Diabetes is a common disease that affects approximately 30 million Americans of all ages. Although Type 2 Diabetes is most commonly diagnosed, many individuals are misdiagnosed and receive treatment for the wrong type of diabetes. While both types, 1 and 2, are similar, patients can become more ill or even die if they fail to treat the correct type of diabetes.
“Many medical conditions, such as diabetes, require a timely and correct diagnosis in order to effectively treat the illness,” says Abelson, a Washington DC Medical Malpractice Lawyer, “unfortunately, doctors and other medical professionals frequently fail to make a prompt and proper diagnosis, which may result in serious medical complications.” If you have diabetes, it’s crucial that you are being treated for the correct type and pay close attention to any negative changes in your health once you have received a diagnosis.
Everyone has heard of it and millions of people have been diagnosed with it, but not many people understand diabetes or know that there are different types. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder and occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin (the hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the bloodstream). Glucose is made up of the sugars and starches found in a variety of foods and creates energy. An individual with diabetes doesn’t have enough insulin or the body doesn’t use it effectively and as a result the glucose levels rise to dangerous levels.
- Type 1: This type is also known as “Juvenile Diabetes” as it is typically diagnosed in younger people from children to young adults. This less common type of diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to make insulin because the immune system has destroyed the beta cells in the pancreas.
- Type 2: This type of diabetes is most common, found most often in adults, and is also often misdiagnosed or diagnosed late. Type 2 is often related to genetics and obesity. Excess weight forces the pancreas to produce more insulin, but over time with continued strain, the pancreas loses ability to produce enough insulin to keep glucose levels normal.
Untreated diabetes, both types, can have symptoms similar to other health issues. As a result, some diabetes cases are improperly diagnosed. For instance, if a young patient comes into the doctor’s office with dizzy spells and extreme fatigue, doctors may be quick to diagnose the flu or a viral infection, treat it with antibiotics and send the family home (when in reality, the child has Type 1 diabetes). In just a few short hours, a wrong diagnosis can threaten a patient’s health to a deadly degree.
Properly diagnosing a patient with diabetes can also prevent the development of fatal diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Diabetes symptoms can vary from blurred vision to irritability to numb arms and legs. It’s important to remember that not every individual experiences the same symptoms. Individuals who suspect they have diabetes or are diagnosed with the disease should keep close tabs on their symptoms, communicate with their doctor, and always get a second opinion if there is any doubt or fear of misdiagnosis.
Losing weight is hard. Fast food, lack of time, expensive equipment, and conflicting nutritional advice all seem to conspire to keep you from getting into the shape you want. Dietary plans and exercise regimens are hard to follow; it’s extremely difficult to pay attention to everything you eat, every stray bit of exercise you get in, and every time you slip up. Even if you get a good plan, you have difficulty knowing how well or poorly you’re following it.
Self-monitoring apps attempt to solve these problems. Get the right program, and you’ve got a dietitian, and personal trainer, and health journal all at your fingertips. While the research into these apps’ success rates is still unclear, there is no doubt that they work for many people. Here are some of the big ways in which self-monitoring apps can help you stay healthy.
Simply knowing what to do and what to avoid is a big problem for many would-be health nuts. Ask ten people their health advice and you’ll get ten answers. A good self-monitoring health app—be it nutrition, heart health, or diabetes tracking—will give you consistent advice. And consistency is a big deal; sticking to one plan ensure you won’t jump from strategy to another, following whatever is convenient at the moment. And, since the app’s on your phone, a second opinion is a just a couple Google clicks away. Apps can tell you what to eat, when to exercise, and even how much alcohol you’re safe to drink. Self-monitoring programs can fill your head with knowledge and your body with nutrition.
Self-monitoring apps can give you great advice on what to do and when. One difficulty of taking care of yourself is that there’s too much information out there. You can get overwhelmed with decisions. Many psychological researchers point to decision fatigue as a legitimate obstacle for people in every walk of life. Making constant choices about what to eat, when to run, and whether or not to take one action or another is a real pitfall of self-care. If it’s too complicated, you’ll give up. Life is complicated enough. An app that makes recommendations for you can spare you some much- needed brain power. And, since many apps are designed using expert advice, you can trust that those tips are good.
Self-monitoring apps help you keep track of what you do and when. One great aspect of this trait is that even when you slip up, you’re generating good data to use for later. You can look for, say, everything you ate last July, when you gained 20 pounds. Detailed records can provide insight into what you did, how you felt, and what you should do next time. A mysterious illness or depression may not be so hard to figure out when you back and see you spent the previous two weeks eating nothing but cupcakes. And, of course, the simple act of recording your life can provide big benefits, mental and physical.
For patients who are unable to gain easy access to health care facilities, or health care centers that are unable to send samples to labs for tests, the possibility of drone technology being applied to medical care poses itself as a very welcome development. Drones have the capacity to change the face of medical care significantly. With the recent review of drone legislation in the US, the stage is set for drone technology to become a mainstream tool of transport worldwide. The question now is, how will drone transport of medical related products and packages affect medical care?
The average drone can fly at a speed of 35-40mph, which is much faster than a bicycle and has the added advantage of being able to go as the crow flies. The drone is not encumbered by traffic or road signs, and can be estimated realistically per delivery time or ETA. Using drones in medical care for the delivery of medicines, vaccines, and samples for tests would ensure the packages are delivered fast and without any delays. Necessary drugs can get to ailing patients fast enough to save lives.
Unhindered Access, Anywhere
In many parts of the world, such as Africa, access to proper medical care is hampered by many conditions related to infrastructure. Timothy Amukele, a pathologist with John Hopkins University who has worked with health care centers and hospitals in Uganda and other parts of Africa, talks about how poor access to proper health care – including diagnosis and lab tests, is a major cause of suffering and death of patients in rural areas. Medical personnel present in such disadvantaged areas are often limited in their capabilities by these conditions. Drones can get into almost any location, rural or otherwise, requiring only a small patch of open ground for landing and lifting off.
Lowered Cost of Medical Care
According to research cited by Timothy Amukele, getting medical supplies and samples to and from rural areas is very expensive. This in turn results in high cost of medicines and medical care. With the reduction in costs from using drones, it is much cheaper to transport the supplies, and care for the patients. This would go a long way to developing a healthier society, especially in third world countries.
A major constraint of using drones in medical supply is related to the takeoff and landing procedure which may jar the supplies or samples within the package and denature or spoil them. The solution to this is a likely modification of the hardware, and this will not be too far off into the future. Legislation to allow commercial drone flights within residential areas is underway, with the success of the drone delivery in Virginia earlier this year, where packages weighing 4.5kg were transported in 3 minutes over a distance of about 1.5 miles. The evidence is clear that unmanned transport of medical supplies would revolutionize medical care and provide better conditions for millions of people.
Online crowdsourcing is a means to harness the combined knowledge of the crowd in order to arrive at solutions. It is understandable how crowdsourcing for medical diagnosis and advice came into being. Medicine in our current day is extremely specialized. There are many thousands of conditions and diseases, and doctors no longer have the comprehensive medical knowledge to recognize everything.
As reported in an article on Med Gadget, Jared Heyman, founder of the CrowdMed online medical crowdsourcing platform, claims that by the time the average patient comes to his site, he or she has seen 8 doctors during 6 years of illness and incurred more than $50,000 in medical expenses in an effort to have the condition correctly diagnosed and treated. Mr. Heyman also claims an 80% success rate for the accuracy of the diagnosis and treatment suggestions his site provides.
Nevertheless, there may be dangers associated with medical crowdsourcing. According to an article on Popular Science, the advice patients receive may not be accurate or even professional. The article states that CrowdMed patients pay a subscription fee to post their case histories and medical data anonymously on the site, after which “Medical Detectives” read the cases and interact with the patients directly. The site then uses patented methods to filter the input and produce a report for the patient, highlighting the top diagnosis and treatment suggestions from the highest rated Medical Detectives.
The problem is that these high-ranking Medical Detectives could be qualified physicians (who, nevertheless, have not personally examined the patient) or just average people with no medical credentials whatsoever. In the CrowdMed platform, Medical Detectives are ranked according to points they are awarded for contributing useful suggestions as to diagnosis and treatment, as reported by Popular Science. The article raises the question of whether CrowdMed’s platform could be construed as unauthorized practice of medicine.
Medical crowdsourcing does serve a purpose. HIT Consultant reports on a primary care physician who saved a young boy’s life by crowdsourcing on Sermo, a social networking site for doctors. The boy coughed up a branch-like mass that the physician did not recognize. Instead of waiting for lab results, the doctor posted a picture on Sermo, requesting insight from specialists and colleagues. Because of the diagnostic and treatment suggestions he received from other doctors, the physician promptly referred his patient to a cardiologist, who treated the young boy within two days and saved his life.
The situation described above involves doctors crowdsourcing from other doctors – not just any medically untrained individual. CrowdMed may provide a valuable service presenting diagnosis and treatment options in the form of suggestions only. Patients do need to be informed and have some input and control over their own bodies. Unfortunately, however, some patients may take these online suggestions as a valid medical diagnosis and advice. For valid medical care, it is important to consult with your own qualified physician with a hands-on, in-person, thorough medical examination.
Getting a CT scan, CAT scan, or MRI? You may have health concerns, but it is not likely you have considered the fact that these devices can be hacked, and pose a risk to the security of your personal data. Medical devices are a weak link in the cyber security of hospitals, clinics and other facilities that use these devices, as reported by Computer World.
The information gained by hijackers in hacking hospital systems can a technical “backdoor” through which other hospital data can be accessed – including all of your personal and medical information. You have provided the medical facility with your name, date of birth, social security number, and your medical history. Hijacks of medical devices are a very real threat to the security of personal information, as these system traditionally operate on older, insecure platforms.
You have every reason to be worried about your personal information becoming available to hackers if you are getting any medical tests, including X-rays, or will be undergoing surgery. The devices used in these procedures create a backdoor through which hackers have been found to gain access other hospital data that is secured by a firewall and advanced security software.
It appears that almost monthly, some new huge data breach is reported, the most recent being federal government employees, past and current, as well as large healthcare firms, Target and other large retailers, with hospitals and clinics a current target that has proven vulnerabilities.
Should you be worried? Yes. Has it already occurred? Possibly. Any person who has provided any information to a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility should be proactive and ensure that their accounts are monitored for illegal access, so it can be halted before any damage is done. Once a cyber-attack has occurred, and your personal data used to make purchases, open credit cards or access your bank accounts, it can be extremely difficult to resolve. As consumers, it is advised that all accounts are monitored by a reputable company that will alert you when suspicious activities are occurring.
As never before, our personal information is residing in many locations, including banks, credit card companies, retailers, at our place of employment, health insurance providers, and at the medical facilities where we go to attend to matters of health. Concerned about your personal data being stolen by hackers? This is just one more method by which these criminals can gain access to your personal information.
Having healthy eyesight is one aspect of our lives that many of us take for granted. We rely so heavily on our eyesight every day that we can easily end up thinking about our vision as a part of our life that doesn’t need any special care. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Some of us are blessed with perfect vision, and many of us need corrective lenses for 20/20 eyesight, but we can all benefit from some tips on keeping our most precious sense working at its best.
Give Your Eyes a Rest
You wouldn’t stand up all day if you could help it, right? The muscles in your legs would end up tired and sore. So why would you submit your eyes to the same treatment?
Looking at a computer screen all day can put a significant strain on your eyes if you don’t give them a break. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every twenty minutes of screen time, take at least twenty seconds to look at an object twenty feet or more away from you.
This breaks up the periods of intense close-up focusing that your eyes are forced to do when you’re staring at a computer screen or even reading.
Getting a bad sunburn during the summer is painful and harmful to your skin, but think about what that same sun exposure is potentially doing to your eyes. Too much UV exposure from the sun can contribute to macular degeneration and cataracts as you age, so think about investing in a pair of sunglasses that have both UVA and UVB protection.
Feed Your Eyes
Eating a well-balanced diet is important in maintaining healthy eyesight. Just like the rest of your body, your eyes benefit from a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables. Eating well also helps you maintain a healthy weight, and lowers your chances for type 2 diabetes—one of the leading causes of blindness in adults.
Just like eating well, smoking has an overall effect on your body, but in the opposite sense. You may not hear about smoking’s impact on vision as much as its other harmful effects, but smoking makes you more at risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.
If you are a smoker, quitting immediately is the best thing to do, and if you’ve never picked up a cigarette, don’t start now!
It was only last year that the NHL made visors for hockey players mandatory, and we can’t help but wince at how long that took. Sports and work related eye injuries occur all the time, and never when you’re expecting them.
Stay safe and wear protective eyewear whenever you’re in an environment with a potential risk to your eyesight. After all, what’s more important—winning that pickup game or keeping your 20/20 vision?
Maintaining healthy eyesight isn’t the hardest thing in the world. It just takes a little thought and effort on your part. Your eyes give life to the world around you, so keep them in the best shape possible with just a few daily measures.
Emily Hunter crafts content on behalf of the LASIK eye surgeons at Eyecare 20/20. In her spare time, she cheers for Spirit of Atlanta, Carolina Crown and Phantom Regiment, creates her own sodas, and crushes tower defense games. Follow her on Twitter at @Emily2Zen
When people say “nose job,” it almost always connotes the existence of a formerly unflattering nose into one that’s a better fit for the face; a change done for vanity’s sake. This kind of impression, however, is brought about by pop culture exposure to a medical procedure that ranks third among the most requested in the United States.
In fact, there are two kinds of nose jobs that one can undergo: rhinoplasty, the more familiar one, is generally regarded as a cosmetic procedure; septoplasty, its lesser known counterpart, is performed for reconstructive or revision purposes. Used mainly to correct deviated septums, the latter is ideal for those who suffer from breathing problems caused by facial trauma.
How else are they different? How are they similar?
Aside from differing purposes, each procedure affects separate parts of the nasal area. Rhinoplasty focuses on the bridge, the bone that supports the upper part of the nose. The septum, on the other hand, is tissue that divides the right and left sides of the nostrils. It is this cartilage that is realigned during a septoplasty.
During rhinoplasty, the appearance of the nose may be changed in a multitude of ways. The bridge of the nose is trimmed or its position adjusted to allow for a more aesthetically appealing and more proportionate central facial feature. Guided by your chosen, trusted doctor, the size and slope of your nose can be altered to your preference. Irregularities, such as bumps and asymmetries, are addressed too. A surgeon’s end goals, aside from a satisfied and healthy patient of course, are to enhance facial harmony and improve self-confidence.
If rhinoplasty is performed for cosmetic purposes, septoplasty could be said to be an option borne of necessity. Because of the septum’s proximity to the airways, a slight change in position caused by a congenital condition, deformity, or accident can obstruct nasal function. This obstruction can range from easily discounted to downright cumbersome. Symptoms vary from person to person, too. Some report “chronic stuffiness, headaches, and snoring,” while others barely feel the difference caused by a deviation or misalignment.
Regarding concerns on costs, septoplasty is commonly covered by insurance because of its reconstructive nature. Classified as a cosmetic procedure, rhinoplasty would have to be shouldered by the patient him/herself. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “the average cost of rhinoplasty is $4,545” based on 2013 statistics.
Now that the hard part’s over, it’s time to let your nose heal from the immense stress of surgery. The occurrence of swelling of the eyes, nose, and sometimes even the face is completely normal; as is discomfort in the nasal area during the first few weeks. Most patients describe sensations such as needles pricking or a dull ache on the end of the nose. The frequent application of a cold compress for 20-minute periods is good for temporary relief.
Aside from packing, a drip pad is sometimes worn under the nose at least for the first few days. A patient should avoid strenuous physical activity for the first couple of weeks. Bed rest is best, with the head in an elevated position. In a week or two, most patients find themselves able to resume work. They generally report gaining back the sense of normalcy within a few weeks.
Dr. Patrick Hsu, MD of Memorial Plastic Surgery is a board certified and highly experienced Plastic Surgeon in Houston who specializes in aesthetic, plastic and reconstructive surgery.
The Pitfalls of the Traditional Model
For years, Western medicine has taken an imprecise approach to new drugs: Test new drugs on as large a group as possible in a clinical trial, and if enough of those participants benefit, make the drug available to the general public. Sure, this wide-cast net may not help everyone, goes the theory, but with such large numbers, it’s bound to catch a fair number. Plus, it appears efficient, as it deals with thousands of patients with a single trial and a single drug. However, medical professionals are beginning to remark on the flaws in this system.
Even drugs that pass rigorous clinical trials may help surprisingly few patients: the top ten highest-grossing drugs in the US only help between 1/4 and 1/25 of the people who take them. These disappointing figures are exacerbated by the fact that clinical trials disproportionately enlist white participants, whose responses to given drugs are not necessarily identical to other ethnicities’ responses. Trials also tend to focus heavily on chemical analyses to the point of ignoring genetic and environmental factors that play an important role in medication.
Moving Towards Personalized Medicine
Perhaps, it’s time to explore a “precision” approach. Generally, this model means taking into account more factors that affect individuals’ responsiveness to drugs. It may even involve ultra-personalized, one-person studies. In these, the participant would test out a drug, and be tracked in a detailed way over a long period of time, with attention given to genetic and environmental factors. The story wouldn’t end with studying a single person; the results of all these trials together would be aggregated to yield information that is predictive for members of the wider population. By using patterns found in the aggregate data, doctors may be able to more accurately predict how well a treatment will work for a given subset of the population.
Of course, there are significant barriers to the use of one-person studies, chief among them cost. Tailoring trials to individuals tends to cost more than running a broad, one-size-fits all study. Nonetheless, this new model seems slowly to be gaining traction. In January 2015, President Obama announced that he would seek $215 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative, which proposes to use patients’ specific genetic and physiological characteristics to better treat them. Of this, the FDA would receive $10 million to build personalized-medicine databases and to examine its regulatory processes for personalized treatments. Following suit, this year the state of California also unveiled a $3 million precision-medicine project to investigate personalized treatments and diagnoses. As time goes on, we may see a real paradigm shift in how doctors study and treat patients, to understand them as unique individuals whose data points reveal truths about the wider population, rather than the other way around.