For patients living with chronic disease, routine testing drives healthier outcomes, better clinical decision making

November 19, 2019 Categories: ACLA Blog, Value of Clinical Labs

Routine lab testing is often the starting point for care, driving accurate diagnosis and early treatment for millions of patients. This is especially true for the six in ten adults in the U.S. living with a chronic disease, who often require routine monitoring to reduce complications and manage their conditions.

In particular, clinical laboratory diagnostics have a significant role in preventative care for heart disease, a condition responsible for one in four deaths in the U.S.

This chronic condition represents one of the most significant health challenges facing patients today. Last month, the Wall Street Journal highlighted a troubling trend: the death rate from heart failure is on the rise, up more than 20% between 2011 and 2017. The authors of the study concluded that “innovative and effective approaches for surveillance, prevention, and treatment are needed to address the expanding burden of heart disease mortality, particularly for the substantially increasing rates of heart failure.”

In other words, regular testing is more important than ever. For patients at risk of developing heart disease, routine monitoring can help monitor levels of “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) in blood, information that can be used to advance preventative measures, including lifestyle changes that can ultimately reduce a patient’s risk of heart disease.

Clinical laboratory diagnostics also provide significant tools to manage diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes symptoms often develop over several years and go unnoticed, making routine testing all the more vital. Of the 30 million Americans living with diabetes, one in four peopledon’t know they have the condition, according to the CDC.

Routine lab testing is also a vital lifeline for cancer patients, empowering better clinical decision making at every step of the treatment process. Cancer screening significantly reduces cancer deaths, because early detection often goes hand-in-hand with earlier treatment, a key driver of improving prognoses. After cancer treatment is underway, routine labs are also used to help evaluate how a patient’s body is responding to certain treatments. Once a patient’s cancer is in remission, routine labs are often a key component of follow-up care and can help detect the earliest signs that a cancer has returned.

Our nation faces significant challenges in the fight against chronic disease. Heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, according to the CDC. Each day, clinical laboratory tests create better outcomes for patients with these conditions, driving earlier treatment, reducing complications, and eventually supporting slower disease progression.

Print page / Save as PDF