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FOR YOUR HEALTH - Health screenings important

By IACH | October 30, 2013

Story by: Col. Pearl Kreklaucaponera and Pat Fisher, IACH

Irwin Army Community Hospital is dedicated in taking a proactive approach in the care of its patients. The providers at IACH are committed to meeting health screening needs of their patients before they become an issue. Your chances for living a longer, healthier life improve dramatically when you obtain the right health services, screenings and treatments. Studies also show the cost of health care goes down if health problems are diagnosed, treated and maintained properly.

A vital part of finding health problems before they start lies in getting regular health screenings and tests. Certain diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure do not exhibit symptoms until there is a major problem. The earlier any abnormalities are caught, the better the chances for treatment and cure.

Unless an individual is at an extremely high risk, most health screenings begin in middle age and should continue regularly throughout one's life. Some diseases, like cervical cancer or breast cancer, may require screenings at an earlier age. Additional risk factors for a disease may warrant earlier testing as well. For example, an individual at high risk for heart attacks may undergo testing much earlier if they are obese.

Some of the most important screenings are listed below. Most eligible users of IACH will receive notices when they are due for many of these screenings. But one should take control of his or her own health by scheduling these with your primary care team or by calling 785-239-DOCS to make an appointment.

DIABETES

We want to make sure our patient has had an annual A1C blood sugar measurement and lipid lab work to keep diabetes under control. If it's not under control, we want to help the patient manage his or her condition.

CERVICAL SCREEN

IACH monitors to ensure our female population over the age of 21 has a cervical screen every three years. The cervical Pap test looks at any cell changes on the cervix that may have the potential to become cervical cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 12,000 women will get cervical cancer yearly. In the past, cervical cancer was the leading cancer killer, but that's not the case anymore because women are taking an active role in their health care and getting the cervical screening done.

MAMMOGRAMS

We want to ensure our female patients 40 years of age and older have a mammogram every year. Breast cancer is the leading cancer among women of all races. Early detection is very necessary to ensure the best outcome. Mammograms can be done as a walk-in self request. The Mammography Department at IACH works very hard to accommodate our patients with a schedule that works for the patients. Appointments can be made by calling 785-239-7911. If our patient happens to be in the hospital for a scheduled clinic visit and it's determined they are due for a mammogram, we work together with the mammography department to possibly get the mammogram accomplished while the patient is still at the hospital.

CHLAMYDIA

This is a sexually transmitted disease. According to the CDC an estimated 2.8 million infections occur annually. A large number of cases are not reported because most people with chlamydia do not have symptoms and do not seek testing. We want to ensure that our active-duty patients between the ages of 16 and 24 have this simple urine screen yearly.

COLORECTAL SCREENING

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the country, but with regular screening 60 percent of those deaths could be avoided. This metric deals with our population between the ages of 50 and 64, both male and female. There are several different screening options for this test. The patient could choose to do a fecal occult blood stool test annually, a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years or a colonoscopy every 10 years, barring any abnormal results.

ASTHMA

We want to ensure patients diagnosed with asthma have been placed on long-term controllers.

WELL-CHILD VISITS

We want to ensure that our littlest patients have had at least six well-child visits within the first 15 months of life. We want to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations and they are right on target and reaching the milestones appropriate for their ages.

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