follow-up care, too, such as colon resections.

Nutritional Expertise and Diet Instruction

It’s hard to decipher all we read and hear about what we should be eating and what we should be keeping off our plates.  A lot of it depends on other health concerns we might have.

If you have health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, celiac disease or renal disease, visiting with a nutritional expert might be just what you need.  A registered dietitian can help you understand food labels, healthy eating guidelines, vitamin and mineral supplements and a host of other topics.

An hour of nutritional expertise from a diet instructor might be the best hour you spend this year on your health.

Specialty Appointments

There are so many aches and pains we experience throughout a day, a week, a year.  Visiting your primary care provider or a specialist when those aches and pains won’t go away is the best way to detect serious illness or injury before it gets the best of you.

Think “ist” when you think of the many specialty physicians who could help you at Greene County Medical Center – cardiologist, dermatologist, hematologist, hepatologist, oncologist, orthodontistotolaryngologist (Ear, Nose and Throat), podiatrist, pulmonologist, urologist.

Why wonder about your health?  Check on it, act on it, feel better, live better!