The United States isn’t the only country that is burdened with too much medicine (and subsequent out-of-control health care costs).
I belong to a network of health care professionals around the world who are having a dialogue about overscreening, overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and what to do about it.
A physician from Spain shared this amusing YouTube video, “Así es la Vida” (It’s Just Life):
The subtitles are in English, but I had to translate for myself the words on the “prescription” box of medicine given to each patient:
No little pill can solve the reality … Continue reading
I like playing the brain games of Lumosity online and on my phone.
I like puzzles and words games in general, and Lumosity offers a fun and convenient way to play and keep track of my improvement in a variety of challenges.
I’ve never paid the costly $15 a month subscription, because I’ve never bought into the idea that playing these “brain games”—Lumosity calls it “brain training”—by themselves is enough to prevent dementia as I age.
But many people, apparently, were influenced by Lumosity’s advertising.
Two weeks ago, the creators of Lumosity settled a $50 million lawsuit with the Federal … Continue reading
I don’t know about you, but 2015 has zipped by for me. My big loss, of course, was the death of my father in July. But otherwise it’s been a very healthy year for me (never had to see my doctor!) and while researching for my blog I learned lots of new ways to stay healthy and use our health care system more effectively (or warily).
Here’s a round up of some of my favorite posts and what health tips I’ll take with me into 2016 as I resolve to:
One of the most compelling posts, I think, was … Continue reading
Do you suffer from dry, red, or itchy eyes?
Dry eyes are really common, especially in the late fall and winter when we spend more time in the dry indoor air.
But did you know the eye drops you use might actually be making your eyes look and feel worse?
Like so many over-the-counter (OTC) products, there are dozens of eye drops from which to choose. How do you know which is best? You can save money and get a more helpful product by understanding what you really need from an eye drop.
As always, ignore the marketing claims on … Continue reading
I sit too much. I always have.
By nature, I guess, I am a sedentary person. I’m not fidgety. I can sit for long periods of time reading a book or working at the computer.
I exercise every day, going for a long walk or working in my garden or doing yoga, and I thought that was enough.
But I just watched an episode of the excellent HealthCare Triage series ominously entitled: “Sitting vs. Standing. Is Your Sedentary Life Killing You?”
Wow, I need to move a whole lot more!
We all understand that … Continue reading
January 2017: Important update on Diclegis! A medical journal recently published a paper questioning the safety of Diclegis, or at least raising concerns about the quality of the research behind its FDA approval.
Although the components of Diclegis can be easily purchased over the counter, as my post shows, it’s very important that ANY drugs taken during pregnancy be OK’ed by your obstetrician first. FN
I don’t usually pay much attention to media’s almost 24/7 coverage of all things Kardashian, but it’s been hard to miss the news tidbits about Kim Kardashian’s second pregnancy.
And to those that follow her … Continue reading
I participate in a world-wide group of health care providers that exchanges information about the high costs of health care and overtreatment in our respective countries. (It’s not just an American problem!)
One provider recently shared for our consideration a paper that stated too many third molars (aka wisdom teeth) were being unnecessarily removed in the US.
Ten million third molars (wisdom teeth) are extracted from approximately 5 million people in the United States each year at an annual cost of over $3 billion.
In addition, more than 11 million patient days of “standard discomfort or disability”—pain, swelling, bruising, and
… Continue reading
I once bought an enormous jar of fish oil supplements from Costco—and then let it sit in a cabinet mostly untouched until well past its expiration date. (I hate taking pills.)
That was doubly wasteful on my part. Not only for ignoring the capsules once I’d bought them, but for buying them in the first place.
A recent article in the business pages of the Washington Post marveled that the fish oil supplement industry is booming despite any solid evidence that fish oil supplements work as claimed.
People in the United States spend about $1.2 billion annually for
… Continue reading
SPF = Sun Protection Factor
An SPF rating is an estimate of how effectively a sunscreen product reduces the time it takes your skin to burn. For example, if it normally takes about 10 minutes in the sun for you to burn, a product with an SPF of 15 extends that time to burn to 150 minutes. SPF 30? Approximately 300 minutes.
Related post: First aid for sunburns
Keep in mind two things about SPF:
1) It is not a super accurate measurement of protection. Different people with different skin types burn at different rates.
2) SPF measures protection from … Continue reading
Earlier this year, a new online health care cost checking tool became available: Guroo.com
It joins a couple other online tools that are meant to increase price transparency and help patients figure out how much a test or procedure will cost before getting the bill.
But do Guroo or the others really help?
If you’re uninsured or have a really high deductible, it’s nice to have at least a ballpark idea of what you will be spending if you need some kind of medical care. But, as Kaiser Health News puts it:
… Continue reading