Medical Tests & Procedures Archive

Articles

Seeing clogged arteries may inspire healthier habits

If people see evidence of plaque buildup inside their arteries, it may motivate them to take better care of their heart health, according to a 2023 study.

Rethinking PSA testing

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening can help identify early prostate cancer, but it also can lead men to have biopsies and invasive treatments they may not need. This complexity has caused the medical community to re-evaluate how best to use PSA testing. More doctors are using PSA screening in ways that minimize the use of biopsies, such as by following a worrisome test result with MRI of the prostate. If a man does have a biopsy and a cancer is found, PSA testing can help the man follow active surveillance.

Thyroid hormone: How it affects your heart

The thyroid gland releases hormones that affect the heart. Too little thyroid hormone slows the heart rate and may boost blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while too much can trigger abnormal heart rhythms and high blood pressure.

Having one chronic condition can boost the risk for others

Many chronic conditions seem to be related. Examples include obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease; hearing loss and dementia; obstructive sleep apnea and high blood pressure; various autoimmune diseases; and obesity and joint problems. People with chronic conditions should ask their doctors about the risk for associated diseases.In some cases, they should have certain health screenings to check for them. In other cases, additional screening isn't automatic.

24-hour blood pressure monitoring outperforms clinic readings

Wearing a device that automatically records blood pressure every 30 to 60 minutes for 24 hours (known as ambulatory blood pressure monitoring) may better predict death from cardiovascular disease and other causes than clinic blood pressure readings.

Calcium score may foretell heart risk better than genetic test

A calcium score, which quantifies the plaque inside the heart's arteries, can sometimes improve the ability to assess a person's risk of heart disease beyond the traditional heart disease risk score.

Screening advice that's not just skin deep

Melanoma kills about 8,000 Americans each year. Most people are at low risk of melanoma and don't need annual skin cancer screenings. People should be screened each year if they have risk factors such as dozens of atypical moles, a family history of melanoma or atypical moles, an earlier skin cancer, certain genetic mutations or predisposition, immune-suppressing therapy after organ transplantation or for inflammatory bowel disease, a history of blistering sunburns, or substantial tanning bed use.

National task force proposes updated breast cancer screening recommendations

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released updated draft guidelines in May 2023 proposing that women at average risk of breast cancer be screened every other year starting at age 40.

Angioplasty and stenting through the arm

When doctors insert a stent into the heart's artery, they usually enter the body through an artery at the top of the thigh. But for some people, using a vessel in the arm may be a safer and less costly option.

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