A blog is not a doctor...

Nothing on this page is meant to substitute for getting the advice of a doctor who knows you and is familiar with your medical history. If you reside in California and wish to be a patient in my advice practice, please go to http://www.myadvicedr.com and click for your free initial consultation.

Search This Blog

Friday, December 10, 2010

US life expectancy drops

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), for the first time in 25 years there was an actual drop in overall life expectancy in the US, calculated in the year 2008 (since the data take some time to calculate, the CDC usually puts things out a couple of years after the fact, and 2008 is the most recent year for which data were released). This is not very good news. The bright spots were infant mortality and death from stroke.

This stands as an indictment of our health care system as well as what we do as a society to prevent illness and promote wellness. We can only hope that more Americans will be adequately insured and receive more appropriate health care in the future, and that our health care system will turn more towards prevention, where its bang is likely to be much bigger for the buck.

Sublingual allergy tablets effective in preventing seasonal nasal allergy

A new meta-analysis (synthesis of all available clinical trials) in the Cochrane Library has found that under-the-tongue immune treatment (which can be done at home) is effective without the side effects of weekly allergy shots. This advance in allergy treatment is particularly good for kids, and of course whether for children or adults reduces the major hassle of driving to the allergist's office, not to mention the pain and not infrequent reactions experienced with allergy injections. Very good news for allergy sufferers.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting doctors to follow our wishes with advance directives

People of all faiths and atheists should be interested in doctors ignoring patients' wishes about life support. Whether or not you are predisposed to a particular religious point of view about life support, whether your wish is to be on life support, or not to be on life support, or something in between depending on the circumstances, we need a way to make sure doctors are paying attention to what our wishes are.

Three things are particularly important for everyone: 1) filling out an advance health care directive to indicate your wishes and your desired medical agent (durable power of attorney for health care), 2) having a knowledgeable health care advocate; in addition to designating the person who cares about you most as your agent, this person if they do not have a lot of experience from the medical care system may need help from someone more knowledgeable, and 3) the importance of registering your advance directive with an organization such as US Living Will Registry so that hospitals and health care facilities can check to see if one is present when you are admitted.