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In the history of medicine, heart surgery is a very young specialty, having begun about 120 years ago. Prior to that, the heart was considered too delicate to even consider operating on. Surgery on a ‘closed’ heart What is generally considered the first heart surgery was a “closed” procedure, which has since come to mean that the chest and heart don’t have to be opened significantly in order to...
2016
The 2010 Affordable Care Act made the majority of preventive health services offered by Medicare available at little to no cost. Utilization of these services has since gone up, with up to 85% of beneficiaries taking advantage of at least one of them. When examined individually, however, some of the most important life-saving and illness-preventing services are underused. Only half of...
Today, many primary care offices are busy places. Waiting rooms tend to be crowded, and you might wait 30 minutes or more to see your doctor who may then spend only 10 minutes with you in the exam room. Why have things changed? “You can blame crowded, busy doctors’ offices partly on Medicare and today’s private insurance reimbursement structures,” explains Stephen C. Schimpff, M.D., professor of...
dementia person with caregiver
Everyone copes with different challenges when taking care of someone with dementia, but some of the same problems are shared by many caregivers. For this article, several caregivers whose loved ones reside in a long-term care facility near Baltimore, Md., were interviewed. What follows are some of the most common concerns. Answers have been provided by experts who work with patients and families...
plaque buildup in an artery
The cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins were hailed as a very effective treatment for high cholesterol when they were first being used. Like most drugs, they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after their safety and efficacy were tested in clinical trials. But like some other drugs, after years and years of use, problems have arisen that weren’t evident during...
seniors discussing Medicare plans
Medicare Advantage plans are becoming more popular with seniors. In June 2015, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reported that the number of beneficiaries enrolled in these plans has more than tripled since 2004. Today, 31% of people on Medicare are in a Medicare Advantage plan (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2015, Medicare Advantage fact sheet. http://files.kff.org/attachment/fact-sheet-...
chronic pain chart
The burden of chronic disease on people in this country may seem to be mainly due to heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. Although these diseases certainly affect people’s lives, there is another problem that has emerged as a significant public health issue. That problem is chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP). According to a report from the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine (IOM),...
washing hands
Food-borne illness—commonly known as food poisoning—can result from the presence of bacteria, parasites, or viruses on food or food preparation surfaces. Food-borne pathogens usually cause gastroenteritis, which is irritation and inflammation of your stomach and intestines. Symptoms can be mild or severe and include fever, nausea, vomiting, cramping, and abdominal pain. This...
flu shot
It’s October and thus the very beginning of the official flu season, which runs through May. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this contagious respiratory illness most often peaks between December and February. The flu vaccine becomes available as early as August, but by early November last year, only about half of the U.S. population had been vaccinated...