Tests That Can Save Your Life

Can Adultery Kill You?
If you’ve ever been tempted to taste forbidden fruit, this might make you think twice: an Italian study concludes that people who stray in their marriage are more likely to die than those who don’t. The results indicate that stress and extreme feelings of guilt contribute to a higher incidence of migraines and death. “It’s the stress that’ll kill you!” Dr. Moreno adds.

Walk with Your Doc
Family practice physician Dr. Mike Moreno has taken a unique approach to incorporating wellness into his San Diego practice.

He invites his patients to join him on group walks, and he’s gained a devoted following of all ages. His reasoning is simple: “Exercise is medicine. It’s the magic bullet we’re all looking for.

He hopes other doctors will follow in his footsteps and encourage their patients to lead healthier lives. “We’re role models, like it or not, and people listen to us,” Dr. Moreno urges. “Hopefully we can get this country healthier, because it would be a nice thing to see.”

Dr. Moreno says that adults 18 and over need to get at least 150 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise every week. Children should have twice that amount – at least 300 minutes of vigorous cardio a week.

The Tables are Turned

The lab coats are off and the hospital gowns are on as The Doctors undergo the examinations we all need for a healthy life. The fearless foursome agrees to undergo tests they’ve been putting off in the hopes that it will give viewers at home courage to do the same. “Sometimes we doctors are the worst possible patients,” Travis admits.

Dr. Lisa's Mammogram

Dr. Lisa Masterson undergoes a mammogram. WATCH...


A mammogram is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine breasts. The images are used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.

Dr. Lisa lost her mother to breast cancer when Dr. Lisa was in medical school. “My mom was my best friend. She raised me as a single mother,” the OB/GYN explains.

“The reason I’m a doctor is attributable to her.”

 Dr. Lisa confesses that she has difficultly bringing herself to have regular mammograms because of her family history. “I’m embarrassed to say that I can’t remember the last time I had a mammogram - even though I don’t know how many times a day I tell every single one of my patients to get a mammogram!”

“Everyone’s a human being. We all fear it,” Dr. Travis says.

Dr. Lisa explains that all women over the age of 40 should have a mammogram once a year, as it’s the only screening tool doctors have to detect stages of breast cancer. Women who have a family history of breast cancer should consult with their doctor as they will most likely begin screening at a younger age. “Early detection is the key for curing breast cancer,” the OB/GYN confirms.

Radiologist Dr. Daniel Kirsch evaluates Dr. Lisa’s mammogram and assures her that the results are normal.

Dr. Ordon's Prostate Exam

Urologist Dr. Jennifer Berman performs an ultrasonic probe prostate exam on Dr. Drew Ordon. WATCH...

Prostate Exam
A prostate exam is a test to screen for prostate cancer. The goal is to detect cancer early, when treatment is most successful. The most common prostate exam is the digital rectal exam (DRE), performed by the doctor inserting his or her gloved, lubricated finger into a man’s rectum to blindly feel the prostate gland and surrounding tissue.

A PSA test measures prostate-specific antigens (PSA), a substance produced by the prostate gland. Elevated PSA levels may indicate prostate cancer or a noncancerous condition such as prostatitis, or an enlarged prostate.

The Cleveland Clinic recommends annual prostate exams beginning at age 45. They recommend a prostate exam accompanied by a PSA blood test for the following:
• All men beginning at age 50
• African American men beginning at age 40
• Men with a family history of prostate cancer, beginning at age 40 (or younger, if recommended by a doctor)
• Men who develop persistent urinary symptoms

Heart Health
Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, Director of the Preventative Cardiac Center, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, California joins the show to discuss heart health. One out of four Americans dies of heart disease. Are you at risk? Read what the cardiologist has to say about women and heart disease.

 Dr. Travis' Stress Test

Dr. Travis Stork undergoes a stress test. WATCH...


Steps to a Healthy Heart

Don’t smoke
Don’t expose yourself to second-hand smoke
Eat healthily


Stress Test
A stress test measures, quite literally, the stress on the heart during exercise. The test can reveal whether the heart has enough oxygen, or if the blood supply is reduced or compromised. Dr. Bairey Merz says that the tests are routinely available in the community and many primary care physicians offer them, so there’s no reason not to get a test if you’re having some symptoms.

Dr. Travis has a history of borderline high blood pressure, and jumps on the treadmill to see how his heart fares. Dr. Bairey Merz reports that the athletic doctor has an above average level of fitness and his heart is in good shape.


Heart Ultrasound
A heart ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create an image of the heart, measure the speed and direction of blood flow, and evaluate the function of the heart valves. The procedure is painless, does not emit radiation, and is the same technology used for fetal ultrasound.

Dr. Bairey Merz performs a heart ultrasound on Dr. Moreno, and recommends the test for people who have symptoms such as murmurs, chest pains, shortness of breath, irregularities on an EKG (electrocardiogram), or who have a strong family history of heart disease.

Blood Pressure
The top, or higher number, is the systolic blood pressure reading. It represents the maximum pressure exerted when the heart contracts. The bottom, or lower number, is the diastolic blood pressure reading. It represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest.

Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers: the systolic pressure (as the heart beats) over the diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats).


Angina is a serious, sometimes debilitating heart condition characterized by pain, heaviness, or pressure in the chest. Angina is a symptom of a condition called myocardial ischemia, which occurs when the heart muscle, or myocardium, doesn't get as much blood, and therefore, oxygen, as it needs. This usually happens because one or more of the heart's arteries is narrowed or blocked.

Angina attacks are extremely scary, and can seriously restrict patients’ lives and daily activities. In December, the American Heart Association (AHA) raised its estimates for angina - now saying that it impacts nearly 10 million Americans.

Newer treatments for angina are now available: Ranexa, the first new pharmaceutical treatment option for angina to be approved in almost 25 years, works differently from the older drugs that have been available. Patients on Ranexa report they are able to resume activities they couldn’t do before – such as climbing stairs, exercising and playing with their grandchildren.


Eye Exam
Dr. Jim confesses, “For the last year or two, I’ve had a little blind spot in my eye. I’ve ignored it, which is not the best thing to do.”

Opthamologist Dr. Sanford Chen performs an eye exam and a flourescein angiogram test, which examines the micro-circulation and integrity of the retinal blood vessels. Dr. Chen injects dye into Dr. Jim’s arm, which travels into his eye in less than 10 seconds. The dye illuminates areas in the retina that the ophthalmologist wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

 Dr. Jim's Eye Exam

Dr. Jim Sears undergoes an eye exam and fluorescein angiogram test. WATCH...

 Based on the pictures of Dr. Jim’s eye, Dr. Chen concludes that Dr. Jim’s optic nerve is abnormal. The ophthalmologist explains that perhaps the deformity is congenital, or there may be growths or lesions on his nerve.

“The most worrisome thing is that it might be a brain tumor,” Dr. Chen says. “The chances of that are low, but the next step is getting an MRI, a CT scan of the brain, and an ultrasound of the optic nerve.”

Dr. Travis puts a comforting hand on Dr. Jim’s shoulder and says, “So, more investigation. And we’ll follow this with you, right?”

Slightly shaken, Dr. Jim nods.




For more information about the products mentioned on this show, please go to Related Resources
Sign Up for The Doctors Newsletter| Show Page |Talk About the Show!
OAD 2/9/09