Two things in the media caught my attention last week.
First was a pretty funny bit of pseudo-investigative journalism on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. Titled “The Pharmaceutical Drug Epidemic”, it showed correspondent Michael Che probing for answers to this country’s very real (and unfunny) epidemic of prescription narcotic (oxycontin, percocet, vicodin) abuse and overdose deaths.
Yes, he puts a humorous spin on the story, but in true Daily Show style he also hits a few … Continue reading
School lunch is important
Since the school year began last month, I’ve been watching and listening with some bemusement to the furor over the new school lunch standards in this country. Kids and parents are Tweeting and Instagramming (is that a verb?) pictures of some pretty unappetizing fare.
Cupcakes are banned! Kids who share their lunch get detention! What, no pizza?
Well, I can afford to be amused because I don’t have kids depending on the public school system for a healthy and satisfying lunch.
But childhood obesity—which leads to adult chronic disease—is not funny. And while … Continue reading
Investigating the high costs of health care
Over the last year, Elisabeth Rosenthal, a journalist and science editor for The New York Times, has written a brilliant series of articles titled Paying Till it Hurts:
In her series on the costs of health care, Elisabeth Rosenthal of The New York Times examines the price of medical care in the United States, interviewing patients, physicians, economists, and hospital and industry officials. In each installment, readers were invited to share their perspectives on managing costs and treatment.
I’ve been reading the series, and the truly shocking charging and billing practices she … Continue reading
I’ve reached that age when everything hurts.
Age, overuse, less-than-perfect posture and a family history of arthritis have resulted in a variety of aches and pains: stiff neck, sore knees, carpal tunnel, stiff shoulders, foot pain, headaches, and so on.
Related post: Improve your posture
These are the common miseries to which we all fall victim at one time or another. Occasional use of over-the-counter pain remedies such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen is fine. But when the need becomes more frequent, or chronic, it’s time to start looking for other forms of relief.
Related post: Don’t overdose on acetaminophen!… Continue reading
It’s not that simple
Last night on the local news I watched a story about health care costs. The reporter, a consumer affairs specialist, talked about the expanding trend in health care of high-deductible medical insurance plans. Under the ACA, family annual deductibles can reach up to $12,700 (increasing to $12,900 for 2015); whatever your deductible, you pay your medical bills out of pocket until that deductible is met.
The uninsured, of course, just pay out of pocket.
Related post: Health insurance basics, part 1
The reporter encouraged us to
…take some time to research, and see what the
… Continue reading
Fall (and flu) is in the air
Tomorrow will be the first full day of autumn and my thoughts naturally turn to . . . influenza. Yes, that’s how my mind works.
I’m already seeing flu shots advertised at my local grocery store pharmacy, and at other chain drug stores in my neighborhood.
Flu season typically runs from November to March, but no one can predict with accuracy exactly when the first cases will start showing up or when the season will end–sometimes as early as October to as late as May. It’s unpredictable as well how severe the upcoming … Continue reading
What’s in your medical chart?
I like books about writing and the English language, and the other day I picked up a book titled The Bride of Anguished English: A Bonanza of Bloopers, Blunders, Botches, and Boo-Boos by Richard Lederer.
Among all the entertaining examples of mixed metaphors, slaughtered syntax and runaway sentences was a chapter with a medical twist. The American Association of Medical Transcriptionists had submitted a few gems of mangled English gleaned from physicians’ dictations. The results are some pretty hilarious chart notes.
I worked as a medical transciptionist for several years before and during nursing school, … Continue reading
Last week there was another warning in our local newspaper that a person diagnosed with measles had traveled through our airport. The article advised anyone who was at the airport during that particular time frame, and who might not be vaccinated and/or might be pregnant, to talk to their health care provider.
Measles is very contagious and can be especially dangerous to pregnant women.
In light of continuing misinformation about vaccinations, and the possibility that more unvaccinated children will be in our schools due to the influx of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, I decided to republish this post … Continue reading
Be a proactive patient
In addition to talking to my doctor friends, I spend a lot of time reading various doctor blogs because I want to better understand our health care system from their unique point of view.
The majority of those I read seem to agree with me that the industry has morphed into a giant profit-making machine—profits first, patients second. Many physicians write of their loss of autonomy and the ability to treat patients in a thoughtful, patient-centered and cost-effective way.
More than ever, they say, patients need to be informed and take control of their health care. … Continue reading
A banana a day?
We’ve all heard the phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” (thank you, Benjamin Franklin!), but a potassium-rich banana might help, too.
A recent study looking at stroke risk in post-menopausal women (ages 50-79) found that, overall, women with the highest dietary potassium intake were 12% less likely to suffer a stroke.
And women who didn’t have high blood pressure and ate a lot of potassium-rich foods had a 21% lower risk of stroke.
But don’t go running to the drugstore for potassium supplements! This study didn’t look at the effect of potassium supplements … Continue reading