Fast treatment can save a life
Last weekend I spent a day in the emergency room, sitting with a friend who suffered a heart attack.
Thankfully, he survived to tell his story. And after talking to him, and listening to what the doctor said about the severity of the heart attack, I know he was a very lucky man.
Lucky because shortly after he started having heart attack symptoms, someone recognized them and immediately called 911. And that saved his life.
Not only did it save his life, but early medical intervention (a balloon angioplasty and stent) lessened the damage … Continue reading
You need to plan ahead!
The back-to-back hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as the widespread wildfires in my state, have me thinking about emergency preparedness.
There are lots of websites that tell you how to plan and what to pack. Most suggest having enough food, water and equipment for at least 3 days.
They also advise stockpiling prescription meds and keeping a copy of the prescription in your emergency kit.
But none of these sites seems to realize how difficult it is these days to horde even a small number of extra meds.
That’s because the cost of so … Continue reading
Need more info? Check out these vaccination resources
In 1998, the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was FALSELY reported to be associated with autism.
The doctor who published that report has since been disgraced and the report itself debunked. In fact, research has shown again and again that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
However, the fear persists. Worse, the fear extends to ALL vaccines, not just the MMR.
What happens when a significant number of children aren’t vaccinated? We get disease outbreaks, such as the recent outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, and … Continue reading
Choosing Wisely to prevent overtreatment
I’ve been a fan of the healthcare consumer group, Choosing Wisely, for several years.
Collaborating with Consumer Reports, Choosing Wisely brings evidence-based healthcare information to patients. Their goal is to educate patients and physicians, and support informed decision making.
Shared decision making not only prevents patient harm from overtreating, but brings down escalating healthcare costs by eliminating unnecessary diagnostic tests and procedures. (Healthcare waste accounts for billions of dollars every year!)
Now it’s even easier to get access to their information.
The healthcare app, iTriage, has added 160 of Choosing Wisely’s recommendations to … Continue reading
Rethinking LDLs (low-density lipoproteins)
I’ve posted a couple of times about my husband’s high LDL level and his attempts to lower it through diet and exercise.
I’ve also said that because he doesn’t have any other risk factors for heart disease, we aren’t too worried about it. But the engineer in him likes the challenge of seeing how low he can get his LDL.
When I saw this recent YouTube video, however, I had to ask him to watch it. What if everything we think we know about LDL levels is wrong? What if so-called bad cholesterol isn’t really … Continue reading
I’m a day late, but since I don’t post on Wednesdays, I have to celebrate Book Lovers Day today instead 🙂
Not surprisingly, most of the books I read these days are related to healthcare. But that doesn’t mean they are all written like textbooks. I’m always on the lookout for authors who can transform complex and often boring subjects into entertaining reading material.
Here’s a short list of some of my favorites. Happy Book Lovers Day!
(FYI–These are Amazon links, but I include them for your information only. Although I use Amazon on occasion, I prefer to get my … Continue reading
Learn more about your local water supply
I think the water crisis in Flint, MI, a couple of years ago made everyone question the safety of drinking unfiltered tap water.
A recent report shows that almost 70% Americans believe their community’s water is at risk, especially in more urban areas. No wonder we’re buying more bottled water than ever!
But, despite some significant fails, our tap water is some of the cleanest and safest in the world. And do we really want to spend all that money on bottled water?
Rather than worry needlessly about what’s in your tap … Continue reading
Unnecessary tests = unnecessary expense
This is a follow up to my last post about the dangers of too much medical care.
One of the biggest doors leading to an overabundance of healthcare and healthcare costs is the annual exam and all the “routine” lab work that is ordered almost without thought.
Doctors’ offices strive to be efficient. They have a lot of patients to see every day, after all.
One way they streamline their practices is to set up routine or “standing” orders for common lab tests, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis (UA), … Continue reading
Too much testing = too much medicine
I just ran across an old doctor joke: What is a well person? Someone who hasn’t yet been thoroughly examined.
It’s not funny, of course, if you’re the patient and have suffered the harms—and the expense—of too much medical care.
In 2010, my husband was the victim of too much medical care. Because of complications and a string of medical errors he almost died. His care cost our insurance company over $100,000 and we were out of pocket for our $10,000 deductible.
Now he has no thyroid and has to take medication every … Continue reading
What’s in your chocolate?
I’ve been in the dark about chocolate!
I just received a newsletter from ConsumerLab, one of my favorite consumer websites, that details not only what makes dark chocolate healthy (flavanols), but what potentially makes it just a little bit toxic (the heavy metals lead and cadmium).
And apparently this isn’t new news. I’ve found stories talking about trace levels of heavy metals in chocolate going back over ten years, so I don’t know how I missed it other than I’m not much of a chocolate eater.
Still, I have friends that are chocoholics and I … Continue reading