The Truth About Life Line Screening Health Diagnosis
Every so often, like many Americans, I receive a solicitation from Life Line Screening, to get the five tests for $150 to screen Carotid Artery Plague, Atrial Fibrillation (flutter), Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, Peripheral Arterial plague and Osteoporosis (bone density tests). After doing research on all five, I determined that it would be a waste of money.
Not because this is a hoax or fraud but because if you have been healthy and active all your life or considerable time, regular checkups and know your cholesterol levels, the odds are is that the money would be wasted. The plague buildup occurs mainly with high cholesterol levels over time of a person who does not exercise daily. The target audience for the mailing are those who have neglected their health for years, not active, overweight, smokers, poor diet, high blood pressure, and have not recognized any symptoms.
Of course, healthy people do die suddenly from a stroke or heart attack, but overall, these are small numbers and may have some hereditary influences.
I noticed there is some deceptive advertising, in that, the info states these five tests are not covered in health insurance. This is simply a lie. The Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is covered under Medicare, for those who have it (which is most of the target group) but the request must come from your doctor first. Of course, if your doctor is positive you do not have an enlarged aorta that bulges out like a hernia (he would be able to feel this bulge) he will not allow it. Duh! Atrial Fibrillation (Heart Rhythm) is offered by most hospitals like Kaiser because the person is simply hooked to an EKG for 15+ min. in the office visit. If you tell your doctor you feel heart flutter, they will put you on an EKG as a precaution. The Bone Density tests are also done at most hospitals IF the doctor feels they are warranted by your symptoms and blood tests indicating calcium levels.
Blood tests do reveal the overall condition of your body. It is the window into your health.
Life Line is playing on fear. Not knowing in time. And, if you have neglected your health and doctor’s advice for many years, that is the audience they want. Most doctors can simply listen to your carotid arteries (both sides of the neck) to detect any blockage that is life threatening (usually, 50% blocked or more) in a routine visit, just ask them! If the sound of blood indicates a small blockage, they may order the ultrasound- Free for you. If the blockage is small, many will prescribe meds to remove it and diet becomes important. The AAA condition, likewise, must be fairly enlarged for an operation to occur, a small enlarged aorta, will be monitored and meds provided. Think about it, if your artery is 50% or higher blocked, do you tire easily about exercise? Any loss of limb use or tingling?
As for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), again, most people that have this will have obvious symptoms because blood is limited or not getting to extremities, like feet, hands, fingers, causing some pain and discoloration.
Even if you have the scans done, rush to your doctor, they will chagrin with dubious thought. They may or may not want them done again. Bottom line is that if you know your cholesterol is fine, your blood pressure is fine, you exercise at least one hour a day and eat healthy, provided there are no obvious symptoms, save your money.