Medical Tests & Procedures

Do you automatically comply with every medical test and procedure  your health care provider advises? According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, approximately 30 percent of all medical procedures and tests may in fact be unnecessary. The health care system is actually focused on disease rather than health. Unnecessary testing feeds this focus on disease by discounting the negative health effects of this testing in the name of advanced diagnostics. (The costs include emotional and physical harm as well as financial waste.) Various studies have shown that many newer testing options offer little or no patient advantage over older methods yet are promoted through effective marketing techniques and medicine’s desire for “cutting edge technology.” In fact, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, studies show that “between 40 and 78 percent of the medical testing, treatments, and procedures you receive are of NO benefit to you — or are actually harmful.”

I have worked in various health care settings over a period of 40 years and have seen first-hand the use of unnecessary testing. Patients often comply with their doctor’s wishes without question or discussion. Very often the practitioner is trying to avoid a lawsuit that may arise from a missed diagnosis; unfortunately this is often at the expense of the patient. X-rays, CT scans, and MRI’s for example, are not without health consequences.  Furthermore, often the “big guns” are pulled out when a smaller one would suffice. For example: The use of CT scans which emit dangerous levels of radiation when a simple X-ray would confirm a diagnosis.

As an informed consumer who understands the risks and benefits of many so-called “preventative” procedures, I frequently decline these tests which are actually diagnostic and not truly preventative. Here I’m referring to many of the standard recommendations for procedures which are ordered yearly or at other intervals to uncover a disease for which there have been no signs or symptoms. It can be (and frequently is) argued that these tests and procedures sometimes detect early evidence of disease and that standard (conventional) guidelines should be followed.

What to do? Empower yourself with knowledge – discuss options with your health care partner and make an informed decision on which tests and procedures are necessary for you!

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