Is Executive Check-up Packages Really Worth Spending?

Most hospitals offer several executive check-up packages from which a patient can choose. Most packages necessitate at least an overnight hospital stay.

Incidentally, the cost of executive check-up packages varies and they are usually expensive depending on the number of tests, sophistication of the laboratory examinations and number of specialists’ consultations that are included in the package.

An executive check-up consists of consultation with several physicians and a battery of laboratory and other diagnostic examinations. Contrary to what its advocates claim, it is not the best way to assess a person’s general health status and to detect diseases at the earliest possible time.

The laboratory and other diagnostic examinations that are included in executive check-up packages, with the notable exception of mammography, pap smear, fasting blood glucose and a few others, are really not recommended screening tests for any diseases.

The examinations as a rule, are not very sensitive or specific. There are many false positive results which invariably lead to additional diagnostic exams which mean more expenses and more chances of getting new false positives.

Good results in an executive check-up do not really mean good health either. In fact, what negative findings in an executive check-up do is falsely reassure a patient that he has excellent health.

Statistics show that even a very thorough heart examination will not be able to detect as many as eighty percent of people who will experience sudden death during exercise. In other words, you can be cleared by an executive check-up today and die suddenly tomorrow or next week.

Another negative aspect of an executive check-up is the fact that many diagnostic procedures are not totally safe. Deaths, although rare, have been reported after injection of dyes that are integral parts of some of the x-ray exams.

Heart attacks precipitated by stress tests occasionally occur. Needle pricks and the insertion of intravenous lines expose a person to the possibility of infection. Moreover,some of the examinations in an executive package are very uncomfortable.

Things which patients have to endure aside from the mandatory needle pricks and intravenous line insertions include swallowing of barium, which tastes like chalk; getting a cleansing enema and its accompanying colic; holding a full urinary bladder while undergoing ultrasound exams; and fasting for at least eight hours.

Executive check-up packages are not really worth all the money, risk and inconvenience. If they were, doctors would be undergoing executive check-ups regularly themselves. Why don’t you ask your doctor when the last time was that he or she had one?

To all average “healthy,” middle aged and elderly people, herewith, is a piece of advice that is to consult a physician on an annual basis and let him decide on the specific laboratory and diagnostic exams you need to undergo.

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