Born in 1961 (or before)?
Why You Need a Colonoscopy

An AAHPO Medical Alert

 

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The American Academy of Gastroenterology came up with this clever campaign img to remind those turning 50 this year that it's time to have a screening colonoscopy.

Why should everyone age 50 and older undergo this procedure, even if they have no disease symptoms? Have there been any improvements in the test preparation? Is a screening colonoscopy covered by health insurance?

 

Fortunately, we have Gastroenterologist, Greg Koobatian, M.D., to help answer these questions.

 

A screening colonoscopy is recommended for everyone at age 50 because this is the age at which the risk for colon cancer begins to increase. There are no symptoms in the early stages of colon cancer. A screening test is needed for early detection and prevention.

 

A colonoscopy will reveal if there are polyps present in the colon, and the surgeon can remove the polyps during the colonoscopy procedure. Polyps are harmless when they first appear, but are shown to develop into cancer if they are not removed.

 

"When you remove the polyps, you remove the cancer risk," said Dr. Koobatian.

 

To read more about this procedure, click here.

 

If you will have your colonoscopy as an outpatient, you will have to arrange for someone to drive you home, as the sedation will make you feel woozy.

To prepare for the test, your physician will prescribe a regimen to completely cleanse the bowel. This sometimes includes drinking a large amount of a liquid that some people find unpleasant. There is now a pill that can be taken in place of the liquid.

You will usually be told to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or other blood-thinning medications for several days before the test. Unless otherwise instructed, continue taking any regularly prescribed medication.

People with some heart valve diseases may receive antibiotics before and after the test to prevent infection.

Colonoscopies are covered by most health insurance. Until this year, most insurers required you to pay a copay. This year, under the new Health Care law, a facility is prohibited from charging you a copay for a preventive procedure such as a colonosocopy. 



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