"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Monday, May 7, 2012

7 Medical Tests and Treatments You May Not Really Need

Good morning everyone! Just got back from the pool........workout was with one of my favourite instructors.

I got my newsletter from AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) on Saturday and while I was browsing it on Sunday, I noticed a really good article about medical tests that you may not need. I am all about everyone taking some personal responsibility to keep health care costs down, and so I read the article with great interest. 

In my own case, I had a bone density scan in 2006, just before I started the bioidentical hormone protocol.  It showed that I had a mild case of osteopenia, not surprising since I didn't take supplements, ate junk food, and although I was doing some exercise, it was mostly in the pool, not weight training.  Started the hormones in late 2006, started doing regular weight training, and also optimizing my Vitamin D level (I take 5000 IUs daily).  I do not now, nor have I ever taken calcium.  I had a repeat scan 3 years later (summer 2009) and it showed that not only do I no longer have osteopenia, but that my bones are comfortably in the normal range for density.  I was thrilled, so were both of my doctors (hormone doctor and pain management doctor----I have a messed up back and hip from a long ago car accident).  I asked Dr. Carr last winter if I needed to have another scan, and he said no------that because I am still doing all the things I do to keep my bones strong it would be a waste of money and unnecessary exposure to radiation (something I don't need, the number of x-rays/scans/MRI's I've had in the last 20 years because of the accident injuries is significant). 

I think slowly the trend toward not exposing patients to unnecessary tests is catching on.  I woke up during the night early last February with excruciating pain over my spine, higher up on my back than my "normal" pain.  I tried to tough it out until my pain management doctor got back from his conference, but by the second day I had to have someone take me to the ER.  The doctor there was kind of a jackass, but at least he was willing to give me a shot of a muscle relaxant to see if it would help before shoving me in an MRI tube (for which I was very grateful, I was in so much pain laying on one of those tables for a half hour would have been next to impossible!)  The muscle relaxant did help, enough for me to hang in until I could get to my own doctor later in the week.  As it was, that little trip to the ER, half hour total, one shot, was $963! 

Check out the article, and as always, talk to your doctor about what tests are right for you and your particular health issues.  Enjoy your day!