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Blood tests may soon help people in Fayette County avoid diseases

Millions of Americans live with chronic diseases such as diabetes, dementia, coronary artery disease, and kidney failure, and a number of those afflicted Americans live in Fayette County. Many people's ability to work is severely affected by these conditions, which can leave them facing financial hardship. Now, though, some researchers think that they may be able determine the risk that individuals have of developing certain chronic conditions based on the results of a battery of blood tests.

The blood tests in question measure things such as liver function, blood glucose, and the quantity of different kinds of blood cells. By combining the results of the various tests, the researchers maintain that they can establish a patient's likelihood of being diagnosed with a condition three years down the road. The researchers say that the battery of tests would allow doctor to concentrate their efforts on those with the worst test scores. These patients could be provided with information on changing their lifestyle, and they could be scheduled for more regular checkups.

While researchers seem enthusiastic about their findings, other experts take a more cautious approach. One recommended that research be performed on study populations that are more ethnically and geographically diverse before any hard conclusions are made.

While this may be great news for those at risk of being diagnosed with a medical condition in the future, what about people who have already been diagnosed with a chronic condition and find themselves unable to work because of it? Many of these workers may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits for illness. Whether the condition is a work-related illness or not, workers could be eligible for SSD benefits. Even though the application process sometimes can be extraordinarily complex, disabled workers who persist very often succeed in getting the benefits they've earned.

Source: NPR, "Common Blood Tests Can Help Predict Chronic Disease Risk," Katherine Hobson, March 17, 2017

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