To Test or Not To Test

Over the last 100 years, ever more complex laboratory tests have been developed. In the 1950's, before the advent of most modern tests, the Cornell Medical Index? was a simple set of questions including current symptoms, past history and family history. A physician trained in use of this test could make a medical diagnosis with 80% accuracy, without even seeing the patient. When I finished medical school in 1956, we depended mostly on a history, physical exam, a complete blood count, urinalysis, a stool test for blood and a simple screening blood chemistry. A few X-Rays and a few contrast X-Ray studies led to the diagnosis remarkably well.

Today there are thousands of tests, including CT scans, MRI's and more elaborate blood chemical studies than were imagined 50 years ago. Today even genetic testing is ''almost'' routine. With the increase in testing comes an increased risk, perhaps the most important of which is a ''false positive'' result. I personally know several women where mammograms and breast biopsies led to serious stress because of initially incorrect diagnoses of cancer. The same has been true with the prostate gland, PSA and prostate biopsies.

Further complicating the picture are a wide variety of routine tests recommended for every healthy person at various intervals—–PAP smears, PSA, mammograms, colonoscopies, cholesterol, triglycerides, thyroid function, antioxidant profiles, etc, etc, etc. If you are indeed healthy and have no significant symptoms that something is not functioning well, here are my recommendations:

After age 18:

Have a check-up by a good Family Physician or Nurse Practitioner. They may or may not recommend a blood count and a SMAC, screening blood chemistry.

Practice forever-daily internal awareness of your body. If you do not know how to do this, read and practice my book, 90 DAYS TO STRESS-FREE LIVING.

Age 40:

  • DHEA blood test run ONLY by Nichols Lab in Capistrano, Ca. If below 550 ng/dl in women or below 750 ng/dl in men, you need DHEA rejuvenation—NOT SUPPLEMENTS. I dealt with this in an earlier newsletter
  • Homocysteine. If above 7.5 micromoles/liter, you need at least 1 and up to 50 mg daily of folic acid and 1000 micrograms of B 12
  • High Sensitivity C-reactive protein. If above 1 mg/L, you need to lower your inflammatory reactions. I will deal with this in a newsletter soon.
  • Cholesterol. If above 180 mg/dl, see my earlier newsletter on cholesterol
  • HDL cholesterol. If below 50 mg/dl, consult the cholesterol article
  • Triglycerides. If above 100 mg/dl, cut all simple sugars and most carbohydrates as well as caffeine. Increase physical exercise.
  • Fructose amine or glycolated hemoglobin. If elevated above the ''normal'' range, add chromium 1000 micrograms daily; increase your exercise and deep relaxation. Cut sugar and complex carbohydrate

Age 50:

For men, get a PSA. If it is above 2 ng/dl, add saw palmetto, 160 mg double strength extract, 4 daily. If above 4, 12 daily. Even if below 2, add at least 2 saw palmetto daily.

Personally, I do not do other routine tests. If you know your body and examine your breasts or testes regularly, and have no symptoms, I do not do other tests. If you believe in mammograms and regular PAP smears and your physician recommends them, go for it.

If you develop symptoms, your physician or Nurse Practitioner should be consulted. However, always ask about the risks of tests, especially invasive ones!