It automatically sounds dire if you’ve been told you need to take some heart tests. It feels like the kind of thing you march right in and take care of as soon as possible… no questions asked.
But according to the latest research, you absolutely SHOULD question them. In fact, there’s one specific question you need to ask: “Why do I need these?”
Because when it comes to heart tests, screenings, and related procedures, you may not actually require many of them. The same is true of treatments too.
Some heart tests are merely pointless. Others are worse because, along with NOT helping you, they could potentially do real and lasting harm.
The truth about heart tests and screenings
This warning about heart tests doesn’t come from some fringe group out for attention. It is an official scientific statement from the very mainstream American Heart Association.
The American Heart Association has been at the forefront of pushing every heart test, treatment, and drug invented. So when THEY admit it’s gone too far, that’s saying something.
The new AHA document – a “scientific statement” intended as guidance for docs, especially cardiologists – says half of all Americans get at least one unnecessary or “low value” test or treatment every year.
And the heart tests stuff is right near the top of the list.
In some cases, docs are using outdated guidance to provide heart tests that were routine years ago but shouldn’t be anymore. In others, docs might be giving tests that some people need to practically EVERYONE instead.
There’s also another reason they don’t like to talk about. Some docs know those heart tests and screenings aren’t needed but do them anyway for quick and easy cash.
So what CAN you skip?
The scientific statement points out the heart tests, and other procedures docs just love to give… but often aren’t really needed.
Three of the worst offenders are…
- Exercise stress tests: If you’ve had any type of operation to clear out blocked arteries, such as angioplasty, you probably DON’T need an exercise stress test.
- Echocardiogram: If you’ve fainted but have no other signs of heart disease, you probably DON’T need an
- Coronary calcium test: If you have heart disease… and everyone KNOWS you have heart disease… then you probably don’t need a coronary calcium test.
But even beyond those three specific heart tests, you should make a habit of questioning every test and screening that doctors order. Ask about any medications that are prescribed, too, for that matter.
In fact, you can check out my earlier report, 9 crucial questions BEFORE filling a prescription for some help on what to ask.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to be hostile about it. You’re just showing an interest in your own health care, which your doctor should appreciate.
Plus, you don’t have to refuse any procedures (heart tests or otherwise) or prescriptions, either. Just make sure you have the complete picture… including any risks and benefits… before you decide to move forward.
And remember, in the end, you’re the one in control. Make the best choice for YOU.
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