General Question

bossob's avatar

Should individuals acquire baseline medical evaluations? If so, which ones?

Asked by bossob (3815 points ) January 7th, 2013

Someone in another thread made a suggestion that people should get hearing screening done regularly to establish a baseline for early detection of hearing deterioration.

My wife had a complete hysterectomy in her early forties. As she and her various doctors attempted to re-establish some sense of hormonal balance, it became obvious that the ‘normal’ range of various hormone levels is so large as to be a worthless guideline for an individual. If she had had baseline tests every 5–10 years to establish what were ‘normal’ levels for her, we would have saved years of experimenting and frustration.

From your own experiences, what baseline testing would you recommend?

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6 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

If you are male and over 50 get a PSA test done when you have your physical. If your doc says you don’t need it, ask him if he knows his PSA number.
If he’s under 60 and says “Yes”, kick him in the balls.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I second @LuckyGuy, men should know their PSA. My father was treated for prostate cancer, I have been following mine since I turned 50.

wundayatta's avatar

Cardio baseline would help. Other bloods, including kidney and liver function, although these are standard. Cholesterol. All the standard stuff.

hearkat's avatar

Hormonal ‘norms’ for a woman in her early 40’s? That’s laughable. I had a partial hysterectomy (uterus only) at 43, and the three years since then have been the most hormonally stable (and happiest!) since 1978. Seriously, with adolescence, then birth control, and then fibroids and endometriosis, I was a raging lunatic for a few decades. Perhaps I should bring up baseline measurements at my next visit.

I think baseline levels and monitoring are beneficial, but insurance companies may not want to pay for them. Haven’t they been talking about scaling back on routine screening tests?

As for hearing, I had a pt today say that he was tested over 30 years ago and knows he has hearing loss, but is only seeking help now – and now his loss is so bad that even $7000 worth of technology won’t bring him close to normal speech recognition. So he didn’t have a baseline, per se; but still he put it off all those years… it’s very frustrating, but it is reality that most people wait over 7 years after knowing they have a hearing problem to actually moving forward with seeking help.

bossob's avatar

@hearkat I didn’t mention paying for baseline tests in my question, for fear I’d go off on a tangent about the obscene abomination that we call a health care system in the U.S.

I like to think that I see movement towards preventative medicine in order to lower long term costs, but I doubt I’ll see anything significant in my lifetime.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I would gladly pay $85 out of my own pocket if I was able to go to the lab, take a request form from the rack and tick off the “PSA, Diagnostic” box and have the results emailed to me. I know what the numbers mean. I don’t need to go back to the Uro every time to have him say “Zero. That is a great result.” Why should our health care system waste my time and pay all that money to the Uro, for something I can do myself? If this was my first time and I did not know what the numbers mean, sure, have the Uro explain it. But if this is the 10th time and I am competent, capable, and fully understand the implications, just give me the test request form and email the results. Easy.

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