Are medical tests beneficial?
The world of medical testing and lab tests is increasing by the day with newer and the latest tests being added to a present list of medical tests. Many people love visiting the doctor to get hooked up with electrodes, probes, needles, catheters and inflatable cuffs to find out how our body is working, and if there is a problem anywhere.
However it is not always practical taking tests this way as it tends to create a false sense of confidence in you. You may think that you are actually being wise, and have practiced ‘preventive medicine’. However prevention from a disease does not lie in detecting any existing disease. It lies in preventing the disease and addressing the causes for the disease.
With a medical test, you tend to create a false sense of control and knowledge in yourself. The better alternative lies in taking great steps in modifying your lifestyle and nutritional habits with which you live a healthier lifestyle. There is no point in living life with gusto and then carrying out yearly stress tests and mammograms as there is no point in waiting for a disease to strike, and then take action against it.
Doctors today tend to tell patients to perform more tests than is necessary. With the escalating costs of medical tests, it can be said that an estimated $220 billion is spent solely on laboratory and clinical tests. It not only forms a criterion for additional expenses, many a times they are inaccurate and unnecessary.
The moment a patient approaches a doctor, the doctor prescribes that a urine test, stool test and a blood test have to be performed. There is no initial testing to rule out common ailments like cold and cough. Our ancestors were basically much better in their health, and lived to live long lives without taking unnecessary tests so frequently. This was because their lifestyle was much better with less of stress, less of addictive habits and more of exercise with a healthy diet. They never got to eat any of the junk food that we are all addicted to today.
Another drawback of medical tests is the false positive and false negative results it produces. Tests that are falsely positive tend to create so much emotional trauma by making you think that you are suffering from a serious disease, that you may create a disease in yourself. On the contrary, a false negative will make you think that you need not make any modifications to your lifestyle while the disease tends to continue incubating and spreading in your body.
Like all medical procedures, medical tests pose to produce many inherent dangers. There is the risk of exposure to infectious disease while the ‘sterile’ needle used to draw blood could lead to a fatal systemic infection. The squeezing of breasts when taking a mammogram can effectively activate dormant cancerous tissues with which cancerous cells spread. Though so many pap smears are performed a year, it has never changed morbidity or morality. X-rays are dangerous where its effects tend to cumulate over a lifetime while the ultrasound you do when pregnant may influence the growth of the fetus.
So it can be said that maintaining health is something you have to do on your own, and not with the help of machines and analysis. Of course, diagnostic tests have to be carried out if and when it is required and not as a preventive measure against a disease.
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