Medical Tests & Procedures

Medical Tests & Procedures Articles

Aldosterone overload: An overlooked cause of high blood pressure?

An imbalance of the hormone aldosterone, which helps the body manage water and sodium, may be responsible for about one in 15 cases of high blood pressure. A benign tumor on one of the adrenal glands (which produce several hormones, including aldosterone) is the most common cause of excess aldosterone. This condition, called aldosteronism, may also contribute to coronary microvascular disease, in which the walls of the small arteries in the heart are damaged. (Locked) More »

Narrowed aortic valve with no symptoms

People diagnosed with aortic stenosis (when the valve in the heart’s largest vessel stiffens and narrows) may not have any noticeable symptoms. An exercise stress test may help detect early symptoms or signs that warrant more attention. (Locked) More »

Radiation from heart imaging: What you need to know

Some tests to diagnose heart disease involve small amounts of radiation, and these tests are being used with increasing frequency. Examples include coronary artery calcium scans, computed tomography angiography, and nuclear stress tests. But the theoretical increased risk of cancer from these tests is minimal, especially considering that radiation-induced cancers don’t occur for decades. (Locked) More »

Save your skin from cancer

Cases of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) skin cancers have more than doubled over the past decade, especially among men. However, BCC and SCC are rarely deadly and are easy to treat if they are caught early. It is also easy to lower your risk by following standard sun protection practices, including using proper sunscreen, avoiding the sun during peak exposure times, and wearing sun protection clothing and hats. (Locked) More »

Should I get a bone density test?

Bone density tests are not routinely recommended for older men as there is no strong evidence they can benefit from osteoporosis-preventing medications. Lifestyle changes involving smoking, exercise, and alcohol intake can have the biggest impact on bone health. More »

Gene testing for antiplatelet drug response

A genetic test can determine how well a person might respond to the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel. But so far, it’s not clear whether the test results can help guide a person’s treatment or improve health outcomes. (Locked) More »

Harnessing big data to help the heart

Advanced technologies are beginning to transform doctors’ ability to screen for cardiovascular disease. Examples include the analysis of data from smartphones and other devices using machine learning to predict a person’s risk of disease. Two promising applications include retina scans to predict heart disease and pulse monitoring with a smartwatch to detect atrial fibrillation, a common cause of stroke. Possible future applications include capturing varied data from electronic health records, such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, blood test results, and genetic information. (Locked) More »

Should I get tested for hepatitis C?

People born between 1945 and 1965 (baby boomers) should be tested for hepatitis C, as recent improvements in treatment have increased the interest in identifying people with the virus who have no symptoms and no additional risk factors. (Locked) More »

The ears have it

At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss. Studies have shown that hearing loss can increase a person’s risk of injuries as well as cause everyday communication problems. An ear and hearing exam can help a doctor diagnose a person’s hearing loss, identify possible causes, and determine whether the person needs hearing aids or another type of hearing assistance. More »