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Many Americans put a great deal of trust in our country's health care system and the health care professionals who tend to their medical needs. But from time to time, we've all heard medical horror stories of things that did not go well.
When things don't go as planned, here are nine tips from FindLaw.com that can help you protect your rights as a patient:
1. Understand your health insurance plan.
2. Become familiar with your employer's policies.
3. Seek out the opinion of another physician if you don't like the way you are being treated by your current physician.
4. Ask your physician to explain all potential treatment options to you, even if your health insurance plan won't pay for alternative treatments.
5. Keep in mind that you have the right to refuse medical treatment.
6. Invite a trusted family member or friend to join you when discussing your health care with your physician.
7. Stick with well-recognized health care organizations and pharmacies.
8. Keep your own health care treatment records.
9. Consider hiring an attorney to help you complete a health care directive, which designates a person to make decisions about your health care treatment if you cannot due to an illness or an injury.
New Research: Carbs, sugar and cognitive impairment
People 70 and older who eat food high in carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, and the danger also rises with a diet heavy in sugar, Mayo Clinic researchers have found. Those who consume a lot of protein and fat relative to carbohydrates are less likely to become cognitively impaired, the study found. The findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
The research highlights the importance of a well-rounded diet, says lead author Rosebud Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist.
"We think it's important that you eat a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, because each of these nutrients has an important role in the body," Roberts says.
Researchers tracked 1,230 people ages 70 to 89 who provided information on what they ate during the previous year. At that time, their cognitive function was evaluated by an expert panel of physicians, nurses and neuropsychologists. Of those participants, only the roughly 940 who showed no signs of cognitive impairment were asked to return for follow-up evaluations of their cognitive function. About four years into the study, 200 of those 940 were beginning to show mild cognitive impairment, problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.
The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging.
Health Tip: Regular screenings important for women
Every woman should make time for healthy habits such as getting plenty of exercise, eating healthy, and finding a comfortable balance between work and life. In addition, all women should schedule routine health screenings that help detect a variety of diseases in their early stages.
Mammograms: Do you know that a mammogram can detect a potential breast abnormality several years before physical symptoms develop? The American Cancer Society recommends that women get a mammogram every year beginning at the age of 40. Women who have a high risk for breast cancer (i.e. have personal or family history of breast cancer, dense breast tissue or previous suspicious mammograms) should talk to their physician about the screening program that makes the most sense for them, no matter what their age.
Heart health screenings: Getting your blood pressure and cholesterol screened are two important steps for heart health. A blood pressure screening can determine whether you have hypertension, and lets you begin a treatment program to bring it under control. Starting at age 18, every woman needs to have her blood pressure checked at least once every two years. Screening and addressing high cholesterol concerns reduces your risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reproductive health screenings: Getting a Pap test (also known as a Pap smear) and an HPV (human papilloma virus) test, along with a pelvic exam is an important part of women's reproductive health. These tests help to find pre-cancerous conditions before they can turn into cervical cancer. Current guidelines from the American Cancer Society recommend that women between the ages of 21 and 29 have a pelvic exam and Pap smear every three years. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a pelvic exam, a Pap smear and an HPV test every five years.
Bone density tests: Bone loss can increase for women after menopause, making osteoporosis a major health concern. In the past, osteoporosis could only be detected after you broke a bone. Today, bone density screenings are available to help monitor bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone mineral density testing for postmenopausal women and men aged 50 through 70, or when there is a risk factor, such as having a slender frame, family history or a low trauma fractured bone.
Colon cancer screenings: Although your doctor may recommend an earlier screening, most women should receive a colonoscopy screening exam at the age of 50.
Number to Know
93: The percentage of US children 19-35 months who receive a vaccine for polio. The CDC also reports that 92 percent of these children receive a vaccine for Hepatitis B, 90 percent are vaccinated against chickenpox and measles, and 84 percent get a DTP shot.
Children’s Health: Is it strep throat?
Sore throats can have a variety of causes. Viruses, bacteria, allergens, environmental irritants (such as cigarette smoke), chronic postnasal drip and fungi can all cause that unpleasant, scratchy and sometimes painful condition known as a sore throat. While many sore throats will heal without treatment, some throat infections — including strep throat — may need antibiotic treatment.
Common symptoms of strep throat include severe pain when swallowing, a fever of 101 degrees or above, red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus, headache, nausea and body aches.
A strep test (a quick swab of the throat) can quickly show if group A strep bacteria are causing a sore throat. A test is needed to tell if you have strep throat; just looking at your throat is not enough to make a diagnosis. If the test is positive, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics. If the strep test is negative, but your doctor still strongly suspects you have this infection, a culture of your throat (another sample) may be taken as another way to test for the bacteria.
The best way to keep from getting strep throat is to wash your hands often and avoid sharing eating utensils, like forks or cups. It is especially important for anyone with a sore throat to wash their hands often and cover coughs and sneezes. There is no vaccine to prevent strep throat.
GateHouse News Service