Don’t take health advice from celebrities
I just finished reading a thoughtful, informative and thoroughly entertaining book that examines how our celebrity-crazy culture affects our healthcare and lifestyle choices.
In “Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?”, author Timothy Caulfield makes it his quest to “analyze and debunk the messages and promises” behind celebrities’ overhyped and oversold health, diet and beauty products.
Indeed, celebrity culture has emerged as one of the most significant and influential sources of pseudoscientific blather….The popularity of juicing, cleanses, detox diets, weird exercise routines, and a boatload of beauty and antiaging products and practices can be
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Where does the money go?
Although they’re months away, I’ve already received emails about registering for a couple charity walks that I have supported in the past.
I haven’t walked for a couple of years, and I probably won’t this year. Not that I don’t support giving to charity, but it has seemed to me that these charity walk events get bigger every year, and I can’t help but wonder how much money is actually getting to the researchers or the advertised patient-support programs.
Probably less than I’d like.
I just read an article by Karuna Jaggar, the executive director … Continue reading
Time is money
Maybe you have affordable health insurance and a doctor you like.
But have you ever had the experience of calling for an appointment for a sore throat, a bladder infection, back pain, or some other minor ailment and being told that the doctor’s next available appointment is in six weeks?
Or you get a same-day appointment, but then have to take time off work, drive to the clinic, perhaps pay for parking, and then wait to be seen by the doctor. For a five-minute appointment.
It’s frustrating, sure, but it’s also costly when you consider the time … Continue reading
Spring and allergy eyes
I love the sunny days of early spring when the trees are in flower…but then my allergies kick in.
I don’t mind the runny nose and sneezing so much. I can use my neti pot to keep the pollen out of my nose.
But I’ve had a harder time treating the allergy eyes—the itchy, red, watery, ugly eyes that are the byproduct of all that seasonal pollen floating in the air.
Another name for allergy eyes is allergic conjunctivitis.
Try some simple treatments
I can’t avoid spring flowers, but I’ve finally (after many years of suffering) … Continue reading
Shared decision-making makes better informed patients, and better informed patients use less health care.
…as many as 20% of patients who participate in shared decision making choose less invasive surgical options and more conservative treatment than do patients who do not use decision aids.
Which lowers health care costs.
…a 2012 study…showed that providing decision aids to patients eligible for hip and knee replacements substantially reduced both surgery rates and costs — with up to 38% fewer surgeries and savings of 12 to 21% over 6 months.
[It’s] estimated that implementing shared decision making for just 11 procedures would
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I recently read an article about a man who was taken to the ER in an ambulance for a sprained wrist.
And then he was astounded when the ambulance company charged him $250!
“If I wanted to go to the emergency room, I could have taken a cab costing less than $10,” he said.
Or Uber. Or a friend. He learned the expensive way that ambulances are costly—$250 is actually on the cheap end—and should not be used without good cause.
Ambulance costs can range anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to well over $2,000, depending on the length … Continue reading
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just released this consumer education video about supplements and dietary aids:
I’ve written many, many posts on the dangers of trusting supplement manufacturers to tell you the truth about their products. Not to mention buying supplements (aka nutriceuticals or herbal remedies) is often just a waste of money.
Although the video focuses on imported supplements, the same warning can apply to domestically-manufactured products.
The FDA consumer safety webpage on this topic is an … Continue reading
A few years ago vitamin D was being touted as the latest and greatest miracle supplement. Low vitamin D levels were linked to all kinds of conditions—autoimmune diseases, heart disease, chronic pain, osteoporosis, some cancers, and more—so doctors started prescribing high-dose supplements.
Or people just bought vitamin D supplements at the store and dosed themselves. Sometimes way over the recommended upper limit of 4,000 IU/day.
Multiple research studies, however, have found little help from vitamin D supplements in treating or preventing most of these conditions.
Most recently is a well-done study out of Australia, published in last week’s Journal of … Continue reading
One of the driving forces behind rising health care costs is the increasingly high cost of prescription drugs.
And because 60% of Americans take at least one prescription drug, that adds up to a lot of money.
Insurance companies are trying to rein in costs by having tiered copayments (higher for brand names) or limiting the selection of drugs on their formularies (the list of drugs your insurance will cover).
This post gives you some suggestions to save money, and some resources that might be helpful.
But first, ask yourself and your physician if a prescription drug is really … Continue reading
I just learned that my state, Washington, is one of several that is experiencing an outbreak of “super-lice”, or lice that are resistant to the traditional pyrethrum-based treatments (Rid contains pyrethrin; Nix contains permethrin).
Super-lice aside, the common louse has been increasingly resistant to the standard over-the-counter products for many years. Which begs the question: Why are Nix and Rid still the recommended first line of treatment by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)??
Probably because there are few other tested and FDA-approved methods.
So what should parents do? Let’s look at the options.
There are basically three ways … Continue reading