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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Knowlege without action

Gavin LeSueur - September 29, 2014

There are millions of dollars spent on preventative health education programs and ‘getting the message out’ about the current in vogue issue – be it breast or prostate cancer, smoking, exercise or healthy eating. The message is useless unless action follows and it is for this reason that we have been actively chasing feedback from eDoc subscribers and members who have worked through the preventative health screen recommendations. We are not really interested in if you know what you should be doing. What interests us is the action that follows. Knowledge without action is like a grand speech to an empty room. It goes nowhere.

It is difficult to quantify action. eDoc is designed to stimulate simple changes – like increasing exercise to the recommended level, through to complex screening for memory or mental health issues should they be relevant. Over the years we have been operating we get steady feedback from subscribers about outcomes – usually when a diagnosis has been made that is life saving – the melanoma detected due to a long overdue skin check or the breast cancer picked up on a mammogram. Nobody has contacted us to say they are now doing their 30 minutes exercise a day and are no longer a couch potato. But we live in hope that for the thousands that have reviewed their comprehensive guidelines they make change for the better.

Gain the knowledge. Take action.

An aspirin or an apple a day?

Gavin LeSueur - September 10, 2014

Those patients most in need of daily aspirin therapy are easy to identify. If you have a documented personal or family history of heart disease — including heart attacks, stokes, or angina; if you have diabetes; or if you have multiple risks for the development of heart disease such as havehigh blood pressure, high cholesterol, or are a smoker, you should most likely take a daily dose of aspirin (but always consult with your physician first). Although the optimal dose of aspirin in prevention of future heart disease is still unclear, doses of 75 milligrams, 100 milligrams, or 325 milligrams have been found to be equally effective.

Because the risk of bleeding with aspirin use is thought to be outweighed by its anti-clotting benefits for those who’ve already suffered a heart attack or (non-hemorrhagic) stroke, many people believe it must be so for people who haven’t suffered such an event. Current studies are still in debate over this and what is a good trade-off in risk vs benefit.

Side effects and complications of taking aspirin include:

Stroke caused by a burst blood vessel. While daily aspirin can help prevent a clot-related stroke, it may increase your risk of a bleeding stroke (hemorrhagic stroke).
Gastrointestinal bleeding. Daily aspirin use increases your risk of developing a stomach ulcer. And, if you have a bleeding ulcer or bleeding anywhere else in your gastrointestinal tract, taking aspirin will cause it to bleed more, perhaps to a life-threatening extent.

Allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to aspirin, taking any amount of aspirin can trigger a serious allergic reaction.

Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss. Too much aspirin (overdosing) can cause tinnitus and eventual hearing loss in some people.

If you’re taking aspirin and need a surgical procedure or dental work, be sure to tell the surgeon or dentist that you take daily aspirin and how much. Otherwise you risk excessive bleeding during surgery.

The take home message from this is that the decision to take an aspirin a day should only be made after discussion with your Doctor. Just because it is available over the counter (like an apple) does not mean it is without risk.

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