‘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
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.