Humorous Look at Online Self-Diagnosis

How often do YOU look online to diagnose yourself based on various symptoms? I plead guilty to doing this. Is this a helpful approach?

As Kyle O’Brien reports for The Drum:

“The Internet has become the first source of healthcare information for many people. But self-diagnosis can lead to plenty of misinformation, as a spot for North Memorial Health humorously shows.”

“The Minnesota-based healthcare provider enlisted agency BrandFire to compile some of the stranger ailments people think they have after they’ve Googled their symptoms. The spot, titled ‘Symptoms,’ features people discussing the seemingly frightening results with a North Memorial Health doctor who reassures them that their symptoms are not as scary as the Internet has led them to believe. One man is convinced he has scurvy, another bubonic plague while another is convinced he has ‘Himalayan Mountain Syndrome.’”

“The commercial explains that, ‘Searching your symptoms online is scary but our doctors aren’t.’ It’s meant to show that trusting a doctor is a lot more reassuring than taking a stab at Internet diagnosis.”

Commemorating 9-11-2018

We remember all victims from 9-11.

It is hard to believe that 17 years have passed since the awful events of 9-11-2001. As we said last year: 9-11-01 remains “one of the worst days in American history — a tragedy that many of us will remember forever. On this anniversary, it is a good time to reflect.” Today, we need to spend some time commemorating 9-11-2018.

We remember all victims from 9-11, including those who lost their lives on 9-11-2011 and in the years since the then. We also offer our best wishes with those who have health problems arising from 9-11.

 

Commemorating 9-11-2018

Tribute in Light is a commemorative public art installation first presented six months after 9-11 and then every year thereafter. It’s open from dusk to dawn, at night on September 11. It has become an iconic symbol that both honors those killed and celebrates the unbreakable spirit of New York. On the anniversary of 9-11, the Memorial Plaza is open to the public from 3 P.M. to midnight for the viewing of Tribute in Light. And it can also be viewed from a 60-mile radius around lower Manhattan.”


 

Explore the 9-11 Memorial Museum through this interactive video experience, selecting different paths through the Museum’s vast spaces and exhibitions.”

CLICK THE IMAGE to see the interactive video.

Commemorating 9-11-2018
 

We Are NOT Alone — Part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday’s excerpt from my book Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey. It is available FREE by clicking here.

In the U.S. alone, people share their lives with 70 million dogs (in 43 million households) and 74 million cats (in 36 million households) – as reported by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. We love our pets; and they love us in return.

Before getting to my personal pet story, let’s consider how vital pets are to our psychological and physical health. Over the past several years, we have witnessed the growth in companion pets. Although some individuals may stretch the rules in getting their “companion” pets onto planes and into other venues, the basic premise is sound: Pets can be soothing and calming.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

Studies show that the bond between people and pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some health benefits of having a pet include: Decreased blood pressure. Decreased cholesterol. Decreased triglycerides. Decreased feelings of loneliness. Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities. Increased opportunities for socialization.

A great example of the value of pets involves military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome after returning home. There are several non-profits that help to enrich the lives of those veterans, including Companions for Heroes, Pets for Veterans, and America’s Vets Dogs. The dogs are well-trained and help vets to reduce stress.

Linda and I are cat lovers and have shared our home with many cats over the years. Yes, cats can be affectionate and intuitive. One cat, Tucker, will sit in my lap all day in my home office and lie on me for hours when I’m on the couch in the den.

When I returned home after my surgery, our cats KNEW I was sick. They lay in bed with me 24/7 and often cuddled next to me. They constantly nuzzled my hand. Their attention required no effort on my part and was crucial early in my recovery.

 

Health and Alcohol — Another View

On Wednesday, we reported about the recent study about health and alcohol — and the effects of any alcohol. Today, we offer another view.

As reported by Aaron E. Carroll for the New York Times:

“A paper was published in The Lancet that claimed to be the definitive study on the benefits and dangers of drinking. The news was apparently not good for those who enjoy alcoholic beverages. It was covered in the news media with headlines like ‘There’s No Safe Amount of Alcohol.’ The truth is much less newsy and much more measured.”

“There are limitations that warrant consideration. Observational data can be very confounded, meaning that unmeasured factors might be the actual cause of the harm. Perhaps people who drink also smoke tobacco. Perhaps people who drink are also poorer. Perhaps there are genetic differences, health differences, or other factors that might be the real cause. There are techniques to analyze observational data in a more causal fashion, but none of them could be used here, because this analysis aggregated past studies — and those studies didn’t use them.”

“The news warns that even one drink per day carries a risk. But how great is that risk? For each set of 100,000 people who have one drink a day per year, 918 can expect to experience one of the 23 alcohol-related problems in any year. Of those who drink nothing, 914 can expect to experience a problem. This means that 99,082 are unaffected, and 914 will have an issue no matter what. Only 4 in 100,000 people who consume a drink a day may have a problem caused by the drinking, according to this study.”

NONETHELESS, “This message shouldn’t get lost in any argument: There is no debate, and this study confirms once again, that heavy drinking is really bad for you.”

Click the image to read more.

Health and Alcohol -- Another View

 

Health and Alcohol Do Not Mix Well

We’ve all heard the adage “everything in moderation.” If we want to be healthy, that certainly includes alcohol consumption. Not surprisingly, alcohol consumption by males far exceeds that by females. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

According to Niall McCarthy for Statista:

“A major global study published in The Lancet has found the there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. The research compared levels of alcohol use and its impact on health across 195 countries from 1990 to 2016. In many countries, moderate drinking has been associated with health benefits for years and in places like France, a daily glass of red wine has been viewed as good for the heart. “

“Yet, the new research claims that the harmful impact of alcohol far outweighs any benefits with even an occasional drink proving harmful. In 2016, 2.8 million deaths were attributed to alcohol. And it was the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability among people in the 15-49 age bracket.” 

“The infographic below focuses on the top-10 countries for alcohol attributable deaths. Specifically, it highlights the massive gender gap in mortality. In The United States, alcohol caused 71,00 male deaths and 19,000 female deaths in 2016.”

Health and Alcohol Do Not Mix Well
 

There Should Be No Shame in Depression

Depression affects millions of people in the United States also. The states of depression can range from rather mild to quite severe. One of the being biggest problems with depression is the feeling of embarrassment in admitting to being depressed. Societal norms often cause people to think this ailment is taboo. And this means that treatment would not sought, when it should be.

But depression is not restricted to those who are severely ill, doing poorly at work, etc. It impacts on all sorts of people. The key to better mental health is to admit to ourselves that we have a problem. And to seek help to address that problem.

Even people who many see as “successful” have problems with depression. Consider the recent suicides of fashionista Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bordain.  Just last week, ESPN ran a major story on depression among NBA (National Basketball  Association) players — where the average salary exceeds $6 million. As Jackie MacMullan reported:

“The willingness of stars Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan to step out of the shadows and reveal their struggles has set the NBA on an important path of self-discovery. It has prompted the National Basketball Players Association to hire Dr. William Parham as its first director of mental health and wellness; and it has convinced commissioner Adam Silver and union head Michele Roberts that hammering out a comprehensive mental health policy needs to be a priority.”

“Yet there remain many obstacles to confront, chief among them the stigma attached to mental health that prompts many players to suffer in silence. The union also insists that mental health treatment be confidential. But some NBA owners, who in some cases are paying their players hundreds of millions of dollars, want access to the files of their ‘investments.’ Confidentiality, says Love, has to be non-negotiable. Without it, he says, he never would have become comfortable enough to announce from that All-Star dais that he was seeking treatment.”

Consider these candid remarks from Kevin Love, a many-time NBA All Star.

 

Sometimes the Road Is More Bumpy

As I wrote in my very first blog post for Living Well While Surviving Cancer: “I want to offer hope and support to those dealing with any terrible disease and their families.” At times, this refers to me as well. I’m doing my best to be upbeat and live as well as I can EVERY DAY. Sometimes, that’s not easy.

Last month, my wife Linda and I went on a cruise vacation that we were planning for months. The travel and itinerary both seemed within my capability range. Because of my health issues, we prepare carefully and wait until near the date of each of our trips to book everything. And we always get trip insurance.

The first few days of this trip were fine; and we had a great time. I even tried — unsuccessfully — to take a selfie while sightseeing. I may have a lot of skills, but taking pictures with my phone is not one of them. Yes, that is my hand blocking the scenery. LOL.

Sometimes the Road Is More Bumpy

Unfortunately, there was nothing very funny about the rest of our trip. On the third night of the cruise, I couldn’t stop shivering. And the ship’s doctor decided to send me ashore. We were docked in a good spot and the hospital I was sent to by ambulance was fine.

I was examined right away and admitted to ICU. It turns that somehow I had contracted double pneumonia with sepsis. In addition, I had a fever,  low blood pressure, and a low oxygen level. Pretty scary stuff. I was out of it, so I didn’t really know what was going on. However, Linda was petrified (again).

I was in ICU for 6 days. Then, I spent another 4.5 days in a regular hospital room.  Thankfully, the excellent doctors were able to mostly “fix what ailed me.” When I was able, we returned home.

How am I now, a short time later? My doctors at home tell me it may take up to six weeks to fully get over this illness. They have also ordered me not to fly for another 6 months or so. Nonetheless, I’m feeling much better today and looking forward to every day as it comes.

What’s my moral of the story? The same one I’ve been preaching to myself for years: Live life every day. We really don’t know what is around the corner. We can only play the hand we are dealt, and make the best of it. Yes, this was not my favorite trip by any means. But Linda and I did have a few good days at the beginning. And we have a LOT of memories to look back on and stories to tell. I LOVE YOU LINDA!!

Of course, we have insurance companies to battle with over my medical care, our return home, etc. That is part of what makes life so challenging.

 

I wish you all the very best on any travel you have coming up. And above all, stay well!