‘Too many med­i­cal tests may harm, not help’

WORLD HOS­PICE & PAL­LIA­TIVE CARE DAY Health ex­perts say more and more el­derly peo­ple are brows­ing the net and self­med­i­cat­ing

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Lucknow - HT Cor­re­spon­dent) lko­re­porters­desk@htlive.com ▪

LUC­KNOW : More and more el­derly peo­ple are now tak­ing to the In­ter­net to learn about their dis­eases, but while the habit is use­ful in un­der­stand­ing dis­eases, the self med­i­ca­tion which fol­lows this can have se­vere reper­cus­sions on one’s health, feel ex­perts.

In a pub­lic lec­ture on World Hos­pice And Pal­lia­tive Care Day on Satur­day, founder of Aastha Ge­ri­atric Hospi­tal Dr Ab­hishek Shukla said, “Pa­tients of­ten come to me af­ter hav­ing mul­ti­ple tests done based on their own as­sump­tions about the ill­ness they might be hav­ing, ir­re­spec­tive of the fact whether or not they need them.

“At least one or two pa­tients come with a long list of tests al­ready done in the OPD. When I tell them more than half of these were not even re­quired they get sur­prised,” he said.

He said that hav­ing a rou­tine check-up was ad­vis­able but only those tests should be done which were rel­e­vant to one’s prob­lem on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis. How­ever, out of cu­rios­ity el­derly peo­ple were now com­ing with a host of pathol­ogy re­ports, he said.

“Un­nec­es­sary tests cre­ate doubts and some­times de­pres­sion about one­self and one’s health. The fact is that as per the age, the re­sults of tests will vary in com­par­i­son to a healthy per­son. Hence at times, de­spite a lit­tle vari­a­tion in re­ports, there is noth­ing to worry about,” said Dr Shukla.

He said that what the el­derly peo­ple should do was to make a chart of reg­u­lar check-up as di­rected by the physi­cian and get tests done at the slated time. Any other ad­di­tional test without symp­toms should be avoided and the money spent on un­nec­es­sary in­ves­ti­ga­tion should be used to en­sure a healthy and bal­anced diet as per the age.

He sug­gested that since un­nec­es­sary tests at patholo­gies could in­crease risk of cross­in­fec­tion from other pa­tients present at the pathol­ogy lab, any di­ag­nos­tic in­ves­ti­ga­tion should be done only when re­quired.

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