Friday, September 28, 2007

Avoid Being Misdiagnosed

I’m posting this because I think it’s incredibly important to recognize the importance of finding a knowledgeable doctor that you can trust. Having a general practitioner you can rely upon is one of my first priorities when moving to a new city.

According to CNN.com some diseases are more commonly misdiagnosed than others. Here they are:

1. Aortic dissection: Sometimes aortic dissections are easy to diagnose -- a patient feels a distinct tearing sensation in his or her chest. But other times they're pretty easy to miss because the symptoms could point to other diseases, says Dr. Robert Bonow, past president of the American Heart Association. "Sometimes it feels like heartburn," he says.

2. Cancer: In a Harvard study of malpractice claims in the U.S., cancer was far and away the most misdiagnosed illness, primarily breast and colorectal. Study authors attributed this to doctors failing to stick to cancer screening guidelines.

3. Clogged arteries: Sometimes doctors tell patients they're short of breath because they're out of shape, when it's actually coronary artery disease, says Bonow, who's also the chief of cardiology at Northwestern Medical School.

4. Heart attack: Sound strange? How could a doctor miss a heart attack? Bonow says the big and obvious attack -- the one where someone clutches his or her chest and falls to the floor, the one Bonow calls "the Hollywood heart attack" -- isn't always so clear. Sometimes the only signs of a heart attack are a sense of fullness in the chest, nausea and a general sense of not feeling well.

5. Infection: In the Harvard study, infection followed cancer as the most misdiagnosed condition.

Here’s how to avoid being misdiagnosed:

1. Ask for more tests
Actually, Nancy Keelan says, demand more tests. For more than three years, Keelan says, she complained to her gynecologist about irregular, heavy bleeding, and for three years he told her she was entering menopause and not to worry. Keelan says it turned out she had both advanced endometrial and ovarian cancer. "I believe he missed my diagnosis five times," says Keelan, who was 46 when she got her correct diagnosis.

Keelan, a registered nurse, now speaks to women's groups, telling them not to let more than three weeks go by if they're having new, strange symptoms. She says if the doctor tells you it's no big deal, you can frame your request this way: Tell your doctor you know it might be nothing, but would it do any harm to have a simple test? She says a simple ultrasound, would have caught her cancer much earlier.

2. Ask, "What else could my illness be?"
Let's say you've been experiencing shortness of breath when you exercise, and your doctor tells you you're just out of shape. You can ask your doctor if it could possibly be something more dangerous. Dr. Mark Graber, chief of medicine at the Veteran's Administration in Northpoint, New York, says the single most common cause of misdiagnosis is a doctor's failure to consider other possibilities after an initial diagnosis is reached. "It's called premature closing -- the minute they come up with a diagnosis, they don't think about a better solution," he says.

3. Don't assume no news is good news
Another source of misdiagnosis: Lab results get lost or forgotten.
A study by Dr. Tejal Gandhi at Harvard Medical School found that up to 33 percent of physicians did not always notify patients about abnormal test results. "No news is not good news," says Dr. Saul Weingart, vice president for patient safety at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. "It might be that the report fell down behind someone's desk."

4. Assume your doctors don't talk to one another
Our experts said doctors often don't share information about test results. One piece of advice: Use that conference call function on your cell phone. Make phone appointments with your doctors at the same time, and then conference them all together.

5. Be wary when your doctors work in shifts
The title of Gandhi's 2005 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine says it all: "Fumbled Handoffs: One Dropped Ball after Another." In it, she describes how a hospital patient's tuberculosis was misdiagnosed partly because test results weren't passed on when doctors changed shifts.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Nutrition Misinformation on Margarine

I’m posting this article from EarthTimes.org in whole for two reasons: 1.) It supports the use of margarine over butter, noting margarine is recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, American Medical Administration and the American Heart Association. 2.) It discusses misinformation on the Internet, which is a rapidly growing problem.


PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 21 A U.S. survey showed that an overwhelming number of people are following health and nutrition advice from the Internet -- but many don't believe its accuracy.



Opinion Research Corp. polled more than 1,000 U.S. adults across the United States and found of the two-thirds of people seeking information from the Internet, 82 percent said they are specifically seeking health and nutrition advice, however, of this group 62 percent believe its accuracy.



Nonetheless, 89 percent said they follow the advice.



A statement by the American Dietetic Association said that food and nutrition misinformation can have harmful effects on the health, well being and economic status of consumers.



For example, almost all soft margarine free of trans fat, but many Web sites still advise people to choose butter, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration supports soft margarine as the healthier option, as does the American Heart Association.



"Soft margarine is a healthier choice because of its content of good fats and because many are available in lower calorie versions," Dr. Barbara Howard of the American Heart Association's Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, said in a statement.

Nutrition Misinformation on Margarine

I’m posting this article from EarthTimes.org in whole for two reasons: 1.) It supports the use of margarine over butter, noting margarine is recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, American Medical Administration and the American Heart Association. 2.) It discusses misinformation on the Internet, which is a rapidly growing problem.

PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 21 A U.S. survey showed that an overwhelming number of people are following health and nutrition advice from the Internet -- but many don't believe its accuracy.

Opinion Research Corp. polled more than 1,000 U.S. adults across the United States and found of the two-thirds of people seeking information from the Internet, 82 percent said they are specifically seeking health and nutrition advice, however, of this group 62 percent believe its accuracy.

Nonetheless, 89 percent said they follow the advice.

A statement by the American Dietetic Association said that food and nutrition misinformation can have harmful effects on the health, well being and economic status of consumers.

For example, almost all soft margarine free of trans fat, but many Web sites still advise people to choose butter, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration supports soft margarine as the healthier option, as does the American Heart Association.

"Soft margarine is a healthier choice because of its content of good fats and because many are available in lower calorie versions," Dr. Barbara Howard of the American Heart Association's Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, said in a statement.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Baked Stuffed Peppers...Mmmm!

Baked Stuffed Peppers
Instructions:

Yield: 1 servings
1/8 cups Long-grain brown rice
1/16 cups Minced parsley
Salt
½ Eggs, slightly beaten
1 lg Sweet peppers, red or green
1/16 teaspoon Dried oregano leaves,crumble
¾ tablespoon margarine
1/16 cups 4 oz. chopped green chiles
¼ md Onion, chopped
Black pepper
1/8 cups Finely diced celery
1/8 cups Shred. sharp Cheddar cheese
1/8 cups Sunflower seeds

Cook rice in 1-½ cups boiling salted water for 35 mins or until tender. Drain if necessary. Set aside. Cut peppers in half. Remove seeds and white membrane. Parboil peppers in boiling salted water for 5 mins. Arrange in slightly oiled, shallow 1-½ qt baking dish. Melt butter in small skillet. Add onion, celery, and sunflower seeds. Saute until onion is tender. Remove from heat. Stir into rice. Add parsley, eggs,oregano, chiles, black pepper, and salt to taste. Fill peppers with mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top. Put about 1/3 cup hot water in bottom of dish. Bake at 400* for about 20 mins. Good served with: Stewed tomatoes and corn bread (bake corn bread along with peppers).

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

BHF Launches Heart Health Campaign to Encourage People to Get Moving

So this really surprised me – a recent poll conducted by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) found that only 38 percent of people living in the United Kingdom would exercise more after being told their lives depended on it. 38 percent??? That is mind-boggling to me.

If someone told me I was gonna die if I didn’t get off my butt and start moving I would be up faster than you could blink.

In response to this disturbing statistic, BHF has launched a television advertising campaign to encourage UK adults to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Many health experts believe exercising for just 30 minutes a day can reduce a person’s risk for heart disease by 50 percent.

“For many people, exercise has become an ugly word, something to avoid at all costs – but you’d be amazed how easy it is to up the tempo of your heartbeat,” said Dr. Mike Knapton, director of prevention and care at the BHF.

The BHF poll also found that a motivating factor for women to exercise is their figure (17 percent) compared with just 7 percent of men.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Dreaded Move is Complete

The move is finally complete! You know, for all the worrying I did about the whole prcoess, it was fairly painless. By noon on Saturday my amazing movers had transported everything from my old condo into my glorious new house.

I'm in love with my house - the look, the feel, the location - it's perfect! The house was built in 1933 so it's got some kinks and a few things that need to be fixed but it's got personality.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I'm supposed to be working right now so I've got to get something done!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"Margarine - is it healthier than butter?"

I’m desperately trying to become more technically savvy but it’s not easy. There’s so many different tools on the Internet today that I just can’t seem to keep up. I thought having a blog might help my “techy skills” and it has a little bit, but certainly not enough.

I’m very proud of myself though because I listened to a Podcast today. My very first Podcast and it was all about margarine and eating heart healthy. The Podcast was from the Mayo Clinic and was entitled, “Margarine – is it healthier than butter?” The registered dietitian from the Mayo Clinic, Katherine Zeratsky, stated,

“Quite generally speaking, margarine is the better choice…Now with the many choices of different margarines, they have made the margarines contain less trans fat, and therefore there are some better choices out there.”

If you are interested, the Podcast is available here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/margarine/HB00097

Unrelated Side Note: I'm moving into my new house on Saturday and I've discovered packing is the most miserable thing in the world!