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General Health Information | Spokane, WA
General Information

  • “It is understood now, that all medical disorders have psychological components, and all psychological disorders have physiological components.  We are integrated beings.  Everything affects everything.”  Dr. Allen Bergin, former President of the Society for Psychotherapy Research
  • There is an appropriate place for religion in medical and psychotherapy care, and programs for addiction.  Religious commitment has been found to be clinically beneficial.  Scientific research has demonstrated the value of religious commitment and faith to people in the recovery from, the prevention of, and coping with illness.  
What You Can Do
  • Ask your family about their medical histories.  Let your Doctor know what diseases run in you family (heart disease, alcoholism, cancer, etc.).  One-third of all diseases could be predicted and prevented.  
  • Keep a list of your medications in your wallet.  This can be crucial if you end up in an emergency room, alone and unconscious.  The list should include the drug name, dosage and how frequently you take the drug.  Also, state the reason for taking the drug, and the prescribing doctor's name and phone number.  Include over the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements.  This list may be very helpful for several reasons: 

    • You may be seeking medical care which is related to an adverse effect of a medication you are taking.
    • The medication you are taking may impact treatment decisions.
    • The doctor wants to avoid duplicate dosing and drug interactions. 

  • Blood Pressure Monitors.  Encourage people with high blood pressure to own a home monitor ($50-$100) and do regular pressure checks, as recommended by the American Heart Association (May 2008).  High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and death.  Only a third of people with high blood pressure have it under control.  Having it checked a few times a year is not enough, and regular home monitoring is more accurate.  
  • Learn how to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), especially if you live or work with someone who has a cardiac history.  The American Heart Association says that hands-only CPR (rapid, deep presses on the victim’s chest until help arrives, giving approximately 100 uninterrupted chest presses a minute) works just as well as standard CPR for sudden cardiac arrest in adults.  It is simpler and easier to remember and removes a big barrier for people hesitant to give mouth-to-mouth breathing.  Children and infants should still be given the traditional CPR.  In addition, those who have been trained in traditional CPR can still opt to use that.  (The suggested rate of chest compressions has been compared to the beat of the song “Staying Alive.”)  
  • Take care of your own health.  Research says you can help prevent dementia, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  The journal Neurology suggests that having a large belly in middle age triples your chance of having dementia.  This is the deep, inside belly fat which surrounds your organs.  Deep belly fat produces inflammation which travels throughout the entire body and sets you up for dementia, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

    The Good News:  You can do something about it!  First, determine your risk by wrapping a tape measure snugly around the smallest part of your waist, or about 1” above your belly button.  Women who measure more than 35” or men who measure more than 40” fall within the higher risk for disease.  Make a plan and commit to exercise 30 minutes/day to shrink fat cells, and eat healthy fats and high fiber.  
  • When to get a second opinion.  A second opinion from a doctor could give you a second chance at survival. A new study found that only 12% of patients seeking a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic got confirmation of their original diagnosis, 66% received a better defined or refined diagnosis, and 21% received a "distinctly different" one. The gap could cause unnecessary procedures, more invasive treatments or even death. Dr. David Agus discussed the findings and said that 88% of diagnoses is changed when a doctor refers a patient to the Mayo Clinic, so second opinions are critical.  There is no way to treat effectively unless you have the right diagnosis. 

    If you have a disorder that is not getting any better, or is serious, you want a second opinion.  Going to a university medical center you will find doctors are classically more specialized.  In addition, consider getting a third opinion if two doctors are divided in their diagnosis.  Get another set of eyes to look at what is going on.  
Determining a misdiagnosis or a changed diagnosis can cost more, because they have to do more tests.  Factors leading to misdiagnosis:
Lack of expertise
Variation in skills
Time constraints
Insurance restrictions
Most doctors are not offended when you ask for you to get a second opinion.  How to get a second opinion: 
Ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist
Take medical records, including copies of imaging & lab results
Seek an academic medical center
Online consult may be an option
The average cost of getting a second opinion when the diagnosis is the
Same:  $1,288
Refined:  $1,794
Different:  $4,767
(Mayo Clinic/Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, “Getting a second opinion from a doctor could be a lifesaver,” CBS News, April 4, 2017)
  • Visit a sick friend with food, flowers, or a thoughtful gift in hand, and offer to help.  Be aware of friends, neighbors, and family members who struggle with chronic illnesses. 
  • Take a First-Aid Class. 
  • Collect unused medical supplies that medical centers otherwise throw out, and ship them to needy hospitals in Africa, where childbirth is one of the biggest killers of women.  Each day, 7,000 tons of unused medical supplies are disposed of in the U.S.  Our government’s regulations specify that anything opened in an operating room must be thrown out, even if it’s still individually wrapped and sterile.  If doctors open a surgical kit with 180 items and only use 80, they have to throw away all 180 items.  Call our local hospitals and ask officials to donate unused medical supplies to an organization which accepts medical supplies:
  • Volunteers are often needed to help in medical facilities—from hospitals to the Ronald McDonald House.

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

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