I posted the other day about health care’s trend to “medicalize” or give everything under the sun a diagnosis.
And every diagnosis has to have a unique “code” that is found in the bible of diagnosis codes, the ICD 9 manual. Without an ICD 9 code, your doctor won’t get paid by your insurance company.
For example, the code for acute appendicitis is 540.
Well, later this year a new code book, the ICD 10, will be published, and the number of diagnoses will explode from 13,000 to 68,000.
In honor of today’s being April Fools’ Day, here are some … Continue reading
Healthism is a term coined in the early 1990s that describes the government’s use of “propaganda and coercion to establish norms of health” and its attempts “to impose norms of a ‘healthy lifestyle.'”
Think about the cities that have chosen to ban smoking or trans-fats or super-sized sodas.
Or the new federal school lunch program’s rather rigid nutrition standards.
Or the Affordable Care Act. It mandates coverage of multiple “essential benefits” such as annual “wellness visits” and screening exams of debatable value. It also requires health care providers to document that they’ve talked to every patient about weight … Continue reading
I’ve always had difficulty getting a good night’s sleep, and over the years I’ve learned what a delicate mechanism our brain’s “sleep center” is.
For optimal sleep, our brains crave routine and reduced stimulation.
A sleep physician explains how TV can disrupt our sleep: Television ruins your sleep. Here are 5 ways how
Here are the highlights, but read his entire post for more information.
- Watching television makes you go to bed later. But our brains have a predetermined amount of sleep they need to function well. When we miss that sleep, we
… Continue reading
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the disturbing statistic that Abilify—an antipsychotic drug—is the best-selling prescription medication in the US.
I recently read another blog and a psychiatrist agrees with me: What does it mean to live in the age of Abilify?
Antipsychotics are powerful drugs with considerable risks and side-effects. But psychosis and mania are powerful too….If Abilify keeps psychosis at bay and prevents hospitalization, the risks are worth it. The cost is worth it too — if a less expensive generic atypical won’t do.
As I wrote in 2009, the manufacturer
… Continue reading
The measles has gotten a lot of media attention lately. And that’s a good thing—I hope it’s increased awareness of the importance of the measles vaccine.
Related post: Measles—A Disneyland souvenir
But I just read about another serious disease outbreak that can also be prevented by vaccine—bacterial meningitis: 6th student in Oregon infected with meningitis bacteria
Last year, there was a significant meningitis outbreak at Princeton University, and one student died.
Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges, a membrane around the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms can be mild and flu-like, or more severe with a high fever, headache, … Continue reading
There is nothing the major pharmaceutical companies fear more than their best-selling drugs going off patent.
That’s when generic versions of popular (and pricey) drugs become available and the drug companies have to kiss their billions of dollars in sales goodbye.
So it’s no wonder that over the years they have figured out more ways to either extend their patents by tweaking a drug (New and Improved!!) or by stalling the release of a competing generic (companies can get 30-month delays if they show the generic drug might infringe on a later patent).
Patients who take the Alzheimer’s … Continue reading
I’ve always been skeptical of the over-hyped claims of alternative medicine, including homeopathy.
(Heck, if you’d read my blog for long you know I’m skeptical of a lot of mainstream medicine, as well!)
So I read with much amusement an article on The Daily Beast: Sorry, Hippies, Homeopathy is Totally Useless
Homeopathy is a worthless means of sustaining your health. In terms of preventing or treating disease, it’s up there with bloodletting or erecting a shrine to Asclepius in your pantry. It is literally good for nothing from a medical perspective.
The author, a physician, wrote in response to… Continue reading
I read a good post by an anesthesiologist: An informed patient is a safer patient
While anesthesia is safer than ever before, every patient scheduled for a procedure or surgery must have a serious conversation with their physician anesthesiologist about their anesthesia care plan. Advances in the science and research of anesthesiology have decreased the dangers of surgery and anesthesia substantially, but patients should be made aware of any risks associated with their procedure. Each of the more than 100 million operations and procedures performed on Americans every year involves the administration of anesthesia – but many people overlook its
… Continue reading
It’s another case in which the right hand of a behemoth government agency doesn’t know what the left hand is doing: In Cancer Wars, It’s Doctors vs. Hospitals
Colliding federal policies are fomenting a nasty money war that’s pitting community oncologists trying to treat patients in less expensive clinic settings against hospitals trying to woo patients in through costlier emergency departments.
The agencies under discussion are the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) [which both fall under the larger umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)], and their disparate … Continue reading
There is a very contagious and potentially life-threatening bacteria lurking in hospitals and nursing homes.
It’s called Clostridium difficile—C. diff, for short—and it’s our history of overusing antibiotics that’s fueling the problem.
Related post: Don’t insist on antibiotics!
Recently the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that C. diff is responsible for about 500,000 illnesses every year, and 29,000 deaths. Most of those infected are over the age of 65, and acquired C. diff while in the hospital or other care setting. That’s why it’s referred to as an HAI, or healthcare associated infection.
C. diff infects the … Continue reading