5 Medical Tests You May Not Need

Some medical tests may be doing more harm than good.

From unnecessary medications to unnecessary exposure to radiation, expensive and potentially harmful procedures are costing us all more than you think.

EKGs and exercise stress tests, imaging tests for lower-back pain, CT scans and MRIs for headaches, bone density scans for low-risk women, and antibiotics for sinusitis may not only affect your wallet but may be harmful to your health, as well.

Exhaustive Medical Screening Yields Comparatively Few Benefits

The idea that getting a battery of medical tests to rule out all types of cancer is not only ineffective but can cause harm.

Certainly, the rationale behind screening seems obvious. The earlier cancers are diagnosed, the more often lives will be saved, right? With enough screening, we might even stop cancer.

If only. Finding cancer early isn’t enough. To reduce cancer deaths, treatment must work, yet it doesn’t always. Second, it must work better when started earlier. But for some cancers, later treatment works as well. (That’s why there is no big push for testicular cancer screening — it is usually curable at any stage.)

And some of the worst cancers aren’t detected by screening. They appear suddenly, between regular screenings, and are difficult to treat because they are so aggressive.

Biopsy, exploratory surgery , radiation and chemotherapy as the result of positive or abnormal results from screening, pose dangers and have side affects of their own to be seriously considered.

Doctors Recognize The Need To Test Less

Doctors urge their colleagues to perform less tests.

When you consider that the majority of insurance dollars are spent in the last 6 months of a patient’s life we have to consider if this is money well spent.

This goes for testing, as well.

The Choosing Wisely project was launched last year by the foundation of the American Board of Internal Medicine. It recruited nine medical specialty societies representing more than 376,000 physicians to come up with five common tests or procedures “whose necessity … should be questioned and discussed.”

The groups represent family physicians, cardiologists, radiologists, gastroenterologists, oncologists, kidney specialists and specialists in allergy, asthma and immunology and nuclear cardiology.

Sun Alone Doesn’t Give You All The Vitamin D Your Body Needs

It takes more than a little sunshine to correct a vitamin D deficiency.

“Clearly solar exposure is an influence — there is no doubt about that — but you cannot predictably say that a certain amount of exposure will normalize vitamin D deficiency,” said Dr. Gallo, chief of dermatology and professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego, in an interview with Medscape Medical News.

Food sources such as sardines with the skin and bones, eggs with yolks, and beef liver among a few others.

A supplement may be necessary if you can’t consume a diet rich in vitamin D.

Screening for deficiency or insufficiency of vitamin D is easily done in your doctor’s office.

Your physician can recommend the best supplement for you.

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