Preparing for a doctor appointment
June 17, 2009 3:36 PM Subscribe
When, if ever, is it reasonable to ask for a preemptive test? Given a family history of congestive heart failure I'm wondering how reasonable it is to reguest a MUGA or echocardiogram just to allay (or confirm) my own worries. I'm definitely already going to see a doctor, so I'm not asking for medical advice. I guess I am asking for perspective to help me frame my request with my physician.
I'm 53 and have an upcoming appt with my internist regarding a different matter. Since I made that appointment my slightly older brother died a few weeks ago of sudden cardiac arrest at age 56. Apparently he had been seeing a doctor for congestive heart failure for a while. My other brother (age 59) received a stent some years ago while being diagnosed with diabetes and some degree of congestive heart failure. My mother died at age 66 of -- you guessed it -- congestive heart failure. Until my younger-older brother died, I was aware that my family history was not great, but his death has catapulted the issue of CHF to top-of-mind, to say the least. Yet...
I have what I assume to be the usual litany of complaints about getting older, but I tend to think of them as not really rising to the level of needing to be addressed. I received a good bill of health at my physical last year, along with the usual lifestyle warnings. (Salt, alcohol, maybe I should do some strength work in addition to walking, etc.) I just don't feel I have any acute physical complaints that would justify tests that are probably kind of expensive.
For anyone with perspective from the US health care community, am I one of those "walking worried" patients driving up costs for everyone, or would it be reasonable to push hard for a test to rule early CHF in or out?