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  • Implanted Heart Devices Affected by iPads May 27, 2015
    A new study has found that the magnetic interference from iPads could alter the settings or even deactivate implanted defibrillators. This interference comes from the magnets imbedded in the iPad 2 and its Smart Cover. Magnets in the heart devices …
  • Canadian Cancer Patient Says Korean Surgery Saved His Life May 22, 2015
    Gerd Trubenbach of British Columbia was diagnosed with cancer, as a huge tumor was growing in his neck. His family doctor suggested that the tumor could not be removed and there was nothing else that could be done. The wait …
  • How to Prevent Hemorrhoids May 20, 2015
    Many people have hemorrhoids at some time, and they are a common problem. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal, which can be painful but not usually serious. They are caused from too much pressure on the veins in …
  • Emergency Room Visits Increase with Obamacare May 15, 2015
    Obamacare predicted that expanding health insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits. A new study has found that newly insured people are actually visiting the ER more often, 40% more often than those who are uninsured. …
  • Transparency: Changing the US Healthcare System May 13, 2015
    Ralph Weber, President and CEO of MediBid, is interviewed by David Saltzman of ShiftShapers. Mr. Weber has been in the benefits business since the mid 1990s, serving clients in the US, Canada, and around the globe. A lack of information …
  • Appalachia Sees Increased Cases of Hepatitis C May 11, 2015
    Infections of Hepatitis C, a contagious liver infection spread by blood contact, has more than tripled in Appalachia – Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia – fueled by prescription drug abuse in rural areas. About 73% of patients are under …
  • An American Response to Losing ObamaCare Subsidies May 8, 2015
    by Jane Orient, MD This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court could, in King v. Burwell, uninsure 8 million Americans by finding that subsidies are illegal outside State Exchanges. Some Republicans are saying “Let it burn.” For Democrats, it’s “ObamaCare or nothing.” Can …
  • Arthritis Awareness – May Lab Specials May 6, 2015
    Nearly 53 million adults and 300,000 children in America have arthritis. By 2030, 67% of the population will suffer from one type of arthritis.  Arthritis, joint pain or joint disease, is the leading cause of disability in the United States. …
  • American Women are Drinking More Heavily May 4, 2015
    Barbara Feder Ostrov, Kaiser Health News Whether quaffing artisanal cocktails at hipster bars or knocking back no-name beers on the couch, more Americans are drinking heavily – and engaging in episodes of binge-drinking, concludes a major study of alcohol use. …
  • Shortage of Available Surgery Causes Deaths Worldwide May 1, 2015
    Millions of people die worldwide with treatable conditions because of the lack of routine surgeries, more than from malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis combined. Five billion of the seven billion people in the world cannot get needed surgery or pay for …
  • Cleaning Tips for a Healthy Home April 29, 2015
    Cleaning your home not only makes it look and smell better, it also can improve your family’s health.  Here are some activities you may not have thought of that will make you and your home healthy and safe: Dust Everything …
  • Using Mobile Devices at Night is Bad For Your Brain April 27, 2015
    Dr. Daniel Siegel, a psychiatrist from UCLA, states that staring into a glowing screen late at night is harmful to your brain and body. Staring at any screen at bedtime, be it computer, smartphone, or ipad, is worse than previously …
  • Few Patients Use Quality, Price Information To Make Health Decisions April 24, 2015
    by Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News Despite the government’s push to make health information more available, few people use concrete information about doctors or hospitals to obtain better care at lower prices, according to a poll released Tuesday. Prices for …
  • Shopping Tools Save Patients Cash on Medical Care April 22, 2015
    Vicki Burns of New Mexico needed a total hip replacement in 2012, but could not afford the hospital’s non-negotiable cash estimate of $79,000. Within two days of placing a patient request on MediBid, she received two bids. She chose a …
  • Hysteria’s History Episode 3 April 21, 2015
  • 20th Century Experiment Attempts to Turn Back Time April 20, 2015
    Ellen Langer, a Harvard psychologist, conducted a radical experiment in 1979 – the results of which were never published. Last fall, this study was featured in the New York Times. The study examined how aging’s effects could be altered or …
  • https://youtube.com/devicesupport April 17, 2015
  • Make Spring Cleaning a Workout April 17, 2015
    Chores you do around the house and garden can burn calories and stretch and tone muscles if done correctly. Short episodes of mild exercise can improve your fitness level if done with intensity and speed. Adding 30 minutes of chores …
  • Provisioning for the Opt Out Journey April 17, 2015
    Ophthalmologist David Richardson, MD on how to prepare for opting out of Medicare. From AAPS 70th Annual Meeting, September 2013, Denver, Colorado.
  • What America’s Decline in Economic Freedom Means for Entrepreneurship and Prosperity April 16, 2015
    The United States was once considered the land of opportunity where entrepreneurs such as Henry Ford, Ray Kroc and Steve Jobs contributed to a flourishing economy by providing new products and services at prices people were happy to pay.Today America’s …

Implanted Heart Devices Affected by iPads

A new study has found that the magnetic interference from iPads could alter the settings ipador even deactivate implanted defibrillators. This interference comes from the magnets imbedded in the iPad 2 and its Smart Cover. Magnets in the heart devices prevent sudden heart rate changes and are adjustable by physicians. When an iPad is used within close range, closer than normal reading distance from the chest or left on chest while sleeping, 30% of study participants had interference. It is very difficult to detect this kind of malfunction. All participants were over 50 years old and had implanted defibrillators, pacemakers, or loop recorders. Almost 19% of the patients with defibrillators had interference, yet there were no effects on those with pacemakers or loop recorders. Physicians should discuss the risks that technological devices may cause to their patients with implanted heart devices. These problems will continue until the design of tablets change.

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20130509/ipads-could-affect-implanted-heart-devices-early-study-finds

Gray, Barbara Bronson. “iPads Could Affect Implanted Heart Devices: Study.” WebMDNews. HealthDay News, 9 May 2015. Web. 27 May 2015.

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Canadian Cancer Patient Says Korean Surgery Saved His Life

Canadacare

Gerd Trubenbach of British Columbia was diagnosed with cancer, as a huge tumor was growing in his neck. His family doctor suggested that the tumor could not be removed and there was nothing else that could be done. The wait time to see an oncologist was eight weeks. Trubenbach’s Korean wife was furious with this delay and flew Gerd to South Korea. By the time they arrived, the tumor had more than doubled in size and required a 12-hour procedure to be removed. The procedure would not have been as complicated if it had been done sooner. Trubenbach left Canada for treatment because he says the healthcare system there is too slow. He ended up paying $8,000 and was declared cancer free after 100 days in the Korean hospital receiving radiation and chemotherapy.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/gerd-trubenbach-says-flying-to-korea-for-cancer-surgery-was-his-only-hope-1.3079619
Clancy, Natalie. “Gerd Trubenbach says flying to Korea for cancer surgery was his only hope.” British Columbia News. CBCNews, 20 May 2015. Web. 21 May 2015.

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How to Prevent Hemorrhoids

buttpain

Many people have hemorrhoids at some time, and they are a common problem. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal, which can be painful but not usually serious. They are caused from too much pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal area from constipation, pregnancy, and being overweight. The most common symptoms of internal and external hemorrhoids include bleeding, itching, and pain. Treatment can be as simple as adding more fiber to your diet, drinking more water, and using over-the-counter ointments for itching. Stool softeners also can be used. If other treatments don’t work, surgery may be required.

To prevent future irritation, eat plenty of fiber-rich foods, drink plenty of water, and get plenty of exercise.

  1. The easiest way to become more regular is by getting plenty of fiber, by diet or supplements. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
  2. Drinking water is simple and cheap, yet so few actually do it. Drinking enough water prevents constipation and decreases straining. Aim for six to eight glasses of water each day.
  3. Exercise keeps the colon more regular. However, activities that increase pressure, such as weightlifting, can cause the formation of hemorrhoids. Reduce your time sitting and putting pressure on the veins with moderate exercise such as yoga, swimming, or walking.
  4. If you choose to use a laxative, make sure to select one that works with your body, rather than forces your body into action. Osmotic laxatives simply increase water in the gut and reduce constipation.
  5. Don’t fight the urge to go. If you wait until an “opportune time”, straining will be more likely.
  6. Avoid straining in any form. Lifting heavy objects, a chronic cough, and pregnancy can cause hemorrhoids.

 

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/tc/hemorrhoids-topic-overview
“Hemorrhoids – Topic Overview.” Digestive Disorders. WebMD, 2015. Web. 20 May 2015.

http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/six-easy-ways-prevent-hemorrhoids/
Myers, Wyatt. “6 Easy Ways to Prevent Hemorrhoids.” Digestive Health. Everyday Health, 7 May 2015. Web. 20 May 2015.

 

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Emergency Room Visits Increase with Obamacare

emergencyroomObamacare predicted that expanding health insurance coverage for the poor would reduce costly emergency room visits. A new study has found that newly insured people are actually visiting the ER more often, 40% more often than those who are uninsured. These findings create doubt that the increased coverage will result in lower ER costs. The surge in insured people will put more pressure on emergency rooms, with nearly 12 million entering the Medicaid system. Economists say that emergency room use makes up only 4% of all health care costs, whereas inpatient hospital visits sit at 31%. MIT economist, Amy Finkelstein, says that the increased use of emergency rooms is based on a basic economic principle that when costs of services decrease, people will use them more.

Medicaid coverage also reduces the cost of a primary care doctor visit. Old habits of relying on the emergency room are hard to stop, and it takes time to find a primary care doctor. If a person received proper preventative care at a doctor’s office, emergency room use would drop. The study found that most of the non-urgent emergency room visits were from patients who could not get same-day appointments with their primary care physician.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/03/health/access-to-health-care-may-increase-er-visits-study-suggests.html?_r=0
Tavernise, Sabrina. “Emergency Visits Seen Increasing With Health Law.” Health. The New York Times, 2 Jan 2014. Web. 14 May 2015.

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Transparency: Changing the US Healthcare System

Ralph Weber, President and CEO of MediBid, is interviewed by David Saltzman of shiftshapersShiftShapers. Mr. Weber has been in the benefits business since the mid 1990s, serving clients in the US, Canada, and around the globe.

A lack of information in the current healthcare system leads to poor decisions. Static pricing is fixed, as with Medicare. Dynamic pricing changes with market fluctuations. Transparency is essential to market operations, yet more important than price is quality. There is little correlation between price and quality, as more expensive is not always Transparent-Market1the best choice. Millenials do not accept the status quo, and this shift in attitudes about benefits are changing the system. Dr. Keith Smith of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma lists his prices online and can change them at the touch of a button. Posting prices affects the community, competitors, and other hospitals. New plan designs need to embrace transparency, since it kick-starts the competitive environment.

States are passing initiatives to provide transparency in the healthcare system. Employees can bid and bundle pricing. Differing models will create a different marketplace in the future.

Listen to the entire interview with Ralph Weber at:
http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/05/12/can-transparency-change-the-us-healthcare-system-p

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Appalachia Sees Increased Cases of Hepatitis C

hepatitis

Infections of Hepatitis C, a contagious liver infection spread by blood contact, has more than tripled in Appalachia – Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia – fueled by prescription drug abuse in rural areas. About 73% of patients are under age 30 and injected drugs. The infection rate has more than doubled from 2010 to 2013. Baby Boomers should get tested because of many undiagnosed cases from those growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. Two thirds of cases are long term and chronic infections, causing liver damage and death. A new drug cures 90% of patients, but is very expensive – a 12 week course of treatment.

Hepatitis C is concentrated in rural areas with high opioid abuse. Over 4.5 million Americans abused prescription painkillers in 2013 and 289,000 used heroin. Heroin is cheaper and easier to get. More than 20,000 Americans die from hepatitis C each year, more than die from AIDS. The CDC is concerned about HIV infections, which also spread with contaminated needles. Abuse of prescription painkillers has caused an outbreak of HIV in rural Indiana, and the Governor called for a one-month syringe exchange for clean needles.

There is great need for testing, medical care, and treatment services at substance abuse treatment centers. Needle exchanges dramatically cut the rate of HIV transmission among injection drug users. HIV cases dropped from 52% to 3% where needle exchanges were available. These exchanges also offer counseling, disease testing, and referrals to treatment locations. Offering more needle exchanges will reduce hepatitis and HIV infections. Prevention and treatment are necessary in combatting the opioid epidemic.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/05/07/drug-use-increases-hepatitis/70907318/
Szabo, Liz. “Hepatitis C infections soaring, fueled by prescription painkiller abuse.” News. USA Today, 8 May 2015. Web. 10 May 2015.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/07/us-usa-hepatitis-idUSKBN0NS2HE20150507
Steenhuysen, Julie. “Hepatitis C rates jump in four central Appalachian states: CDC.” Health. Reuters, 7 May 2015. Web. 10 May 2015.

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An American Response to Losing ObamaCare Subsidies

by Jane Orient, MD

This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court could, in King v. Burwell, uninsure 8 million Americans by finding that subsidies are illegal outside State Exchanges.constitution

Some Republicans are saying “Let it burn.” For Democrats, it’s “ObamaCare or nothing.” Can you detect a difference? How about an American, rather than a partisan response? One that is voluntary and constitutional.

Amid the wreckage left by ObamaCare, one arrangement remains standing, exempt from the individual mandate: the healthcare sharing ministry.

This offers the prospect of a solution to the real problems:

  • Medical care costs too much, and so does medical insurance.
  • The reason medical care costs so much is third-party payment (“comprehensive insurance”).
  • ObamaCare drives costs up still more with its expensive mandates.

Instead of forcing taxpayers, present and unborn, to pay most of the unaffordable premiums, the sharing ministries can drastically reduce costs, while restoring patient control.

Image courtesy of [ddpavumba] FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe fact is that Americans throw fistfuls of money out the window every month for insurance premiums for care they do not need or want. That money is gone forever. If they develop a problem, the insurer might deny them the care that is best—or, if their policy has lapsed, they might as well have been uninsured the whole time. If they had instead put the money in the bank, they would have it to spend when the need arose.

So should taxpayers throw fistfuls of money out the window for other people’s insurance premiums?

Insurance, after all, is a gamble. You gamble that you’ll have a disaster that the insurer will pay for. The insurance company gambles that you’ll pay premiums month after month and never collect. Like in casinos everywhere, the house always wins in the long run.

It makes sense to risk $1,000 to protect against the very tiny chance of a $1 million loss. It makes no sense to throw away $10,000 per year to prepay for $248 worth of care, the average payout for 50% of healthy Americans. For 95%, insurance pays out less than $10,000 in a year. And family premiums are heading for more than $17,500 in 2015.

The only reason for buying such an expensive product voluntarily is fear of an outrageously high hospital bill. The self-pay patient is routinely billed at the Chargemaster rate, a multiple of what is paid by Medicare, Medicaid, or commercial insurers. Another reason for buying it, not exactly voluntarily, is to avoid ObamaCare penalties.

What if hospitals could not discriminate based on the source of payment? What if self-pay patients were not the equivalent of Untouchables?

People in States without State Exchanges will have a tremendous opportunity if the Supreme Court nixes the subsidies. These are the potential benefits:

  • Many more will be exempt from the individual mandate because of unaffordable unsubsidized premiums.
  • Employers will be relieved of huge penalties that can be incurred if a single worker collects a subsidy.
  • People could exercise a choice for better, more personal care, at a much lower cost.

Health-sharing ministries are a vastly underutilized option—and they work in States with libertyshareExchanges too. Some require attendance at a Christian church, but Liberty HealthShare only requires sharing a set of common ethical principles—such as individual responsibility.

For example, one plan now under development would have a monthly family share amount, paid on behalf of a patient or family with a need, of $150 per month. This is lower than the 2016 minimum family penalty for opting out ($2,085/year), and members of such plans are exempted by law from the mandate. The individual share amount of $50 per month is half the $107 per month average cost of subsidized ObamaCare. The nonshared amount is 50 percent of the Bronze ObamaCare deductible. The plan depends on the members’ negotiating Medicare rates at the hospital. Many hospitals will gladly accept that amount if promptly paid.

Instead of bowing to ObamaCare, States could ensure that health-sharing ministries are not misconstrued to be insurance. They could also expedite the approval of Obama noncompliant low-cost catastrophic insurance. Without the subsidies, their State, including its low-income citizens, would be far better off.


Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989. She is currently president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. Since 1988, she has been chairman of the Public Health Committee of the Pima County (Arizona) Medical Society. She is the author of YOUR Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Healthcare, and the second through fourth editions of Sapira’s Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis, published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. More than 100 of her papers have been published in the scientific and popular literature on a variety of subjects including risk assessment, natural and technological hazards and nonhazards, and medical economics and ethics. She is the editor of AAPS News, the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, and Civil Defense Perspectives, and is the managing editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

http://www.aapsonline.org/index.php/site/article/an_american_response_to_loss_of_obamacare_subsidies/
Orient MD, Jane M. “An American Response to Loss of ObamaCare Subsidies.” What’s New. Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, 3 May 2015. Web. 7 May 2015.

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Arthritis Awareness – May Lab Specials

ArthritisNearly 53 million adults and 300,000 children in America have arthritis. By 2030, 67% of the population will suffer from one type of arthritis.  Arthritis, joint pain or joint disease, is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Common symptoms of arthritis include swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. There are over 100 types of arthritis, as it can be caused by immune disorders, infections, or overuse and age.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. When cartilage wears away, bone rubs on bone, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. This can be aggravated by obesity, overuse, and age.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s cells fight the healthy cells, resulting in damaged or destroyed healthy cells, causing loss of motion in the fingers. Early diagnosis is critical. Slowing progression and aggressive treatment can minimize or prevent permanent joint damage. Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis affects young people under age 16.

Infectious arthritis is caused from an illness that gets into the joints. Such infections include salmonella, shigella, and hepatitis C. Symptoms can last up to a year, but can be treated with antibiotics.

Most arthritis can be managed with education, doctor care, weight loss, and exercise. Exercise is vital as it allows the joints to open and remove stiffness. Moderate to low impact physical activity can less symptoms and delay disability due to arthritis. Joint protection includes weight control, exercise, good posture, and knowing your limits. To preserve joint function and mobility, making time for physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight are essential.


Protect your future mobility and quality of life from the negative effects of arthritis by getting some specialized lab tests. This is a great way to be proactive and keep up with your health as well as that of your loved ones. Below are the May specials from DirectLabs.

order nowSedimentation Rate$19 (Regular Price $28; Retail $36)

An indirect measure of the degree of inflammation present in the body. It is used to screen for inflammation, cancer, and infection. A high sed rate is found in a wide variety of infectious, inflammatory, and malignant diseases – the presence of an abnormality which needs further evaluation.

order now General Health Panel$29 (Regular Price $45; Retail $77)

Includes:
CMP-14: The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP-14) is a frequently ordered group of 14 laboratory tests that gives important information about the current status of your kidneys, liver, and electrolyte and acid/base balance as well as of your blood sugar and blood proteins. Abnormal results, and especially combinations of abnormal results, can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed.

CBC: Used as a broad screening test to check for such disorders as anemia, infection, and many other diseases. It is actually a panel of tests that examines different parts of the blood.

order nowC-Reactive Protein, (CRP) Quantitative $39 (Regular Price $54; Retail $68)

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance made by the liver and secreted into the bloodstream within a few hours after the start of an infection or inflammation. CRP levels are used to diagnose and monitor autoimmune disorders.

order nowArthritis Package – $99 (Regular Price $197; Retail $349)

Includes:
C-Reactive Protein: Used as a test for inflammatory diseases, infections, and neoplastic diseases. CRP is a more sensitive, rapidly responding indicator than ESR. CRP may be used to detect early postoperative wound infection and to follow therapeutic response to anti-inflammatory agents. Progressive increases correlate with increases of inflammation/injury.

Rheumatoid Factor: The test for rheumatoid factor (RA) is used to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. The test may also be used to help diagnose an arthritis-related condition called Sjögren’s syndrome. About 80% to 90% of patients with this syndrome have high amounts of RA in their blood.

ANA: Antinuclear Antibodies, is used to help diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and drug-induced lupus, but may also be positive in cases of scleroderma, Sjögren’s syndrome, Raynaud’s disease, juvenile chronic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, autoimmune hepatitis, and many other autoimmune and non-autoimmune diseases. For this reason, SLE, which is commonly known as lupus, can be tricky to diagnose correctly. Because the ANA test result may be positive in a number of these other diseases, additional testing can help to establish a diagnosis of SLE. Your doctor may run other tests that are considered subsets of the general ANA test and that are used in conjunction with patient symptoms and clinical history to rule out a diagnosis of other autoimmune diseases.

Uric Acid: The uric acid test is used to learn whether the body might be breaking down cells too quickly or not getting rid of uric acid quickly enough. The test also is used to monitor levels of uric acid when a patient has had chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Sed Rate: A blood test which is used to screen for inflammation, cancer, and infection. A high sed rate is found in a wide variety of infectious, inflammatory, and malignant diseases – the presence of an abnormality which needs further evaluation.

CMP-14: Includes the following:

Glucose: Blood sugar level, the most direct single test to uncover diabetes, may be used not only to identify diabetes, but also to evaluate how one controls the disease.

Kidneys: Bun (Urea Nitrogen)—Another by-product of protein metabolism eliminated through the kidneys. BUN is an indicator of kidney function.
Creatinine, Serum—An indicator of kidney function
Bun/Creatinine Ratio—Calculated by dividing the BUN by the Creatinine
Glomerular Filtration (eGFR)—Provides an assessment of the filtering capacity of the kidney.

Fluids & Electrolytes:
Sodium—One of the major salts in the body fluid, sodium is important in the body’s water balance and the electrical activity of nerves and muscles.
Potassium—Helps to control the nerves and muscles
Chloride—Similar to sodium, it helps to maintain the body’s electrolyte balance
Carbon Dioxide, Total—Used to help detect, evaluate, and monitor electrolyte imbalances.

Calcium: A mineral essential for development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It is important also for the normal function of muscles, nerves and blood clotting.

Liver: Protein, Total—Together with albumin, it is a measure of the state of nutrition in the body. Globulin, Total—A major group of proteins in the blood comprising the infection fighting antibodies
Albumin/Globulin Ratio—Calculated by dividing the albumin by the globulin
Bilirubin, Total—A chemical involved with liver functions. High concentrations may result in jaundice.
Alkaline Phosphatase—A body protein important in diagnosing proper bone and liver functions
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST or SGOT)—an enzyme found in skeletal and heart muscle, liver and other organs. Abnormalities may represent liver disease.
Albumin—Serum one of the major proteins in the blood and a reflection of the general state of nutrition Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT or SGPT)—an enzyme found primarily in the liver. Abnormalities may represent liver disease.

CBC w/diff & plt: The Complete Blood Count (CBC) test is used as a broad screening test to check for such disorders as anemia, infection, and many other diseases.

 

http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis.php
“What is Arthritis?” About Arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. Web. 5 May 2015.

“May is Arthritis Awareness Month”. Direct Laboratory Services Email Specials, 1 May 2015. Web. 5 May 2015.

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American Women are Drinking More Heavily

Barbara Feder Ostrov, Kaiser Health News

Whether quaffing artisanal cocktails at hipster bars or knocking back no-name beers on the couch, more Americans are drinking heavily – and engaging in episodes of binge-drinking, concludes a major study of alcohol use.

womendrink

Heavy drinking among Americans rose 17.2 percent between 2005 and 2012, largely due to rising rates among women, according to the study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines heavy drinking as exceeding an average of one drink per day during the past month for women and two drinks per day for men. Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on a single occasion at least once during the past month.

The increases are driven largely by women’s drinking habits as social norms change, researchers found. In Santa Clara County, Calif., for example, women’s binge drinking rates rose by nearly 36 percent between 2002 and 2012, compared with 23 percent among men.

Nationwide over the course of the decade, the rate of binge drinking among women increased more than seven times the rate among men.

“It seems like women are trying to catch up to the men in binge drinking,” said Ali Mokdad, a lead author of the study. “It’s really, really scary.”

The study is the first to track adult drinking patterns at the county level. In 2012, 8 percent of Americans were considered heavy drinkers and 18 percent were binge drinkers.

Despite the increases in heavy drinking, the percentage of people who drink any alcohol has remained relatively unchanged over time, researchers found.

Madison County, Idaho, reported the lowest rate of binge drinking in 2012, at 6 percent, while Menominee, Wis., had the highest rate, at 36 percent. Hancock County, Tenn., had the fewest heavy drinkers (2 percent of residents) and Esmeralda County, Nev., recorded the most (22 percent).

About 88,600 U.S. deaths were attributed to alcohol in 2010, the researchers note, and the cost of excessive drinking has been estimated at more than $220 billion per year.

The increase in binge drinking doesn’t surprise Terri Fukagawa, clinical director of the New Life Recovery Centers in San Jose, Calif., where 15 of her 24 treatment beds are filled with clients primarily addicted to alcohol. She said she’s seen more people seeking treatment for alcoholism in the past four years.

Still, she noted, “there are a lot of people still out there needing treatment, but they won’t come in unless they have a consequence like losing a job or [getting] a DUI. They think they have control over it.”

Public health experts offer a number of cultural and economic explanations for the increase in excessive drinking.

As a result of changed social norms, it’s now more acceptable for women to drink the way men traditionally have, said Tom Greenfield, scientific director at the Alcohol Research Group at the Oakland, Calif.-based Public Health Institute.

Young people are more likely to binge drink, and affluent people have the money to drink more. So the influx of wealthy professionals in cities like San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland – many in hard-working, hard-partying tech jobs – may have helped spur significant spikes in drinking rates in the Bay Area and similar communities, experts said.

Taxes on alcohol have not risen along with the Consumer Price Index, so wine, beer and liquor have gotten cheaper over time in real dollars, he said.

Alcohol advertising, particularly for hard liquor, has increased in recent years. A Federal Trade Commission study found that companies spent about $3.45 billion to advertise alcoholic beverages in 2011.

Alcohol control policies, such as limits on when and where alcohol can be sold and how long bars can stay open, have weakened in past decades, Greenfield said. That may partly explain rising consumption nationwide, particularly in some states where “blue laws” once prohibited alcohol sales on Sundays or in supermarkets.

To conduct the study, researchers analyzed data on about 3.7 million Americans aged 21 and older from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing telephone survey of health behaviors conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nonprofit national health policy news service. 

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http://kaiserhealthnews.org/news/americans-are-drinking-more-heavily-especially-women/

Ostrov, Barbara Feder. “Americans Are Drinking More Heavily, Especially Women.” News. Kaiser Health News, 23 Apr 2015. Web. 3 May 2015.heavhea

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Shortage of Available Surgery Causes Deaths Worldwide

Millions of people die worldwide with treatable conditions because of the lack of routine surgeries, more than from malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis combined. Five billion of the seven billion people in the world cannot get needed surgery or pay for it because of a surgeon and anesthetist shortage in poor and middle-income countries. Nearly 17 million died from conditions requiring surgery. Avoidable deaths include car crashes, farm accidents, and infected gall bladders and hernias. Cancer, heart disease, and cataract operations don’t happen. There is a shortage of at least 143 million surgical procedures every year. Non-doctors are being trained in cesarean sections to save women’s lives. The costs of providing safe and accessible surgery is lower than may have been originally thought. Surgery is weakest in 88 countries – including China, India, and South Africa. The economies of developing countries will lose a great deal of money in the next 15 years without investing in improving surgical options.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/27/us-health-surgery-idUSKBN0NI1QE20150427
Whiting, Alex. “Shortfall in operations causes a third of deaths worldwide: Lancet.” Health. Reuters, 27 Apr 2015. Web. 1 May 2015.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/28/health/routine-surgeries-could-save-millions-of-lives-if-they-were-available.html
McNeil Jr, Donald G. “Routine Surgeries Could Save Millions of Lives, if They Were Available.” Global Health. New York Times, 27 Apr 2015. Web. 1 May 2015.

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