Breast Biopsy

A breast biopsy is a test of breast tissue to see if you have cancer. Usually, you get a biopsy if there is a suspicious change in your breast. Your doctor may find the change in a physical exam, mammogram, or ultrasound test. A breast biopsy is a common procedure for women in the U.S…. Read more »

Health Checkups

Like many people, you may schedule a yearly checkup or “annual physical” with your doctor. It usually includes a health history, physical exam and tests. It is important to have a regular doctor who helps make sure you receive the medical care that is best for your individual needs. But healthy people often don’t need… Read more »

Dental Fillings that Contain Mercury

Most adults have fillings or other dental work in some of our teeth. Often this dental work uses a material called “amalgam.” It contains mercury and other metals, such as zinc, tin, copper, or silver. Dentists have used amalgams for nearly 200 years. Some people think they are dangerous because of the mercury, but studies… Read more »

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Many people with osteoarthritis have knee pain. They often try over-the-counter treatments to help the pain, and to avoid knee surgery. The supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, are very popular. In 2012, Americans spent $813 million on these supplements, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. The knee pain is caused by the breakdown of the… Read more »

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 overused 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. When… 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 »