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 take a moving picture of the heart. It shows if your heart has a problem pumping blood, which may put… 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 »

Testosterone for Erection Problems

Most men have problems with erections from time to time. But some men have erectile dysfunction, or ED. This is when it is difficult to get or keep an erection that’s firm enough for sexual intercourse. If you have ED, you may think that testosterone treatment will help. Testosterone is a male sex hormone. After… Read more »

Treating Blocked Leg Arteries

The arteries in your legs and feet can get blocked, just like the arteries in your heart. When this happens, less blood flows to your legs. This is called peripheral artery disease (PAD). If your leg arteries are badly blocked, you may develop foot pain while resting or a sore that won’t heal. In this… Read more »

Alzheimer’s Disease Testing

It is normal to forget things as you age. But many older people worry that they are getting Alzheim­er’s disease when they can’t remember things. A new drug, used with a PET scan of the brain, can help diagnose Alzheimer’s. But before getting this scan you should have a complete medical exam. If your exam… Read more »

Lab Tests Before Surgery

If you’re going to have surgery, you may have blood and urine tests first. These tests may be helpful if you have certain health conditions or diseases. For example, if you have a blood-clotting problem, a test can show if you’re at risk of too much bleeding during surgery. But most healthy people don’t need… Read more »

Treating Migraine Headaches

Migraine attacks can last for hours—or even days. They can cause intense pain, nausea, and vomiting. They can make you sensitive to light or noise, and they can affect your life and work. To treat migraines, you may get a prescription for an opioid (narcotic) or a barbiturate (sedative) called butalbital. These are pain medicines…. Read more »

Stress Tests Before Surgery

If you’re having surgery, you may wonder if you need a heart stress test beforehand. It may seem like a good way to ensure a safe surgery. But you probably do not need the test if you are healthy, active, and feeling well, or if you’re having minor surgery. Here’s why: The tests aren’t useful… Read more »

Imaging Tests for Heart Disease

Imaging stress tests take pictures of the heart while it is working hard. There are two kinds of imaging stress tests. One takes pictures with sound waves. Another kind uses a little bit of a radioactive substance to get pictures. You may need an imaging stress test if you have symptoms of heart disease, like… Read more »

Echocardiograms for Heart Valve Disease

Valve disease is caused by a heart valve that does not work the way it should. A test called an echocardio­gram can show how serious the problem is and if it is getting worse. But if your valve disease is mild, and it is not causing any symptoms, you probably don’t need to have the… Read more »

Imaging Tests After a Heart Procedure

If you’ve had bypass surgery or a stent inserted to open a blocked artery in your heart, you may wonder if you need regular imaging tests to see how well your treatment is working. Imaging tests take pictures of your heart. Ultrasound and echocardiography tests take pictures using sound waves. Coronary CT scans use x-rays… Read more »

Stress Tests for Chest Pain

A stress test makes the heart work hard so your doctor can see if it is healthy. In a simple exercise stress test, you walk or jog on a treadmill. You are connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG), which measures your heart’s electrical activity. Some stress tests use imaging to take pictures of your heart while… Read more »

Heart Imaging Tests Before Surgery

If you’re having surgery, you may wonder whether you need an imaging test of your heart. It seems like this could help ensure that it is safe for you to have the surgery. But imaging tests usually aren’t helpful unless you are having heart surgery. They also don’t help if you haven’t had a stroke… Read more »

Heart Imaging Tests Before Surgery

If you’re having surgery, you may wonder if you need an imaging test of your heart to make sure it is safe for you to have the surgery. But if you are not having heart surgery and you don’t have symptoms or risk factors for heart disease, the imaging tests may not be helpful. Here’s why:… Read more »