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Archive for the ‘Health in the News’ Category

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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Recently, a friend of mine had teeth extractions and when the bill was reviewed while waiting, there was an over-charge. The billing was done in anticipation of how many teeth would be removed, not after the procedure for the actual number removed. In one case, there was a charge for tooth #9, that was not even there (yes, in this procedure they charged per tooth…strange).

It caused me to wonder, how many patients actually check and question their medical and dental bills? (Watch VERY important videos below).

My nurse gave me an article that was written in the Washington Post about healthcare markups for the uninsured. Some interesting points includes:

negotiating-hospital-bills “Fifty (50) hospitals in the United States are charging uninsured consumers more than 10 times the actual cost of patient care, according a research published [recently]. All but one of the facilities are owned by for-profit entities and the largest number – 20 – are in Florida.”  Gerard Anderson, professor at the John Bloomberg School of Public Health noted,  “This means, when it cost the hospital $100, they are charging patients on average $1000. It would appear that these facilities are price gouging, simply because they can.”

Of note, other consumers who would be charged this ridiculously high rates are patients whose hospital are not in their insurance company preferred network of providers, patients using workers compensation and those covered by automobile insurance policy. Most patients covered by private, government and programs such as Medicare do not pay full price, because these entities negotiate lower rates. Location in big cities does not account for these high prices either, as hospital in the suburbs/rural area can be quite expensive.

See the Hospital list HERE

Only 2 states, Maryland and West Virginia, set hospital rate charges for procedures. Federal government does not regulate prices that healthcare providers can charge. Of course, these sky rocketing medical bills can lead to damaged credit scores, bankruptcy, or worse yet, avoidance of needed medical care.

Do consumers now have to shop around for best health care cost for a procedure? As the commercial noted, shopping around for other things, not just your car, especially if uninsured or in one of the above categories, may be to your benefit.

Watch VERY important videos below.

Unfair Hospital Charges

Negotiating Hospital Bills 

Read Rose’s story HERE

Hospital-Bill-Total

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

 

 

 

 

 

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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If you have never had a Computed Tomography, which is also called CAT or CT Scan, it will only be a matter of time before your physician recommend one. CT scan is painless and is considered a more advance/sophisticate X-ray machine. However, unlike an X-ray that shows only “2-dimension” images, CT Scan uses “3-dimensions” and allows us to see inside your body (see below).

One of the many fear, is that too many CT scans can cause cancer. However, as noted in this recently published article, the benefits of CT scans far outweigh the risks of the reasons why the CT Scan was ordered in the first place.

Excerpt from Medical News:

Like a donut - open at top

Like a donut – open at top

“In recent years, there has been widespread media coverage of studies purporting to show that radiation from X-rays, CT scans and other medical imaging causes cancer.

But such studies have serious flaws, including their reliance on an unproven statistical model, according to a recent article in the journal Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment. Corresponding author is Loyola University Medical Center radiation oncologist James Welsh, MS, MD.

“Although radiation is known to cause cancer at high doses and high-dose rates, no data have ever unequivocally demonstrated the induction of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates,” Dr. Welsh and co-author Jeffry Siegel, PhD, write.

CT showing tumor in a child

CT showing tumor in a child

Studies purporting to find a cancer link to medical imaging radiation have other flaws besides the questionable LNT model. For example, two recent studies suggested possible increased cancer risks from low-radiation doses associated with pediatric CT scans. But these cancers likely are due to the medical conditions that prompted the CT scans, and have nothing to do with the radiation exposure, Drs. Welsh and Siegel write.”

Read more HERE or http://www.news-medical.net/news/20150701/Low-radiation-doses-from-CT-scans-do-not-cause-cancer.aspx

No need to fear CT scans! There are so many other proven cancer causing elements you should be aware of – smoking, alcohol, obesity…and much more. Pay attention to and fix what you can!

 

Video: What is a CT Scan?

Video: Patient’s experience

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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Have a headache? Grab some Motrin (Ibuprofen).

Knee pain? Use some Tylenol (Acetaminophen)

Headache persists? Take more Tylenol? Hip now hurting too. Can you take more Motrin?

Having pain medications available over-the-counter (OTC) is a good thing. But too often, many are not aware of some of the necessary, basic, associated precautions.  Recently, while visiting my Dad, he jokingly noted the ever growing, long list of “side-effects” spewed about medications in commercials.  Like most he wondered, “why take the medication, if the side effects seem to cause more harm?” But, that is for another blog *smile* Let’s tackle the pain medications that millions DO use daily! Let’s define NSAIDs and then we will start with Acetaminophen (Tylenol).

JUST THE BASICS

tylenol1Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a group of OTC medications use to decrease mild-moderate pain, reduce fever, and decrease inflammation without the worrisome effect of steroids.  Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Caldolor, Midol, etc.,), Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Anaprox, etc.,), Aspirin (Zorprin, Bayer aspirin, St. Joseph aspirin, etc.,), among others. Acetaminophen is NOT a NSAID.

  • The primary difference between NSAIDs and acetaminophen (Actamin, Pandadol, Tylenol) lies in the way each relieves pain. Acetaminophen works primarily in the brain to block pain messages and seems to influence the parts of the brain that help reduce fever. That means it can help relieve headaches and minor pains. But it’s not as effective against pain associated with inflammation.
  • Inflammation is a common feature of many chronic conditions and injuries. NSAIDs reduce the level of chemicals that are involved in inflammation. Treatment with NSAIDs can lead to less swelling and less pain.
  • Some pain pills, such as Excedrin Migraine, combine an NSAID — in this case aspirin – with acetaminophen

ACETAMINOPHEN

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose is one of the most common poisoning worldwide! Why? Because taking too much pain reliever can cause liver failure or even death! YES…sudden liver failure (see videos below).

The FDA has set the recommended maximum for adults at 4,000 milligram (mg) per day. It is quite easy to hit this max though!  One gel tablet of extra strength Tylenol, for example, contains 500mg. Do you ever take just ONE Tylenol though? My colleague just indicated that he never takes less than 3 extra-strength pills at a time! That’s 1500 mg at one time…do this 3 times in one day and will be above the max!

tylenolOverdoses from acetaminophen send 55,000 to 80,000 people in the U.S. to the emergency room each year and kill at least 500, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Acetaminophen can be found in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription products used by nearly one in four American adults every week, including household brands like Nyquil cold formula, Excedrin pain tablets, Theraflu and Sudafed sinus pills.

So how do these accidental acetaminophen deaths occur?

Imagine you’ve had major dental surgery, and your dentist prescribes a five-day supply of Percocet.

  • You take the recommended 2 pills every six hours for 2,600 mg of acetaminophen, well below the 4,000-mg-a-day safety threshold.
  • But you’re still experiencing pain, so you decide to add Extra Strength Tylenol, six caplets a day for another 3,000 milligrams.
  • Now you’re feeling better but you still have trouble sleeping, so you take Nyquil, for another 650 milligrams (unaware of the acetaminophen content of the other medications).

After a few days on this 6,250 milligram regimen, experts say acute liver damage is a real risk. Add a couple beers or wine to this…and, well, you get the picture! (Alcohol affects the liver also…)

DOSES:

  • Normal/Regular dose of Tylenol ~325mg
  • Extra-Strength 500mg to 650mg
  • MAX daily recommended dose 4,000mg

PLEASE continue to use Acetaminophen and Acetaminophen products, as needed. Just be aware of the dose limits and use wisely!

Now you know…

CNN REVIEW

ACCIDENTAL OVERDOSE 

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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THIS IS PRICELESS! PLEASE READ THIS SHORT, QUICK SUICIDE RISK ASSESSMENT GUIDE. Click HERE

suicide_speak_reachAs physicians, we are all about trying to save lives. We want our patients to maintain good cholesterol, manage their diabetes and high blood pressure (or eradicate the need for medication through a life style dietary change and exercise), fight cancer with the weapons we have on hand (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc.,)…life is beautiful…and we fight with our patients to help them live the best lives they can…

Therefore, it always saddens our heart, when a life is lost through a patient’s own hands – SUICIDE. Can we find the needle in the haystack and help these patients before it is too late? An algorithm is being developed to do just that – and the U.S. Army is leading the way. Since 2004, the US Army noted a sharp increase in soldiers’ suicide rate, exceeding that of their civilian counterparts.

JAMA Psychiatry published an article in JAN 2015 titled, “Predicting suicides after psychiatric hospitalization in US Army soldiers: the Army Study To Assess Risk and rEsilience in Servicemembers (Army STARRS).” You may read the abstract HERE  and more about the article HERE  

Take a look around at you – yourself, family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, (including children…especially teenagers) etc., Anyone at risk for suicide? What are the warning signs and why are they important? Take a moment to read the suicide risk assessment guide below.

Say something kind to someone today…give an encouraging word…you never know the difference you may make!

THIS IS PRICELESS! PLEASE READ THIS SHORT, QUICK SUICIDE RISK ASSESSMENT GUIDE. Click HERE or cut and insert this link  https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mentalhealth.va.gov%2Fdocs%2FSuicide_Risk_Assessment_Guide.doc

1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA)

WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE

FACES OF  BEAUTIFUL SOULS (caution, emotionally wrenching…)

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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The world of medicine is literally exploding! The possibilities of what can be done – identify disease processes at the genetic level, transplanting organs, use of umbilical cord blood (controversial), to name a few – waiting on the cure for cancer now.

Headline – A First: Uterus Transplant Gives Parents A Healthy Baby

uterus-transplantThe mother, 36yo, was born without a uterus, so a 61yo woman donated her uterus after menopause.  The 36yo woman had intact ovaries, so was able to produce her own her eggs.  With the aid of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) an egg was fertilized and implanted.  Approximately 2 years later she was able to give birth to a healthy baby.  WOW…right? This took place in Sweden by Dr. Mats Brannstrom.

What next? I immediately thought of a young girl who had a cancer in her abdominal region – she lost her uterus in the process of treatment.  Are adult survivors of pediatric cancer eligible for such a program? Historically, a history of cancer may preclude someone from being on a transplant list. But just imagine…

UTERINE TRANSPLANT

THE RISKS OF ORGAN TRANSPLANT

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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FEBRUARY IS AMERICAN HEART MONTH!

SaltThe average salt (sodium = NaCl/Na) consumption in the United States and around the world is ~3,400mg per day, according the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report.  It is recommended by the American Heart Association that daily salt intake be limited to 1,500 mg of sodium per day. The United States Dietary guidelines, based on the 2005 IOM report, recommend that the general population aim for sodium levels of 1,500 to 2,300 mg/dy, because those levels do not raise blood pressure, per study.

However, this study was considered flawed, because majority of the study participants were white males, average age of ~41, and did not have previous diagnosis of high blood pressure – not the typical “at risk” population in the United States.

A lower level of sodium intake (along with other recommended overall health adjustments) should decrease the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Unfortunately, the “at risk” group make up close to half of the U.S. population.  Groups  “at risk” include, but is not limited to:

  • Those with a current diagnosis of High Blood Pressure
  • Those with Heart disease
  • Those with a diagnosis of Diabetes
  • Blacks/African Americans
  • Anyone older than 50 years old
  • Anyone with chronic kidney disease (CKD)

Think that maintaining a low salt intake of 1,500mg is difficult?  Well, here are a few examples of salt content in common food…and then you do the math…for you!

  • 1 med slice of bacon = 155mg Sodium
  • salt 35 oz of roasted ham = 1,300 to 1,500mg Sodium (who eats only 3.5 oz of anything?)
  • 5 oz of Chicken (dark/white) = 87 / 77mg Sodium
  • 1 beef hot dog = 585mg Sodium
  • Tuna canned in spring water = 300mg Sodium
  • 1 oz American Cheese = 443mg Sodium
  • Cottage Cheese (low fat) = 918mg Sodium
  • Milk (whole/skim/1%) = 120/125/125mg NaCl/Na
  • Avocado (half medium) = 10mg NaCl/Na
  • Broccoli raw/cooked (half-cup) = 12mg / 20mg NaCl/Na
  • Cucumber (half cup) = 1mg NaCl/Na
salt1

Hands up! Please step away from the SALT!

See more on salt content of common foods HERE which will help you decide on how best to adjust your diet. A small change with a few substitutions can make a HUGE difference. Read your labels and look for sodium/Na when able, and for the love your heart, please choose less salt!

American Heart Month

American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231
(800) 242-8721
www.heart.org External Links Disclaimer Logo
Materials available

When to go to the Emergency Room?

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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Recently, while driving home, I was tuned into WTOP (Weather & Traffic station) and they were featuring a section on Cindy Finch with topic as noted above. She described how a patient may feel lost and alone after a period of regimented medical treatment. They survived cancer and all the medical treatments, now what?

Cancer SurvivorAs physicians, we are usually all about the art of “doing” to help our patients. Most patients appeared to be excited, elated, happy about completing treatment and look forward to moving on with their lives.

It is difficult for most Physicians to attend to required care beyond the immediacy of the medical treatment. So, to meet these needs of the patients, we do have a Behavioral Health team (Psychologist, Psychiatrist and/or Social workers) who attend to the  psychosocial aspect of post-treatment.

SurvivorHowever, in follow-up visit, I often times discussed the “new normal” and what that means after cancer treatment, or in the new survivorship role. Yet, I believe Ms. Finch revelation is a very worthwhile approach and a great sharing point (this may also be applicable to a love one after any drastic medical change/treatment, other than cancer).

What are your thoughts?

See Ms. Finch videos below

Her story…

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

 

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