A Life Line screening, a preventative health screening company based in Austin, TX, offers tests that can alert you to pending health issues. Many serious conditions such as stroke, carotid artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm and others often present no symptoms but may pose a threat to your health. Life Line Screening can help detect certain underlying issues that your regular annual checkup may miss.
Taking Some Simple Tests
Life Line Screening’s preventive screenings can identify potential health risks before you experience health problems. The tests allow you to remain clothed, and they are non-invasive except for a finger prick for a blood test. The highly trained technicians use the same kind of equipment that medical professionals rely on, and your doctor can use the test results to recommend any treatment that you may need.
Getting a Blood Test
Results of your finger-stick blood test show whether the substances in your blood match the normal range. To get an accurate reading of your glucose and cholesterol, you need to fast for eight hours before your screenings by eating nothing and drinking only water.
The test can help identify diabetes or monitor sugar levels if you already have a diagnosis of the disease. If you are over age 45, your doctor may want you to get a screening once every three years. The technicians need access only to your finger so that you may choose to wear any apparel. A short-sleeved shirt gives the technician access to your upper arm to apply a blood pressure cuff.
Screening Carotid Arteries to Determine Risk of Stroke
An annual screening can identify ways to monitor your risk for stroke, and you need to know the results if you are over age 50. If you are a smoker or have risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, an inactive lifestyle, obesity or a family history of stroke, then your screenings need to start at age 40 with your doctor’s recommendation. Screening your carotid arteries can find any build-up of fatty plaque that is the primary cause of stroke. They are the large arteries in your neck that deliver blood to your brain, and cholesterol that clogs them can make them dangerously narrow. A stroke can result from a clot in either of your two carotid arteries. For the test, wear an open-necked, short-sleeved shirt.
Checking for Peripheral Arterial Disease
Blood pressure measurements and ultrasound allow technicians to check your lower extremities for the build-up of plaque that causes peripheral arterial disease, a condition that causes pain as well as a disability to nearly eight million Americans. A gradual process that builds up scar tissue and cholesterol creates atherosclerosis, the cause of the disease. The blockage in the lower extremity arteries has a relationship to an increased risk of heart disease
Persistent leg pain, a delay in wound healing and cold legs may indicate the presence of the condition. Risk factors that can contribute to it include a family history, smoking, obesity, heart disease, physical inactivity and heavy drinking. For the test that takes about 10 minutes, you need to wear a blouse or a short-sleeved shirt and no pantyhose.
Testing for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Life Line Screening technicians use ultrasound to check for any enlargement (an aneurysm) of your aorta that may lead to a rupture of the aortic artery. During the five-minute, non-invasive test, you lie on your back on an examining table while a technician applies a gel-like substance to your belly and uses ultrasound to reveal images and take measurements. Your aorta is the largest carrier (vessel) of blood in your body. It starts in your heart and travels the length of your body, dividing to provide oxygen and nutrients to your legs.
The preparation for the screening requires you to wear a comfortable two-piece outfit that fits loosely. You need to observe a fast for four hours before your test, making sure that your last meal of non-gassy food is smaller by half than your typical meal. Continue taking your prescribed medications, but limit liquid intake to half a cup of water, tea or coffee.
Screening for Atrial Fibrillation
The search for an irregular heartbeat requires a technician to place EKG electrodes on your wrists or collar bones and ankles. As a condition that increases by five times the risk of stroke, atrial fibrillation is the most common form of arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeat. Not everyone who has atrial fibrillation has symptoms, but some clues include shortness of breath even when resting and heart palpitations such as a sudden pounding or racing feeling.
Some patients experience a lack of energy, chest discomfort or lightheadedness. Risk factors include high blood pressure, heavy use of alcohol or caffeine, obesity, smoking and diabetes. Annual screening with your doctor’s concurrence can keep you informed about the status of your risk of atrial fibrillation. For the pain-free, five-minute test, wear an open-necked, short-sleeved shirt.
Checking for Osteoporosis
Bone fractures can result in falls as well as a permanent disability, and women over the age of 65 seem to have a higher risk of them than other groups. Younger women may need bone density screening as well. Statistics show that 50 percent of postmenopausal women may have a bone fracture during their lifetime. The test is amazingly simple, requiring you to put your foot into an ultrasound measuring device.