Health Aches and Pains Not to Ignore

The human body is an interesting vessel. One of the things the body is good at is letting you know when there is a problem somewhere. The most common way that the body gives you this message is through the use of pain. Ignoring certain types of pain can leave you miserable and may lead to more serious problems. Ignoring other types of pain especially pain that starts suddenly or is more intense than normal can lead to possible death.

Pain That Could Indicate Impending Stroke or Heart Attack

Among the most serious conditions are heart attack and strokes. Smaller episodes can happen with only a few cues that tend to be overlooked by most people. Those can lead to more serious attacks which will lead to lengthy hospital stays or possibly death. The most common warning signs of a heart attack according to the American Heart Association:

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Pain that starts in the chest and then moves to the neck, jaw, back or shoulder
  • Abdominal pain with no known cause
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

The American Heart Association warns that women are more likely to have nausea and vomiting, fatigue and cold sweats than men and are also more likely to either ignore the symptoms or have medical professionals overlook them leading to worse outcomes for a first heart attack.

For a stroke, the acronym F.A.S.T is key. It stands for Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911. Every second counts with a stroke. Any of these issues with or without a sudden, severe headache should be considered an emergency.

Abdominal Pain

Pain after a huge meal is probably indigestion and if it is the only pain involved, it can be ignored; but an abdominal pain that starts suddenly, is more intense than normal, or has no known cause could be a warning sign of a number of serious conditions. Any time pain in the belly coincides with other problems it should be evaluated immediately. Some of those problems include:

  • Sweating
  • Blood
  • Radiating pain to other areas
  • Fever
  • Tearing pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Yellowing skin

Tooth Pain

Certain types of tooth pain can be treated by a dentist at a regular visit. Other types should be considered an emergent situation and should be cared for immediately. This includes sudden pain that starts as a toothache but then moves to the jaw, neck or head. It could be an abscess, a broken tooth with exposed roots or even the warning sign of a heart attack. According to dental experts, symptoms of infected teeth may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain with biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. If not treated quickly, it can even weaken the entire immune system, making it very dangerous and painful.

Of course, this is not a comprehensive list of all the warning aches and pains that could indicate a serious problem. Take good care of your body, and pay attention to the signals it sends you. Seek appropriate treatment, be honest with your physicians, and follow their instructions in order to live a happy and healthy life.

What to Do if You Suspect an Overdose

Substance abuse is rampant in developed nations as well as developing nations. Ongoing addiction can be devastating, and recovery can be a daunting and discouraging process. But I want to start this article on a hopeful note. According to Safe Harbor, “There’s a long process to recovery, and it begins with admission.” This is consistent with scripture, which tells us that “whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

As distressing as ongoing addiction can be, the worst-case scenario is an overdose. Overdose situations happen fast, and they can kill in a matter of minutes. If you suspect that someone has overdosed, you must act quickly. Knowing what to do ahead of time will help you to work effectively if you ever encounter this situation in the future.

Opioids

Opioids are commonly used for pain management, but a normal prescription can quickly devolve into an addiction and an overdose. A person who has overdosed on opioids such as hydrocodone may exhibit a wide range of symptoms, depending upon the substance involved. Opioid intoxication victims typically will move very slowly, if at all. They may slump over. Speech may be slurred. Breathing may be severely impaired. The eye pupils will look like tiny pinpoints. Their skin may be pale or even blue. If you suspect it’s an opioid, do the following:

  • Stay calm
  • Delegate someone (ideally 2 people) to call 911, or call yourself if nobody is available
  • Check to see if the patient is breathing
  • If not, administer CPR (compressions only — no mouth-to-mouth)

If you can’t do CPR, make sure the victim is turned on one side while you wait for help. This will help prevent aspiration of stomach contents into the lungs in case the victim vomits. Opioids kill by severely suppressing breathing centers in the brain. An average person will take about 20 breaths per minute. You can count the victim’s breaths by watching their chest rise and fall for one minute. This will help you determine just how severe the situation is.

Some states allow citizens to carry naloxone, which is the antidote used to reverse opioid intoxication. It comes in the form of tubes. The contents are squeezed into each nostril. If someone close to you is abusing opioids, you may want to look into getting a naloxone kit if you can. It may well save a life.

Stimulants

Someone who has taken an overdose of a stimulant, such as cocaine or amphetamine, will display dilated pupils, agitation, and rapid speech. They may have seizures. Sometimes they may behave very aggressively. They may have a high fever and chest pain as well.

Call 911 immediately. Try to calm the person and assure them that help is on the way. Acute stimulant overdose can kill just as surely as an opioid overdose can.

Barbiturates

Although not as common, barbiturate intoxication can occur. When it does, it’s very, very dangerous. Barbiturates typically have narrow therapeutic dose ranges, which means that the difference between a dose that will induce sleep and one that will kill isn’t much. Victims will be very, very sleepy. They may not be conscious at all. Call 911 and then administer CPR if you can. If not, be sure the victim is turned on their side. Vomiting is highly likely. Unfortunately, there is not a specific antidote for this type of drug poisoning. A hospital can provide supportive care and possibly save the person’s life.

These suggestions will give you some idea of the actions to take should you encounter a drug intoxication situation. Education is the first step to preparation, and preparation saves lives. Proverbs teaches us to  “Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared” (Proverbs 3:25-26). Act quickly. Remember that every second counts.

How Technology is Changing Common Medical Treatments

Constant advances in technology have made life so much better, and medical treatments are no exception. Technology has changed so many aspects of medicine, but here are a few that you may not have thought of.

Remote Patient Monitoring

In the past, you had to go to the doctor every time you had a problem, and you may not get in right away, especially if the doctor is really busy. Now, you don’t have to wait for an appointment. Many healthcare providers are offering remote monitoring to help with problems and questions. You can video chat with a doctor and either get the problem solved or know that you do actually need to come in. This saves a lot of time and money.

If you struggle with a chronic disease, you can also have greater mobility in your life. Diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular complications require regular monitoring. Some addiction recovery treatments also rely on regular check-ins to help increase sobriety and accountability. Through innovation, notably sensors, wearable gadgets, and trackers, you and your doctor can monitor your condition without requiring long stays in a facility.

Revolution of Medical and Surgical Procedures

The starting point of any diagnosis relies heavily on proper medical imaging. X-rays, scans, and MRIs have become more precise and higher quality, allowing your doctor to pinpoint your issues more precisely. Instead of weeks for results, you can often get answers during the same appointment or within a few days.

Laparoscopy and nanotechnology are just a few of the technological advances that are defining modern surgery. The developments allow doctors and surgeons to target specific areas without affecting other areas of your body, decreasing the recovery time you need. Many surgeries can be completed through microscopic openings in your body, which also reduces the chance of infection and scarring.

Better Communication

Every health record today goes to a database, which makes it possible for physicians to diagnose and treat patients accurately, regardless of where you are. You don’t have to carry your health history around and you don’t have to worry about what to do in the case of an accident while traveling. This is also helpful if you change doctors and need to transfer treatment records. It has also improved the ability to diagnosis conditions and reduced errors based on miscommunication.

Conclusion

Technology has given medicine unlimited possibilities, and it isn’t stopping any time soon. Every year there are advances in curing diseases that were previously thought to be incurable and improving the quality of life for everyone. These advances are a huge blessing to everyone.

Resources:

4 Practical Ways That You Can Enhance A Patient’s Experience

Most medical professionals make their patient’s experience a priority to ensure that the individual is satisfied with their appointments and treatments. The level of the patient’s experience influences the trust that is established and how well they communicate and listen to the practitioner. If you want to enhance a patient’s experience and have better patient reviews, there are a few necessary tips to follow.

1. Offer Charging Stations

This step is not strictly necessary, but is definitely a practical convenience for patients. Allow your patients to stay connected to their smartphones and tablets with multiple charging stations that are provided in the waiting rooms and are free to use. If their devices are charged, they can easily keep their loved ones updated on their condition. Patients will also have more patience with the wait times when they can use their electronic devices to stay busy and distracted.

2. Show Empathy

Medical professionals should practice having empathy and compassion when a patient isn’t feeling well. Practice empathy by making eye contact, using a kind tone of voice, and sitting or standing with an open posture. Allow for enough time to talk with patients about their individual situation. Follow up with patients later, either through a phone call or an email, to show that you care about the individual’s well-being and their experience with your medical facility. Be open to suggestions for improvement.

3. Provide Flexible Visiting Hours

Evidence suggests that most patients, visitors, and medical staff have been shown to prefer protected mealtimes, limited numbers of visitors per patient, set visiting hours, and a set quiet time in place. However, many patients and visitors disagree with staff about the policies on limiting visitors and visiting hours, arguing that the policies are too inflexible. For example, in a 2008 study, patients and visitors were unsatisfied by the number of visitors allowed to see a patient at any one time. Most patients and visitors agreed that up to 4 visitors at any one time was acceptable, while most staff agreed that only 2 visitors at any one time was acceptable. In order to improve patient satisfaction, consider implementing policies that are more generous with visiting hour flexibility and with the number of visitors permitted to see a patient at once. This ensures that patients, families, and other visitors can have more freedom over their schedule and their time.

4. Improve Patient Education

Medical professionals can communicate to their patients more effectively with patient education to ensure that they have a better understanding of their condition or prognosis. Again, take time to communicate with patients. Patients who feel rushed by staff during their visit won’t feel like their health is a priority and won’t have the freedom to ask questions about how they can improve their health. To help educate patients about their conditions and medications, provide resources such as pamphlets, videos, websites, and more. This will ensure that the patient feels informed about their individual situation and will build their trust in you and the care you provide.

 

Enhancing a patient’s experience will benefit the patients, the staff, and the medical facility. Patients will develop loyalty for medical providers that show they care, and they will be more likely to return when they need additional medical services.

 

Resources:

ChargeTech

Opti Staffing

Nursing Times

Sonifi Health Patient Education

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4 Updates in Healthcare Technology that Can Streamline Your Practice

Doctors always look for new and improved ways to do their jobs. Many use computers and automated machines to help diagnose diseases, administer medications, and keep patient’s healthcare information safe. There are many advantages to keeping yourself and your practice up-to-date with the changes being made in technology. Learn about these four different technologies that will improve your medical business operations.

 

1. Electronic Recordkeeping

 

Recently, the healthcare industry has undertaken a widespread adoption of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. Countless clinics, doctor’s offices, and hospitals are going paperless by replacing paper records with electronic versions. The EHR system, in particular, makes it easier to connect a wide range of healthcare networks, allowing hospitals to transmit data about their patients within a few minutes. The trend towards standardization under this EHR format is a popular one; Bell Family Dental explains that paper charting “is difficult to keep standardized” because of differences in handwriting and coding, but that electronic recordkeeping (like EHR) “eliminates this problem by using consistent charting methods that are accurate and precise… Digital charting standardizes the charting process so it is clear, easy to understand, and enables us to provide on the most accurate and precise care to our patients.”

2. Remote Patient Monitoring

 

Remote patient monitoring technology allows doctors and nurses to monitor patients at home and outside of the hospital. The monitors consist of computers and wireless devices with sensors that are attached to the body. The information is monitored to review changes in the patient’s vital signs, heartbeats or blood pressure levels. The data is transmitted in real time, and doctors are able to communicate with patients immediately. Jon Otterstatter of Preventice Inc. says that “providers are turning to technology like remote monitoring to diagnose and treat more patients in ways that use time, money and human resources efficiently and effectively.”

 

3. Patient Management Software

 

In the last few decades, nurses have been spending an increasing amount of time doing paperwork and other administrative duties, rather than working with patients; in fact, surveys and studies show that nurses spend about a quarter of each shift specifically on paperwork. Management software is available for use by general office managers and assistants. Patient management software is designed to automate and streamline every administrative task that takes place in a healthcare facility. Users are able to manage all of the patients’ appointments, bills, and insurance claims in one database. This automation means that doctors have immediate access to patient information, and staff members have more time to focus on patient care.

 

4. Barcode Technology

 

In stores, cashiers use barcodes to learn every detail about a certain product. In hospitals, doctors scan barcodes on patients’ wristbands to view the patient’s name, identification number and medical record. They scan the labels on prescription drug packages to view the drug name, brand, description and recommended dosage. The information appears immediately on a computer and in significant detail. This method also increases the use of computers to reduce the risks of making medical errors on paper records.

 

In the past few decades, major improvements have been made in the area of healthcare technology. Doctors, scientists, and engineers are continuing to create new ideas that help patients and serve God. If you are managing a healthcare business, pay close attention to the innovations and include many of these ideas into your business operations.

7 Tips For How to Stay Healthy This Fall

Fall Health Tips - Christian Healthcare Centers

Some of the biggest health problems that we see in the fall/winter season are: cold and flu, overeating/comfort food, decreased physical activity, and start of SAD. Keep reading to get some tips from our doctors and nurses on how to stay healthy and feel great this fall!

Wash the Cold and Flu Away:

Wash your hands! Now more than any other time of the year is time to exercise good hand hygiene. This helps prevent the spread of germs, like cold and flu bugs, and also can give your hands a quick burst of warmth on cold days.

Share Your Delicious Treats:

If you are making holiday goodies like cookies, pies, or sweet breads, leave enough for yourself and your family to have only 1-2 servings and give the rest to a friend, a neighbor, or someone in need. That way you spread the joy around, and don’t have easy access to tempting foods.  This will help avoid the common overeating during the holiday season.

Beat Comfort Food Cravings:

As the days get shorter and colder, our bodies naturally crave warm comfort foods like carbs, starches, and cheese. A healthy alternative is to make soup or chili. This is a good way to incorporate more vegetables in your diet, and you satisfy the comfort food craving. Just be sure and watch the salt though.

Stay Active:

Finding yourself less active this fall? Try raking your leaves instead of using the leaf blower. Its good cardiovascular exercise, and being out in nature can help boost your mood. If your yard is done, then do your neighbors. Your heart, and your neighbor, will thank you.

Always strive to stay active. Make a weekly work-out plan and find an accountability partner. You don’t have to have a gym membership to stay fit. Go biking or running, or find simple home work-out ideas online.

Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) With Vitamin D:

Feeling blue because skies are grey? Get yourself a dose of the sunshine vitamin. Studies have shown that higher levels of Vitamin D in the blood improves mood and cognitive function. Our doctors recommend Vitamin D3 1000 units daily during the fall and winter months.

 Stay Hydrated:

Hot coffee and tea always tastes delicious this time of year, but make sure you’re also drinking the proper amount of water to keep your immune system strong. Try drinking half your body weight in ounces each day. You’ll be amazed how much better you will feel!

Eat a balanced diet:

Limit your intake of sugary foods and try adding some of these immune-boosting foods to your diet: Citrus fruits, broccoli, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, yogurt, nuts, and green tea.

 

Want to Hang Out With Us?  Register For Our Event!

Christian Healthcare Centers is having a Family Fun Fest event this Saturday (Nov 4).  It is free to attend and features:

  • Chick-Fil-A Lunch
  • Bouncy Houses
  • Music and Dancing
  • Video Games
  • Billiards
  • Basketball/Volleyball
  • And More!

Health and Wellness

Health and wellness – two pretty general terms that are often thrown around in healthcare literature. However, these two terms are also pretty important for a good understanding of the healthcare system. For example, being “healthy” can be defined by quantitative values like good cholesterol and good blood pressure. For many Americans, it is easiest to achieve this goal by using medications to manage symptoms instead of changing lifestyle. And why not? It’s easy to add another pill to the morning regimen, and most are covered by insurance! “Where is the problem?” you might ask. The problem is that healthcare has become focused on values, statistics, and symptom management instead of the wellness of the person in the office. Yearly physicals and check-ups have turned into a balancing act of prescription strength, interaction, and cost. Additionally, most doctors are seeing incredibly high patient volumes in a very limited time, preventing discussions around lifestyle change and well lifestyle.

Health and wellness is individual, and involves so much more than physical health and symptom management. True wellness must also consider spiritual, emotional and mental health. In the same way that poor lifestyle choices, like smoking or eating pizza for every meal, can negatively affect physical health, daily stress, spiritual disconnection, and negative emotional environments can wreak havoc on the body. Here at Christian Healthcare Centers, we intend to address these issues. Our providers believe that managing symptoms is an important piece of healthcare, but true wellness care should also optimize a person’s body, soul, and spirit. Our hope is that the world will see how we care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and also learn an improved healthcare model.

– Dr. Ryan Burkhart, D.C.

Modern Medicine

What characteristics do you want in your healthcare providers?

Compassion? Integrity? Intelligence?   The modern healthcare industry has placed tremendous burdens on our current generation of physicians and mid-level providers. Financial pressures influence our clinicians’ medical decision-making as much as their values and ethics. Technology makes data so accessible that clinicians struggle to manage the volume of information and determine if (and when) clinicians should obtain those data. Politics and special interests manipulate the purpose and objectives for the services that clinicians provide.

With all of these daunting forces altering the current healthcare industry, how do our healthcare providers retain the attributes we have traditionally expected?

The executive team for Christian Healthcare Centers (CHC) has spent the last 5 years developing a clinical model that emphasizes “quality” as defined by our patients and Christ. Most healthcare providers want to provide compassionate, thoughtful, high-quality care. But, the forces listed above apply such pressure upon their time and priorities that

the industry has become less concerned about patient care and more focused on disease management.

“Patient care” focuses on the patient’s needs and concerns in the context of medicine. “Disease management” focuses on the protocols and algorithms of diagnosis and management of disease states. “Quality care” should be the synergy of both. We all want optimal health, but the manner in which care is delivered is as important as the outcomes. Personal mission determines how much “care” a clinician invests in the patient during disease management.

Christian Healthcare Centers isn’t defined by what we resist: abortion, physician-assisted suicide, conversion therapy to reinforce adolescent homosexuality.

We are defined by what we affirm: commitment to life, biblical values, community stewardship. Our commitment to God dictates that the quality of our stewardship (i.e. disease management) be worthy of His praise. Our purpose as Christians dictates that the manner in which we provide our stewardship (i.e. patient care) be provided with loving compassion.

CHC is committed to high-quality Christian care. All of our patients chose to join this community because they recognize the need for better care than what the current healthcare model provides. Similarly, all of our clinicians joined the CHC care team because they wanted to be missional with their patient care.

We are committed to practicing medicine as God intended: with compassion, integrity, and intelligence. As traditional as our mission seems, modern medicine would benefit from our Christian world view. We intend to redefine the healthcare experience in our nation and are thankful and honored to have your support.

 

Woo, Jeffery A. MD