Navigating Healthcare – Patient Safety and Personal Healthcare Management

Breakfast still the most Important Meal of the Day

Posted in Healthcare Information, Nutrition by drnic on November 19, 2008

Nutrition is a key factor in health and as is often the case – your mother was right…..breakfast remains the most important meal of the day – so says “Reasons for eating Breakfast

Consuming a good, hearty breakfast is like priming a pump, to help your body get ready for a full day’s worth of activity. Not only does the first meal of the day heat up your metabolism to better burn calories, studies show that the effects of this “jump start” help keep the metabolism working at a higher rate throughout the day. Blood sugar levels rise up and remain higher longer, instead of having a quick drop off that might be generated by eating just high sugar content breakfast snack foods. Skipping this important meal does you no good at all. You will be hungry sooner, eat more later, and not have the good energy to function efficiently.

No surprise here – what is surprising is how many people ignore this and struggle to get a proper breakfast in the morning. Find a way to make it a favorite and help yourself throughout the day with a good healthy start.

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Too Many Drugs

Posted in Healthcare Information, Medication, Personal Health Record by drnic on November 18, 2008

Medicine has a term for causing disease or problems – iatrogenic (derived from the Greek iatros for physician)

Medications are a prime concern and issue and there has been some resurgence in interest – in part driven by the costs concerns (drugs are expensive and each side effect or additional symptom often begets another expensive drug treatment thereby multiplying cost) and also because of the increasing problems and complexity of the team based approach to patient care with many clinicians prescribing, often without the knowledge of other prescriptions the patient has been given or is taking.
This post on Over medication covers the issue well and features some good advice on how to avoid the problems. The best advice is keeping a running list of drugs including those that have been used int he past, when they were started and stopped and any record of side effects that resolved as a result of stopping a drug treatment

The remainder include:

  • Asking if you can stop them
  • Using the same pharmacy (on the assumption they track and store and therefore can warn you of drug-drug interactions)
  • Knowing what each drug is for and what the possible side effects are
  • Being honest about all your medications including Over the Counter (OTC) that you don’t need a prescription for
  • Using pill boxes to help monitor compliance

All good advice and in particular trying to reduce the drugs is a good idea….. just because you see an advert for a drug does not mean it is the right treatment for you.

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Childhood Obesity causing Arterial Wall Changes

Posted in Healthcare Information, Primary Care by drnic on November 12, 2008

The New York times features an article on a new study on obese kids that is a clear warning on long term effects of childhood obesity in children showing Heart DIsease changes in their arterial walls.

While not conclusive this is very worrying even for the limited number int he study (70 total) and as yet unrepeated. But the finding:

found that the thickness of artery walls of children and teenagers who
are obese or have high cholesterol resembled the thickness of artery
walls of an average 45-year-old.

Heart disease for kids…….. whew as if we don’t have enough health problems to contend with
If you are not thinking about your children’s health and eating habits this ought to be a big red flag to all parents.

Should Everyone Take a Statin

Posted in Preventative Healthcare by drnic on November 11, 2008

The news today was all over the wire and certainly subject to much discussion and coverage. The Statin Outcome study showed significant reduction in cardiovascular events by a dramatic 44% compared to placebo (statistically significant with a p <0.001)

The study went further and certainly the commentators did and were suggesting that this should be used as a prophylactic. In the case of one discussion I had with a physician he likened i to Fluoride and advocated putting it in the water! Described in one case as Aspirin of the 21st Century

This was output from JUPITER (Justification for the Use of statins in Primary prevention: an
Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastatin) which as the name suggests is looking for evidence to justify the use of Statins. While it seems likely that these drugs can be helpful there is insufficient attention to life style changes that can have as much if not more of an impact and it begs the question do we continue to find answers to health problems that are a result of our own poor lifestyle choices
Loose weight, exercise, eat less, eat healthier foods (less meat is a big part of this)

As one commentator, Dr. Mark Hlatky put it:

About 120 people would have to take Crestor for two years to prevent a
single heart attack, stroke or death

and in terms of cost

Treating them all with Crestor would cost $9 billion a year and prevent
about 30,000 heart attacks, strokes or deaths

Not sure this is the best spend of our combined health dollars and certainly not for my individual dollars. Media hype of course will no doubt push up sales and buying Astra Zeneca stick right now might be a god short term investment but long term solution to the major killer ……… I think better healthier lifestyles is the better, more cost effective choice for everyone