Medical Procedures: Less is More

As we get more “mature,” we tend to worry more about our health.   But don’t overdo it when it comes to screening tests and medical procedures, according to recent studies conducted by American Board of Internal Medicine, the National Physicians Alliance and Consumer Reports.

Here are some routine, annual healthcare procedures that may be unnecessary:

Annual physical – For healthy, asymptomatic adults, it’s an inefficient gauge of health, more likely to find false positives than real disease.

Annual EKG – For healthy people with no symptoms of heart disease or risk factors, the electrocardiogram is more likely to mislead than to identify early disease, leading to further needless tests.

Annual blood work – Routine blood tests are no longer recommended for people who feel well.  False positives are common.

Prostate-specific antigen test – A government panel no longer recommends this, saying its harm outweighs its benefits.

These days, the Preventive Services Task Force (PSTF) recommends only a few screening tests for healthy, asymptomatic adults and some of these, like blood pressure checks, can be done by yourself.  Visit the PSTF site (www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org) for a list of their recommended screening tests.

 

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