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Home :: Medical Lab Tests

Medical Lab Tests

The many misuses of medical tests

Medical tests are today carried out in abundance by doctors and patients. The moment you enter a doctor’s clinic with a bad health condition, you will be advised to make some medical tests to find out what disease you are suffering from.

However though medical tests are very effective in diagnosing diseases, many a time these tools tend to get mis-used. Many a time, the wrong test is ordered for the right condition. For example, doctors usually order a carotid artery test for patients with a fainting spell. However problems with the carotid arteries never create fainting spells; instead they create other symptoms like paralysis on a side of the body or loss of speech. Moreover if the artery is found to be narrowed, an unnecessary operation is carried out on the affected artery, while the cause for the fainting spell is never found out!

Sometimes doctors tend to treat the results that occur in the medical test, and not the patient. For example a patient on medication for diabetes may produce extremely low blood results due to insufficient food or some extra exercise. However this may only be a temporary condition; and when the doctor examines the blood report, the medication is reduced, only to lead to complications once the patient reverts to the original activities and food habits. The doctor should instead rule all this out before treating the condition.

Emergency physicians tend to order thousands of dollars worth of tests within an interview of 30 seconds. However many tests could have been avoided, and the choice of tests ordered could have been changed only with some interaction and questions to the patient or the family. Ordering irrelevant tests is another sin of medical tests.

There are many tests that are not known to be useful for anything, but they tend to get ordered anyway. Moreover, remember that tests too can be imperfect at times. All tests, ranging from high tech scans to ordinary blood measurements have false positives and false negatives. Patients who are unnecessary diagnosed with a disease may get stressed out so much that the disease may manifest itself in the body while patients who are inflicted with a disease may be diagnosed as healthy wherein no medications to their lifestyles is implemented while the disease multiplies within the body.

Remember that there are no tests for all medical conditions. Sometimes hard to diagnose symptoms make the doctor order a test and just because the test reports are normal, it does not indicate that the patient is healthy. Many conditions like migraine, fibromyalgia, restless legs syndrome and Parkinson’s disease show no abnormality in conventional tests and will not be diagnosed through a test, though the patient may be suffering from it.

Sometimes doctors fail to order tests that would actually affect the treatment to the patient. A test should be carried out only if its results lead to different plans of action. However if the treatment remains the same no matter what results are formed, then there is no point in taking the test. On the contrary, if a test can lead to different plans of action, then it should be done or at least be strongly considered.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.