Experts Agree that Seniors Should Avoid These Routine Exams and Unneeded Meds -- Reports BrightStar Care/Evanston
It's common: you're facing minor surgery and your doctor orders routine preoperative tests. Do you get take the exams? Everyone does, right?
You're a senior who has trouble sleeping. Your prescription sleeping aids are fine to take, right? After all, your doctor ordered them.
You pass a drugstore with free screening for a potential stroke. Do you take advantage?
According to the experts belonging to 17 medical specialty societies you should pass up all these exams, screening tests, and unneeded medications--unless symptoms or sense dictate otherwise. In fact, these tests are not only not recommended (a positive double negative) in some instances they cause more harm than good.
This is a unique and strong consensus of opinion that BrightStar Care Evanston feels is worthy of the attention of seniors, their loved ones and our attention as well. Patients often agree automatically when physicians say, "well let's get an X-ray, or a blood test first" and that knee jerk reaction and assent are what this group of societies is cautioning against.
The meeting of the societies was organized by American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), which supports a campaign called "Choosing Wisely." It publishes a list that seniors and everyone should read regarding unnecessary treatments.
At BrightStar Care Evanston, our job is taking providing compassionate care and assistance to seniors in their home so we always take the route of caution. We do find these cautions interesting and our Director of Nursing is studying them. We are also aware of the irony and potential value of "preventing some unnecessary preventive medicine procedures." Here's information direct from the ABIM list.
1. "Avoid routine pre-surgery tests for eye surgery and other low-risk surgeries (American Society for Clinical Pathology and American Academy of Ophthalmology).
Those having elective surgery -- foot, cosmetic, eye surgery -- are routinely asked to take blood tests. Cataract patients often get an EKG or chest X-ray. It's hard for anyone to see the relation between eye surgery and your lungs.
Aside from the costs, the ABIM notes that these exams often have a false positive, requiring the need for another test, but more importantly, causing undue anxiety.
2: Cholesterol-lowering drugs may not do much good if you're an older adult. The American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) says that while statins are a good idea for middle aged people, these cholesterol-lowering medications may not help those in their 70s, 80s and 90s. And taking statins carries serious risks.
3. "Don't take prescription sleeping pills as a regular choice for insomnia" says the always alert American Geriatric Association. "Meds called sedative-hypnotics,
double the risk of falls and hip fractures, leading to hospitalization and death in older adults, according to several large studies."
4. "Don't get a screening test for carotid artery disease unless you have symptoms," cautions the American Academy of Family Physicians." This is a test to determine if you have narrowing of arteries which can lead to stroke. According to the organization, the dangers of this screen far outweigh any potential benefits.
5. Ask if a urinary catheter is really necessary. One in five patients seeking urinary treatments gets a catheter, but as many as half don't need one. This caution is adamantly expressed by the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM), which reports that about 13,000 people a year die as a result of catheter infections.
Don't use testosterone for erectile dysfunction. A lot of prescriptions for testosterone supplements are being written for men with normal testosterone levels reports the American Urological Society.
Since prostate cancer thrives on testosterone, it's just smart to avoid raising levels unnecessarily.
7. Colorectal Cancer Screenings are indeed a good idea for those over 50, however, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) --not a society and member of the Washington group -- questions its value for significantly older adults. The risk of complications for elderly patients is significant and the ACS suggests evaluations of the advisability of the exam on an individual basis.
BrightStar Evanston Recommends Avoiding These Tests, Too
- The test of trying to age in place without some assistance -- even if minimal on a daily or weekly basis--by carefully trained caregivers.
- As an adult child, you can avoid the test of trying to care for someone you love and have a life of your own. With our help, you can have both.
- There's no need to test our responsiveness and availability. BrightStar Care/Evanston and BrightStar Care/North Suburban are there for you 24/7/365.
Simply call 847-510-5750 or CONTACT US
Ask about our complimentary home consultation
1. "Seven more medical procedures you may not need." Marcia Mercer for AARP. 2013. http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-02-2013/medical-proceduraes-to-avoid.html
2. Unnecessary Tests and Procedures In the Health ... - Choosing Wisely
3. "Treatments Older Adults May Not Need:" http://bit.ly/2n9fp3K
4. The American Medical Directors Association: http://www.paltc.org/
5. American Geriatrics Society: Bitly http://bit.ly/2nTbtm1
6. Society of Hospital Medicine: www.hospitalmedicine.org/
7. American Urological Society: www.auanet.org/
8. American College of Surgeons: https://www.facs.org/