Monday, April 25, 2011

Build Muscle--it is good for you

High blood pressure is a very common condition in men over 40. There is no doubt that regular exercise, watching your weight and trying to reduce  stress are all good ideas when you are trying to lower your blood pressure. But , according to a new study out of the University of South Carolina there may be one way to reduce your risk by as much as 34%… It is a way many people have not really thought about. Their study finds that men who build muscle strength can reduce their risk dramatically. According to the findings reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, men over age 40 with high blood pressure were followed for about 18 years. Those with the highest muscular strength had the greatest life expectancy. If you think about it makes a lot of sense. Regular exercise is necessary to build strength and once muscle mass is developed it can  help burn calories even when people are at rest.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Meaningful Use..Is It???

The term is meaningful use. The vast majority of people words the meaningful use don't really mean all that much, but in medical circles these two words will dramatically affect the way you receive care. Meaningful use is the way the government has chosen to describe a series of rules and regulations that will help determine how computers and technology will affect the care you are given. The good news is that there are all sorts of regulations put in place that will be used to measure the quality of your care and the way records are kept. The bad news is that many of these regulations were written by politicians or people who have very little to do with the practice of medicine. Overall I believe we are definitely heading into a time where care will be improved especially from an organizational standpoint and consistency of decision-making. My fear is that a great deal of the art of medicine may be left behind with the clicks on a keyboard. The best way to achieve success and we can accept nothing but success is to involve healthcare providers and patients in the process

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Would You Want To Know If Your 11 Year Old Will Get Cancer At Age 44?

There have been many tremendous breakthroughs in the field of genetic research. As a result of greater understanding of the genetic code we understand the origin of many illnesses and conditions some of which can be life-threatening. But a new report in the Journal Pediatrics takes a look and a very interesting study which is based on the information we have learned from genetic research. Do the majority of parents who have young children want to know what conditions their children may develop when they are older. In other words would you as a parent wants to know if your young child was someday going to suffer from a certain form of cancer or genetic disease. According to the new study a majority of parents would want their children to be tested and know the results. The American Academy of pediatrics advises against this type of testing. This is an interesting study that at one time would have been a hypothetical discussion. But it is becoming more realistic everyday.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It Is A Battle Over The Medical Chart These Days

There is a battle going on in medicine these days and as patients it is very important that you know what is happening. I don’t know if you saw the Seinfeld episode where Elaine wants to see what is on her doctor’s chart. It is actually very entertaining to watch the comedy surrounding what Elaine sees as her doctor’s ability to write anything he wants seemingly without her control. Fortunately, patients have access to their charts and have control. But the battle I am talking about has to do with hospital charts. Each day doctors, nurse and anyone involved with an in patient’s care writes notes as a way to communicate information to other healthcare providers –information that is crucial for your healthcare. But, long after discharge the government and other payers for care look at the notes and determine what they will pay for your hospitalization. The battle is that the notes are potentially being used to generate payments. We need to return to a  time when the charts were used to help people get better ..not justify fees.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Herpes Lasts Forever

There is a concerning new study dealing with the herpes virus. According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association people with genital herpes can be contagious even when they don't have symptoms. We have known for many years that herpes is spread through sexual contact when people have source or what is called prodromal period in the days before the soars appear. Worldwide more than 530 million people at the herpes virus and according to this report people who harbor the virus can be shedding it as much as 10% of the time. This means they could infect sexual partners. Although  use of condoms can reduce the spread of genital herpes, it does not provide 100% percent protection.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Are your Kids Making You Fat???

Are you having a struggle with weight loss? Is it difficult to keep those extra pounds from attaching to your hips? Well now you have someone to blame. According to a study from University of Minnesota mothers of young children were heavier and ate more calories, fatty foods and sugary drinks than women without children. In addition both parents were less active than those of the same age without children. The study was not a small one. There were over 1500 adults with children younger than five. According to the report which is in today's journal pediatrics the mothers in this study with young children had a diet so poor that they would have to walk more than 3 miles a day to not gain a pound. The authors of this study suggest that parents with young children trying to take them outside and spend time exercising with them. Some ideas are going for walks with children in a stroller or playing games that increased levels of activity for both the child and parents. The hope is to reverse bad habits not only for mom and dad but for children as well

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Could Electronic Medical Records Reduce Medical Errors

One of the major things that hospitals can do to ensure your safety as a patient is to keep careful track of possible errors. No one wants to make an error especially in a hospital setting with patient lives are on the line but if these errors can be measured and people can learn from them similar mistakes can be prevented. But according to a study from the University of Utah in the journal health affairs current tracking measures including a self reporting system are not catching the majority of errors. The University of Utah uses a technique called the global trigger tool which measures errors. Their system was able to identify 354 errors compared to only 39 with the other systems that are more traditional. This means that 90% of mistakes were missed. A review of the study shows that many of these mistakes were not major errors nor do they necessarily cause patients significant harm but the point is we need better ways to monitor errors across the board. It is hoped that as electronic medical records become more part of patient care many of these errors to be picked up earlier.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Longer Hours: Greater Risk of Heart Disease

Let's face it we live in a society where people are working overtime in many cases just to make ends meet. But according to a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine there could be a stiff price to pay for this. Adults who work 11 hours or longer each day at a 67% higher risk of developing heart disease when compared to people who only work 7 to 8 hours per day. When you examine the study is quite clear that there is a price to pay for working extended hours. People working longer hours tend to exercise less and the work environment increase the amount of stress in a person's life. Both of these factors have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. The study was conducted at the University of London.