Friday, December 27, 2013

Year in Review!

Well, 2013 has been quite the year for us. We successfully opened an office (and let me tell you...this was WAY harder to do than what we ever expected)! Our country has implemented perhaps the most debated and controversial reform known to date-- health care reform. Personally, I have lost friends and family members to accidents and disease...but you know what they say...as one passes another is born. 'Tis the circle of life. P.S. There is a pretty good reason why I have been so lackadaisical with my posting lately, but you will have to read the WHOLE post to find out why...:)

In health care news, 2013 has brought about some interested research and new ideas in medicine. I thought that I would address my top 5 favorite (and most important) here on my last post of 2013.

1. Change in Cholesterol Guidelines
To me, this was probably the biggest news of 2013. The ACC/AHA (American College of Cardiology & the American Heart Association) published new guidelines for the treatment of cholesterol in November of this year. Simply, these guidelines will dramatically alter the way physicians treat patients now in regards to their cholesterol. We are now focusing less on the numbers, and more on the "story" behind the cholesterol. Instead of reaching a certain goal LDL across the board, the goals are now tailored to each patient. You can read more about these guidelines...here.

The Artificial Heart
2. The Artificial Heart.
Just this month the first 100% artificial heart was transplanted into a patient in France. This heart, weighing three times the size of a normal human heart, is self- regulating and mimics a real human heart in incredible ways. (Including the cost- approximately $200,000). The heart can beat for 5 years and is meant to serve as a "lay-over" for patients with end-stage heart disease while they await a human transplant...for now. Who is to say that this device will pave the future for transplants? I think a BIG door to the future was just opened.

3. Sleep is Special.
2013 was a big year for sleep medicine. More and more research is beginning to emerge about the importance of sleep time and sleep hygiene. One study showed that sleep loss negatively affected the immune system as well as increased inflammation in the body. Other studies have shown a direct link to sleep apnea and heart disease and stroke. Heck, one study even showed a better golf game with correction of sleep apnea! (I can't make this stuff up...) Conclusion? Sleep (good sleep) is a necessity for your body. If you do not think that you are sleeping well (or your partner can't sleep because of your snoring...) then go see a sleep medicine specialist!

4. Morning After Pill
Earlier this year, the ban on age-restrictions for the morning after pill was lifted. Previously, a person 17 years and younger had to obtain a prescription for the pill. Now, Plan B (and generic versions) are available to all women of child bearing age without a prescription. The pill is most effective at preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of intercourse.

5. The comeback of measles...and others.
Refer to my previous rant...here. This year we have seen previously abolished diseases come back with force- measles and pertussis (whooping cough) being the two biggest ones. Why? Primarily due to the lack of proper vaccinations in this country following the inaccurate "vaccines cause autism" study years ago. Point #1- Vaccines DO NOT cause autism. It's been proven multiple times. Point #2- We do not live in the 1800's, so let's not re-create diseases that we have learned to eradicate.

What a year we have had. Both in medicine and in life. I have lost a good friend this year as well as my grandmother just yesterday. My losses are bittersweet. After a while trying, Camilo and I are happy to announce that we will be first time parents in the new year! We have a lucky little baby...personal guardian angels just for him/her. This is why I have been a little....behind...:)

Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2014!!!