Over diagnosis

posted by Sunil Newatia on April 7th, 2021

When I was a kid and would visit a doctor, he used to check my pulse, tongue, breath and would know exactly what was wrong. The medications were seldom the antibiotics which are the 1st line of action today! Extensive use of antibiotics have made the bugs resistant to most of them and it is a matter of time when antibiotics would become ineffective and irrelevant.

Now a days, Doctors seldom have time for thorough physical examinations and rely totally and absolutely on the tests and investigations. Even for a common cold, you can be asked to get a blood test done. Annual health checks are commonplace to be Safe! Are we really safe if we go for annual checkups? Most of the investigations reveal nothing. As our bodu undergoes changes every hour, day and week with cells regenerating, the test results, specially the blood report can go horribly wrong. Inadequate testing facilities, mixing up of samples, incompetent manpower add to the confusion. It is thus highly likely that you could end up far more sick on your report card than you actually are.

A new study examining dozens of medical tests that the researchers have said provide “little value to patients,” and would be called a major scam in any other industry.

Excessive and pointless testing not only costs an arm and a leg, but can expose you to unnecessary radiation, and can often give false positive results. And those in turn can lead to a “spiral of unnecessary invasive procedures, medications and even surgeries.”

So why do doctors order all these tests? Because they get paid for it!! You not only pay for your tests but you also pay for the commissions paid to your doctor and the hospital.

There’s also the fact that medical schools don’t teach doctors how to interpret the studies that show the real “risks and rewards” for all these tests and procedures.

Now, certainly there are lots of valid reasons why your doctor might want you to have tests done. However, there are ways to weed out the ones you don’t need.

And that starts with asking your doctor these four questions:
  1. How reliable and accurate is this test?
  2. What if I do nothing? Could this condition improve on its own?
  3. What alternative tests are available? CT scans and X-rays will expose you to radiation, and while it’s a small amount, the risk involved accumulates with each test you take.
  4. For blood tests, ask how many vials are required and why. Your doctor should have a valid reason for each blood test being ordered.

Finally, there are two tests that are quite unnecessary. These are the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for guys, and the DXA bone scan for women. PSA test is notorious for giving false positives and that can mean more inconvenience, as it can lead you right into more unnecessary testing and even surgery when you were doing absolutely fine.

As for the DXA scan, it’s one of the most useless and unreliable medical screenings there is. It gives highly inconsistent results, and more often than not serves as a “gateway test” that will land you with a prescription in your hand for some of the most dangerous medicines with major side effects. You could end being far more unhealthy than you were before the test.

Just remember, you’re the CEO of your body. And you have the right to ask questions and get answers before you allow anything to be done to it.

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