Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Asymptomatic Symptomanic Static on Routine Pelvic Exams

Guidelines for pelvic exams in women has been "updated" again.  Avoiding pelvic exams in asymptomatic, non pregnant adult women is the newest "recommended" guideline.  Could this mean that a woman who meets these criteria should refrain from routine exams until she becomes symptomatic and/ or pregnant?  If this were the case, how many women would be left out of possibly being diagnosed with a disease that was indeed asymptomatic until diagnosed on a routine pelvic exam?

In asymptomatic non pregnant females, my diagnoses have included cervical cancer in an 80 year old, ovarian cancer in a 20 year old, massive uterine fibroid tumor in a 40 year old.  The routine pelvic exam was able to detect these malignant and pre-malignant conditions before they became life threatening.  Early detection allowed these ladies to escape the perilous pitfalls of cancer.  In these cases simple surgery was the cure.  They remained asymptomatic and cancer free by continuing with their routine pelvic exam and checkup.

Without symptoms may appear to indicate a disease free state, but often times it reveals disease.  It is up to patients and their health care providers to include routine exams in their health care plan.  Routine can be yearly, every other year or two, or less frequently depending on the patients medical history.  Routine evaluation and assessment is based on each individual.

Routine pelvic exam guidelines are just that, suggested recommendations that should be considered.  For this doctor and many others, especially women, routine pelvic exams will still be part of a well woman visit as deemed necessary.  The schedule is as follows:
  • 18 - 20 first pelvic exam, sooner if sexually active and/or symptomatic
  • 20 - 60 pelvic exam every year to every other year unless symptomatic
  • 60 - life pelvic exam every 2-3 years unless symptomatic
Routine pelvic exams and pelvic/ transvaginal sonograms together offer earlier detection and diagnosis of more gynecological diseases that can be treated effectively before they affect a woman's quality of life.  In addition, they help avoid "all in your head" misdiagnosis, and can be lifesaving.  As for the concern of "false positives" and unnecessary tests...forget about the asymptomatic symptomatic static.  Most abnormal exams and tests can be repeated and followed on a closer routine schedule that may prevent riskier intervention.  Talk with your doctor about what is best for you.  Best health!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Emergency Plan Helps Save Your Health

"Prepare. Plan. Stay informed."

When emergency occurs it is good for you and your family to be prepared and have a plan.  Your contact list should include agencies listed below and the local numbers for your area.  If you have a condition that requires special assistance, many of these agencies have contact information for preparation before an emergency occurs.  For example, most state power and utility companies have special assistance programs for those in need of power to run medical supportive devices.

During an emergency many resources are utilized quickly.  Make your emergency plan a family priority to prevent and avoid unhealthy adverse events.  Best health!

Emergency Contact List

Phone: 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767 / 1-800-257-7575 (EspaƱol)

Phone: 1-800- BEREADY (1-800-237-3239)

CDC Emergency Preparedness for Flood, Hurricane, Wildfires and more

Phone: (800) CDC-INFO/(800) 232-4636) TTY (888) 232-6348

National Weather Service

NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration)
NOAA in Your State

Disaster Assistance: (800) 621-FEMA, TTY (800) 462-7585

Flood Smart (NFIP - National Flood Insurance Program}
Phone: 1- 888-379-9531

National Association of County and City Health Officials
local public health resource

National Guard

Friday, August 29, 2014

Family Health: Guide Yourself to Quality Healthcare

Consumer demand, new drugs and medical technologies, litigation, higher insurance premiums, and other factors have all been fueling rising healthcare costs. At the same time, many patients justifiably feel that medical services have become increasingly impersonal. Too often, quality attention from the proverbial family doctor has been replaced by the “assembly line” approach of faceless bureaucracies. How is a patient to successfully navigate this modern maze of providers, specialists, insurers, and so forth and at the same time get the attention they need to maintain personal (not to mention financial) health? 

Patient Handbook to Medical Care: Your Personal Health Guide
offers an overview of the healthcare system from a different point of view and advises patients on how they can take their health into their own hands by becoming both informed and proactive.

As Dr. Richardson eloquently puts it:

In our society we are accustomed to taking a doctor’s word on the state of our medical condition and treatment whether or not we understand it and either without asking any questions or without getting adequate answers to the questions we might pose. Today that might not be a healthy situation. It is necessary to be informed to get the most from your health plan and to get the best medical care from the medical resources available in the healthcare system. By reading this book, you will find out how to take charge of your most important asset—you.

This philosophical perspective is that the patient, insofar as it is possible, needs to take charge of his or her health care self care. 

The book is structured in a logical, reader-friendly manner, providing overviews of all the major topics related to healthcare, from effective record keeping to obtaining quality health coverage.
The first step toward taking charge of your health is keeping accurate medical records and a medical diary. Patients are offered a detailed overview of how their doctor visit should go educating readers about all the various aspects of a routine physical or checkup.  Patients will recognize whether they are receiving quality, comprehensive care, and will know what they should be getting.  The core philosophy is that knowledge offers patients more health options and better health.  Subsequent chapters educate patients about the importance of preventive checkups, common medical tests, the various kinds of doctors and specialists, and healthcare quality.

Patient Handbook to Medical Care: Your Personal Health Guide is essential knowledge in an easy-to-assimilate large print format bound paperback book (adjustable print on e-books). Readers will walk away from the book with a much clearer idea of what to expect from the healthcare system, and what to do to ensure the preservation of their own health.  Best health!