According to AARP, these are 10 medical tests that you should pass on.

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According to AARP, these are 10 medical tests that you should pass on.

Many of us have had healthcare concerns over the years, requiring us to submit to medical tests to help us figure out what is wrong with us. As we age, our bodies develop normal variants in our tissues and organs which is normal. As one wise doctor said, you can do a number of medical tests on anyone over 60 years of age and you are bound to find something. What he was alluding to was that even though a test finds something in an older person, is it life threatening, does it really need any attention at all, or should it be just considered a normal variant of the aging process and be noted and left alone?

The problem average people have is, without understanding or having the knowledge, many of us worry about being ill. Is this worrying helpful or even necessary or are our concerns driven by fear and what we may have read in a sensational article in the news or on the internet. Big medicine has also given us health concerns that were supposed to be answered by tests but many of these have to be shown to have questionable value over the last few years, as the data has been gathered on costs vs. benefit of many tests and procedures. What is more of a concern is that many tests may have driven us out of fear to submit to procedures that may have been harmful and totally unnecessary.

As a consumer, the more you know medically, the better you can make choices concerning what you need to do vs. what you can safely avoid. The reality, is that the medical system has its limits on what it can do and we all age, but do we need constant testing and intervention, or can we age safely on our own with minimal intervention from the medical system. Sometimes less is more; ask any senior taking several medications.

AARP is all about the concerns of senior citizens, and no group has more tests and interventions than senior citizens. Check out this article out

10 Medical Tests to Avoid
You may not need these common health exams as often as you think
by Elizabeth Agnvall, March 2014

Doctors are warning that some of the common medical tests routinely taken by Americans do more harm than good, waste billions of health care dollars annually and could endanger your health or even your life.

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Among the tests targeted by prestigious panels of doctors as overused were annual Pap smears, regular PSA tests, regular EKGs and even routine yearly physicals. Overuse of such tests leads to dangerous side effects, pain, radiation exposure, unnecessary surgery — even death, the doctors said.

The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation asked more than 50 medical societies — of family doctors, oncologists, cardiologists and other specialties — to identify tests and treatments that are often unnecessary. AARP is a consumer partner with this campaign, called Choosing Wisely.

 

1. Nuclear stress tests and other imaging tests after heart procedures
Many people who have had a heart bypass, stent or other heart procedure feel they’ve had a brush with death. So patients — and doctors — understandably want to be reassured through a nuclear stress test or other tests that their hearts are beating strong. But performing these tests every year or even every two years in patients without symptoms rarely results in any change in treatment, says William Zoghbi, immediate past president of the American College of Cardiology. “More testing is not necessarily better,” he says.

In fact, it can lead to unnecessary invasive procedures and excess radiation exposure without helping the patient improve. Instead, patients and doctors should focus on what does make a difference in keeping the heart healthy: managing weight, quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure and increasing exercise.

2. Yearly electrocardiogram or exercise stress test
A survey of nearly 1,200 people ages 40 to 60 who have never had heart disease or any symptoms found that 39 percent had an EKG over the previous five years, and 12 percent said they had an exercise stress test. The problem: Someone at low risk for heart disease could be 10 times more likely to get a false-positive result than to find a true problem, says John Santa of Consumer Reports, which conducted the 2010 survey. This could lead to unnecessary heart catheterization and stents. Instead, have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. And if you’re at risk for diabetes, have your blood glucose level checked as well.

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