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5 Situations When You Should Question Your Doctor’s Advice

from Newsmax – by Nick Tate – Has your doctor ever recommended a test, treatment or procedure that made you wonder: Do I really need this?

A coalition of physician groups and Consumer Reports magazine has listed five examples of when you should challenge your doctor’s advice.
They include: 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.
John Santa, M.D., director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, tells Newsmax Health the list was compiled to help patients question their doctors about care that may be unnecessary.
“Our concern here is that many physicians and consumers, we think, aren’t fully informed about the harms involved in some of these procedures and they’re not informed about the downstream implications, including costs,” said Dr. Santa, a primary care physician.
To be clear, he noted, the experts are not advising patients to refuse doctors’ orders, but instead to ask: “Do I really need this and why?”
“In fact, virtually all of these topics involve tests or services or products that are very helpful to some people,” Dr. Santa said. “But they are not helpful at all to others, and in some cases they could actually cause harm.”
He noted experts have estimated up to 30 percent of U.S. healthcare is unnecessary. Several factors may be at work: Many doctors practice “defensive medicine” to reduce malpractice exposure, a lack of standard medical protocols allows for wide variations in practices, financial incentives (i.e. such procedures generate revenues), and patients may demand physicians “do something.”
To help patients open conversations with their doctors about unnecessary care, health experts highlighted the following five questionable tests, procedures and treatments:
EKGs and exercise stress tests are important for people with heart disease symptoms or who are at high risk. But for tens of millions of healthy people who receive them, they are not accurate predictors of risk. They can also lead to unnecessary treatment, including CT angiograms or coronary angiography – exposing patients to a radiation doses equal to hundreds of X-rays — as well as needless drugs, angioplasty, and stents.
Imaging tests for lower-back pain rarely lead to treatments that hasten healing. In fact, most back pain, not caused by a serious injury or disease, subsides in about a month with or without testing or treatment. Imaging scans may pose a grave risk from cancer-causing radiation. One alarming one study projects 1,200 new cancer cases for every 2.2 million CT scans for lower-back pain. Tests can also prompt needless worry and further testing and treatment, possibly surgery.
CT scans and MRIs for headaches rarely do more to help patients than a careful medical history or a standard neurological exam. Brain scans can reveal things that appear worrisome that aren’t, triggering more tests and visits with specialists. CT scans deliver a radiation dose that’s the equivalent of hundreds of chest X-rays, increasing cancer risk.
Bone density scans are prescribed to tens of millions of women to screen for weak bones with a test called a DEXA or DXA scan. But many low-risk women who receive them have only mild bone loss – known as osteopenia — that carries a slight risk of fracture. Women in this category don’t need the scans. The good news is that DEXA scans subject patients to only a small amount of radiation.
Antibiotics for sinusitis are frequently prescribed, even though the condition is often viral and the drugs treat only bacterial infections. One in four people have negative side effects from antibiotics and, in rare cases, antibiotics can cause anaphylactic shock. Overuse of antibiotics also promotes drug-resistant bacteria.

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Paula

Just joined and wanted to add.I’ve suffered from depression for 25 years. Have been on anti depressants. Went to the Dr, told her I was sooo tired. She added an anti depressant. Went in a month later, told her all I do is sleep, she upped the new drug. I asked if I could have a B12 shot or something because a friend is having very good results with it. She said she has to get the blood work back first. The day the results came back , I had to go in the a shot, then the next day, and three times the next week. My B12 was extremely low and can be the reason I suffer from depression. This just recently happened

B12 deficiency is the most overlooked prognosis in the elderly. Please educate yourself…you can die from it

Harvey Harlem

2 years ago I was sent to the hospital because of a missed read EKG. My complaint was numbness in my left arm and fingers. My chiropractor diagnosed it correctly as a pinched nerve in the neck. I don’t use that practice any more.

Walter Lubzik

I had a stress test at age seventythree. I had no symptons of heart problems nor did I have a heart attack. They found eight blocked artaries from 60 to 90 percent and I got a five way bypass that saved my life.

F. Rousseau

With the Death of Senator Frank Lautenberg, the last WWII Veteran serving in the Senate and only two left serving in the Congress, and the so-called data that WWII Vets are dying at an average of 2,000 a day, I figured this old Hat is pushing calculations. When I retired in 1969 with 26 years Service, I figured the best days were ahead and they were until I turned 65 years of age… then I went on Medicare. I had to choose a Doctor and found one who immediately demanded I have a bunch of tests and shots. So I told him for too many years I had to put up with some of the most humiliating, undignified, and embarrassing medical examinations. If he didn’t want to test my blood and urine, and decide about my physical status I would find another Doctor. His examinations came twice a year and… Read more »

George Pratt

Colon cancer can be fixed so the colonoxcopy is a must every 5 years. My wife has had headaches for the past three years. The test and dr’s have not found anything but she has not had a mri or ct scan. I think it hasto be done rather than the pills, pillow changes etc.

Chrystal Perrow

Doctors are our medical advisors. You are still responsible for your own health. I respect my doctor’s opinion, but I always do some homework before I decide what to do, especially when it comes to prescription drugs.

John Quigley

Another problem is Doctors who will diagnose without checking (simple blood test or urine analysis). I was diagnosed with gout, but the Doctor did not check my Uric Acid count in my blood. Then prescribed a pain medication, which when I checked the paperwork, found that it should never have been given to me. I am allergic to morphine, sends me into siezures. When I started having headache and other symptoms, I read the information which the pharmacy had given me. It specifically said: If you are allergic to morphine, DO NOT TAKE THIS MEDICINE. My medical records show that I am allergic to morphine and the pharmacy should have not given me the medicine either since I have told them I am allergic. This could have led to stroke or worse. Always, read the instructions before you leave the pharmacy. Do not let them give you something that could… Read more »

Jamie Wisenbaker

I agree that you have to question some tests and x-rays, although I can understand why doctors want you to have them. It is called “Malpractice Insurance”. Lawsuits for malpractice sometimes suggest that doctors should be perfect and know everything, even with all these sophisticated tests, they can still get it wrong. You know your own body better than anyone else. You do have to decide if something is valid enough to follow through on. Doctors also follow what is recommended by the AMA or other professional boards on tests and procedures. I am a Dental Hygienist and we go by the recommendations of the ADA–bitewings once a year and full mouth every five to ten years. I don’t have a problem with a patient who refuses to comply as long as they understand that we might not detect a problem early rather than later. My husband is self-employed, so… Read more »

martha hitchcock

Yes I agree with this article in total and I go further.I don’t follow common medical guidelines on many recommended tests and procedures.All pose great risks and people to often are sheep that follow doctors prescriptions like they are mandates and don’t question enough if at all. i take doctors as educated advisors not Gods,I have done Mamagrams at 40,50 and 60 ,thts the last one I’ll ever have.All normal results .I had my last PAP at 60 ,before that 40 & 50. again ,Normal. The doctors always nagging to have these tests I say no ,Also they want you to have colonoscopy never had one never will to invasive risks considerable .I have two friends both bad results one had punctured bowel and had to have surgery resection of bowel suffer peritinitis very sick for months . Anothe rhad terrible infection also very sick.I had a bone scan at… Read more »