Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Minding Your P & Q: Peace and Quiet Help Heal

Patient privacy is a right of every person.  When you get acutely ill, it is very important to have your privacy and quietness.  Healing is a delicate, critical process that needs the body's full attention without extra stress.  Your mind must be clearly focused on the healing process.  Research shows that a private, quiet surroundings promote healing and allow the body to repair and recover.  Unnecessary outside distractions should be curtailed to your comfort level. Aside from key healthcare providers contact should be limited to family and friends. Since most healing occurs during quiet, private times, it is important to maintain a quiet, private environment with scheduled visitation like that seen in hospitals. As Florence Nightingale says in Notes on Nursing, "Unnecessary noise is the most cruel abuse of care which can be inflicted on either the sick or the well." Privacy is your right to a quiet, uneventful healing.  Best health!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Money and Your Medication

The 2015 United States median income was $56,516.  This is $4719  a month.  After taxes this is approximately $3140 for basic living expense including rent/ mortgage, utilities, food, clothing, healthcare, insurances (home. car, health, etc.), transportation, taxes, and miscellaneous.  Ten percent, $314, could be the price of one medicine you need.  If one of your medication cost this much it is one-tenth of your income.  If you are one other medication , you could be paying as much as 20% just for medication. 
Are you having concerns that your $314-a-month medicine your doctor just prescribed is unaffordable? Is it worth it to overextend your budget?  Can you really afford it?  Do you really need it?  What else must you think about cutting back on?  These are just a few of the thoughts that run through a patient's mind when faced with the dilemma of high prescription prices.  A bigger concern is if the medicine will work and make them better.  If it does not they are possibly sicker plus out of money to pay for the medicine and treatments that do work.

Long gone are the days when patients take everything the doctor gives them or says to them as the final say.  Patients have become more empowered in all ways, but especially with health information.  Once diagnosed you can look up almost everything on your diagnosis including medicine side effects, new treatment options, and even an actual surgical procedures. Multiple treatment options are available that may work better than just prescription or non-prescription medication at much less cost.

When you get that expensive over-your-budget medication, discuss it with your doctor before you get price shell shock at the pharmacy counter.  Many doctors have access to medication prices, and may be able to prescribe something affordable within your budget that will help you.  If you have access to Internet while at your appointment, you can look it up via your local pharmacies website, and/or drug price check websites.  Discuss this and other alternative integrative treatment options with your doctor to find what works best for you and your pocketbook.  Best health!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Healthy Eating Precision Diet

One of the best ways to cut costs is to cut unnecessary expenses.  You invite good health when you manage your money well.  When you start with your health, you create more wealth.  One of the best ways to save money is to create wellness in your life.  One of the best ways to do both is to eat healthy, more precisely, precision eating.  Studies have shown what I have seen.  Those who consume a healthy diet, with emphasis on foods necessary for their illness, feel better and consume less medication.  Weight tends to stay stable when this occurs over the years.
Those with hypertension can decrease their medication and even stop it as their blood pressure becomes normal on their precision diet.  This would include vegetables especially carrots, beans, bananas, broccoli, garlic, and onions five times a week.  These are a few foods of the many that help lower blood pressure and decrease heart disease. The same foods also increase brain power, decrease cholesterol, improve digestion, and more.  Tumeric seasoning is an excellent way to add anti-inflammatory pain relief in arthritic neuromuscular states. Cinnamon helps with diabetes control as do beans.  Beans supplies fiber which helps keep bowel habits regular and stress free. 
When you buy these basic good foods, you are very likely to save more at the grocery checkout monthly than if you were buying three or more medications per month.  Over time you will feel better and see health improvements.  As this occurs less money will go towards medication.  The multivitamin is likely to be one of the first since a healthy selection of food will include all you need.  This healthy food will decrease most bowel distress thereby alleviating the need for gastrointestinal medication.  When blood pressure or blood sugar get in normal range, there is little need for pills.
Healthy food leads to good health.  Saving money on your health becomes greater wealth in many ways.  Study and read about what you need to make your precision food prescription for better health.  Eating healthy is eating good.  Best health!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

It's Teal Time! Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is teal time for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  Ovarian cancer kills many women quickly and silently.  It is one of the cancers that is hard to detect.  The treatment is pure hell and the vague symptoms become unbearably painful.  Ladies, there is something we can do! The pelvic and transvaginal sonogram (also called ultrasound) is a simple test that every woman should have just because you are a woman. Like the mammogram, this medical test is inexpensive and non-invasive (unless vaginal insertion is considered so) as far as no IVs or contrast dye.  Consuming mass amounts of water until you have to urinate (but must hold) is the least discomfort you should experience.

Talk to your doctor about pelvic sonogram screening after a thorough gynecology exam.  Most gynecologists have them in their office which is excellent standard of care and convenient for the patient.  It can be done and read the same day by your gynecologist, possibly by the time you sit down to talk after the exam.  The pelvic and/or transvaginal sonogram becomes part of your medical record for easy reference as needed thus providing consistency and, if necessary, for future comparison.  These tests are also becoming more readily available for direct consumer purchase without prescription at diagnostic centers and through health fairs.

The CA-125 blood test may be useful; however, it is nonspecific and may be seen with other conditions like endometriosis, pregnancy, fibroid tumors, diverticulitis, and liver cirrhosis.  It has been proven to be a reliable tumor marker once ovarian cancer is diagnosed. CA-125 tests, like the pelvic songram , is not recommended for women at average risk of ovarian cancer.  High risk patients like those with a family history of the disease, mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, or suggestive symptoms are encouraged to get tested.

Early detection of ovarian cancer saves lives as well as fertility especially for women of childbearing age.  For these reasons alone sonograms should become part of every woman's prevention schedule on a routine basis like the mammogram.  The patient's quality of life can be saved in a cost effective manner.  The nonspecific symptoms of pelvic pain, low back pain, abdominal pain (bloating, fullness, distension), changes in bowel or bladder habits are surely worth looking into, but can lead your doctor into a quandry with many other diagnostic tests before ovarian cancer is suspected. The time this takes can definitely delay diagnosis. 

Speak up before the silence of ovarian cancer quiets your life.  Though unpreventable there are things you can do to lower your risk.  This includes genetic counseling, and removal of ovaries (oophorectomy).  Seek care and advice from experts in these areas via your gynecologist. The National Ovarian Cancer Helpline is very good for locating local resources.

Without an actual early detection test for ovarian cancer, we still must do all we can to detect early and prevent the rampage of this deadly disease.  The pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound along with a thorough pelvic exam can reduce the sounds of suffering that ovarian cancer shouts out in silence. It's teal time!  Best Health!

For more information on pelvic exams being done routinely, see "Asymptomatic Symptomatic Static on Routine Pelvic Exams" http://bit.ly/1DlarBR

Diabetes Defense Is Good Offense

Diabetes is on the rise around the world.  Current global statistics reveal that 1 in 11 persons had diabetes in 2015.  This is about 415,000 million people.  A recently published study by JAMA found that almost 50% of Americans have pre-diabetes or diabetes.  About one-third of these patients were unaware they had either condition, and were already showing signs of diabetes.  National cost was almost $300 billion in 2012.  International cost in 2015 was $673 billion which is 12% of global health expenditure.

Pre-diabetes and diabetes are often discovered during the routine physical, or in the emergency room with severe hyperglycemia or complications secondary to the disease.  Patients may present without any symptoms or the classic triad of polyuria (increased urination), polydipsia (increased thirst), polyphagia (increased hunger).  Blood tests that confirm diabetic disease include: FBS (fasting blood sugar) / FPS (fasting plasma glucose) over 126 mg/dl; two hour plasma glucose over 200 mg/dl HgbA1c over 6.5.  Weight loss and dehydration may be apparent clinically as the heavy glucose molecule depletes the body's water volume.

Comorbidities associated with diabetes include hypertension, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and general vascular disease.  These are all chronic disease states as is the eye disease (diabetic retinopathy) which may lead to total blindness.   Diabetic neuropathy involves nerves especially those to the extremities causing numbness, tingling, and decreased sensation.  If vascular disease is present, this may lead to poor circulation.  As a result diabetic foot ulcers may emerge.  Due to lack of sensitivity these may go unnoticed until an infection occurs which left untreated may lead to amputation.

Treatment includes diet, exercise, and medication.  Surgery is also a consideration.  It is of utmost importance that the proper diet is followed.  Counseling with a dietician provides necessary nutritional information to keep and help keep blood sugar in normal range.  Weight maintenance at a  healthy level is beneficial as overweight states have been correlated with an increased risk of diabetes.  Excess weight can make diabetes more difficult to control.  Adherence to diet leads to better control overall even if on medication.  Along with routine exercise this helps maintain a healthy weight.  If you are losing weight and eating the right foods, diabetes may come into control without medication.  It is important to check your blood sugar often when lifestyle changes are being made.  Keeping your blood sugar within normal limits will help defend against secondary complications.  Most important, you will feel better.  Best health!