It’s hard to imagine what it was like to live with type 1 diabetes 80 years ago. Insulin was a brand new and relatively untested drug, the only way to check blood sugar levels was by testing boiled urine, syringes had to be sterilized, and needles sharpened by hand. Couple those challenges with the common complications of diabetes—heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, and more—and life expectancy for someone with type 1 diabetes wasn’t that long.
Spencer M. Wallace, Jr., was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1931, at age 7. He’s now an active 87-year-old who plays golf several times a week. He isn’t alone as a long-term survivor. Since 1970, almost 3,500 men and women who have lived with the disease for a half century have been recognized by the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston with bronze 50-year medals. Forty-five of them Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Harvard Health Blog*
In yesterday’s post on e-prescribing, the issue of patient confidentiality came up in the context of doctors being able to see a patient’s full medication history in an electronic program, and one commenter brought up that she doesn’t necessarily want to tell her shrink about a yeast infection, perhaps because she finds it embarrassing. The writer of the post, a guest blogger, suggested that this might lead to useful information that should be addressed in therapy, for example the patient’s sexual life.
Years ago, I remember being a bit taken back when a patient brought up some rather problematic (to him) sexual issues in his marriage. It wasn’t the nature of the issues that surprised me (I spent more than a decade consulting to a sexual behaviors unit and I spent several months of residency training on an inpatient sexual disorders unit: it takes a lot to shock me). What surprised me was that this was the first I was hearing about this issue after seeing the patient for 5 years of psychotherapy. He had a secret life.
There’s not really much to do about this. One can only Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*
Family physicians who care for terminally ill patients must manage a wide range of bothersome symptoms, including pain, fatigue, dyspnea, delirium, and constipation. According to a Cochrane for Clinicians article in the December 1st issue of American Family Physician, constipation affects up to half of all patients receiving palliative care and nearly 9 in 10 palliative care patients who use opioid medications for pain. Unfortunately, a Cochrane systematic review found limited evidence on the effectiveness of laxatives in these patients, as Dr. William Cayley Jr. comments:
“For patients with constipation, especially those with opioid-induced constipation, there is insufficient evidence to recommend one laxative over another. The choice of laxatives should be based on past patient experience, tolerability, and adverse effects. Methylnaltrexone is a newer agent that may be useful especially for patients with opioid-induced constipation that has not responded to standard laxatives, but there is limited evidence of potential adverse effects. Therefore, judicious use preceded by a discussion with patients about known risks and benefits is warranted.”
The Cochrane Library recently discussed this review in its Journal Club feature, which includes open access to the full text of the review, a podcast by the authors, discussion points, and a Powerpoint slide presentation of the review’s main findings.
Additional resources for physicians and patients on advanced directives, hospice care, and ethical issues are available in the AFP By Topic collection on End-of-Life Care.
The above post was first published on the AFP Community Blog.
*This blog post was originally published at Common Sense Family Doctor*
For as long as I can remember my nickname has been ‘Jen Big Boobs’. Friends joke that the first thing they see when I walk through the door is my chest. I know they mean no harm – just as I know that my husband, Steve, adores them – but it’s reached the point where they have got to go. They simply dominate my life. Whether I’m trying to get comfy in bed or walking down the street I can’t forget them for a moment. They are always there, getting in the way of everything I do. In primary school I was the first in class to wear a bra. So when my pals changed in the classroom for PE, I’d change in the loos. Big boobs weren’t a huge surprise – they run in my family. But it was embarrassing and I didn’t like being different. They’ve singled me out for loads of attention. Buying bras has always been and still is a nightmare. I have to order specially-made ones that are ugly and cost up to £50. By the time I was 20 I’d already gone to see my GP about a reduction operation. He was sympathetic but said I was too young for surgery.
I love my wife’s big boobs and don’t want them reduced. I don’t mind admitting that Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*
OMG, Michelle Duggar is pregnant again. Is she competing with the wife of Feodor Vassilyev? Vassilyev was pregnant 27 times between 1725 and 1765 and gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets. 67 children survived infancy making her the woman who had the most documented number of children in the world. Vassilyev had a history of multiple births. What’s Duggar’s excuse?
I’ve written about Duggar before out of genuine concern and received over 2,000 comments on the Basil and Spice website. Many were unkind. People like Duggar because of her affable personality but want to ignore the facts: with each subsequent pregnancy, her life becomes fraught with danger. Her last pregnancy was extremely high-risk, complicated by pre-eclampsia and the emergency premature delivery of her daughter who only weighed 1.3 pounds at birth. It was a very close call. According to Answers.com, the Duggar family gets paid an estimated $25,000 to $75,000 per episode on the reality television show on Channel TLC. So, is it perhaps the show’s ratings that have prompted this 45 year old mother of 19 children to have yet another child? Is it the Baby-Doll syndrome where women have multiple children because they like the baby doll effect of having a newborn? I’m still scratching my head. However, I would be remiss if I did not, as an obstetrician offer some advice (albeit unsolicited) regarding the dangers of extreme parity (aka a great number of pregnancies). It was the same advice I offered almost 2 years ago: Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*