The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease. Voltaire
This past week, I received in the mail one of those life screening advertisements. It claimed to provide early screening for stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and osteoporosis risk assessment, to name a few. For a fee, one can obtain peace of mind. I am certainly not against early prevention. However, some of these so-called health screening companies instill a state of fear among the frail population. Inasmuch as a majority of the population over 65 already has a primary care physician that oversees their health, why should these tests be necessary. Also, these companies prey on the goodwill and support of communities of faith by being able to conduct these tests at such locations. The message behind this strategy is: if my place of worship accepts the company, it must be a trustworthy company and the services therefore will be good for me. The next time one of those pamphlets arrives in your mailbox, do yourself a favor and ask your doctor if some of these tests are necessary. Usually these tests, when prescribed by your doctor, are covered by insurance, so why pay out of your pocket for something that may not be necessary. The question is: are these necessary and worth the cost? The cash spent to provide this type of sense of security can be used for something else. If there are no symptoms of leg
pain with walking, difficulty in breathing, or a history of mini stroke, then the chances of finding something requiring medical attention are rare. My advice is to develop a trustworthy relationship with your physician and maintain updated preventive checkups. Finally, before spending a few hundred dollars on these tests, think twice before committing your hard earned money.