Medical Tests & Procedures

Medical Tests & Procedures Articles

Insider tips to maximize your doctor visit

The average length of a doctor visit ranges from 10 to 20 minutes. There are ways to maximize every moment. For example, it helps to prepare and prioritize questions for the doctor in advance, and tell the doctor as soon as possible that there are questions that need to be answered before the end of the visit. When the doctor asks about the reason for the visit, one should give a brief summary. (Locked) More »

Opening up arteries to treat stable angina: Just a sham?

Chest pain occurring with physical activity or emotional stress that quickly goes away with rest is known as stable angina. Treatments include medications (including drugs such as beta blockers and nitrates) or an artery-opening procedure known as angioplasty with a stent. Although a study suggested that a stent was no better than a sham procedure for stable angina, experts say the trial was too short and too small to conclude that stents don’t work for stable angina. (Locked) More »

A more precise approach to fighting cancer

Precision medicine is an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention that takes into account a person’s genes, environment, and lifestyle, and eliminates the one-size-fits-all approach to health care. Right now the greatest focus is on cancer. Doctors rely on genetic tests, family history, lifestyle habits, and environmental factors to determine if someone is more likely to get certain forms of cancer. Doctors then can use genetic testing to identify mutations in a tumor in order to match it with the best drug treatment. (Locked) More »

Carotid artery ultrasound: Should you have this test?

For most people, an ultrasound scan of the carotid arteries, which run up both sides of the neck, is not recommended. The exceptions include people with multiple risk factors for heart disease or symptoms caused by a narrowing of the arteries. Only about one in 100 people has severe narrowing (more than a 70% blockage) of a carotid artery. Treatments include medications, surgery, or placement of a stent, a tiny metal coil to prop open the artery. But the procedures themselves can trigger a stroke. So unless a person has symptoms, doctors don’t usually recommend those invasive treatments unless there is a severe blockage. Symptoms include those of a transient ischemic attack, known as a ministroke. (Locked) More »

Non-HDL cholesterol explained

Non-HDL cholesterol is calculated by subtracting the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol value from a total cholesterol reading. It reflects both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and other particles linked to a higher risk of heart disease. More »

Stem cells to repair heart damage? Not so fast

Stem cells, which can be derived from embryos or made from other cells, have the potential to grow into a variety of heart cell types. Although more than 100 clinical trials have shown that delivering stem cells to the heart is feasible and safe, there is no evidence that this therapy helps people with heart disease. Yet some 61 centers throughout the country market stem cell therapy for people with heart failure. The FDA has shut down several of these unregulated clinics and sent warning letters to others. (Locked) More »

When your colonoscopy reveals that you have diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, or both

Many people have diverticula and hemorrhoids without symptoms. Diverticula are pouchlike structures that sometimes form in the muscular wall of the colon and bulge outward. In some people, diverticula bleed or get infected (diverticulitis). Hemorrhoids are pillow-like clusters of veins in the lining of the lower part of the rectum and anus, which help play a role in preventing stool leakage. When they become enlarged, however, they are anything but helpful and can even contribute to some leakage in addition to pain, itching, and bleeding. More »