Medical professionals can detect diseases in many ways, most commonly through screening tests and physical exams. Recently, technology has been playing a larger role in disease detection. This is because technology has become more sophisticated and can now detect diseases earlier and more accurately than ever before. Early disease detection is important because it can improve the chances of successful treatment and prevent further complications. The following are different ways to detect diseases.
Screening tests detect diseases in people who do not have any symptoms. A number of different screening tests are available, and the most appropriate test for a particular individual will depend on their age, sex, and medical history. Some standard screening tests include:
- Pap test to detect cancer of the cervix
- Mammogram to detect breast cancer in women over the age of 40 years old
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test for men over 50 years old
- Stool occult blood tests for people at high risk of developing colon cancer or polyps in their colons
Physical exams detect diseases for people who display relevant symptoms. A physical exam usually includes reviewing the person’s medical history and a complete examination of the head, neck, chest, abdomen, and extremities. Some common tests that may be part of a physical exam include:
- Blood pressure measurement
- Heart rate measurement
- Blood tests, such as a complete blood count or liver function test
- Urine analysis to look for signs of infection in the urinary tract
- Chest x-ray to detect abnormalities in the lungs and heart
Doctors, nurses, or other trained health-care professionals perform physical exams to better understand their patients’ symptoms.
Technology is playing a larger role in disease detection because of the innovative ways it has improved through the past few years. Modern technology has resulted in countless new different tests, kits, and methods that allow medical professionals to get more accurate results. Some common technologies that medical professionals use to detect diseases include:
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan to create a three-dimensional image of the inside of the body
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce detailed images of the body’s organs and tissues
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan to measure the activity of cells in the body
- Ultrasound to create pictures of organs and structures inside the body using sound waves
- X-ray for creating images of bones and other internal structures
- Lateral flow immunoassays to detect diseases based on the presence or absence of antibodies in bodily fluids
With these different ways to detect diseases, it’s vital for individuals to schedule regular screenings for early detection of any health concerns. Technology has made it easier for most people to get screened for common diseases. The medical industry is rapidly changing, and more tests are becoming available every year. As technology continues to advance and help with diagnosis and treatment, health-care professionals can continue to find new ways to save lives.