Medical Tests & Procedures

Medical Tests & Procedures Articles

Fecal Occult Blood Test

A fecal occult blood test checks stool samples for traces of blood that cannot be seen with the naked eye. This test is also called a stool guaiac or Hemoccult test. It is a simple chemical test of a stool sample that involves about five minutes of preparation time. Because the fecal occult blood test can detect bleeding from almost anywhere along the length of the digestive tract, several conditions can cause the result to be positive. They include esophagitis, gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, stomach cancer, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer or polyps, and hemorrhoids. The result also can be positive when someone has been taking aspirin or other medications that irritate the digestive tract. The fecal occult blood test is used as a screening test to detect colorectal cancer, especially when the cancer is in its early stages and is not causing any symptoms. Doctors often recommend an annual fecal occult blood test for adults beginning at age 50. If you have a higher risk of colorectal cancer because of a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, your doctor will probably recommend colonoscopy to screen for cancer. (Locked) More »

Scratch Test for Allergies

This test checks for a skin reaction to common allergy-provoking substances, such as foods, molds, dust, plants, or animal proteins. If your skin reacts to a substance, chances are that you are allergic to it. Most people with allergy symptoms don't need testing because they can identify their triggers and control their symptoms with medicine. Your doctor might recommend scratch testing when you have severe allergy symptoms but are not sure what is causing them. Knowing what you are allergic to can help you avoid the substance in the future, and will help your doctor determine whether you might benefit from allergy shots. Don't take antihistamines for three days before the test, because they can interfere with the results by preventing you from reacting to a substance you would normally be allergic to. Tell your doctor if you have ever had anaphylaxis, a life threatening allergic reaction, or if you have had a serious reaction to a previous allergy test. (Locked) More »

Are you old enough to give up your screening mammogram?

There is no universal age to stop screening mammography, but women over 75 should discuss with their doctors whether to continue. Women who are in poor health, have a reduced life expectancy, or are unwilling or unable to tolerate cancer treatments may want to stop screenings. But screenings might be appropriate in older women who are in good health and are willing to undergo cancer treatments if needed. (Locked) More »

Different types of echocardiography

Echocardiograms use high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create images of the heart. There are several variations of this common test, including three-dimensional echocardiograms and color Doppler echocardiograms. (Locked) More »