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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 08:17 AM   #61
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Women are much better than men about going to the doctor. At least that is my impression--no statistics here.

I end up there about every six months--for medication checks. Physical about every three years. Since my best friend got breast cancer, mammogram every year for me.

Because my mother died in her 30s of a heart attack and my father also died of heart disease, I have had two stress tests, one last year where they put some kind of nuclear material in my veins and took pictures of my heart. Everything was just fine. The question is whether this is a waste of valuable medical resources just to give me piece of mind. My insurance paid. Would I have done it if I had to pay for it myself?

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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 08:22 AM   #62
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Quote:
Because my mother died in her 30s of a heart attack and my father also died of heart disease, I have had two stress tests, one last year where they put some kind of nuclear material in my veins and took pictures of my heart. Everything was just fine. The question is whether this is a waste of valuable medical resources just to give me piece of mind. My insurance paid. Would I have done it if I had to pay for it myself?
I do the same thing every 5 yrs/ It's called a "Thalium heart scan" or a "Cardiolite" stress test" Just had one done in July in fact. My insurance paid also. Alles klar Herr Kommissar.

The retail "street price" of this is 1400-2000 clams. If you get it only every 5 yrs it's not really that expensive even if you paid for it on your own which I budgeted for in case the insurance didn't want to.
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 08:31 AM   #63
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by razztazz
I do the same thing every 5 yrs/ It's called a "Thalium heart scan" or a "Cardiolite" stress test" Just had one done in July in fact. My insurance paid also.* Alles klar Herr Kommissar.

The retail "street price" of this is 1400-2000 clams.* If you get it only every 5 yrs it's not really that expensive even if you paid for it on your own which I budgeted for in case the insurance didn't want to.
They recommended this for me (also a standard stress test).
Sounded expensive and the "Cardiolite stress test" scared the
hell out of me. With no family history (on either side), I shopped for
a cheap heart scan. Came back 100% clear. One less thing to worry about.

JG
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 09:25 AM   #64
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Because my mother died in her 30s of a heart attack and my father also died of heart disease, I have had two stress tests, one last year where they put some kind of nuclear material in my veins and took pictures of my heart. Everything was just fine. The question is whether this is a waste of valuable medical resources just to give me piece of mind. My insurance paid. Would I have done it if I had to pay for it myself?
I began my annual checkup in 2001 when I turned 53. The doctor I when to for my annual was also a cardiologist. He had me do a full stress test the 1st 2 years, all covered by my insurance. On the 3rd year, he again wanted to schedule another stress test. According to him, year after year, I was in perfect health with excellent BP, EKG, low resting pulse (45) and an active excercise schedule. When I questioned the need for it, he got quite annoyed which I suspect was due to the loss of $2k charge for the echo and stress test.
I, on the other hand, saved 1 day at the doctors and did not allow him to inject me with "suppositely" harmless low level radioactive material (for the 1st time).

IMO, I suspect some people wouldn't run to doctors for a number of health problems, if they had to kick in 100% of ther own money.
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 09:59 AM   #65
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by razztazz

The retail "street price" of this is 1400-2000 clams. If you get it only every 5 yrs it's not really that expensive even if you paid for it on your own which I budgeted for in case the insurance didn't want to.
I just had one and my portion was $370 (insurance paid 80%).

Clue #1 for having insurance pay: When you go in to see the doctor, mention "chest tightness." That usually does the trick. All kinds of doors open up, insurance-wise....

I used to have coverage for annual checkup, and had a stress-test every year. About 3 years ago, coverage changed to one that did not include this. I decided it was time to have things checked out, and those magic words "chest tightness" did the rest. I wasn't even expecting the full-blown test with the dye and everything, but that's what I got.
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 10:26 AM   #66
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

This stress test discussion is interesting. Seems like a waste of resources for MJ's doctor to push them on him every year when he has no symptoms and no evidence of heart disease.

Bosco, of course you got a Thallium stress test--you said chest tightness. Now you have that on your medical record.

Unnessary tests costs us all. The hard part is to determine if a test is necessary or not. Where is the web site that outlines best practices for the medical profession?



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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 11:11 AM   #67
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Martha's right. if you ave no probkems and no history of any diseases etc then you dont need it. MAAAYbe ONE at say age 50* just look behind the Green Door, ya nver know, But ongoing tests.. BS In MY case the old man had earlkyonset heart attacks and strokes in his 40's./ But he smoked and drank and had a high stress life which I have scrupulously avoided. How much of this is genes and how much cause/effect...?
Another buzz that's been showing up the past few yrs is that "annual check uP" is also a waste of time. It doesnt find anything. Whe I go to the doctor it's because if a problem or something of a "known threat" that requires getting out in front of.* eg The old prostate check every yr, maybe off the rack chest X rays every 5 yrs or so (X smoker here).

I even plan to blow off the colonoscopy due to my own research and a thread on this board some time ago. Cancer risk=small. Complication/death by Colonoscopy=much greater
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 11:13 AM   #68
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by razztazz
Cancer risk=small. Complication/death by Colonoscopy=much greater
It just feeeels like you're dying...

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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 11:22 AM   #69
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

The radiation treatments I had 22 years ago for testicular cancer (like Lance Armstrong) knocked down my immune system. While my white cell count has slowly recovered over the years it is still at the low end of normal. I have gotten a flu shot every year since then and have never had the flu. Last year, when flu vaccine was in short supply my DW didn't get the shot and was really sick for three weeks with the flu. I use way more than my share of this country's medical resources. I have an appointment this afternoon with a pain management specialist to see if there is any medication to replace Vioxx and Bextra which I was on until they were taken off the market.

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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 11:55 AM   #70
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha

Bosco, of course you got a Thallium stress test--you said chest tightness. Now you have that on your medical record.

I was aware that I would get this on my record, however

my father died of coronary at age 46
I have borderline hypertension (which they only now decided to treat)
I don't have insurance coverage problems, either now or after I ER in 2 years (I will acutally have triple-coverage)

So I decided it was worth it to chant the magic mantra. Believe me, it's not because I needed the attention out of boredom. Part of it is that I knew I would be shipping out to an area without good facilities for a few months and wanted to be sure everything was in order.

I suppose it would bite me if I decided I want to purchase life insurance. But somehow I think my father's medical history would have bitten me anyway.

Good news is--I have low cholesteroll (only one in my family who does). Fortunately, no cholesterol in beer

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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 12:09 PM   #71
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Bosco, I guess having both parents die of heart disease gets me an insurance paid stress test even though I don't have symptoms of heart disease.

Did you have the C reactive protein (CRP) test to measure for inflamation?
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 12:41 PM   #72
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha

Did you have the C reactive protein (CRP) test to measure for inflamation?
No, I may have to ask about that one. What's involved with it?

In the case of the Thallium stress test, they first gave me just an ordinary stress test. It looked good except for one blip that the doc didn't know if it was a problem or an "artifact" (love that term....if you encode an MP3 and it clicks or pops where it shouldn't, that's an artifact too). So they gave me the thallium test to check out the artifact. Turns out it was nothing, as hoped.

My doc is not a big one for what she feels are unnecessary tests. This is ok with me, in general.

Of course, the biggest favour I could do for myself health-wise is drop about 15 pounds.
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-19-2005, 12:45 PM   #73
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

The CRP test is just a blood test. Supposedly inflammation is a major marker for heart disease and the test is a measure of inflammation. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/e...cle/003356.htm

Cheap and easy.
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-20-2005, 08:21 PM   #74
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 73ss454
JG

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Send over the pictures so we can check her out.
Man, I've been scanner shopping like crazy (Walmart tomorrow), especially since someone
(REW?) accused me of making empty promises. I've got a photo on my desk
which will likely be the first to post. So be patient. I expect a lot of............."How did this guy end up with a looker like that?" It's okay. Take your best shot

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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-21-2005, 07:52 AM   #75
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Already posted that... :P
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-21-2005, 10:24 AM   #76
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

It seems a lot of people are penny wise and pound foolish regarding there own personal healthcare. The C-reactive protien test can be elevated in coronary artery disese [cad], it can be also elevated by other sites of infection in the body -- a sore throat, previous exposure to the flu and other infectious diseases -- so it is not the perfect test. The new paradigm in heart disease is that it is not a simple matter of our pipes becoming clogged. The belief is it is much more complex, that infection can play a part, that inflamation of the coronary vessel wall caused by nasty lipids and protiens in our blood cause the build up of soft plaque -- which can rupture causing either sudden death or a heart attack. Between 30% and 40% of all first heart attacks are fatal.

Heart disease and CAD is a progressive disease. If you're a male 40-45 years of age or a female 50-55 years old -- you have some heart disease -- it maybe pre-clinical , but you have it. If you're diabetic -- you have heart disease, and with the growing problem of diabetes in this country -- this is only going to get worse.

The decision to have a diagnostic test should be based on the risk vs benefit of the test. Is the test being done to diagnose heart disease -- or is it being done because the patinet is know to have heart disease and there is the need to determine the amount and severity of heart disease and to estimate the risk of having a future cardiac problem.

Most of the people on this board are the age when heart disease begins to raise it ugly head, The best advice is, find a good cardiologist -- one that you trust -- and discuss with him the diagnostic and treatment options. Since heart disease is a progressive disease -- stress testing is typically repeated every 18-24 months, if your previous stress test was normal -- repeated every 12 months if you have known heart disease or are diabetic -- or performed when you become sysptomatic.

Medical testing is expensive, especially if you do not have health insurance. But, the people on this board have planned and sacrificed to enjoy ER. Don't be stupid, what's the sense of finally reaching FIRE if you drop dead tomorrow.

It is well understood within the cardiology community -- that if you have a Cardiolite/Thallium stress test and the results are normal -- your risk of having a non-fatal MI or cardiac death is less than 1% for the next year -- those are pretty good odds and can provide peace of mind. For those of you scared at the notion of injecting a radioactive tracer/drug into your body to evaluate heart disease -- you face a much greated risk everyday when you get behind the wheel of your car.

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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-21-2005, 10:59 AM   #77
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Nice post DWK. The problem with being penny wise and pound foolish is finding good advise on what tests should be done and when.

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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-21-2005, 02:39 PM   #78
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

From the perspective of available cardiovascular diagnosis and therapeutic procedures, a thallium test is inexpensive - actually an echo stress test which if done and/or diagnosed by a competent cardiologist is cheaper and can give a similar quality of diagnosis information. When you get into angiography and electrophsyiology techniques, prices go 'way' up.

The main areas which contribute to health are lifestyle choices and genetics. If your genetics show a propensity for a certain type of disease, then I would at least make sure that a more rigorous or frequent type of screening be done. As for vaccinations, being in the Reserves as well as working inthe healthcare environment, I have no choice - I will be vaccinated. Haven't run into a problem yet. For the lifestyle choice aspect, the mantra remains exercising, eating right and resting appropriately.

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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-21-2005, 04:10 PM   #79
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

It seems to me that trying to find a good doctor is like trying to find a good financial advisor. There may be some good ones out there, but what are your chances of finding them? and how much time and money is it going to cost you to identify them? Plus, how much harm is going to be done by the poor ones you run across in the process? I hear people tell me they have a good doctor just like I hear people tell me they have a great financial advisor. But when I listen to the reasons they've concluded their doctor/FA is good, I have to conclude that most people delude themselves on these topics.

At least in the case of financial advisors I have the choice to avoid them and do it myself. The AMA has made sure we are all dependent on doctors for certain things.

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Re: No pension. No health benefits.
Old 09-21-2005, 06:18 PM   #80
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Re: No pension. No health benefits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ((^+^)) SG
It seems to me that trying to find a good doctor is like trying to find a good financial advisor.* There may be some good ones out there, but what are your chances of finding them? and how much time and money is it going to cost you to identify them?* Plus, how much harm is going to be done by the poor ones you run across in the process?* I hear people tell me they have a good doctor just like I hear people tell me they have a great financial advisor.* But when I listen to the reasons they've concluded their doctor/FA is good, I have to conclude that most people delude themselves on these topics.

At least in the case of financial advisors I have the choice to avoid them and do it myself.* The AMA has made sure we are all dependent on doctors for certain things.* *

Excellent post!

JG
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