Medical Island wins IndiBlogger Awards 2017

Check it Out Here
CoolSculpting-Cryolipolysis

CoolSculpting: A Comprehensive Look at the Increasingly Popular Procedure

Cryolipolysis, more commonly known as ‘CoolSculpting’, is the latest buzz in non-surgical fat removal. Using the latest patented technology, CoolSculpting targets areas of fat that diet and exercise can’t budge.

We look in more detail at what CoolSculpting is, how it works and how you might benefit from it.

What is CoolSculpting?

Designed to get rid of stubborn areas of body fat, CoolSculpting uses unique and innovative technology to ‘freeze’ fat away.  Considered as a non-invasive alternative to liposuction, CoolSculpting is clinically proven to improve fat loss after just one session.

Developed by the same California-based scientists that created laser hair removal, CoolSculpting made its debut in 2010 to rave reviews. On average, Coolsculpting can remove 20-25 per cent of fat from targeted areas such as the stomach, thighs, arms, buttocks or abs.

In trials, patients found that fat didn’t return after the treatment was done – even after three years.

There are no needles, lasers, scalpels or other equipment used, just a non-invasive machine that sits on the surface of your skin. There is no downtime after a CoolSculpting session, making it a popular choice among people wanting a quick and convenient treatment that doesn’t interfere with their daily lives. In fact, many have the treatment during their lunch break.

How does it Work?

CoolSculpting works on the theory that fat freezes at a higher temperature than muscle and skin. By applying vacuum pressure and sub-zero temperatures to areas of fat, the specially designed machine causes the fat cells to be damaged without affecting your skin or muscles.

Fat cells are not killed immediately; instead, the CoolSculpting system triggers a process called apoptosis, or the natural process of cell death. After the fat cells die, the body slowly flushes them away over the following few months. This is why patients don’t see immediate results from the treatment.

When you go in for a session, you will have the CoolSculpting machine attach a gel patch to your chosen area of fat, before feeling firm pressure and then a cooling sensation. You may feel slight discomfort but this subsides quite quickly; overall it is a relatively pain-free treatment.

Treatment time is usually around one hour depending on the size of the area that needs to be treated. Patients can read magazines, work on their laptop or relax while the treatment is being done.

Typically, only one treatment is needed to see dramatic results, however it does take several months before you’ll see the full effects of the treatment; most patients see some effects within just a few weeks.

Here is a video of Dr Joseph Ajaka from Cosmos Clinic explaining the procedure:

What are the side-effects of CoolSculpting?

Unlike alternative treatments such as laser and surgery, CoolSculpting does not have any lasting side effects. Other treatments can destroy healthy tissue resulting in scarring and can take your body a lot longer to recover from.

CoolSculpting is a very safe procedure and side-effects are usually short-lived and mild. Slight numbness, redness and bruising is common after the treatment, but does not last long.

There is no after care, such as compression garments, so it is quite easy to carry on with everyday life after treatment.

Who is CoolSculpting for?

CoolSculpting is a safe treatment and almost everyone can use it without any concern, however it is important to note that it is not designed for people who need overall fat loss. The procedure offers extremely targeted fat loss so it is ideal for the removal of small areas of stubborn fat, such as love handles, that exercise and diet just can’t get rid of.

A typical CoolSculpting patient is relatively fit and healthy. To retain the new body shape, exercise and a healthy diet needs to be maintained.

[box type=”note”]Trials on obese patients don’t appear to be successful, although it might be because the results are harder to see. Other treatments should be sought for overall weight loss.[/box]

CoolSculpting is a popular treatment for both men and women of all ages.

CPAP Machine – Sleep Apnea

Seniors – How to Tell if You Have a Sleep Disorder

There are many types of sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea, which itself has further sub-types, and there are multiple factors which can contribute both to trouble sleeping in general, and to not getting a deep sleep even if you sleep for a full eight hours. Knowing the signs that you may have a sleep disorder is important, not only because it could help you seek medical advice which could help you sleep more soundly, but also because many sleep disorders have further effects on your health than just being an inconvenience.

In fact, sleep disorders have been shown to cause other health problems as well, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and even stroke. Therefore, knowing these signs, and watching out for them, could help prevent future complications down the road.

  • Irritability and tiredness even after a normal night’s sleep: Irritability is a pretty good sign that something isn’t quite right with your sleep patterns. Because our bodies are designed not just to sleep for a certain amount of time each night, but to move through a series of “stages” of sleep, it is important that we achieve all of those stages to ensure that the biochemical reactions in our bodies occur as they should. Irritability is a sign that those chemical processes are in some way out of order, and that the patient may be suffering from a sleep disorder.
  • Easily falling asleep after short periods of sitting still: Most people have the ability to sit for long periods of time while they work, read, watch television, or engage in any other productive or entertaining activity. Unfortunately, people who are suffering from sleeping disorders will be sleep deprived, and their bodies will attempt to take advantage of any perceived “down time.” Therefore, if you or someone you know tends to quickly fall asleep after they've been sitting for just a few minutes, or if they have trouble keeping their head up, then that is another strong indicator that they are experiencing sleep deprivation caused by a sleep disorder.
  • Slow reactions to normal stimuli: One of the effects of alcohol, and many other drugs, is that it slows the body’s ability to react to external stimuli. This is because depressants partially relax our bodies in much the same way that our bodies relax themselves while we sleep. This is part of a defensive mechanism by the body which keeps us from harming ourselves or others while we dream. However, if our sleep cycles have been interrupted and we are sleep deprived, then our bodies will attempt to sleep at random times throughout the day, making someone suffering from a sleep disorder seem to have slow reactions, very similarly to someone who has consumed alcohol.

Making sure to observe someone's mood, their general emotional state, and how their body reacts to stimuli can go a long way in diagnosing sleeping disorders. Because sleep disorders can be both causes of, and caused by other health problems, it's extremely important to consult a doctor before taking on any medical plan.

Sleep Apnea and CPAP Machine

However, the most common sleeping disorder, sleep apnea, is caused by the muscles in the nasal passages relaxing to the point that the airways are partially or completely cut off. And, luckily, in most cases of sleep apnea the symptoms can be lessened by using a Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine.

Drugs and IQ

This is Your Brain on Drugs: The Correlation between Drugs and IQ

The relationship between the human mind and illicit drugs is a complicated one, to say the least. We have been taught for all of our lives that drugs harm the brain. The neurological tissues are important and drugs damage this vital tissue. Ergo, drugs are terrible for our brains. Yet, it isn't the spleen that tempts you into taking a hit of ecstasy or smoke a blunt. It's the brain. The same organ that needs protection is the one that demands to be harmed.

For this, and many other social stigmas and stereotypes, we tend to have a collective view of what the average drug user looks like. They tend to be unambitious, and extremely unintelligent. That last one seems to ring the most true after a superficial analysis. After all, we wouldn't expect an intelligent mind to be the one demanding to be harmed. A smart brain would be able to logically deduce that it would be harmed in the pursuit of dopamine and pleasure. Right?

The Written Evidence

Recent studies from the United States and the UK have shown evidence that is shockingly against this paradigm. In fact, when it comes down to it, the results of the numerous studies tend to point to exact contrary. It's the most intelligent people who tend to seek out the drug high. But they're also the ones that fall the most after continued usage.

Scientists determined the IQ levels of a number of students in elementary schools. From there, they went on to track what they eventually did with their lives. Surprisingly, it wasn't the bums in the back of the class that ended up addicted to opioids, narcotics, and cannabis. It was those who scored highest on the IQ tests that had the proclivity to not only try drugs, but to become addicted to them over the long haul.

The researchers postulate that it's the children's very intelligence that plays against them here. A more developed brain with a higher IQ may experience more pleasure from the drugs than someone with a bellow average IQ.

The Impact

Interestingly enough, prolonged usage decreases their cognitive abilities significantly. Studies of individuals who consistently used marijuana found that those who started using the drug before they turned 18 experienced an average IQ drop of 8 points. Although that doesn't sound very significant, it's almost enough to bring someone down from above average to below average– depending on their initial scores.

The relationship between drugs and IQ is extremely complicated. However, as more research is done in the future, we'll be able to further understand the nuances of usage and addiction within our western society.

[box type=”note”]Author Bio: Annette Hazard wrote this along with Stanley Martinson who has written about other drug issues (you can read the full article). They both promote education about the dangers of drug use.[/box]

Stroke in Young People

Strokes Are Slowly Killing More Younger People

Young people should worry about stroke because it’s starting to kill more of them. Recent studies showed that there is an increase in the rate of strokes in younger people—those aged 55 and below. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more people in their 30s and 40s suffer from stroke.  The Journal of American Medical Association also published study results that showed those who suffered strokes at a younger age are more likely to die young. One in five survivors of stroke at a young age dies within 20 years and those who had a blood clot in the brain experience a higher death rate.

The common misconception about strokes is that it only affects older people. It’s no longer true. While the risk of stroke is double for those aged 60 and above, the number of younger individuals suffering from it is alarming. And most of them have no idea that they’re at risk of stroke until it’s too late.

Risk Factors for Stroke at a Young Age

Younger people are at risk mainly because of their lifestyle: smoking, alcohol consumption, and unhealthy eating. These result to higher cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, increased risks for obesity, and diabetes. Women who take birth control pills are more prone to strokes.

What’s alarming is that most people dismiss the symptoms of stroke and don’t get the necessary treatment. The permanent effects of stroke can be avoided by getting treated within the first few hours from the time the symptoms show. But because most patients mistake them for another condition or get misdiagnosed, they don’t receive proper treatment.

Several reported incidences of stroke in young adults show a pattern: symptoms were misdiagnosed and it wasn’t until things were too late when they realize they suffered a stroke. It’s common for young people to dismiss symptoms like severe headaches, dizziness, and loss of balance as trivial and wait until they go away because they wouldn’t think they’re at risk. This is what can kill them because there’s a tiny window of opportunity to administer the right medication (tPA) to cure the blood clot and prevent lifelong impairment.

Misdiagnosis Kills

Misdiagnosis is also a serious problem. Because these symptoms can be manifestations of other health conditions, even physicians can make a wrong call and send a patient home without running proper tests. According to a study conducted at the Wayne University-Detroit Medical Center Stroke Program, one out of seven (in 57 young stroke victims) is misdiagnosed.  Because they don’t get the proper treatment, the effects are irreversible.

The lead proponent of the Wayne University study, Dr. Seemant Chaturvedi, says that only 20 to 30 percent of patients go to the hospital within the first 3 hours when the symptoms show up. Majority would wait until they disappear and then admit themselves after many hours have elapsed. By that time, stroke effects, like paralysis, could be hard to treat.

Preventive Healthcare Can Save You

If there’s anything these studies prove, it’s that preventive health care is important—for both stroke survivors and those who haven’t suffered from it yet. Always check your blood pressure, keep cholesterol levels in check, get your eyes checked regularly, and avoid unhealthy habits that increase the risk for stroke. Buy Plavix; it can prevent blood clot for those who’ve already suffered heart attacks or stroke. Proper weight management is also important in reducing the risks for stroke.

[box type=”info”]Unless you want to become a statistic, be resilient. When you experience any of the symptoms, go to the hospital immediately and request for an MRI to determine if you had a stroke or not. Be stern and insist on this even when doctors tell you you’re okay. When your life is on the line, it’s best to err on the side of caution.[/box]

Expensive Health Care Costs

How Your Family Can Stay Healthy Despite Expensive Health Care

Bottom line, healthcare is expensive. To stay healthy, the average individual needs to spend at least $7,000 on healthcare bills–and that's in 2009. But spending a lot of money in health care doesn't necessarily make the average American healthy and disease-free.

The bad news is health care is expected to get more expensive as time goes on.

It's in your best interest to find ways to ensure every member of the family is healthy and disease-free.

1. Protect young kids from obesity and a string of serious health concerns

New studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the cases of childhood obesity have gone down. But there is some bad news. According to recent data released by the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities, children aged 10 to 17 may be at risk of serious health problems before adulthood.

The study, led by Dr. Neal Halfon, found that obese children may suffer from physical and mental diseases that include headaches, allergies, ear infections, bone, muscle and joint problems, and even ADHD.

Even with the decline in childhood obesity, 30% of kids are still overweight and they are at risk of acquiring long-term health problems.

How do we keep children healthy and safe?

Obesity can cause a string of serious health problems. The New York City Department of Health advises parents to begin obesity prevention at an early stage because unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyle starts in early childhood.

Don’t focus on weight loss. Instead, pay more attention to proper nutrition. Kids shouldn’t be made to become conscious about their weight this early. Also, kids may weigh more but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re obese. Kids are growing at this stage and they have different body structures. So if your kid is bigger than other kids his age, don’t assume he’s obese and make him undergo a certain diet. Only health professionals should determine whether a child is obese or not.

Teach your kids the importance of healthy eating and getting enough exercise. Do not focus on a specific weight goal.

Get them involved in planning meals for the family. Don’t single out an overweight child because it can have an effect on his self-image. Make it a family effort. Everyone has to be taught healthy food choices for meals and snacks.

You should also limit the time they spend in front of the television and playing video games. Instead, encourage them to go outside and play some sport.

2. Protective factors to keep teens in check health- and behavior-wise

Protective factors—things that influence an adolescent’s likability to smoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, become promiscuous,  and develop other unpleasant behavior and habits—are directly influenced by a parent’s involvement in a teen’s life.

The CDC have findings that prove the correlation between parent engagement and an adolescent’s potential to engage in unhealthy lifestyle and bad behaviors.

Ultimately, when these factors are missing, a teen is more likely to perform badly in school and develop unhealthy habits that can lead to serious long-term health problems.

What should parents do to keep their teens in check?

Parents, as well as schools, are strongly advised to be more involved through activities and strong communication. Research has shown that teens with engaged parents are less likely to smoke, do drugs, and drink alcohol. This will greatly reduce the chances of acquiring lung-related problems, heart ailments, and kidney and liver diseases.

3. Keeping senior family members safe using medical alarm devices

It’s typical for seniors to either live alone or left alone at home for long periods. Having a medical alarm is beneficial during medical emergencies. In the event of an accident or when they need medical help, this device will automatically call family members, a neighbor, or an operator who can call medical response teams.

A medical alarm will also be good when you have a family member who requires special care. At times when you can’t watch over them, you can be assured that they are safe even during an emergency.

Alcohol and Youth

The Dangers Associated With Alcohol Consumption in Youth

Although most states have age limitations when it comes to selling alcohol, many crafty teenagers and under-aged people still manage to get their hands on booze. This can create some potentially devastating effects, especially to the health and well-being of the young drinker. To prevent under-aged drinking, one must first understand the dangers associated with such undertakings.

The Situation

It is a reality, and a sad one, that many teenagers don't just drink, they drink excessively. Based on studies, over 18% of students engage in binge drinking. Statistics also indicate that the majority of present teenage drinkers got drunk in the recent month. This includes roughly half of sophomores who drink and more than 60% of seniors who drink. Another alarming report, one according to the U.S. Surgeon General, is that more than 4,500 teenagers under the age of 21 pass away each year with the prime causative factor to be drinking. Many involve car crashes, suicides, and homicides. These effects alone should suffice to implement heavier penalties and laws to stop under-aged drinkers. A more thorough and accurate look at the effects is appropriate, however.

Accidents

Car crashes remain the leading cause of death for individuals aged 15 to 20 years old. Around 1,800 minors die yearly from vehicle crashes involving intoxication. Young people become more prone to alcohol-induced impairment and lose their driving skills. Based on studies, drinking drivers belonging in the teenager group are twice more susceptible to fatal car accidents compared to drinking drivers who are 21 years of age or beyond.

Suicidal Tendencies

Alcohol abuse in the youth activates and develops psychological conditions including depression and stress. According to reports, more than 250 teens commit suicide every year, all of which engaged in binge drinking. High school students who drink increase their chances of seriously considering suicide by twice as opposed to non-drinking peers. This likelihood increases by up to four times when they drink in excess.

Sexual Behavior

Young drinkers are twice or more likely to have had sex within the last 2 months than peers who do not drink at all. Alcohol apparently diminishes a person's ability to think hence they easily perform activities they wouldn't have with a sober mind. Young drinkers are also more likely to participate in dangerous sexual activities including sexual intercourse with unacquainted partners, failure to use birth control, etc. This can lead to the contraction of AIDS, which as we all know is still incurable.

School Performance

Students who drink frequently and in excess tend to perform poorly in academics. Many fail to submit projects and assignments on time, get failing marks on tests and subjects, and are often absent, which all culminate to getting kicked out from school or, at the very least, repeating semesters thus delaying progress.
The dangers linked to alcohol consumption in youth is something all people should be working to stop. As the famous proverb goes, “the youth is the future”, so what will become of society if our future can't make decisions

[box type=”note”]About the AuthorJason Harter is an addiction counselor who obtained his degree from one of the Top 10 Best Online Addiction Counseling Degree Programs[/box] 

Hospital

Hospital Buying Power and the Extinction of the Autonomous Small Practice

Throughout the last ten years the healthcare industry has been revolutionized as new technologies, innovations and best practices continue to be developed and refined.  With the prevalence of cloud-based computing and the shift towards patient records being housed electronically, independent practices are facing increased pressure to switch over to these methods in order to compete in an already very competitive market.  But for many practices, the amount of revenue needed to entertain such a switch is more of a pipe dream than a reality.  With malpractice insurance on the rise and general overhead to take into account, often times, adapting to these new policies is simply not a possibility.

So, What's Next?

In steps the hospital.  Often times, part of an even larger corporate conglomerate, hospitals are better equipped to adapt to the latest trends and newest technologies that are constantly redefining the healthcare industry.  But where does this leave the small practice? For some, keeping afloat during these times, all the while remaining autonomous can be a tricky juggling act.

Take for example the healthcare climate in Boise, Idaho that has garnered national attention in the last few weeks.  St. Luke’s, a major entity in the healthcare field in Idaho has been buying out small practices in increased frequency, most notable in the last four years.  During these four years, St. Luke’s has acquisitioned some 22 practices in the area, a number that some say is cause for alarm.

Thoughts of the Local Doctor

Local physician, Dr. Mark Johnson owned a family practice for over 25 years.  That was until he recently, along with his team of healthcare providers, decided that he too would follow suit and sell over his practice to St. Luke's.  But unlike other practices who have done so for financial reasons, he had a few other concerns on his plate.

“But probably the driving reason was the changing landscape of health care delivery and the uncertainty around that,” Dr. Johnson said. “The thought was that we were going to be in a   safer position if we were aligned and affiliated with a network.”

While Dr. Johnson’s motives are more of an exit strategy and seek to keep his practice alive in the shifting climate, others look to the future with a little more trepidation.

The Balancing Act

Critics of switches like these (an event that is becoming more and more common throughout the US) fear the amount of control such an entity can have on the rising costs of a sector that some say is already out of hand.  With such a dominant hand, St. Luke’s and other hospitals in the same position can have more power than once imagined.

Relatively inconsequential things like which form of tests are given to areas with much broader, and more economical implications like which medications are prescribed and what policies are used and not used have aroused concern with certain members of the community.  In fact, the issue in Idaho has piqued the interest of the Federal Trade Commission.  Right now, the issue of whether St. Luke’s holds too much power is being debated behind closed doors.

What does this mean for the Patient?

The exact future is unclear but one cannot argue with the facts.  Small practices have always offered the same services as a hospital but with lower prices.  From eye exams, to x-rays, healthcare costs in private practices are notoriously lower. But with more and more of these practices being snatched up by bigger corporations will this continue to be the case?