Medical professionals such as nurses, GPs, and emergency staff are knowledgeable in taking a wide range of diagnostic tests from their patients. The overall aim of such tests is to determine what specific illness or ailment a person is suffering from and then be able to offer a treatment plan that seeks to cure the condition or minimize the effects of it on the patient.
Diagnosis in medicine has a history that stretches back thousands of years to ancient Egypt, around 3000 BC. The Edwin Smith Papyrus is thought to be the earliest example of diagnostic medicine in history, as it instructs the physician to undertake a physical examination of the patient to look for signs that would indicate the outcome of the injury. Today, diagnosis is a vital primary stage of modern medicine. This article describes three different types of diagnostic tests that can be undertaken by a medical professional, with an outline of the equipment used to do them.
Blood glucose test
Diabetes can become a chronic and eventually life-threatening condition if left untreated. Globally there are thought to be around 422 million people who suffer from the illness. It is a condition that is strongly linked to obesity and can be exacerbated by smoking. Thankfully it can be identified quickly and effectively by medical professionals by the use of a simple medical diagnostic test in the form of a blood test. A sample of blood will be taken from the patient, and the blood sugar levels will be analyzed in a medical laboratory. Depending on the type of diabetes test, the blood sugar levels that indicate diabetes will vary. For example, in a fasting blood test, a blood sugar level of 126 mg/ml would indicate that the patient has diabetes.
While there is an abundance of home pregnancy testing kits on the market, many women who seek to find out if they are pregnant choose to visit their GP to have a medical-grade pregnancy test undertaken by a trained medical professional. The test typically involves urinating onto or applying a urine sample to a testing strip. The urine then soaks into the strip, and after a period of time, the test will identify if the woman is pregnant or not. Pregnant women typically have elevated levels of the hCG hormone in their urine, so this method of diagnostic testing tends to be highly accurate in identifying pregnancy, even in the early stages.
A common test that is undertaken in GP practices is to test the reflexes of a patient. The equipment required for this test is simple, consisting of a reflex hammer. This is tapped on a patient’s tendon near the knee cap area. The brain will send a signal via the network of nerves that results in the tendon contracting. If this does not occur (and the patient’s tendon has been tapped in the correct position), this may indicate that there are some problems with a patient’s nerves, potentially from the spinal cord or a specific network of nerves.