FLORIDA - BACKGROUND:
- Liver disease: Liver problems include a wide range of diseases and conditions that can affect your liver. Your liver is an organ about the size of a football that sits just under your rib cage on the right side of your abdomen. Without your liver, you couldn't digest food and absorb nutrients, get rid of toxic substances from your body or stay alive. Liver problems can be inherited, or liver problems can occur in response to viruses and chemicals. Some liver problems are temporary and go away on their own, while other liver problems can last for a long time and lead to serious complications.
- Kidney disease: Most kidney diseases attack the nephrons. This damage may leave kidneys unable to remove wastes. Causes can include genetic problems, injuries, or medicines. You are at greater risk for kidney disease if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a close family member with kidney disease.
- Heart disease: Heart disease is a broad term used to describe a range of diseases that affect your heart. The various diseases that fall under the umbrella of heart disease include diseases of your blood vessels, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); heart infections; and heart defects you're born with (congenital heart defects). (Source: MayoClinic)
- Liver disease: Tests and procedures used to diagnose liver problems include blood tests, imaging tests, and tests of liver tissue.
- Kidney disease: BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) is a blood test which assesses kidney function. Urea is a by-product of protein metabolism and is formed in the liver. Urea is filtered from the blood by the kidneys and excreted in the urine.
- Heart disease: Blood tests, chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, holter monitoring, echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization, heart biopsy, cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (Source: MayoClinic)
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Doctors at Cleveland Clinic are working on a breath test that can detect liver disease, kidney disease, and heart disease, among other things. When a person breathes into the "electronic nose" machine, it activates a sensor and changes its color based on chemicals in the breath. A miniature camera inside the machine takes pictures of the sensor and sends them to a computer, which stores the images and analyzes color changes to determine the type of cells present and diagnose patients while they’re still in the office. A study in which breath samples were taken from 229 patients at the Clinic (92 with untreated lung cancer, the rest cancer-free but with a history of smoking) was 81 percent accurate for detecting lung cancer. The study also showed accuracy of between 83 percent and 89 percent for the kind of lung cancer a patient has and about 79 percent accuracy in distinguishing early-stage cancer from late stage, according to Metabolomx. (Source: Cleveland Clinic)