Use trusted source for medical advice

A pink insert in The Day shouts "We Can Help You Avoid a Stroke" for only $149! The ad by Lifeline Screening urges ultrasound screening of carotid arteries as a way to prevent strokes. In fact, this screening test actually increases your chances of stroke or death.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) urges doctors not to subject patients to this screening unless they have had a previous "mini-stroke" or stroke. The reason is that the surgery used to remove any blockage in the carotid artery is more dangerous than just leaving the artery alone.

The AAFP recommendations are part of the larger Choosing Wisely campaign funded by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. More than 60 medical societies have added their "Top 5" lists of things doctors should NOT do, all part of a campaign that seeks to reduce wasteful overuse of medical services that also put patients at increased risk.

Patients can access the lists at choosingwisely.org and through Consumer Reports as a free service to the public. I urge readers to seek out these trusted sources of health information.

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