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When Facing a Serious Diagnosis, 'AfterShock' App Can Help
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 18, 2014 | CFAH Staff
Receiving bad health news can spark great upheaval. It is a time when nothing seems certain and the future may look dark. Since its release this summer, the free AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis app has provided users with a basic roadmap through the first few days and weeks after a serious diagnosis, providing concise information and trusted resources to help regain a bit of control during this turbulent time. As one reviewer wrote, the AfterShock app is "a standard for empowered patients"...
Poor-Quality Weight Loss Advice Often Appears First in an Online Search
HBNS STORY | November 13, 2014
More than 40 percent of U.S. Internet users use online search engines to seek guidance on weight loss and physical activity. A new study in the American Journal of Public Health finds that high-quality weight loss information often appears after the first page of search engine results.
A Preventable Medical Error Hits Home
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 16, 2014 | Darla Dernovsek
My 77-year-old parents were recently impacted by a medical error. The good news is that the story ends happily. The bad news is that it could have been averted simply by checking the date on lab tests...
From Wonder Drug to Medical Reversal
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 19, 2014 | John Schumann
One thing seems to be sure in medicine: if we just wait long enough for excellent science to guide us ahead, things we trust as ironclad rules often change. Case in point...
Facing a Serious Diagnosis? 'AfterShock' Now an App
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 31, 2014 | CFAH Staff
Receiving bad health news can spark great upheaval. It is a time when nothing is certain and the future looks dark. The new, free app 'AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis' offers a basic roadmap through the first few days and weeks, providing concise information and trusted resources to help you regain a bit of control during this turbulent time...
When Does a Patient Need to Be Seen?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | July 28, 2014 | Anne Polta
You need a refill for a prescription that's about to run out. You've taken the medication for years without any problems and can't think of any reason why the prescription can't just be automatically continued. But the doctor won't order a refill unless you make an appointment and come in to be seen. Is this an unfair burden on the patient or due diligence by the doctor?...
Inadequate Mental Health Care for Blacks with Depression and Diabetes, High Blood Pressure
HBNS STORY | July 24, 2014
A new study in General Hospital Psychiatry confirms that Blacks with depression plus another chronic medical condition, such as Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, do not receive adequate mental health treatment.
When It Comes to Health Disparities, Place Matters More Than Race
HBNS STORY | July 17, 2014
Blacks and Whites living in an integrated, low-income urban area had similar rates of treatment and management of hypertension, or high blood pressure, finds a new study in Ethnicity & Disease.
Caring for the Whole Patient
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 27, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas
When I was discharged from the intensive care unit in cardiology, not one of the nurses, residents or cardiologists asked if I'd be able to afford the fistful of expensive new cardiac meds I'd been prescribed. Not one asked if there was anybody at home to help take care of me there, or if there was anybody at home who needed me to take care of them. Not one asked if I'd be returning to a high-stress job, or even if I had enough banked sick time or vacation days to take sufficient time off. Such real-life issues are simply not the concern of most of our health care providers...
Social Support May Prevent PTSD in Heart Patients
HBNS STORY | May 20, 2014
Having a good social support system may help prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in patients with heart disease, finds a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Low Self-Rating of Social Status Predicts Heart Disease Risk
HBNS STORY | May 6, 2014
How a person defines their own socioeconomic standing (SES) within their community can help predict their risk of cardiovascular disease, but only among Whites, not Blacks, finds a recent study in Ethnicity and Disease.
Minorities Face Disparities in Treatment and Outcomes of Atrial Fibrillation
HBNS STORY | April 29, 2014
Minority patients with atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that increases the risk of stroke, were less likely to receive common treatments and more likely to die from the condition than their white counterparts, finds a new study in Ethnicity and Disease.
Weight Loss Efforts Start Well, but Lapse Over Time
HBNS STORY | April 8, 2014
Learning you have an obesity-related disease motivates many to start a weight loss program, but troubling health news is often not enough to sustain weight loss efforts, finds new research in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
'Everybody Has Plans 'Til They Get Punched in the Mouth'
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 1, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas
In boxing terms, this is completely literal, sound advice. As a figurative metaphor for illness, it's not bad, either. Because no matter how competent, how smart, how resourceful we may think we are before a catastrophic health crisis strikes, many of us may suddenly feel incompetent, ignorant and helpless when thrust inexplicably into the stress of such formidable reality...
Confessions of a Non-Compliant Patient
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 24, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas
Most days, I have learned to function pretty well. But take a few unexpected health challenges, no matter how minor they may seem to others, arriving at the same time and piled onto an already-full plate and you have an explosion of overwhelm that looms larger than the average healthy person could even imagine. I've become a non-compliant patient...
Is Your Doctor Paying Attention?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 13, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas
The $800 bottle of meds in my bathroom cabinet is a powerfully expensive reminder of my (former) family physician's lapse in attention – and my own lapse in catching her error. She'd somehow accidentally doubled both the dosage and the number of times per day to take these meds. How is this even possible? Somebody is not paying attention...
Gap in Life Expectancy Between Rural and Urban Residents Is Growing
HBNS STORY | January 23, 2014
A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that rural residents have experienced smaller gains in life expectancy than their urban counterparts and the gap continues to grow.
Sedentary Lifestyles Up Mortality Risks for Older Women
HBNS STORY | January 21, 2014
Older women who spend a majority of their day sitting or lying down are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, cancer and death, finds a new study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
It's Time to Stop Blaming the Patient and Fix the Real Problem: Poor Physician-Patient Communication
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 14, 2014 | Stephen Wilkins
If hospitals, health plans and physicians expect patients to change their behavior, they themselves have to change the way they think about, communicate and relate to patients. As a first step, I suggest that they stop blaming patients for everything that's wrong with health care...
More Chronically Ill People Use Online Health Resources – but They're Not So Social, Pew Finds
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 13, 2014 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn
Getting and being sick changes everything in your life, and that includes how you manage your health. For people focused on so-called patient engagement, health empowerment, and social networking in health, the elephant in the room is that most people simply don't self-track health via digital means...
Hospitals Serving Elderly Poor More Likely to Be Penalized for Readmissions
HBNS STORY | January 7, 2014
Hospitals that treat more poor seniors who are on both Medicaid and Medicare tend to have higher rates of readmissions, triggering costly penalties, finds a new study in Health Services Research.
Minorities and Poor More Likely to Suffer from Restless Sleep and Chronic Diseases
HBNS STORY | December 17, 2013
The poor and minorities tend to suffer from poor sleep and chronic disease more often, but sleep does not appear to be a root cause of disease disparity, finds a new study in Ethnicity & Disease.
Unique Barriers for African Americans With High Blood Pressure
HBNS STORY | November 26, 2013
African Americans with high blood pressure who reported experiencing racial discrimination had lower rates of adherence to their blood pressure medication, finds a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.
For People With Diabetes, Aggressive Blood Pressure Goals May Not Help
HBNS STORY | November 12, 2013
For people with diabetes and high blood pressure, keeping blood pressure levels lower than the standard recommended offered no benefits, finds a review in The Cochrane Library.
Is Everything We Know About Nutrition Wrong?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 31, 2013 | Inside Health Care
Millions of dollars are spent on dietary research, but are we any closer to understanding what a truly healthy diet consists of? A few new studies are turning long-held recommendations on their heads.
Latest Health Behavior News
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 20, 2013 | Health Behavior News Service
In this weeks health news: Group exercise alleviates college stress | Maintain your weight in a matter of minutes | Education may be the key to fighting obesity | Men who binge at risk for cardiovascular disease.
Patient Centered Billing
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 19, 2013 | Beth Nash
My husband and I returned from a weekend away to find a message on our answering machine saying that we owed money to the hospital and that if we didn’t pay it within 10 days, they would send the bill to a collection agency.
Being Your Own Advocate
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 2, 2013 | Angie Dresie
In 2010, I had surgery to remove a 2-inch heart tumor in my left atrium, the costs for which were astronomical, but that is not what I am writing about. I am writing about what happened in the months after my surgery and a cure that cost $9.19 if you don’t count all of the unnecessary doctor visits and procedures.
Lower Coronary Heart Disease Deaths By Making Several Lifestyle Changes
HBNS STORY | July 9, 2013
Programs to address multiple health behaviors, such as diet and exercise, significantly lowered the risk of a fatal heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event in people with coronary heart disease, finds a new review in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Looking for Meaning in a Meaningless Diagnosis
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 24, 2013 | Carolyn Thomas
It is indeed tempting – and common – to spout trite platitudes designed to somehow make people feel better about those bad things with bumper-sticker pop-psych. But can platitudes really lend meaning to a life-altering health crisis?
Patient Engagement? How About Doctor Engagement?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 28, 2013 | Carolyn Thomas
It’s a stressful time to be a patient these days, what with expectations running high that we should be both empowered and engaged while self-tracking every trackable health indicator possible – and of course retaining an all-important positive mental attitude – in order to change health care forever.
Current Evidence Does Not Support Selenium for Preventing Heart Disease in Well-Nourished Adults
HBNS STORY | January 31, 2013
A systematic review published today in The Cochrane Library finds that in well-nourished adults current evidence does not support selenium for preventing heart disease.
Finding Treatment Information
PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Make Good Treatment Decisions
Want to find out more about the treatments your doctors suggest? Here are some resources for doing your research and comparing your options.
Handling Treatment Side Effects
PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Participate in Your Treatment
Sometimes treatment can produce troubling side effects. Here’s how to recognize them and what to do if you have them.
Should I Get a Second Opinion?
PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Make Good Treatment Decisions
Different doctors can suggest different diagnoses or ways to treat your illness. Here’s how to decide whether you should get a second opinion.
Prepared Patient: Chronic Conditions: When Do You Call the Doctor?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 24, 2012 | Health Behavior News Service
The signs are everywhere - prescriptions doled out into weekly reminder boxes, blood glucose monitors in a desk drawer, maybe even an adrenaline injection pen stashed in a diaper bag for allergy emergencies. From high cholesterol to HIV, millions of Americans have a medical condition that they manage mostly on their own.
Communicate With Your Doctors
PREPARED PATIENT RESOURCE | Communicate With Your Doctors
You and your doctor need accurate information from each other. Open communication with your doctor is one of the most important factors in getting and staying healthy.
Respiratory Exercises Before Heart Surgery Can Prevent Pneumonia
HBNS STORY | November 14, 2012
Patients who practice respiratory physical therapy exercises before elective cardiac surgery may reduce serious pulmonary complications later, finds a new evidence review from The Cochrane Library.
Caregivers Neglect Their Own Health, Increasing Heart Disease Risk
HBNS STORY | November 6, 2012
People acting as caregivers for family members with cardiovascular disease may inadvertently increase their own risk for heart disease by neglecting their own health, according to a new study in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Common Treatment for Mild Hypertension Challenged
HBNS STORY | August 15, 2012
Doctors often prescribe drugs for people with mild high blood pressure with the hope of preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, a new review from The Cochrane Library has found that this treatment does not reduce death rates, heart attacks or strokes.
Depression in Young Adults Linked to Higher Risk of Early Death
HBNS STORY | August 14, 2012
Depression in young adulthood can have long-lasting effects, potentially leading to a higher risk of death even decades later, suggests a new study in the Annals of Epidemiology.
Blacks & Hypertension Link Persists Across Age and Economic Status
HBNS STORY | June 1, 2012
African-Americans are at higher risk for developing hypertension than Whites or Mexican Americans, even if they’ve managed to avoid high blood pressure earlier in life.
Why You'll Listen to Me but Not to Your Doctor
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 25, 2012 | Carolyn Thomas
As I like to remind my women's heart health presentation audiences, I am not a physician. I'm not a nurse. I am merely a dull-witted heart attack survivor. I also warn them that a lot of what I'm about to say to them is already available out there, likely printed on some wrinkled-up Heart and Stroke Foundation brochure stuffed into the magazine rack at their doctor's office.
Advice Urges Wider Sharing of Heart Care Decisions
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 16, 2012 | Jessie Gruman
The goal is "not only living long, it's living well. People often make decisions about the 'long' without even considering the 'well,'" said Jessie Gruman, president of the Center for Advancing Health, a patient advocacy group.
Women Veterans Report Poorer Health Despite Access to Health Services, Insurance
HBNS STORY | April 10, 2012
As more and more soldiers return from recent conflicts overseas, new research reveals that female veterans experience poorer health than other women.
People with Multiple Chronic Illnesses Have Trouble Coordinating Care
HBNS STORY | March 29, 2012
Younger patients and those with several chronic illnesses are more likely to report difficulties with care coordination than older patients with just one chronic illness, finds a new study in Health Services Research.
Simple, Common BMI Data Stored in e-Records can Identify Patients with Heart Disease Risk
HBNS STORY | March 13, 2012
New research released online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that body mass index (BMI) data, commonly available in electronic medical records, can accurately identify adults between 30 and 74 years-old at risk for cardiovascular (heart) disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.
Pre-Existing Hypertension Linked to Depression in Pregnant Women
HBNS STORY | November 10, 2011
Women with a history of high blood pressure before getting pregnant have a higher risk of depression than women who develop pregnancy-related hypertension, according to a new study.
Excluding Hypertension, Review Finds Calcium Supplements Have No Benefit During Pregnancy
HBNS STORY | October 5, 2011
Most physicians instruct pregnant women to increase their calcium intake, but a new evidence review of potential benefits of calcium supplementation for mom and baby found none, except for the treatment of pregnancy-related hypertension.
Review: Taking Blood Pressure Drugs at Night Slightly Improves Control
HBNS STORY | October 5, 2011
Patients who take certain popular types of blood pressure medication once a day are able to achieve somewhat better control of their hypertension if they take their daily dose at bedtime, according to a new systematic review.
Patients with Implanted Cardiac Devices Should Learn about End-of-Life Options
HBNS STORY | October 4, 2011
An implanted device meant to correct heart rhythm may generate repeated painful shocks during a patient’s final hours, at a time when the natural process of dying often affects the heart’s rhythm.
Even Outside “Stroke Belt,” African-Americans Face Higher Mortality
HBNS STORY | September 1, 2011
African-Americans and country folk outside the so-called “stroke belt” are at higher risk for stroke death than other populations, a large new study finds.
Guest Blog: Recovery and Healing
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 29, 2011 | Katherine Ellington
Medical student Katherine Ellington grapples with reconciling her two roles as daughter and doctor-in-training as her mother recovers from a heart procedure.
Matters of the Heart
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 22, 2011 | Katherine Ellington
When her mom is being treated for a newly diagnosed heart condition, medical student Katherine Ellington learns first-hand how her medical training applies to real life. This is the second in a series of three posts.
NBC Urges Women >40 to Ask About CRP Test
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 19, 2011 | Gary Schwitzer
After seeing the NBC Nightly News last night, a physician urged me to write about what he saw: a story about a "simple blood test that could save women's lives." Readers - and maybe especially TV viewers - beware whenever you hear a story about "a simple blood test."
Guest Blog: Is It Post-Heart Attack Depression or Just Feeling Sad?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 4, 2011 | Carolyn Thomas
One of the small joys of having launched my site [http://myheartsisters.org/] is discovering by happy accident the wisdom of other writers ' even when they're writing on unrelated topics not remotely connected to my favourite subject which is, of course, women and heart disease. For example, I happened upon a link to Sandra Pawula's lovely blog called Always Well Within. Sandra teaches mindfulness meditation, and she lives in Hawai'i (note her correct spelling).
Modified Fat Diet Key to Lowering Heart Disease Risk
HBNS STORY | July 12, 2011
A new evidence review finds that a modified fat diet — rather than a low fat diet — might be the real key to reducing one’s risk of heart disease.
Treatment for Minority Stroke Patients Improves at Top-ranked Hospitals
HBNS STORY | June 21, 2011
A new study suggests there has been some improvement in reducing the gap in stroke hospitalization between white and minority patients.
Review: Statins Helpful, But No Quick Fix After Cardiac Emergency
HBNS STORY | June 14, 2011
Over the long term, treatment with cholesterol-lowering statins reduces the rate of mortality and cardiovascular events such as heart attack. Still, it is unclear whether these drugs take effect rapidly when the risk of these dire events is highest.
Mayo Finds Heart Patients Skip Meds Due to Costs; Self-rationing in Health Continues
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 25, 2011 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn
Health economist and management consultant, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, discusses a Mayo study which found half of people in the study stopped taking their statins due to cost. Sarasohn-Kahn says, 'Welcome to world of self-rationing in health, where even the lucky health citizen receiving the best acute care money (and third-party health insurance) can buy doesn't follow through with the recommended self care at home.'
Say What? Do Patients Really Hear What Doctors Tell Them?
PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 3, 2011 | Carolyn Thomas
I had a heart attack two years ago and was taken immediately to the O.R. for a stent implantation. Overwhelmed and terrified, I knew nothing of what was about to happen to me. What I learned later was that my stent may help a newly-opened artery to stay open. But a new study now suggests heart patients believe that stents have far greater benefits than they actually do. Should it be up to patients to ensure that doctor-patient communication is accurate or effective during an emotionally overwhelming medical event?
Limiting Salt Lowers Blood Pressure and Health Risks in Diabetes
HBNS STORY | December 7, 2010
For patients living with diabetes, reducing the amount of salt in their daily diet is key to warding off serious threats to their health, a new review of studies finds.
Mass. Smoking Ban Might Be Linked to Fewer Fatal Heart Attacks
HBNS STORY | October 7, 2010
Americans Cut Risk of Heart Disease Death in Half, Prevention Is Key
HBNS STORY | August 3, 2010
Patient-centered Care Can Lower Risk of Death in Heart Attack
HBNS STORY | July 22, 2010
Drug-Releasing Stents No Better at Warding Off Death After Angioplasty
HBNS STORY | May 11, 2010
Exercise-based Rehab for Heart Failure Can Improve Quality of Life
HBNS STORY | April 13, 2010
Health Care Delivery Fixes Somewhat Helpful in Heart Disease
HBNS STORY | March 16, 2010