Friday, April 25, 2008

Medical-speak and bedside manner

Let's face it - when people go to the doctor, they're usually at a heightened level of anxiety; either they're not feeling well or they're quite worried about something.

What they need at that point, are clear, concise explanations from their doctor and a little caring thrown in. So why is it that there are complaints that they receive neither? According to this article, Complicated medical lingo can confuse patients: researchers, there is still a big disconnect between what doctors say and what patients hear and understand.

In all fairness, it's not always only the doctors. I remember when I was working on a medical floor, a new nursing graduate went into an elderly patient's room and announced rather loudly that she was there to "take her vital signs." I have no idea what the patient thought, but all these years later I still remember how shocked I was. How many patients understand what "vital signs" are and what might an older confused patient think?

The other problem coming up is, unfortunately not new. According to this press release, National survey reveals 80 percent of Americans claim docs need better bedside manners, many doctors still aren't getting the message that showing a caring manner plays a big role in how patients perceive their healthcare and may affect how compliant they are with their care. While I don't have any facts to back me up, I think that maybe both complaints (complicated language and lack of bedside manner) are often seen in the same doctor.

Today at Help My Hurt:

Friday funnies for April 25
Nancy O’Dell, Tony Proudfoot, Angela Lansbury: something in common
Thursday musings
5 migraine blogs for you

News for Today:

Complicated medical lingo can confuse patients: researchers
FDA to review Lasik eye surgery
Greater wealth lowers risk of stroke, study finds
More doubts about echinacea for preventing colds
Knee and Hip Replacements Expected to Increase Dramatically by 2030
FDA Approves Once-Daily Lisdexamfetamine to Treat ADHD in Adults
National survey reveals 80 percent of Americans claim docs need better bedside manners
Study finds racial disparities in smoking cessation treatment
Smokers have a 41 percent higher risk of suffering depression
FDA Approves New Once-a-Month Dose of Actonel for Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Confused about cholesterol?

Have you been told that you have high cholesterol or that you're at risk of it? If you don't know what the numbers are all about, it can be confusing. LDL? HDL? What's what and what should each be?

First, it's important to know that we need cholesterol - it's a building block for our cells. LDL is the "bad" cholesterol, the one that can stick together and against the blood vessel walls. As this cholesterol builds up, it can cause a complete blockage in the blood vessel, which can lead to a stroke.

The other type of cholesterol, HDL, is the "good" cholesterol. Its role is to sweep the LDL along the blood vessels so it can't stick to the vessel walls.

A good way to remember which is which is HDL, the good one, is the one you want in the high numbers: HDL = High. LDL, the bad one, is the one you want to be as low as possible: LDL = Low.

Today on Help My Hurt:

Pregnancy and back pain
Hybrid procedure the answer to chronic back pain?
FDA approves drug for people living with pain from Crohn’s disease

News for Today:

Very premature babies benefit from mother's cuddles: study
Menstrual stem cells could help in transplants
Myocardial infarction: Mortality for women not higher than for men
Skin Deep: In a Perfect World, Rosacea Remains a Problem
Blood pressure in diabetic kids needs watching

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cancer survivors revert to previous habits?

Whenever I read stories of people who survived their battle with cancer, I hear how they have embraced the second chance they've been given. They appreciate the little things in life that they didn't before and they're grateful for their new lease on life.

I know that we like to hear these stories of hope, but reality seems to have crashed down on us as we now learn cancer survivors aren't all that different - for the most part - than the rest of us.

According to a study published in the journal Cancer, researchers from the University of Alberta found that a cancer diagnosis "does not appear to be prompting significant behaviour change."

As a group, the people are no different - no better and no worse - than the general population when it comes to obesity and inactivity.

This is really interesting and a bit disheartening, but I guess it's also par for the course.

You can read more about it here: Cancer Survivors Need to Be More Active.

Today at Help My Hurt:

Living with Cancer: Help My Hurt hosts this month’s Theme Day
Many gardeners to experience foot pain this season
Forbes article: Back pain - what works
Migraine increases risk of severe skin sensitivity and pain
2 new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis approved in Japan
Living with chronic pain using guided imagery - and a free audio download

News for Today:

Women bear sons when calorie intake high, researchers say
Sleep duration varies according to employment, lifestyle: StatsCan
Mix Of Two Pain-relief Procedures Can End Chronic Back And Leg Pain Without Drugs - Combination Of Two Implanted Nerve Stimulators
Lumbar Supports Not Particularly Effective For Low Back Pain
Diabetes: A Cardiac Condition?
Black women have urinary incontinence less than half as often as white women

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is it a brain aneurysm?

When you get a bad headache - a really bad headache - do you ever worry that it may be something more serious, like a stroke or an aneurysm?

I have known a few people, personally, who had brain aneurysms, two survived and are living happy and healthy lives now, one did not. Yesterday, the luck ran out: a brain aneurysm took the life of a vibrant, loving and giving woman who left us way too soon: Help My Hurt lost one of its own today - RIP Tricia.

How can you tell if you have an aneurysm? Sadly, you can't.

First - what is an brain aneurysm? An aneurysm is a weakness, a bulge, in an arterial wall. With brain or cerebral aneurysms, this happens in the brain. Many people do have aneurysms but they never burst. As long as they stay intact, there are no problems, unless they are large and place pressure on surrounding tissues. If they rupture, time is of the essence.

What are the signs and symptoms? For the most part, there are none. If you have a large aneurysm that places pressure on neighboring tissues, you may experience intense head pain, visual problems, or paralysis on one side of your face.

If the aneurysm ruptures, the symptoms are sudden, severe, and rapid:

  • Sudden, extremely severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Double vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Today on Help My Hurt:

Video: the impact of pain on sleep
Help My Hurt lost one of its own today - RIP Tricia
Random thought - how could that *not* hurt??
Study shows osteoarthritis joint pain may be relieved by pine bark extract

News for Today:

326 cancer patients got wrong radiation dose due to math error
Poor physical fitness of cancer survivors increases recurrence risk
'Chemo brain' real for many cancer patients: study
Advanced paramedic care not best in trauma cases
Children with ADHD should get heart tests before treatment with stimulant drugs
Nasal surgery associated with improvements in quality of life for those with sleep apnea
Vaccine could end most cervical cancer: study
Three Out of Four American Women Have Disordered Eating
Mammography May Be Beneficial To All Women, Regardless of Age
Acute Sore Throat: Antibiotics Should Normally Not Be Started Immediately

Monday, April 21, 2008

Kristin Armstrong - Olympic cyclist and osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is often called the "wear and tear" arthritis. As the baby boomers age and maintain active lifestyles, osteoarthritis in on the rise. This is leading to increased numbers of joint replacements, particularly knees and hips. Doctors are also seeing younger patients needing these replacements.

What is osteoarthritis? It's the wearing down of the cartilage (material that buffers the joints) to the point that sometimes bone ends up rubbing against bone. It affects the spine, hips and knees the most often, but can affect other joints as well.

The damage and pain of osteoarthritis also hits elite athletes. Some have to give up their sport and others are able to move into another that causes less damage and pain. One of these athletes is U.S. Olympic cyclist Kristin Armstrong. You can read a bit about Kristin's story and her tips on living with osteoarthritis at Help My Hurt: Company’s calling - Olympic cyclist Kristin Armstrong talks about her osteoarthritis.

Today at Help My Hurt:

Can magnets provide pain relief?
Foot pain keeping you down?
7 ergonomic-health sites for you to finish the week
Patients happy overall in US, but pain issues still need to be addressed
Ergonomics: Be careful with non-prescription wrist supports and braces
Ergonomics: Injury prevention for computer users
Myths in ergonomics

News for Today:

Pine Bark Naturally Reduces Osteoarthritis, Lowers Joint Pain, Improves Physical Function
Combination Sumatriptan and Naproxen Relieves Headache Symptoms Without Adverse Effects
Sleep Disturbance Reduced for Patients With Restless Legs Syndrome Taking Pramipexole
Cancer survivors have low levels of physical activity and high levels of obesity