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Showing posts from 2014

Let's Talk Ebola

Ebola is all the rage so it is time for EverythingHealth to "talk ebola". Unless you have been in a coma, you are aware that Ebola is sweeping through West Africa and there have been 3 identified cases in the United States.  This is a big news story so anxiety and fear are being felt by anyone who picks up a paper, goes on the internet or watches TV.  What does EverythingHealth say?  First....

Calm down, everyone!

Here are some ebola facts:
There are actually 5 different ebola viruses that cause hemorrhagic (bleeding) fever.Ebola is not very contagious because it is not air-borneInitial symptoms are fever, body ache, diarrhea, stomach pain and vomitingThe incubation period is up to 21 days
The average American is not going to be at risk for ebola. Direct contact with body fluid is needed so standing in a room or an airplane with an ebola victim will not cause infection. Gunshots kill more than 30,000 Americans a year.  Now there is a risk for you to worry about!

Healthcare pr…

Summertime Photosensitivity

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EverythingHealth got a little behind in posting the answer to the image challenge this week.  Click back on the link to see the photo.  The answer was #3 - Phototoxic dermatitis.  The erythema (redness) that you see in the photo is only on the sun-exposed skin, with sparing of a linear area on her nose and much of her head, areas that were covered by glasses and hair. That is a big hint in the diagnosis.

It is not uncommon for facial products or even systemic medications to cause a photosensitivity when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation.  The patient's lesions responded to sun protection and cortisone cream.

Photosensitivity is a type of sun toxicity of the skin.  Certain antibiotics (tetracycline, sulfa) can cause it in certain people.  Even NSAIDS like Advil or Naprosyn have been implicated as well as anti-fungal drugs and perfume fragrances.  It can occur minutes to hours after sun exposure and looks like an exaggerated sunburn.

Treatment is to avoid the causing agen…

A Summer Image Challenge

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It's been awhile since I have challenged EverythingHealth readers so here it is from the New England Journal of Medicine.  You be the diagnostician.

Click on the photo for a closer look.  Put your answer in the comments section and return tomorrow for the answer.

Is it a Kidney Stone?

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Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) affects 1 in 11 people in the U.S.  Some say its the worst pain they have ever experienced.   There are a number of causes for these stones, including diet, hereditary, chronic urinary infections, gastric bypass surgery or inflammatory bowel disease, and other medical conditions.  Sometimes we just don't know the cause, although they are more prevalent in men than in women.

Patients with acute flank pan often show up in the emergency department with severe pain.  Because other things can cause abdominal or back pain, patients will often undergo lots of tests (cat scans, ultrasounds etc) to determine the cause.  The British Medical Journal has published a study that shows a clinical prediction rule that proved valid in determining that the patient did, in fact, have a kidney stone.  Here is what they found:

Eight factors were associated with the presence of a ureteral stone. Each of them was assigned points:
male sex (2 points)duration of pain-greate…

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When to Get a Colonoscopy

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When you turn 50 years old, you enter the "procedure years".  Fifty is the magic age for getting a screening colonoscopy.  Why age 50?  Most gastrointestinal cancers are more prevalent as a person ages.  So guidelines are set to benefit the largest numbers of patients by recommending "screening" tests to detect cancer while it can still be removed completely and cured.  The key word here is screening.  That means there are no symptoms and the doctor is just doing surveillance. If a person has symptoms, family genetic cancers or other conditions that increase the chance of cancer the magic age of 50 doesn't apply and colonoscopy can be done at any time to diagnose a problem.

There are also clinical guidelines for continuing follow-up screening and here is where it gets muddled.  Gastroenterologists often don't adhere to these guidelines and patients can be confused as to when they should get a repeat exam.  These guidelines assume the baseline colonoscopy w…

Forget Supplements-It's All About Diet

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Millions of intelligent Americans are spending money on supplements that have no proven benefit in health or longevity and are ignoring what numerous studies have shown; preventing disease and dementia is all about the food you eat.  This is real science with reproduced results in numerous studies.  Here it is, folks.  Change your diet and change your life:

Avoid high glycemic carbohydrate diets:  Carbs with high glycemic index  have been shown to increase inflammation and oxidative stress leading to dementia.Eliminate completely high sugar diets : Even intermittent small blood sugar elevations lead to dementia...even in non-diabetics Eat one ounce of nuts/day:  Provides a great source of Vitamin EAvoid trans fats and fast food:  Numerous studies from different Countries show a dose/response relationship of increased depression and anxiety, not to mention heart disease and early death. Real fruit is better than fruit juice:  Real fruit is loaded with natural sugar but it has equal amo…

How to Tell if it's the Common Cold or Flu

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The "I feel awful" season is upon us.  I challenge any reader to say they don't know someone who is out sick with some type of upper respiratory infection.  Congestion, cough, body aches and fatigue can hit even if you wash your hands and take precautions.  So how can you tell if it is a viral cold or influenza?  And does it really matter since they are both viruses?

The symptoms of a cold or the flu can be quite similar and hard to tell the difference but here are some differentiating tips that doctors know and you can use too.  First, did it start slowly with a scratchy sore throat, sneezing and then build over a couple of days?  If you answered yes, it is probably a viral "cold".  The influenza virus usually hits with a slam.  You awaken feeling awful with body aches, fever and like you were "hit with a Mack truck".   People with the flu can tell you almost what hour they got sick and influenza is always respiratory.  That means a racking cough an…