A trip to the pharmacy is usually predictable—and that’s good. Yet, next to the basics, there are also items you might be surprised to find. So, whether you’re on a quick run to pick up a prescription, or browsing greeting cards, seasonal selections, makeup or wellness products, there’s one thing for certain: Pharmacies (online sites too) are always stocking new products, including some that may help save your life. Here are three to consider.
Measure Your Blood Pressure
While blood pressure monitors are a pretty common staple on pharmacy shelves, they are still a good home device to consider. High blood pressure also known as hypertension is often called the “silent killer” because it may not present with external warning signs and symptoms. Yet, high blood pressure can still mean greater risk for heart disease, stroke and other complications. Between regular office checkups, blood pressure monitoring at home may help detect any changes that might not otherwise be noticed. Most pharmacies carry simple blood pressure devices that usually cost around $30, but may be priced higher or lower depending on certain. Discuss your monitor choice and what to look for in your home tests with your healthcare professional.
Be In Touch with Your Body
Another pharmacy find that can help you become more attuned to your body is the Aware® Breast Self Exam.Aware® is an FDA-cleared aid to a breast self-exam, offering a revolutionary way for you to enhance your tactile sensitivity to feel changes in breast tissue. About 80% of breast cancers are found by women themselves noticing changes in their breasts, according to the journal Cancer, so all women may still find monthly self-exams useful. An Aware® Pad may help you notice a change in your breast early that you can discuss with your healthcare provider for follow-up testing. For less than $1 per month (approximately $20 for Aware®, which can be used for two years), you can feel comfortable knowing more about your breast health – and you can act right away on any changes that you may feel. Early detection is so important for the best chance of successful treatment and survival. According to the American Cancer Society, localized breast cancer (cancer that has not spread outside the breast) has a 5-year relative survival rate of 99 percent.
Get a Clean Bill of Stool Health
Toilet bowl cleaners are pharmacy staples, but, let’s talk about that poo in the bowl because understanding colon health is so important. For approximately $13, and very little effort, you can easily check to see if you have blood in your stool and know whether or not you need to take more action. EZ Detect™ Colon Disease Test, available in many pharmacies and online, is an FDA-cleared screening tool that can be performed annually to check for the early warning signs of colorectal disease, including colon cancer. This simple, two-minute test involves NO stool handling, and no mailing to a laboratory which is very different from every other similar test, and no fasting either. You basically simply throw a test pad into the toilet after a bowel movement and wait two minutes for the pad to change color, then flush the pad. Of course, read the instructions in the package carefully before using. Why is this test so important? Well, if you’re not a fan of colonoscopies, this could be a good screening to start with (talk to your doctor to be sure; if EZ Detect shows blood in the stool you may need a colonoscopy follow up). According to the American Cancer Society, “when colorectal cancer is found at an early stage before it has spread, the 5-year relative survival rate is about 90%.”
These three products are just a few of the important tools that can be used to monitor your health. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in store, then they can be found online as well. Hopefully, with the addition of these at-home tests, you can be more informed about your health than ever before so you can take action right away.
Ruddy KJ, et al. Breast cancer presentation and diagnostic delays in young women. Cancer. 2014 Jan 1;120(1):20-5.
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