Ever wonder about the tests and screenings your primary care provider orders during your annual visit?
What are they looking for?
We’ve provided summaries below. We also encourage you to discuss any tests ordered—and the results—with your healthcare provider. If you think you need a screening, please make an appointment with an Augusta Medical Group provider by calling (833) AHC-HLTH.
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. If your blood pressure is high for a long period of time, your heart has to pump harder and work overtime. This can lead to serious problems such as a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney failure.
- Blood pressure is usually measured with a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff
- Systolic pressure – when your heart beats and pumps the blood; this is when it’s highest
- Diastolic pressure – when your heart rests and the blood pressure lowers
- Blood pressure is generally “high” when:
- The first number (systolic) is 140 or higher, or
- The second number (diastolic) is 90 or higher
- Additional risk factors may lead to a diagnosis of high blood pressure at slightly lower numbers
Cholesterol Blood Test
A cholesterol blood test measures the level of cholesterol in your blood. This test is important because there usually aren’t any signs or symptoms. However, high cholesterol can form large deposits of plaque in your arteries. This can partially or fully block blood flow, which can lead to problems such as heart attacks, strokes, and other medical conditions.
- How often you have the test depends on your age, family history and other risk factors
- Younger adults over the age of 20 are typically tested every five years
- For men, the frequency increases to every one or two years at age 45
- For women, the frequency increases at age 55
A1c Diabetes Screening
An A1c is a blood test for Type 2 Diabetes. It measures your average blood glucose (blood sugar) level over the past three months. It can help diagnose diabetes or pre-diabetes and gauge treatment when diabetes has already been diagnosed.
- Those diagnosed with diabetes should have an A1c test twice a year (unless otherwise advised by your provider)
- The result of the A1c test is given in percentages: the higher the percentage, the higher your blood sugar levels have been over the previous three months
- Below 5.7 % – Normal
- Between 5.7% and 6.4% – Pre-Diabetes
- If you are pre-diabetic, your provider will probably want to retest you every year
- 6.5%+ – Type 2 Diabetes
- The A1c goal for many people with diabetes is to keep blood glucose below 7%
An EKG, or Electrocardiogram, is a test to measure your heart’s activity. It’s used to help detect irregularities in the heart rhythms, blocked or narrowed arteries, a previous heart attack, structural problems in your heart, or to see how well a treatment, such as a pacemaker, is working.
- An EKG is typically done if you have symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pains or shortness of breath, or if you already have a diagnosis of heart disease
- It’s a non-invasive test that can be done in your provider’s office
- Sensors are attached to your chest, and sometimes other parts of our body, that can quickly detect the electrical activity of your heart
CBC (Complete Blood Count) Lab Draw
A CBC, or Complete Blood Count, is a commonly performed blood test that is often included in a routine check-up. It measures many different parts and features of your blood such as your red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, hemoglobin and hematocrit.
- A CBC can be used to help detect a variety of disorders including infections, anemia, diseases of the immune system or blood disorders
- It measures the ‘level’ of different substances in your blood
- If any of the levels fall outside the normal range, it tells us to take a closer look at what’s causing the abnormal level
- Other factors—such as your medical history, symptoms and medications—are taken into consideration before a diagnosis
A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. Screening mammography is a mammogram that checks you when you have no symptoms. The mammogram can possibly detect breast cancer before you can feel a lump.
- Mammograms can be used to check for breast cancer before you have any signs or symptoms of the disease
- It can help reduce deaths from breast cancer among women between the ages of 40 and 70
- ‘Mammograms are also recommended for younger women who have symptoms of breast cancer or who have a high risk of the disease
Colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your large intestine. A colonoscopy looks at your entire colon and rectum. A similar procedure called sigmoidoscopy looks at the rectum and lower colon only. A doctor may order a colonoscopy, usually starting at age 50, to look for early signs of cancer in the colon or rectum.
- The procedure is done with an instrument called a scope, which is a tiny camera attached to a long, thin tube
- Colonoscopy involves a bowel prep to clean out your intestine so everything can be seen clearly
- You will receive medications to keep you relaxed during the procedure
- Some things that can be seen during a colonoscopy are inflamed tissue, abnormal growths and ulcers
- If polyps (small growths) are found, they can be removed during the procedure
As we age, we have an increased risk of falling and being injured in the fall. Your doctor may start screening you for “Risk of Falling” starting at about the age of 60.
- More than one in four older people fall each year, although not all of them talk with their doctors about the fall
- According to national statistics, each year 3 million older people are treated in emergency departments for falls and more than 800,000 are hospitalized with an injury from a fall
- The screening can be a simple series of questions about your health, home, and workplace
- It may also include activities to test your balance: you may be asked to reach for something, pick up an object from the floor, or get up from a chair, turn and sit down again
- Blood or urine tests may also be ordered to check for infections or electrolyte balance that could put you at a greater risk