screenings and tests save lives. Unfortunately, many Americans do
not routinely follow some basic health screening recommendations.
Routine screenings can identify a previously undiagnosed condition
or risk of condition. This allows physicians to intervene early with
treatments and therapies to control the condition or inform the
individual of lifestyle changes that can be taken to improve health
outcomes and costs.
screening for high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol is an
important first step in identifying individuals who are at risk for
chronic diseases but may be undiagnosed. Screening and appropriate
follow-up for high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol can also
save the lives of those at risk for heart disease. Early detection
and treatment for diabetes can improve health, and the CDC
recommends health professionals screen high-risk patients
periodically, even when those individuals are visiting their doctor
for another reason. Such opportunistic screenings can alert a health
professional to troubling results requiring follow-up care.
Many studies have
shown that dietary changes and therapies can dramatically reduce the
risk of heart disease and stroke, especially when these
modifications reduce high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.
When coupled with lifestyle changes, these therapies can be even
more effective in lowering the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
About 90 percent of all adults now have their blood pressure
measured at least once every two years. In 1998, only 67 percent of
adults had had their blood cholesterol checked within the preceding
five years. Of the estimated 17 million people with diabetes in the
country, about 5.9 million are undiagnosed. Without effective
diagnosis and treatment, diabetes becomes a leading cause of
blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke.
additional simple, preventive measures many Americans can take to
reduce bad health outcomes. Pneumonia and influenza are responsible
for more than 30,000 deaths among older adults each year.
Immunization can substantially reduce the severity, risk of
hospitalization, and risk of death from these diseases.
to you by the Executive Office of the President and the Department of
Health and Human Services.
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