Clinical trials are research studies that allow doctors and medical researchers to explore new medications and treatment modalities. The right clinical trial can be the difference between a good quality of life for some patients and chronic pain or even death. As part of a care plan, physicians will sometimes recommend patients who fit specific criteria for a clinical trial. This benefits both the researchers and the patient in most cases.
There is no limit to the number of clinical trials done every year. They cover almost every illness diagnosed and many focus on improving patient wellness. When doctors discuss wellness, they are talking about being proactive about health. The specifics change from person to person, but a smoker might enter a clinical trial for a smoking cessation drug because quitting is part of their wellness plan. A wellness strategy is designed to reduce the patient’s risk of developing acute or chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.
Wellness is about preventative care, so the visit will start with a medical history. The doctor will discuss health topics that relate to the patient and his or her lifestyle, like weight management, exercise, and disease screening. This is the time when a woman might have a Pap smear and a man might get his prostrate checked, as well.
Screening tests are conducted to detect diseases or conditions. In some cases, the test indicates the patient's risk of getting a chronic illness. The A1C test is a good example of an advanced screening lab. This is a blood test a physician might order to predict the patient's odds of developing diabetes over a certain time frame.
Other types of common screening tests include a mammogram, cholesterol measure, fecal occult blood test, and the PSA antigen test for men.
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