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Archive for the ‘Questions about your health’ 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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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is that time of year again, when American Cancer Society seeks our support. The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk is being held in many cities throughout the United States. Have you joined a team and offer your financial support?

breast pinkThis could be a template for all other cancers. Imagine for a moment, if there is a walk for a specific cancer every 2 weeks…that would be awesome right?! Prostate Cancer, Colon Cancer, Gastric Cancer, Lung Cancer, Thyroid Cancer, Brain Cancer, etc.,… Imagine the societal impact and the health benefit for the participants too? A walk every 2 weeks…Why not? Just imagine…

Learn more about upcoming American Cancer Society Breast Cancer walk in your city, by clicking HERE and also see the videos below. Who knows, maybe you will see me at one of these walks…be sure to say hello! 🙂

ACS 2015

ACS Video

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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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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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Survivor – An individual is considered a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis, through the balance of his or her life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also impacted.

repairman with the tool on a white background. 3D image

Once cancer treatment is completed, patients transition from regular (daily, weekly, etc.,) healthcare provider’s attention, to follow-up regimen that is once every 3-4 months, twice/year or annually.  This may seem like an “unknown abyss” and some patient may even suffer a form of separation anxiety. What to do?

Patients are encouraged to become their own advocate. That includes, knowing follow-up guideline recommendations for your specific cancer. One size does not fit all! Ask your doctor to give you an idea of the follow-up plan for the next 2-5yrs…yes, you can ask for that. Many organization, including The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) provides an update and recommendations annually regarding follow-up.

advocacyWhat does SELF-ADVOCACY mean for a cancer survivor? Well, for starters, here is a list of things you should discuss with your doctor at the end of treatment and during follow-up appointments (not all listed below will apply, but should be tailored to be cancer site specific).

  1. Late Effects/Long-Term Psychosocial and Physical Problems – what should I expect? What symptoms should be reported?
  2. Anthracycline-Induced Cardiac Toxicity – Not all chemotherapy affects the heart, but will the chemotherapy used for me affect me heart 20-30yrs down the road? What can be done to lower the risk?
  3. Anxiety and Depression – What symptoms should be looked for and what signs should be reported?
  4. Cognitive Function – What changes should I expect? Is “chemo-brain” real?
  5. Fatigue – Is it associated with treatment? How long will it last?
  6. Talk with your Oncologist and ask questions!

    Pain – What pain level should be tolerable? Can over-the-counter pain meds suffice? Which ones can be taken?

  7. Sexual Function (female/male) – If viagra does not work, are there other options for ED? What can be used to increase sexual desire in a woman?
  8. Sleep Disorders – how do  know if my sleeping problems are associated with past cancer treatment? Will the treatment be any different?
  9. Preventive Health
  10. Healthy Lifestyles
  11. Physical Activity – What is considered low, moderate and intense activity? Any examples? Are there limitations?
  12. Nutrition and Weight Management
  13. Supplement Use – Any specific type to avoid?
  14. Immunizations and Infections – Any immunization that should be avoided?

Self-advocacy is a lot of work! BUT, it is your life..take charge of it!

 

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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 U.S. population is always on the go! Things to do, people to see, meeting to attend, business to conduct,  kids recital to attend, kids sporting events, church events….sitting in traffic…falling asleep behind the wheel. Siesta anyone? Fatigue is simply a chronic state of tiredness…being tired…all the TIME!

tired_eyes_800pxAmericans are tired.  It seems to be an “expected” badge of honor  in the National Capital Region (DC, MD, VA). If you are not multi-tasking and dashing to and-fro, complaining about traffic, the weather, politics, or a myriad of other things – something must be wrong with you! OR maybe you are just normal?

Fatigue literally came over me as I wrote the above – because I too, have been caught up in the world wind. I handle stress well and do take at home vacations (stay-cation) and vacations to recuperate, but is that enough? What if we just do not allow ourselves to get so TIRED in the first place? Is that possible? YES!

Fatigue/Tiredness can be manifested as:

  • Difficulty or inability initiating activity (generalized weakness)
  • Reduced capacity maintaining activity (easy fatiguability)
  • Difficulty with concentration, memory, and emotional stability (mental fatigue)

tiredA cross-sectional survey of US workers found that the 2 week period of prevalence of fatigue to be 38%! Additionally, 21-33% of patients seeking attention in the primary care settings report significant fatigue. The statistics for work place injury and motor-vehicle accidents due to fatigue is devastating!

HOW TIRED ARE YOU?? Some disease processes cause/or lead to chronic fatigue. Duration of fatigue can be recent (less than one month), prolonged (more than one month), or chronic (over six months) – talk to your doctor about your state of fatigue.

Fatigue should be distinguished from somnolence, dyspnea, and muscle weakness, although these symptoms may also be associated with fatigue. Patients may use the terms fatigue, tiredness, lack of energy, and excessive sleepiness interchangeably.

TIRED IM SO

PLEASE, GET SOME REST – it is good for YOUR health (and sometimes others too)! See videos below.

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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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JANUARY is Thyroid Awareness Month!

What is it? 

thyroidThe Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck and just below the laryngeal prominence (Adams Apple) – (see image).  The main function of the Thyroid is to produce hormones that maintain your body’s metabolism. It essentially breaks down nutrients to release energy. Your body is in need of energy constantly – even when at rest!

What if the Thyroid makes too much hormones? You may experience:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Excess sweating
  • Unexpected weight loss

What if the Thyroid does not make enough Hormones? You may experience:

  • Gloomy
  • Colder
  • Tired
  • Unexpected weight gain

What are some of the common Thyroid disorders?

  • Thyroid goiter

    Thyroid Goiter

    Hyperthyroidism (abnormally high activity)

  • Hypothyroidism (abnormally low activity)
  • Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid)
  • Thyroid nodules (may be benign or Thyroid cancer)
  • Goiter (any of the above may lead to an enlarged thyroid gland)

Additionally, in females, thyroid hormone levels must be checked beginning at age 35 (or sooner if symptoms are present) as thyroid can affect the menstrual cycle, and must also be normalized during pregnancy.

Follow instructions in video below for self-examination. For more information, please see below!

thyroid exam

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

245 Riverside Avenue, Suite 200
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 353-7878
(904) 404-4207 Fax
ajohnson@aace.com
www.thyroidawareness.com

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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! 

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Entomology2

Mr. Ramsey engaging students with HUGE centipedes!

On 19 APR 2014, I had the distinct pleasure of launching Our Kidz First Annual Career Fair for Middle School age-children (11-14yo) on the campus of Marymount University in Arlington, VA. We had over 100 children in attendance who were exposed to 21 career fields including Entomology & Pest Management led by Mr. Cleveland Dixon (Holiday Termite & Pest Control) and Mr. Samuel Ramsey (Univ of Maryland Entomology PhD Candidate).

Now, truth be told, at the sight of just about any insect – be it a 1 inch earthworm after a rainy day, a minute caterpillar dangling from a tree in my path during my walk, or a huge centipede as pictured here – I have been known to shriek and bolt for cover! An earthworm or a caterpillar or a centipede may not be dangerous, but a Deer tick sure is!

A Deer Tick

A Deer Tick

I was speaking with a friend, Kelly, in Maryland and we noted the on-going construction and loss of green land and foliage for deers in the area. She told me the deers were eating up all her flowers and wondered if she should try planting again for spring. She then shared with me that her 11yo nephew, Trent, was taken to the Emergency Room for a persistent swollen knee, fevers, rash, fatigue…he was diagnosed with Lyme Disease (our prayers are with Trent for a speedy recovery).

By exposing our Middle-School age children to different career paths and by encouraging interaction with professionals in the field, they will learn the “ins and out ” of different careers, such as Entomology & Pest Management (www.OurKidzFirst.org). Along the way, they may even learn the signs and symptoms relating to various insect transmitted diseases, such as Lyme Disease, and could possibly recognize these signs and symptoms even before their parents. At the fair, the kids were fascinated that Medicine overlap with Pest Management too!

Make sure your home and surroundings are safe for you and your family this year…

Read more about Lyme Disease HERE

 

Lyme Disease Information – Click below to watch!

 

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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” Thanks in advance for your support!

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It is ok to “Question” your Doctor!

talking w doctorRemember, you are your own advocate and you have the right to understand (everything) your doctor is recommending… please ask!

Some may argue that there is a difference between “asking questions” vs “questioning” your doctor. Others may say it is just symantics and/or different levels of the same thing. Uncertain if either case is right, but a slight difference between “Asking Questions” and “Questioning” your physician, may exist. While few Docs may be offended by the latter, do not let that deter you … just keep on asking. However, as it is in any situation, being respectful and pleasant also helps! I will attempt to differentiate here;

# 1 – Asking Questions: This would imply that you have some (assumed) knowledge of what is about to happen and is seeking clarification. (Please do not try to “fake” your way through. If the Doc thinks that you have the basic understanding, s/he will most likely speak with you at more advance level…see #2)

  • Well, I understand that there is a nodule in my lung and you have to biopsy it, but what kind of biopsy will you be doing?
  • This is the first time being told that I am diabetic. Why do I have to begin with Insulin?
  • I do not like the idea of taking medication for High Blood Pressure. How long will I have to stay on it? What is the plan to discontinue this medication?

Talk doctor#2 – Questioning your Doc: This would imply that you are not familiar with the diagnosis and you are uncertain of “WHAT” questions you should even ask. This is quite common and you are NOT alone. Start communication on a conversation level with just the basics. Be honest. You have a right to know AND understand what is going on with your body and the recommendations the Doctors are making! Here are a few basic simplified questions from the same examples/scenarios as above;

  • A nodule in my lung? What is a nodule? Is it cancerous? What is a biopsy? Will the biopsy hurt?  I do not understand – What do you mean “a biopsy is a procedure?” What is the difference between a procedure vs a surgery? Will I need to take time off from work?
  • What is Diabetes? Is that the same thing referred to as “sugar”? What is insulin? Can I take it in a pill form? You know Doc, I truly did not understand the differences between type 1 and 2. If I have to take Insulin, do I have Diabetes type 1 or type 2? I do not really feel ill or feel anything, so why should I have to take the medication?
  • What is high blood pressure? Why would I want low blood pressure, I thought that would make me feint? Why do I have to take medication? I do not like taking medications, is there something else I can do to treat this high blood pressure? What if I miss a pill, do I double up or just take the next pill? Should I take it at night or during the day?

Confession – I may speak the “Doctor language” very well but I am definitely, unapologetically in the 2nd category when I am dealing my mechanics about my car, construction workers about a building, lawyers, etc.,  I am admittedly behind the curve ball…and  I have no shame when it comes to asking even the most basic of questions.

In the past, I had to say (quite nicely of course) … “I am sorry. Please help me to understand why I came to do a routine, on schedule, oil change (for my car), but there are 3 other things that I MUST do today? What does the transmission do anyway? Where is the windshield washer fluid? I was trying to give someone a “jump” the other day … but the battery is not under the hood of the truck? (turns out it was in the back … who knew??)

(*wink* smiling sheepishly)

Trust me, no one knows everything! AND KNOW, there is no such thing as a silly or stupid question! Especially when it comes to your health! Ask on…

Click below to watch video

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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