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Tips For Dealing With The Chronic Pain Of Osteoarthritis

Severe osteoarthritis of the hands

One of my patients came to see me today with severe right knee pain.  This is not a new problem, and in fact, we have been dealing with flare ups of her osteoarthritis for years.  It mainly affects her knees and hands and today her right knee was swollen and felt like the “bone was rubbing together” with each step. She could hardly walk because of the pain.

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis and it is one of the most common maladies of aging joints, affecting millions of people.  The cartilage in joints wears down and inflammation causes the bones to build up spurs and small micro tears.  It affects women more than men and  the cause is unknown.  There are likely genetic factors as it tends to run in families.  Arthritis can occur in any joint but the most common are the fingers, wrists, hips, neck and spine and knees.  Stiffness (especially in the morning) and pain are the main symptoms that limit mobility.

You can see Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Atrial Fibrillation: When The Questions Outnumber The Answers

You may have heard that AF is a tough disease to understand. Questions far outnumber answers.

What causes AF?

Why do some not feel it at all, while others are incapacitated?

What’s the best treatment? Drugs? Ablation? Surgery? No treatment?

Should I take a blood thinner…and which one?

Where should one go for the best AF care?

This short email from a reader captures the essence of AF support group mayhem: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

Dealing With Acute Pain: What Are The Treatment Options?

Whether caused by injury, surgery or a toothache so bad it slams you awake in the middle of the night, acute pain is difficult.  Receiving prompt and helpful treatment can make all the difference in the world.  But lack of care or inadequate care means that the acute pain may develop into chronic agony.

Fortunately, acute pain is not always long lasting or overwhelming, such as when you have a short severe cramp or multiple bee stings that can be handled with time, over-the-counter medication and other home remedies [See: Pain Treatment Options].

Since individuals’ tolerance for pain varies widely, the question of when pain itself requires urgent medical attention is difficult to answer.  Chest pain should prompt a visit to the emergency room, of course—but other types of pain are trickier to call. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*

Preventive Effects Of Aspirin Compared To Outcomes Of Major Bleeding

aspirin by foolsplay07 via Flickr and a Creative Commons license

Treating 1,000 people with preventive aspirin for five years prevents 2.9 major cardiovascular events (nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, or cardiovascular death) and causes 2.8 major bleeds, according to a meta-analysis.

Nine primary prevention trials compared results for aspirin alone for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, and reported data on myocardial infarction, stroke and cardiovascular deaths. Aspirin doses ranged from 100 mg every other day to 500 mg/d, and seven of them studied doses from 75 mg/d to 162.5 mg/d. No dose-dependent effects were noted, the researchers said. Results appeared in the July issue of the American Heart Journal.

A total of 2,029 major cardiovascular events occurred among 52,145 (3.86%) patients allocated to aspirin compared with 2,099 major cardiovascular events among 50,476 (4.16%) patients assigned to placebo or control. Over a mean follow-up of nearly 7 years, aspirin was Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Cardiac Specialist Strongly Against The Idea Of A Polypill

The tweet said that experts were debating the merits of a polypill? I had to click that link.

Yes. I was right; there were actually “eminent” cardiologists suggesting that a pill containing 4 different medicines (a statin, aspirin, beta-blocker and an ACE-inhibitor) “might change the face of cardiovascular medicine.”

The direct quote from Dr. Salim Yusef, one of the most eminent heart doctors, went like this:

“We have to think of the polypill not as a pill, but as part of a strategy to completely change our approach to prevention,” said Yusuf. “Instead of saying lifestyle first and drugs next, why don’t we say that drugs are the basis, then get the patients contemplating prevention, and then get them to modify their lifestyle. Maybe that will work, because the reverse strategy hasn’t.”

Maybe it was jet lag? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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