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May 25, 2023

BehindTheMedspeak: What should you do if you get an abnormal test result?

3 Three out of four doctors copy 2

Recently a relative went to the doctor and learned that a number of her blood tests came back abnormal, so much so that the doctor diagnosed insulin resistance and prediabetes and put her on a strict diet to try to get things back on track.

No family history for two generations on either side of diabetes or any related problems.

I was quite disturbed about the rush to treatment for a 39-year-old woman in great physical shape who serves as a volunteer firefighter and achieved the top fitness test scores at her station recently.

She's unhappy as well with all the new dietary restrictions, things like it's OK to eat green apples but not red ones.

Her doctor's no doofus: a board-certified endocrinologist who knows better than any other specialty about insulin resistance and its potentially serious sequelae.

But here's the thing: why the rush to treatment?

I recommended she get the whole blood test panel repeated in two weeks, BEFORE changing anything: test results are often wrong.

Where's the harm in making sure you're on the right track before setting off in a new direction potentially making life more difficult?

This happens all too often: one test, one x-ray, one MRI, one CT scan sets off a whole cascade of treatments.

Much better to repeat the work-up first.

May 25, 2023 at 04:25 PM | Permalink


Always get a second opinion: After two endoscopies and many med changes, my gastroenterologist still couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I took the images from those SAME endoscopies to another gastro doc, he took one look, and said, "You have a hiatal hernia."

Doctors are human -- not infallible. A second opinion can change (or save) your life.

Posted by: Ms. Radoo | May 26, 2023 10:02:37 AM

Start treatment now, patient for life. Repeat test, chance that results returned will be normal.

Posted by: lwb | May 26, 2023 1:44:01 AM

Rodney Dangerfield: My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly too.

Posted by: JohnM | May 25, 2023 5:11:23 PM

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