Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Insurance Industry and how they misuse medical tests

A patient of mine recently decided to go in for a life insurance policy. Because this was a large value policy, the insurance company wanted her to go in for various tests, including an exercise stress test. The rationale for this testing is to allow them to identify clients who are at increased risk for dying, so that they can distribute the risk, and increase the premium they charge these clients. She was a healthy 42 year old woman; and her stress test had some ST segment depression in the inferior leads. The doctor who did the stress test then chose to report this as a "mildly positive" stress test. Based on this report, the company then refused to issue her a policy ! Unfortunately, as with most companies which are bureaucratic and autocratic, trying to explain to them that the medical literature proves that ST segment changes during exercise in women do not reflect an increased risk of dying , was like banging your head against a brick wall. They just refused to listen ! The solutions they offered in order to allow the client to prove that she had a clean bill of health were mind-boggling. The client could do a thallium stress test or a CT angio to prove that she did not have coronary artery disease ! They told her of another client who had even gone ahead and done a coronary angio to prove his arteries were healthy, in order to qualify for the policy ! This is a travesty of all medical testing, and I feel doctors should put their foot down, and prevent insurance companies from misusing medical technology.
An excellent article offers much better alternatives.
"The biggest problems posed by our continuing “love affair” with stress testing relate to the enormous delays and tremendous expense we must bear to indulge these misallocated “affections!”

Will insurance companies wake up and listen ?


  1. Rhodiola Rosea is the latest natural remedy to join the arsenal of natural anxiety and stress (heart stress test) reducers.

    Rhodiola Rosea, also known as Golden Root, is a native plant of arctic Siberia. For centuries it has been used by eastern European and Asian cultures for physical endurance, work productivity, longevity, resistance to high altitude sickness, and to treat fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, gastrointestinal ailments, infections, and nervous system disorders.

    The first recorded medicinal applications of rodia riza (renamed Rhodiola Rosea) was made by the Greek physician, Dioscorides, in 77 C.E. in 'De Materia Medica'. Rhodiola Rosea has been included in official Russian medicine since 1969.

    Despite its long history, the Western world has only recently become aware of the health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea. It has come to the attention of many natural health practitioners because of studies which tested its affects on combating anxiety and stress.

    Rhodiola Rosea is considered an adaptogen. This means it has an overall stabilizing effect on the body without disrupting other functions. Its ability to normalize hormones may be effective for treating depression and anxiety.

    Studies of Rhodiola Rosea show that it stimulates neurotransmitters and enhances their effects on the brain. This includes the ability for the brain to process serotonin which helps the body to adapt to stress.

    Since adaptogens improve the body's overall ability to handle stress, it has been studied to identify it's effects on biological, chemical and physical stress.

    A study was performed to test the effects of Rhodiola Rosea when stress or heart stress test is caused by intense mental work (such as final exams). Such tests concluded that using Rhodiola Rosea improved the amount and quality of work, increasing mental clarity and reducing the effects of fatigue.

    The effects of Rhodiola Rosea have also been tested on stress and anxiety from both physical and emotional sources. A report by the American Botanical Council states that "Most users find that it improves their mood, energy level, and mental clarity." They also report on a study that indicated Rhodiola Rosea could increase stress tolerance while at the same time protecting the brain and heart from the physical affects of stress.

    This report included details of studies which highlight the overall health benefits of Rhodiola Rosea.

    The generally recommended dose is 200-600mg/day. The active properties should be a minimum 0.8 percent salidroside and 3 percent rosavin.

    It is important for consumers to know that Rhodiola may be sold using other species that do not share the properties of Rhodiola Rosea, heart stress test, or at ineffective strengths for treatment. Anyone with depression or anxiety should also check with a health professional when treating these symptoms.

    heart stress test

  2. Nice job on your blog! I am book marking your site for future reference.

    I have recently created a work stress
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    Stop by and check it out if you have time.


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