Vitamin D Tests

Many people don’t have enough vitamin D in their bodies. Low vitamin D increases the risk of broken bones. It may also contribute to other health problems. That’s why doctors often order a blood test to measure vitamin D. But many people do not need the test. Here’s why: A test usually does not improve… Read more »

Preventing Infections in the Hospital

If you or someone you care for is in the hospital, there are two common medical practices that you should watch out for. Here’s why: Both urinary catheters and ulcer drugs are over-used in hospitals. And both increase the risk of infection. The risks of urinary catheters. Catheters are tubes to drain urine. They are… Read more »

Antibiotics For Your Skin

Skin problems can sometimes look like infections, especially if they’re red, swollen, or tender. So it might seem like treating them with antibiotics is a good idea. But some skin problems don’t stem from infections at all. So treating them with antibiotics can do more harm than good. Learn about situations when you don’t need… Read more »

Implanted Heart Devices at the End of Life

An ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) is a small device that is placed in the chest. It helps to keep the heart beating normally. If the heart beats too fast, the device sends a powerful shock to the heart to help it beat normally again. For many people with heart disease, this device can be a… Read more »

Oral Antibiotics for Ear Infections

Antibiotics are strong medicines that can kill bacteria. For ear infections, doctors often prescribe oral antibiotics that you swallow in pill or liquid form. However, eardrops can sometimes be safer and more effective than oral medicines. Here’s why: Oral antibiotics have risks. Oral antibiotics are more likely to cause resistant bacteria outside the ear. Then,… Read more »

Antibiotics for Pink Eye

Pink eye is a common condition, especially in children. It is also called conjunctivitis. The eyes are pink because they are infected or irritated. They may be itchy and teary, with a watery discharge, and swollen, crusty eyelids. Doctors often prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments for pink eye. But antibiotics don’t usually help, according… Read more »

Carotid Artery Surgery

There are two large arteries in the front of the neck. They are the carotid arteries, and they take blood to the brain. If one is blocked, it can lead to a stroke. The surgery to clear a blocked artery is called a “carotid endarterectomy” (CEA). If you have a blocked artery, you may wonder… Read more »

Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a serious condition. The body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joints. This causes swelling, stiffness, and pain. RA cannot be cured but it can be treated. Without treatment, RA can cause permanent damage to joints and internal organs, and disability. How is RA treated? The main drugs to treat… Read more »

Tests Before Heart Surgery

Your doctor may order some tests before you have a heart bypass or another kind of heart surgery. The purpose of the tests is to make the surgery safer. Two common tests are a breathing test and a carotid ultrasound test. But you probably don’t need these tests, unless you have a breathing problem or… Read more »

Heart Tests Before Chest Surgery

If you’re having chest surgery, a stress test can sometimes be helpful. It might find problems that need special care before, during, or after the surgery. Chest surgery may be related to your lungs, esophagus, or another part of your chest. If your surgery is not related to your heart and you don’t have a… Read more »

Echocardiography After Heart Valve Surgery

If you have surgery to replace a damaged heart valve, you may have a test called an echocardiogram or “echo.” It uses sound waves (ultrasound) to make images of the heart and valves. This test can show if the new valve is working well. But sometimes the test is done very soon after surgery, while… Read more »

Medical Tests Before Eye Surgery

If you’re going to have cataract surgery or another eye surgery, you may be given some medical tests first. For example, you may have an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check your heart, or a complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia, a low amount of red blood cells. These tests may make surgery safer. For… Read more »

Echocardiogram Before Surgery

If you’re having surgery, you may wonder if you need an echocardiogram first. Some people have this test to make sure it is safe for them to have surgery. An echocardiogram uses sound waves (ultrasound) to make a moving picture of the heart. It shows if your heart has a problem pumping blood. And it can… Read more »

Lyme Disease Tests

Lyme disease is usually caused by a bite from a deer tick. The disease can cause joint pain, aching muscles, and a tired feeling. There are two blood tests for Lyme disease, but usually you do not need them. Here’s why: You do not usually need tests to show that you have Lyme disease.  In… Read more »

Scheduling Early Delivery of Your Baby

Sometimes there are medical reasons for a woman to deliver her baby before naturally going into labor. For example, if a week or more passes after the due date and the baby does not come, doctors may need to start, or induce, labor. Or if the woman or her baby is at risk, doctors may… Read more »