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What is Your Body Telling You?

Our physical body takes a hit when we experience stress. Even if that stress is not especially negative or traumatic, our body takes the wear.
And if the stress involves danger or trauma, or continues over a significant period of time, our body may just “shut down” in some way.
It has been estimated that 75% or more of the time a patient visits a primary care physician the true reason is stress, psychological difficulty, or something related.

Sad woman

When Only Tears Will Do

Last weekend I was around plenty of tears. This time they were not mine, but those of other women sharing their stories.
I had been invited to be part of a conference on domestic violence, addressing the emotional, physical, legal, and spiritual aspects of this terrible reality. During the final session the participants were invited to say whatever they wished, and they started sharing their stories.
And they cried!

Olympic Rings

Faster, Higher, Stronger: Your Gold-Medal Run

The 2012 Olympic Games in London have just come to an end. For these two weeks every two years I spend more time watching sports on TV than probably the entire two years between them.
Names like Michael Phelps, Usian Bolt, Gabby Douglas, Missy Franklin, Oscar Pistorius, and others are now household words around the world. There’s something about the Olympic Games that draws us in.

Doctor, Doctor, Tell Me

I do it almost every day. Someone doesn’t feel well. They come to see me as a doctor and talk about their symptoms. I ask questions, do an exam, order tests, and prescribe treatment. For some “simple” medical problems, that is enough.
But more often than not there are so many more issues beyond just the physical symptoms. If I ignore these other factors, the patient may or may not get better. And I have done the patient poor service.

The Bad (or Good) News about STDs

There’s one part of my job as an OB-Gyn physician that I dread. And I’ve had to do it several times in the last two weeks.
I dread telling a woman that she has just been diagnosed with an STD.
Within just the past few days I’ve had to address HIV, HPV, herpes, and chlamydia. There’s just no easy way to tell someone that kind of news. The tears, the physical distress, the fear, often the shame, in a woman’s face just tears at my heart.

A Time for Everything

The Byrds sang it: “A time to every purpose under heaven.”
I wonder how many people who still sing Turn! Turn! Turn! realize that the lyrics were taken essentially word-for-word from the Bible, Ecclesiastes ch. 3. It talks about a truth that those of us who live in this super-charged ultra-fast over-connected society often forget.

A Salute to all Caregivers

I have not been a caregiver in the sense that many are. But if the statistics hold, one day I may be. The number of adults serving as caregiver to a parent, a spouse, or another family member is enormous.
With more of us living longer, the number needing care for illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or other dementia, stroke, or other brain disorders is only getting larger. Numbers can’t describe the emotional, financial, and physical toll caregiving takes on one’s life.
Not having experienced caregiving myself I’m sure anything I say would be inadequate to honor those who take on the responsibility for caring for a loved one. But I do want to say Thank You!

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Scary Thought

What was I going to write about? Oh yes, I remember. I just had a senior moment there.
Have you ever felt like that? Are you worried about whether it’s “just” a “senior moment”, or something much more scary – Alzheimer’s?
Losing one’s mental capacity ranks near the top on any list of fears about the future as people get older.

Why is Health Care So Expensive?

The United States has the dubious distinction of spending more money on health care for every man, woman, and child than any other country in the world. Just check the graph at the right.
And yet we are far from being the healthiest.
Why is it so expensive? We want to be healthy, but our spending doesn’t seem to be getting us there. Some of the major factors driving costs are:

Did You Build Your Health?

President Obama stirred up some strong controversy last Friday when he stated in one of his speeches, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” While the politics of that statement have occupied a great deal of the airwaves over the past few days, I have a different take on this controversy. What about your health? Who is responsible for your health or the lack thereof?

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