Monday, September 28, 2009

Stroke Detection Plus Really?

Its out again an advertisement for ultrasound screenings for stroke, abdomenal aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease, and osteoporosis. This time at the American Red Crossa and for $120 for all four. What a deal, right? Wrong. The U.S. Preventative health task force has put out statements that just screening for screening sake is a waste of time and money. If there are reasons for a screen, your insurance or medicare will pay for it. Abdomenal aortic aneurysms screening only is effective for men over 70 years old who smoke. The same doesn' hold true for women or younger people. Osteoporosis is only necessary for women who are menopausal for natural or surgical reasons. Men who take hormones, such as estrogen for prostate cancer or thyroid can be screened, but the yield is extremely low. Peripheral arterial disease is only indicated for those with symptoms of PAD, not unsymptomatic individuals as the yield is extremely low. Stroke screening is indicated for those with symptoms of TIA's (Transient Ischemic Attacks), or what is known as mini strokes. The problem with these tests done by organizations such as these is that if they are positive then your physician has to repeat them anyway because the results are reported in such a way that is not useful and frequently are wrong. Sometimes the repeat screening takes the form of very expensive MRIs that cost at least $1000 and require dye to be injected in ones veins. This can be damaging to the kidneys. The result of these tests is often more expenses of the health care system that are not necessary and anxiety on the part who take the tests. And having tests as being negative does not necessarily mean that you are no risk of one of these terrible conditions happening. This is a ploy to use anxiety about health, particularly of the elderly and normally anxious people, to make money. It is not about better health or quality of life. THINK PEOPLE!
Peace Skeptical DoDo

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