Tuesday, October 29, 2013

World Stroke Day!

Today, October 29th, is World Stroke Day. As a spokesperson for the American Heart and Stroke Associations, I feel like it's my duty to help spread awareness and education on a daily basis about this issue. However, considering the fact that today is a HUGE day in terms of awareness, I thought I would give you all a little info about Strokes- the number 4 cause of death in the US!

A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures (a hemorrhagic stroke) or is occluded by a clot (an ischemic stroke). Scarily, 80% of strokes are preventable...that's right! So, part of World Stroke Day is reducing you, your family's and your friend's risk of stroke. How do you do this? Simple...the tips are the same ones that I harp on on almost every blog post. DO NOT SMOKE. Exercise regularly. Lower your blood sugar. Lower your cholesterol. Eat right. Lose weight. Pretty much the same stuff you should be doing everyday anyway!

The treatment for each stroke is different, depending on the type of stroke. Most important of all though, is recognition of the symptoms of stroke. The American Heart and Stroke Associations have developed an easy way of helping you to remember the symptoms of a stroke: FAST

F- Facial Drooping
A- Arm weakness
S- Speech Difficulty
T- Time to Call 911 !

Again...the MOST IMPORTANT thing is TIME!! One of the main treatments for a stroke is a "clot-busting" medication called tPA. This medication can only be administered from less than 3-4.5 hours from the ONSET of symptoms. TIME IS BRAIN! It's always to be better safe than sorry. If you have any doubt that you or anyone is experiencing a stroke, call 911!

Wishing you a great Tuesday!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

OBAMACARE...Part Deux.

I had quite the surprise the other day. I received my renewal of insurance benefits for next year in the mail. I was in complete...and utter...shock. In prior years, I had amazing insurance. Amazing. Low deductibles and low premium with some pretty darn good coverage. This year, not so much. I looked like a dog when a human is asking them a question...you know, with my head leaned to the side with a puzzled look on my face. Then, a colleague of mine said..."Uh..Tiff...that's Obamacare's effect on you." Awesome.

Then, I started doing a little research. It seems as though that I am not the only person this is happening to. On the contrary, it is happening to the vast majority of people. And the people that it is affecting are not just those who already have insurance, but those out shopping on the insurance exchange under the Obamacare plan are facing the same situation. Many insurances on the exchange are plans with deductibles of up to $2000-$10,000.  These deductibles represent out-of-pocket money that patients have to spend BEFORE their insurance benefits kick in, and a lot of times are collected up front at a physicians office. Now, you tell me how this is going to work. 

Admitted, millions of Americans will be able to apply for federal assistance to help neutralize some of these ridiculous costs....but there are millions that will not. Also, many states (Florida included) chose not to expand Medicaid, meaning that those families which cannot afford the insurance in the exchange may also not be able to receive Medicaid benefits. Again, I say...just because you have "access" to health care does NOT by ANY MEANS address the fact that you will be able to afford the care, or that a doctor "must" see you. 

There is a lot more to write in terms of this new ACA. (Including how there will be a lot less "doctor visits" and a lot more "nurse visits"). Also, I want to be extraordinarily clear that I am in full 100% support of the idea that all people should be able to receive health care benefits....but I also think that it is responsibility of all of us...as citizens... to understand the details of this..and how we will ALL be affected..not just those without insurance now...


Monday, October 14, 2013

Fact vs. Fiction!

So, it’s been a while…again. I know. BUT- I’m going to make it up to you. Here’s the story: Lately, I have been noticing a lot of odd remarks by my patients…things that they believe are “true” about medicine, or health, and could not be farther from the truth. So…today we are going to play…Fact or Fiction!

            1. Your pee has to be clear.
FICTION. This is one of my all time favorites. Let me say this one time…Your pee does NOT have to be clear. Literally, I have a friend who carries around a bottle of water to drink so his pee will be clear because it is “not healthy” if it is not. Well, I have news for you guys…pee is supposed to be yellow. Normal urine color ranges from pale yellow to deep amber in color, depending on how concentrated it is. By NO means does your urine “have” to be clear. Things that should raise flags: red or pink urine, foamy urine, cloudy urine or foul smelling urine. Remember also that vitamins and some medications may change the color of your pee!

2.  Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis
FICTION. There have been studies on this, and it’s just not the case. Now, repetitive cracking may weaken the ligaments, which may cause issues later down the line, but definitely not arthritis.

3. You need to drink 8 glasses of water a day.
Your pee does NOT have to be clear and
you do NOT necessarily need 8 glasses of
H2O a day!
            FICTION. This goes back to #1. I have no idea      
            where this came from but it is silly. If I drank 8   
            glasses of water each day I wouldn't get any 
            work done because I would be in the bathroom 
            with my “clear pee” the entire day. This is 
            simple: drink when you are thirsty. If you are 
            going to exercise, drink more and if you are 
            sick, drink more. Otherwise…when you are      

                                             4. Aloe is good for burns
Great natural burn remedy!
FACT! Now, why were you laying in the sun, to begin with?! Anywho…yes. Aloe is indeed good for all sorts of burns, from sun burns to flat-iron neck burns (been there, done that). Studies have shown that aloe is great for the healing time in superficial burns- but remember that aloe should never be applied to open wounds!

5. Vaccinations will give your child autism.
Holy FICTION!! Please refer to my previous blog post…here. It’s entirely too late for me to get worked up over this, so if it interests you, refer to my other article on the blog about this. Sometimes I just want to pick up the phone, call Jenny McCarthy and thank her for scaring the crap out of parents everywhere for no reason. Well, at least the head researcher was stripped of his medical license for publishing this crap. SMH.

Yay! That was fun. I’ll have #6-10 for another blog…keep you guys on your toes!!

Until next time…..