Urinary Tract Infections in Older People

UTIs are infections of the urinary tract. The main symptoms of UTIs are: A burning feeling when you urinate A strong urge to urinate often Bacteria cause most UTIs. Doctors usually treat UTIs with antibiotics, which are strong medicines that kill bacteria. Older adults are often tested for UTIs, especially in nursing homes. But if… Read more »

Medical Tests Before Surgery

Doctors often order medical tests for patients before surgery. These are called pre-operative or “pre-op” tests. They include chest X-rays, blood and urine samples, and heart and lung tests. These tests can be helpful if you are having serious surgery, especially if you have health problems. The tests can show if you will need special… Read more »

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists can help people who are having trouble moving after an injury or surgery. They also help people with conditions such as: Arthritis Back or shoulder pain Cerebral palsy Osteoporosis (weak bones) Spinal cord injury Stroke Physical therapists can help people gain strength and get moving again. They can help reduce or prevent pain… Read more »

Screening Tests for Ovarian Cancer

Compared to other cancers, ovarian cancer is one of the more deadly. If a woman has symptoms that might be ovarian cancer, doctors often order a blood test (“CA-125”) and an ultrasound. But these tests aren’t good for screening of low-risk women. Here’s why: The test results are not always effective. Women with a high… Read more »

Acute Blood Clots

A deep blood clot in your leg or pelvis may be dangerous. It can travel to your lungs and block the flow of blood. This can be deadly. A deep blood clot is called a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. When it travels to the lungs, it can cause a blockage called a pulmonary embolism,… Read more »

Screening Tests

Screening tests help doctors look for diseases when you don’t have symptoms. The tests can find problems early, when they are easier to treat. Sometimes this can improve your health and help you live longer. But it’s important to know which tests you need, and how often you need them. Screenings have risks. Screenings can… Read more »

Palliative Care

Palliative care is a new idea in health care. When you get palliative care, a trained team helps you and your loved ones live with a serious illness. With palliative care, you can get physical, emotional, and spiritual support. You can get help to relieve pain and symptoms—such as fatigue, anxiety, shortness of breath, nausea,… Read more »

Care at the End of Life for Advanced Cancer Patients

When you have cancer and you have tried many treatments without success, it’s hard to know when to stop treatment. Sometimes, even with the best care, cancer continues to spread. It is hard to accept, but the best thing for you at that point may be to stop the cancer treatment. Instead, you could focus… Read more »

PET Scans After Cancer Treatment

If you’ve been treated for cancer, it’s normal to want to do everything you can to be sure that it doesn’t come back. Your doctor will watch you closely for many years to check for a possible return of the cancer. To be extra sure, some doctors will order imaging tests, known as PET scans…. Read more »

CT Scans to Find Lung Cancer in Smokers

A low-dose spiral CT (“cat”) scan is a type of medical test. It is used to look for early signs of lung cancer. If the test finds cancer, treatment can start early. But the test is not helpful for light smokers or people who quit smoking more than 15 years ago. And it’s not usually… Read more »

Home Oxygen After a Hospital Stay

It can be hard to breathe after some serious illnesses, such as pneumonia or heart failure, or an attack of COPD or another lung disease. You may still need extra oxygen after you leave the hospital. And you may go home with a prescription for supplemental (extra) oxygen therapy. Supplemental oxygen therapy uses a tank… Read more »

Treating Sleep Problems

If you often have trouble falling or staying asleep, you have insomnia.  It can get in the way of working, driving, and even thinking. And it can cause health problems. To treat insomnia, doctors sometimes prescribe drugs called antipsychotics. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  has approved these drugs to treat mental illness, but… Read more »

Cholesterol Drugs for People 75 and Older

Your body makes a waxy substance called cholesterol. You also get it from food. Your body needs it, but too much cholesterol in your blood can clog your arteries. This increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and death. Statins are drugs that lower your cholesterol. But if you are age 75 or older… Read more »

Avoid Unnecessary Treatments in the ER

It can be hard to say “No” in the emergency department. But talking with your emergency room (ER) doctor may help you avoid costly testing. That’s why the American College of Emergency Physicians lists three common procedures you should know about: If CT scans of the head for minor injury Urinary catheters Antibiotics and cultures… Read more »

PSA Blood Test for Prostate Cancer

For years, doctors have used a PSA blood test to screen men for prostate cancer. The test measures a protein made by the prostate gland, called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA). But the PSA test can do more harm than good. Here’s why: The test is often not needed. Most men with high PSAs don’t have… Read more »