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Ask Dr. Gott 5/9

Full testing important for older patients

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DEAR DR. GOTT: I read a newspaper advertisement for ultrasound tests of the heart and arteries — echocardiogram (ultrasound) and electrocardiogram (EKG). Both tests can be performed for $135. Additionally, carotid-artery ultrasound, abdominal-aortic ultrasound and blood-circulation testing can be performed for $95. Are all these tests desirable and worthwhile for a 72-year-old male like me?
    DEAR READER: I recommend you do some investigation. Make sure the testing is being performed in a reputable facility by qualified physicians or technicians. Likewise, the reading of such reports should be done by equally qualified people. Determine whether the test results will be forwarded to your primary-care physician, directly to you or to another facility you might be forced to visit to find the results. There are numerous health screenings available for seniors who might not otherwise have access to them because of financial restrictions. The prices you quote are quite low. I urge you to be tested if it's being done by a legitimate facility.
    Should a test result require follow up, you can address the issue with your primary-care physician or cardiologist. Once all considerations have been addressed to your satisfaction, all systems are a go. Without a doubt, the testing you list should be carried out at least once in men your age, with repeat follow ups depending on the findings.
    To give you related information on cardiac issues, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Coronary Artery Disease." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092-0167. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR: GOTT: I am a 53-year-old female. A few months ago, I had a flu that lasted a week with fever and diarrhea. After three days of Imodium and a liquid diet, I passed what I assume was a parasite. It was in pieces about 12 inches long, segmented, white, round and looked like a boiled spaghetti noodle.
    In your opinion, was this a parasite? How did I get it? Do I have more? Do they show up on X-rays? Is there something I can do to prevent more, and should I follow up with a doctor?
This situation is so offensive I am totally embarrassed and have not told another person about it.
    DEAR READER: You appear to have passed an intestinal worm. Unfortunately, where there is one, there are likely to be more. I strongly advise you to seek attention from your family physician, who will test you for more worms and/or provide therapy.
    You probably got the parasite from contaminated food. Have you recently traveled to a developing country? Intestinal parasites do not usually show up on X-rays. Your doctor can solve the problem by providing medication to rid your body of such unwanted visitors.

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