Archive for the ‘General Health’ Category

Quiz of the Month: Valentine’s Day, Doctor Style

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

by Leigh Ann Otte

There are sweethearts, heart-to-hearts, heartfelt confessions and candy hearts. As Valentine’s Day approaches, hearts are all over the place. But to many of us, our own heart remains a mystery—not just poetically but literally.

So this month, we’re testing your hearty knowledge in our “Valentine’s Day Heart Quiz.” Here’s a teaser question. Do you know the answer?

This large vein moves blood from the upper body to the heart:

After the quiz, if you want to learn more about that most romantic of organs, here are a few interesting articles:

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

A Day in the Life of a Doctor Detective

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

by Leigh Ann Otte

You’re a family doctor. You walk into a patient’s room where a man in his mid-50s waits for your wisdom. His complaint: He hasn’t been feeling well.

You ask the normal questions and find out that he’s had has no weight loss, pain, rash or new stresses. You can’t find any clues, in fact. Where do you go from here?

Walk with a family doctor as she solves this head scratcher in this week’s featured article, “Medical Mystery: A True-Life What-Done-It,” and see how doctors make the decisions they make—and how listening to your body may save your life.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Pop Quiz: What’s the Most Festive Animal-Head Dish in England?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Years ago, the story goes, Tom Bawcock braved a harsh winter storm to feed his English village of Mousehole. He caught enough of a certain small animal to tide them over. The animals were baked into a pie.

Now, on December 23 every year, people in Mousehole celebrate “Tom Bawcock’s Eve” by eating Stargazy pie, which has heads of the small animal sticking out of it. What was the small animal?

a. Mouse
b. Squirrel
c. Fish

Get the answer in this month’s quiz, “Holiday Food,” celebrating the upcoming holiday season … with some rather interesting trivia.

Occupy the Internet! Doctors Unite to Build Accessible, Reliable Health Site

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

stethoscope and keyboardby Leigh Ann Otte

It’s amazing how much misleading information there is on the Internet, isn’t it? People claim just about anything—and do it with such authority that it seems like they must know what they’re talking about.

I’ve come across some doozies over the years. I’m convinced that dubious health claims must make up a good 50 percent of the Interwebs. Once, I stumbled upon a psychologist(!) blogger who was spreading the myth that antidepressants didn’t work. He drew his claims from an “expert’s” book on the subject. Just by looking into the first study, you could get a feel for the quality of evidence relied upon. It was on a different class of medicine (tricyclics, not SSRIs—the type prescribed most commonly today) and a tiny amount of people. I posted a comment. The blogger wrote me privately and admitted fault; he hadn’t looked into the studies himself. He was just repeating information.

Sometimes, though, the problem isn’t too much dubious information; it’s not enough of any information. Often, with lesser-known disorders, you can find a smattering of overviews online, if that. Well, there is more-detailed information, but it’s written for doctors and stuffed with so much jargon it might as well be Greek. (I think some of it is Latin).

The lack-of-information syndrome seems to be the case with a disorder called MGUS. Ever heard of it? Probably not, but 3 to 4 percent of people over 50 have it, according to S. Vincent Rajkumar, a hematologist-oncologist from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. It’s a blood disorder that usually causes no symptoms, but some people who have it end up getting a certain kind of cancer.

We published an article about MGUS a while back, and people started flocking to it. They posted so many questions in the comments section that we decided to do a follow-up answering them. Two top MGUS experts were kind enough to share their knowledge for the piece. The result is this week’s featured article, “MGUS: Questions About Symptoms, Related Diseases.”

That brings us to the early-Thanksgiving portion of this post—a gushing thanks.

We’d like to thank the doctors who took the time to answer the MGUS questions: Dr. Rajkumar of Mayo Clinic and Hani Hassoun, M.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Our purpose at My Family Doctor has always been to give you trustworthy information straight from doctors. We couldn’t do that without the experts who are willing to work with us. Turns out, they like to spread reliable information too. They just need an outlet.

So thanks to you guys—our readers—for supporting that outlet. Down with the 50 percent! Let’s make it 49.5. I think we might be able to do it.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

How to Beat the Body Snatchers: Be a Body Donor!

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Last week, in a some-say-morbid celebration of Halloween, we talked about giving away your organs. Well, All Hallows Eve’s just a few days away now, so it’s time to take things up a notch. How about giving away your body?

Some folks donate their bodies to science. Medical students study on them. Ever thought about being a body donor? In this week’s featured article, “Donating Your Body to Science: FAQs,” you can hear one woman’s story about why she’s decided to give away her corpse.

“I was never comfortable with the idea of being cremated or buried,” she says. “Burial seems cold and lonely. Cremation is too hot.” She’s practical too. “I believe very strongly in the philosophy of reduce, reuse, recycle. Why waste a body if it can help others?”

You can read her story here, and get answers to your questions from an anatomy professor—questions like, how do you donate your body, anyway?

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Slimy Eyeballs and Squishy Intestines: This Halloween, Give Away Your Guts

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Remember the squishiness, the sliminess—that stuff in a bucket you couldn’t see but could vividly imagine? It was, of course, … human body organs!

Every year, innocent children are subjected to unmerciful Halloween tricks from adults. Live scarecrows guard candy, witches answer doors and, yes, buckets full of gooey eyeballs await curious fingers.

This Halloween, we’re turning the theme around on adults. Our version focuses on a real life-and-death issue: organ donation. Some people find that as scary as a haunted house. Perhaps that’s because of frightful myths, like the doctors might not try as hard to save donors, and you can’t have an open-casket funeral.

In “13 Organ Donation Questions: Busting Myths, Spreading Facts,” we’ve answered your common and uncomfortable questions. (Funny, it just worked out to 13.) If you haven’t registered as a donor, perhaps this Halloween is the time to do it. You can sign up easily online. (There’s a link in the article.)

Well over 6,000 people die waiting for a transplant each year. One donor can save as many as eight live and help perhaps dozens more.

Signing up to be a lifesaver—a pretty cool way to celebrate Halloween. Almost as cool as scaring the sheets off some innocent little ghosts.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a professional writer. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Skeletal Knowledge: Happy Halloween Trivia!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

I think the stores started selling Halloween decorations in July, so I apologize that we’re so late to the game, but now that it’s October, Happy Halloween!

We’re kicking off this eerie month by getting our skeletons out of the closet and onto the website, in quiz form. Test your bony knowledge in our “Bones Halloween Quiz.” Here’s a warm-up question to get you started:

What’s a crack that happens on one side of the bone only?

  • Skeletal crack
  • Sidehair split
  • Greenstick fracture

Get the answer by taking this month’s quiz. Then share your score with your friends and see how they do. You can try more health quizzes here.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a professional writer. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

How Toddlers Are Like Furniture: Proper Lifting Required

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

When I was visiting my sister, brother-in-law and two-year-old nephew recently, my nephew and I developed a game that pretty much consisted of horrifying his mother. I pulled him off the couch by the feet and twirled him around the living room upside down. Again! And again! And again!

Sure, my back got tired, but it was a good workout, and I was proud of my energy and stamina.

A few hours later, I picked up his plastic toy lawnmower and promptly threw my back out. The toy probably weighed three pounds. Ridiculous, but worth some hearty laughter from my compassionate family.

This kind of unfortunate situation is actually common, according to Andrew Kirschner, D.O., a doctor who writes briefly about it in this week’s featured article, “What Causes a Crick in the Neck? 6 Pain FAQs.”

“A lot of times your back gets set up for injury, but it doesn’t really trigger until you’re doing something minor,” he writes. I guess I figured it’d give me a warning or something. “Excuse me, here’s a twinge of soon-to-fade pain as a polite reminder that you need to stop now.”

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a professional writer. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Pop Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Chompers?

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Think you know your teeth? Try your hand at these questions:

  1. Do over-the-counter teeth whiteners work?
  2. Do you need to sanitize your toothbrush?
  3. If your mouth isn’t big enough for wisdom teeth, why are they there?

Check your answers in this week’s featured article, “Dentists Answer 7 Common Questions About Your Teeth.” How’d you do?

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a professional writer. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

What They Don’t Tell Kids About Bees

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Growing up in Mississippi, exploring dense woods and thick brush, my sister and I were always on the lookout for ticks. We had our fair share and learned early on how they got removed: grasp the head with tweezers, and pull.

I don’t know about where you live, but I think the South may be the critter capitol of the world. Bees, wasps, spiders, snakes—and it’s balmy weather for them most of the time. So we knew a lot about what to do and not do to keep ourselves safe. But there is one thing I didn’t know back then: Sweat attracts bees. I would have known it if I could have read this week’s featured article, “11 Tips for a Safer Hike.”

But I couldn’t. It wasn’t written, and we didn’t have the Internet. And it’s probably best nobody told us kids such things. During those boggy Mississippi summers, you could stick your pinky out the window and be swimming in sweat. As scared as we were of honeybees and their massive bumblebee cousins, we never would have gone outside.

I have to admit, though, that there’s one thing on the article’s list you couldn’t have gotten us kids to do in a million years: wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. The average high in August was 91 degrees. All pants were good for was being cut off into shorts.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a professional writer. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

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