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When you’re ill, your clinician has to diagnose what’s wrong with you. They do that using some of these common medical diagnostic tests. These, of course, are only a few- there are dozens more, each of which an MD has to be familiar with.
So, without wasting any more time, let’s check out the most common medical diagnostic tests!
The clinical exam, or ‘physical exam’, is perhaps the most widely used of the common medical diagnostic tests. It is a quick check-up, often routine, which involves the doctor examining your body. Your MD will normally take a look at your medical record, to get an idea of what to look for. They will then investigate your body for any signs of disease. Clinical exams are performed on a routine basis, and so are intended mainly for aysmptomatic patients. In other words, the physical exam is not for people who are all, but people who have no visible illness.
The clinical exam will check for a variety of conditions, from your head to your toes. Starting with your head, your MD will check whether your eyes and ears are in good working order. They will check that your neck is flexible, and without pain while moving. Tour doctor will examine your respiratory system and your heart health, and last but not least, your reflexes in both your arms and legs.
If a clinical exam isn’t good enough, your doctor may ask you to go for a scan. There are a number of different kinds of scan, which help your clinician, here called a radiologist, to see inside your body without surgery. Probably the safest of them all, and the one that we practise, is the MRI scan. The MRI scan uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to see inside your body. The use of a magnetic field is completely harmless, unless you have metal implants– these will be attracted to the magnetic field.
The process normally takes around an hour. Typically, MRIs are used to check for soft tissue abnormalities. This makes an MRI scan perfect for detecting tumors and cysts in the body and brain. Many MRI scans require the injection of what’s called a contrast fluid. This helps the radiographer to see inside your body even better, because it highlights certain kinds of tissue. For more information on MRi scans, feel free to contact us!
An X-ray scan is one of the more common medical diagnostic tests. In fact, it is more common than an MRI despite being more dangerous. An X-ray does the same kind of thing that an MRI scan does, only it uses radiation instead of a magnetic field and radio waves. Rather than finding abnormalities in soft tissue, however, an X-ray allows your clinician to see your bone structure. It only uses radiation in small and controlled doses, so as to lower the potential harm that it can cause. But nevertheless, having multiple X-rays, or taking X-rays for too long a time, can be dangerous.
A biopsy is a diagnostic test which takes a sample of tissue from your body in order to examine it. This is never a first line of diagnosis, but is always done after initial tests prove something to be wrong. This could be a strange cyst or tumor, which doctors cannot identify or understand using medical scans. Biopsies are a common way of looking for cancer, but can help with a number of conditions, like searching for cirrhosis.
One of the most common medical diagnostic tests is the blood test. This is where a nurse or doctor takes blood from your body- almost like the opposite of an injection! Doctors use blood tests to check your general state of health, among other things. They can be used to check if you have an infection, see how well your liver and kidneys are working, and even screen for certain genetic conditions. Blood tests only take a couple of minutes, at least on your end- all you have to do is sit back and relax while the nurse takes your blood.
A mammogram is another form of the X-ray diagnostic test. It is directed at the breasts and is intended to find tumors or cysts- in other words, breast cancer. Mammograms are an excellent diagnostic test because they can identify cysts long before they become a problem, and long before either you or a medical doctor would be able to find them on your own using a quick squeeze test. Medical professionals routinely offer mammograms to women over 40 every year or two years. But despite the fact that it is unusual for a younger woman to develop cysts or tumors, doctors recommend mammograms for women of all ages.
The colonoscopy is a test which is used to diagnose conditions in the rectum or colon such as cancer. During a colonoscopy, a doctor inserts a minute tube into the rectum. This tube has a very small camera lens at the end, as well as a light. The point is that the doctor is able to see inside your rectum or colon on a special screen, which aids in diagnosis of your condition. Just like a mammogram, doctors recommend colonoscopies for both men and women over the age of forty or fifty.