women 4 hope

Dedicated to addressing women’s issues.

Archive for March, 2010

Politics: How is the healthcare crisis related to the high cost of healthy foods?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 18, 2010

Are healthcare, politics, and the high cost of healthy foods related?

Yes.

Let me start by saying…I am so sick of politics I could throw-up. But that said, this is about much more than politics. It’s about the warped reality we are all living in, from the White House to our local supermarket and fast food joint.

About two weeks ago I read an article comparing the cost of health care to the cost of food. It suggests that the best way to solve the healthcare crisis, is for all consumers to be forced to pay more for healthcare – Because then people would think about the cost before “choosing” certain tests and treatments. What a shocking revelation…Who would have thought (other than the CATO Institute) that the people who can’t afford expensive health care services would “choose” not to have them? Although, I wouldn’t really consider that a choice.

*Read full post at catherine.morgan.com

Advertisements

Posted in family, food, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, news, nutrition, opinion, political, Politics, universal healthcare, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Are Doctors Doing Too Many Invasive Heart Tests?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 12, 2010

We’ve heard a lot about too many mammograms leading to too many invasive biopsies.  But now a recent study is showing that doctors may be doing too many invasive heart tests as well.

Every year more than a million people in the United States are given an angiogram to check for blocked arteries, but in many cases the tests reveal no significant blockage.

Does that mean that all of these tests were unnecessary?  Not at all.  The study suggests that doctors begin to do a better job determining which patients really need an angiogram…Specifically, that careful evaluation be done when patients have no known heart disease and they are not in an emergency situation.

From NPR

Patel thinks that “the entire diagnostic process from start to finish needs reevaluation — from talking to patients to the threshold for going invasive,” meaning angiography.

The best place to start, he says, is with patients without symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain. Almost 1 in 3 Americans who get angiograms today are symptom-free. Their doctors order angiograms presumably because they suspect “silent” heart disease, perhaps because a patient has a family history of coronary disease, diabetes or other risk factors.

But angioplasty and stenting–procedures commonly done during angiography to widen clogged coronaries and keep them open–have never been shown to lengthen life, Patel says. The reason for doing them is to relieve symptoms. And if a patient doesn’t have symptoms, then doctors and patients should ask themselves what’s the point of doing the angiogram — instead of reducing coronary disease risk factors.

From the Wall Street Journal

Typically, patients suspected of heart disease based on family history or, say, unexplained chest pain, first undergo non-invasive tests such as a stress echocardiogram or nuclear perfusion study to see how well the heart is functioning. Guidelines suggest such tests should indicate a potential problem before a patient is referred for an angiogram. In the study, 84% of patients got at least one of these tests, but the information they provided was only modestly helpful in predicting whether patients had significant disease. Researchers said this underscored the need to find more effective ways to recommend patients for angiograms.

Other factors contribute to demands for more angiograms, doctors say. Among these: financial incentives for doctors to perform angiograms, worries of malpractice suits if a blockage is missed on early tests, and patients demanding more specific information about their condition.

“Our whole system is incented to do more,” says Chet Rihal, a cardiologist and director of the catheterization clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “We’ve got to get much smarter about how we’re ordering and interpreting these tests.”

What do you think?  Do the benefits of angiograms outweigh the risks for patients without known heart disease?

Posted in Health, heart disease, life, news | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Eat Healthy For Life, Not For Weight Loss

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 5, 2010

Eat Healthy For Life Not Weight Loss

We know that the food we choose to put into our body can have a huge affect on our health and quality of life, but many of us still choose to eat unhealthy foods.  Let’s face it, the unhealthy stuff tastes really good, and we don’t usually have cravings for healthy food.  That’s exactly why obesity is such a large problem for both adults and children in our country…But is dieting the answer?  I don’t think so.  As we all know, dieting can often lead to a roller coaster of weight loss and weight gain, that leaves many weighing more in the long run.

So if dieting isn’t the answer…What is?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in body image, chronic illness, dieting, food, Health, life, nutrition, self-help, teens, thoughts, weight loss, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Avon Foundation’s Breast Cancer Forum: Interview With Dr. Laura Esserman

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 1, 2010

I was honored to be asked to attend the Avon Foundation’s Breast Cancer Forum last week in San Francisco.  And I have a lot of information to share with everyone.  I’m going to start with an interview I did with Dr. Laura Esserman.  If the name doesn’t sound familiar, she was one of the researchers behind the controversial change in mammogram recommendations.  I wrote about it for BlogHer back in November in a post titled…

Breast Cancer Screening:  Are women just too emotional for mammograms before 50?

I guess the title of the post speaks to where I stand on the issue.

Although my feelings on this topic are contrary to Dr. Esserman’s point of view, I do think that she believes she has a woman’s best interest at heart.

This is from Dr. Laura Esserman’s bio

Dr. Laura Esserman, a nationally known breast surgeon, is the director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at the Mount Zion campus. Her work is devoted to developing new, more effective ways to care for and empower breast cancer patients during treatment and to tailor treatments using biology, personal preference and constant feedback regarding outcomes of care.

Shortly after Dr. Esserman spoke about her study to the attendees of the breast cancer forum, I had an opportunity to interview her.

See three part interview with Dr. Laura Esserman here.

Posted in breast cancer, cancer, chronic illness, daughters, Health, life, news, Women, women's health, women's issues, YouTube | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »