Medical Tests & Procedures Archive

Articles

Warning signs of early heart failure

The signs of early heart failure, which include fatigue, shortness of breath, and swollen ankles, are often dismissed. Recent developments in both the detection and treatment of heart failure may help ease the burden of this disease. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with type 2 diabetes receive yearly blood tests for a common biomarker of heart failure. And the FDA recently expanded use of a diabetes drug proven to keep people with heart failure (even those without diabetes) out of the hospital and alive longer.

Mammograms may help reveal cardiovascular risk

Postmenopausal women whose screening mammograms show signs of calcification in their breast arteries may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Home screening options for colorectal cancer

There are several at-home screening tests for colorectal cancer. The most accurate are a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and a multitarget stool DNA (mt-sDNA) test (Cologuard), also known as a FIT-DNA test. The FIT test uses antibodies to detect blood in stool, and must be done once a year. The FIT-DNA test can identify DNA from cancer cells in the stool and also has a FIT component to look for blood. This test may be repeated once every three years.

Hospitalization after a ministroke? Not necessarily

Someone who has a transient ischemic attack (TIA, or ministroke) needs prompt testing to look for the underlying cause. A 2022 study shows that people can safely get that evaluation at a specialized outpatient clinic rather than having to be admitted to the hospital. The testing usually includes a heart ultrasound (echocardiogram), cardiac monitoring, and imaging tests. The results guide targeted stroke-prevention treatments, which can reduce the risk of a future stroke by as much as 80%.

Unique blood test may offer a speedier cancer diagnosis

A groundbreaking blood test might someday identify cancer in people with unexplained but worrisome symptoms like unexplained weight loss, frequent fatigue, constant nausea, and new pain.

Unmasking the varied causes of breathlessness and fatigue

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) can help diagnose unusual causes of breathlessness, such as pulmonary hypertension or heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. CPET collects information about a person’s heart and lung function to assess how the body responds to exercise. It may also help doctors better understand the lingering fatigue and breathlessness that sometimes occur after a COVID-19 infection.

Can platelet-rich plasma injections heal your joints?

Platelet-rich plasma injections are used to reduce pain and speed healing for a number of common problems that affect the tendons, muscles, and joints, ranging from arthritis to shoulder pain. But a growing body of research shows that they may not be effective for some conditions, including knee osteoarthritis, ankle osteoarthritis, and Achilles tendinitis. There is some evidence that it may be effective for lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). People should consider whether there is a better option before undergoing PRP injections.

A new way to detect dangerous blood clots

A substance that binds to blood clots may one day offer a novel, less invasive strategy for finding dangerous clots in the heart and elsewhere in the body.

Can I skip colonoscopies after age 75?

Most people don't benefit from colonoscopies after age 75, but before stopping they should have a discussion with their doctor.

Should you monitor this chronic inflammation marker?

Increasingly, tests that measure C-reactive protein are marketed to health-conscious consumers as a way of determining if they have chronic inflammation. However, the test is just one piece of evidence and should be interpreted by one’s doctor. Without that expertise, a customer might not understand what the CRP test result means, and as a result might suffer unnecessary anxiety or pursue unnecessary tests. It’s best to talk to one’s doctor before seeking tests that measure CRP levels.

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