You Might Want to Reconsider These Common Medical Tests!

The Choosing Wisely campaign, an initiative by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation in partnership with Consumer Reports, kicked off last spring. It is an attempt to alert both doctors and patients to problematic and commonly overused medical tests, procedures and treatments.

As we get older, we may find the need or desire for significant medical testing and procedures.  However, research is showing that some common tests and treatments may not be necessary.  If your doctor is recommending one of the following things to you, it may be wise to question them about why.  Discussing things with your doctor will help keep you  healthy now and as you age.

A few of the tests that Family Physicians recommend you question include:

  • Imaging for Lower Back Pain: Unless red flags are present, physicians recommend waiting six weeks for imaging on low back pain.
  • Antibiotics: Don’t insist on antibiotics for acute mild to moderate sinusitis unless symptoms last for seven or more days or symptoms worsen after some improvement.
  • Osteoporosis X-Rays: Don’t use dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) screening for osteoporosis in women younger than 65 or men younger than 70 with no risk factors.
  • EKGs: Avoid cardiac screening for low risk patients without symptoms.
  • Carotid Artery Stenosis: Don’t screen for carotid artery stenosis unless there are symptoms.
  • Cervical Cancer: Don’t screen women older than 65 years of age for cervical cancer who have had adequate prior screening and are not otherwise at high risk for cervical cancer.

For a full list from the Family Physicians and 50 other medical specialties, you can go to http://www.choosingwisely.org.

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