Category Archives: Health

A woman lifts her arms in praise at sunset

A Shining Spirit- Kayla Mueller

 

Soon after I started this blog a news story caught my attention and my heart.

A young woman volunteer, Kayla Jean Mueller, was abducted following a visit to a hospital operated by the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Aleppo, Syria.

She was held in captivity by the Islamic State for 18 horrific months with three other American hostages.  Kayla died on February 6, 2015, reportedly following the bombing of a location where she was being held captive.

God hasn't called me to be successful, but to be faithful. quote Mother Teresa

 

 

After reading  and watching the news reports about the life-and death- of Kayla, I wrote this.

 

I cannot think of anything else worth saying today other than to express my sadness  for and sympathy to the family of Kayla Mueller. On  the evening news last night I heard Kayla’s aunt describe her as “noble beyond her years.”

I had never heard of Kayla until a few days ago, but her story touches my heart. I have a son about the same age; and like her, his work and passions take him all over the world. I cannot imagine getting an email like the one her parents received confirming her death.

At only 26 years old, Kayla had already traveled to India, Israel, Palestine and Syria on humanitarian endeavors and in Arizona worked at a women’s shelter and with AIDS patients.

In a letter  to her family from captivity, she expressed regret that she was causing them pain. I hope the memory of this beautiful young woman brings some comfort to their grieving hearts.

 

 

 

Recently while reviewing my older posts, I wondered what happened to Kayla’s family after her death; perhaps someone had written about her, or established a memorial of some sort.

I am pleased to see that Kayla was not  forgotten, and her work was not in vain. I want to let you know what has happened since her capture and murder in 2015.

A Shining Spirit-Kayla Mueller-watercresswords.com

 

 

FOR KAYLA 

 

FOR KAYLA is a website devoted to  her  humanitarian projects, including quotes from her blog and the touching letter she wrote to her family from captivity.

Her are just a few of the quotes from her blog and letter.

This really is my life’s work, to go where there is suffering. I suppose, like us all, I’m learning how to deal with the suffering of the world inside myself… to deal with my own pain and most importantly to still have the ability to be proactive.

 

Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny. C.S. LEWIS

 

 

 

 

The gardener knows how to turn garbage into compost. Therefore our anger, sadness, and fear is the best compost for our compassion.

 

merciful God, release us from the time of trial that we may witness grief becoming joy and life rising from death. amen

 

 

I have been shown in darkness, light and have learned that even in prison, one can be free.

 

True liberation is freeing people from bonds that prevent them from giving their gifts to others.

 

 

 

 

 

There are links to many news reports about Kayla which you may have seen,  including this moving video by CBS News anchor Scott Pelley

A Reflection on Kayla Muella’s Shining Spirit

Kayla’s Hands

 

Kayla’s family did indeed establish a foundation in Kayla’s name, which they called Kayla’s Hands  a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation “to further her humanitarian efforts both locally and internationally.” On the website they write this about their daughter-

Kayla devoted her life to helping others. Kayla’s heart was for the innocent children thrown into a life they should never be in; for moms trying to raise them alone and for families that needed help to stay as one; and for the soldiers, reporters and humanitarian workers who have seen such horror as well.

She wanted to help heal wounded hearts, minds and bodies bringing happiness and joy to all she could. It was this commitment that drove her to help victims in shelters near our home in Prescott, Arizona and to leave home for far away places she felt called to help.

She spent her life working for those who needed it most, using her voice to amplify those of others, and standing in solidarity with people as they struggle for their own rights and dignity. Even in captivity, she gave comfort to the Yazidi girls held with her and others suffering around her. If there was work to be done in service to others, she did it.

 

you cannot love without giving. Amy Carmichael

 

 

On the second anniversary of Kayla’s death, her family dissolved the foundation and donated $120,000 to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) an organization Kayla believed in and had worked with.

The foundation also donated funds to

  • Iraqi Bridge/Dr. Mirza , for  work on behalf of the Yazidi victims of genocide,
  • Save the Children , for  work to save the Syrian children and children throughout the world,
  • Syrian American Medical Society/SAMS who continue to work on behalf of Syria’s war victims,
  • Folds of Honor to provide educational scholarships to the families of America’s fallen and disabled service members
  •  Kiwanis Club of Prescott  Arizona who faithfully work “for the kids”.

 

Kayla Mueller Memorial Endowment Fund

Doctors Without Borders used the donation to establish an endowment fund in her memory. From their website-

“The endowment will be used to support medical and humanitarian aid programs operating in nearly 70 countries and providing care to more than 8 million people every year affected by armed conflicts, epidemics, as well as natural and man-made disasters.”

“By donating to Doctors Without Borders” noted her parents Marsha and Carl, “we can ensure Kayla’s spirit and her legacy of healing is continued in the world.”

 

Doctors Without Borders map of activities

map showing sites where Doctors Without Borders works, from a recent mailing

 

Your turn to explore

I invite you to browse the links above to learn more about these organizations and the work they do to bring the HEART of health to people around the world, work that I and this blog consider much needed and worthy of support.

(This blog is not compensated for listing this organizations here.)

 

 

 

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Thank you for exploring the HEART of health with me, please share and follow Watercress Words.

Dr. Aletha 

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FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles

Seeing is loving

 

1 John 4, English Standard Version( ESV)

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

if we love one another, God abides in us and his  love is perfected in us.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; 

for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen 

cannot love God whom he has not seen. 

And this commandment we have from him:

whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

© 2001 – 2018 CROSSWAY

let religion be less theory, more love

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G. K. Chesterton Quotes

G. K. Chesterton, Collection novels

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Share the HEART of health

 

 

Wishing you faith, hope, and love today and always. Thanks for visiting my blog. 

                                         Dr. stethoscope with a heartAletha 

a woman holding an open Bible

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

Matthew 5:3-10

This section of the Biblical book of Matthew is known as The Beatitudes.

Matthew recorded these lessons that Jesus taught in his “Sermon on the Mount” , some of the most well known and often quoted verses of the Bible.

a ceramic cross with the Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-10

 

The dictionary defines  beatitude as “a state of utmost bliss or supreme blessedness.”

Beatitude inherited its blessedness from the Latin word beatus, meaning both “happy” and “blessed.” In the Bible, the Beatitudes are a series of eight blessings, such as “Blessed are those poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” And in 1958 writer Jack Kerouac coined the term “The Beat Generation” because he felt its members were seeking beatitude. (vocabulary.com)

Most modern English translations of the Bible use the words blessed or happy in these verses. The Easy-to-Read version calls it “great blessings.”

 

 

The Amplified Bible lives up to its name using several different words to express these sentiments. These include

  • spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired
  • forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace
  • inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect
  • joyful, nourished by God’s goodness
  • anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature
  • spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor
  • comforted by inner peace and God’s love
  • morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

 

 

Just as there  may be many ways to define or describe being blessed, there are many ways to define health or describe being healthy. I addressed this in a previous post that I hope you will read.

Improving health with 7 life elements

(Here is a brief excerpt)

Spiritual Wellness – what brings, peace, harmony, and purpose to our lives.

Our sense of ethics, morals, right, and wrong is usually based on what we believe to be true and meaningful,  woman with hands bowed in prayerand likely involves faith and support for an organized belief system or religion. Without belief in something, our lives can drift aimlessly and we can fall into restlessness, doubt our purpose, and lose hope for the future.

 

 

Both states-blessed and healthy– may be determined not so much by

what we have, but by who we are,

Not what we get, but what we give,

Not by chasing them, but by living them.

 

Maybe they are both a journey, not a destination.

The Beatitudes- How to be blessed, happy and healthy- watercresswords.com

 

I’ll write more about the Beatitudes and other lessons from the Sermon on the Mount. Here is one I posted a few weeks ago.

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.”  (Matthew 5:6)

“I would run my finger along those phases, wondering if those words could really be true. If I pursue your ways, God, will you really satisfy that which is hungry in me?”                    

excerpt  from FIRE ROAD 

                                Read a review of  FIRE ROAD 

Thank you for considering  the affiliate links  and advertisers that support this blog. You are helping it grow and support those who offer medical care to the sick and needy throughout the world.

Please share this post and follow Watercress Words for more  

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sharing faith, hope, and love

(1 Corinthians 13:13)

Thank you so much.    Dr. Aletha                 

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sketch of clothes, shoes, pants

How a woman doctor finds joy in an unexpected way

When I finished my family medicine residency many years ago, I was excited to start practicing medicine for real. I joined the staff of a small town hospital (the only female doctor by the way) and soon was busy treating patients in the clinic, rounding on hospital patients, delivering babies, and covering the emergency room.  I enjoyed doing what I had dreamed of and trained for, but eventually found I spent more time there than with my husband and toddler son.

Since we were planning on adding a second child, I knew I could not sustain that pace. Fortunately I found a position with a medical group in a nearby city where my schedule would be more predictable, with no obstetrics or ER responsibility.

I’m sharing with you a guest post from another woman doctor who faced a similar dilemma (most of us do) . She solved her problem in an unconventional creative way. I think you will enjoy meeting Dr. Joanne Jarrett, who blogs at Creating Cozy Clothes .

My Unexpected, Crazy Journey from Medicine to Fashion

By Joanne Jarrett MD

woman in an apron holding a wooden sign-

Dr. Jarrett enjoys cooking too.

 

Hi! My name is Joanne Jarrett, and I am a retired family physician. Not the “golden years” kind of retired, but rather the “retired sounds better than I quit” kind.

 

a career in the making

If you’d told me in my twenties that I would be designing loungewear for women and preparing to move to a farm in rural Montana in my mid-forties, I’d have said you had the wrong girl. I was a determined, sharp, ambitious, successful medical student and resident, and I was planning to have it all.

My husband and I wanted kids, but that would have to wait until all of our training was complete. We took turns going through our residency programs, and we moved home to Reno, Nevada from a two year stint in Lincoln, Nebraska with 24 weeks of my first pregnancy under our belts and a new practice to run.

Needless to say, my being a stay-at-home mom was not plan A for our family.

 

a fast track career

When I became pregnant, I was working a full time family practice, seeing patients at 3 hospitals before and/or after my full day, doing urgent care some nights and weekends, and taking call for our large group a week at a time every 7 weeks. I knew that schedule was completely incompatible with motherhood, but we thought I’d work 2 or 3 days a week and have my mom nanny while I worked.

Then Delaney was born, and reality set in.

I realized that I didn’t have room inside of me to be the physician my patients deserved and to be the wife and mother I wanted for my family. I already knew that during those 6 years of marriage before kids I worked hard all day, gave every bit of myself away piece by piece, and then came home and offered my husband the crappy leftovers. He knew how hard I was trying and didn’t complain much.

It worked, but a baby tipped the scales. We couldn’t both work jobs where emergencies make the schedule predictably unpredictable. I was exhausted and knew there was no way I could face the emotional lability and intellectual demand of being a physician in my state. And I loved being with that baby girl. When I was away from her I felt an undeniable tug back.

Then Bailey arrived less than 2 years later and it was decided. I was staying home. For good.

a career crossroads

At first, I was in survival mode and didn’t care about the changes I saw in myself. I just wanted sleep and ice cream. But eventually I started to wonder if who I used to be would ever matter again and how to find her.

Over a decade in, that woman is back. But she’s better than she used to be. More patient. More settled. More fulfilled. Less scared. Looking back, I’ve transitioned from professional to harried new mom to seasoned household CEO, self respect and vigor for life mostly intact!

a woman walking with two girls on sand

Dr. Joanne’s grand mother  with her daughters

 

Running my family has been pretty much all consuming, but I’ve always had a creative side and, through the years, I have developed hobbies that foster that. Scrapbooking made sense when the kids were babies. Combining creativity with a means of wrangling the millions of photos we were taking was a win win.

A limited decorating budget and a very picky décor taste lead to me borrowing my mom’s sewing machine and making an entire house worth of curtains, learning on the fly.

 

 

 

And I have always had a thing for wrapping a beautiful gift. To the point where I have a whole wall full of paper, ribbons, and other do-bobs to help me wrap a stunner at a moment’s notice.

Sewing flat, square things like curtains and pillow covers slowly evolved into kids’ costumes and then street clothes. I have a thing for fabric, and the combination of creativity and precision that following a pattern requires satisfies my creative flair and my bent towards the analytical.

I began altering clothes in my closet to better fit my (ever varying, eye roll!) shape and began seeing the potential in clothes instead of the mere reality of what was on the hanger.

I also have a passion for downtime. This wasn’t always the case. Scott and I have been married 20 years, and at first I had no idea how to relax. Saturday would come and I’d say, “What do you want to do today?”

From the couch, he’d say “this!”

My skin would crawl .I just didn’t know how to have a recovery or leisure day.

Well, I’ve learned well! You’ll never catch me hanging around at home in my jeans and underwire bra. Huh-uuuuh! As soon as I get home at the end of the day, I head straight to my closet to get into my cozy clothes. I live in them when I’m home. Even if I’m busy with this and that, I like the psychological change triggered by putting on those comfy clothes.

But those clothes aren’t perfect. I’m setting out to change that! We need a little coverage and support despite that fact that the bra is off the team at home. I discovered shelf-bra camis and began wearing them as loungewear and pajamas. I could never figure out why this concept wasn’t expanded into other pieces.

 

a career changes directions

After years of googling “shelf bra pajamas” and “shelf bra nightgown” and coming up with nothing except slinky lingerie (get real!!), I decided to design a line of cozy loungewear for women who want to be comfortable at home in something soft, cute, flattering and supportive. Something that feels and looks great to wear in the “no bra zone” but that is fit for public consumption should the need arise. I figured if I couldn’t find them, I’d make them and maybe other ladies will like them too.

And not all shelf bras are created equally, if you know what I mean. I set out to design the perfectly soft but flattering shelf that has enough thickness for coverage and enough separation to look great. I embarked upon a know-nothing journey into apparel production and have learned an entirely new industry over the last year.

I call the line “Shelfies.” Shelfie Shoppe launched on May 8th , taking preorders as part of a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first production run. I’d be honored if you’d click the link and check it out!

And because life is crazy, on June 20th my entire extended family is making a northerly migration from Reno to rural Montana. We are moving to the town of Huson, 20 miles outside of Missoula, to a farmhouse on 20 acres with a river running through it (no, really!). The four of us will live in the house, my parents and two aunts are building a barn residence next to the house, and my sister and her family have purchased a home a few miles away.

So we don’t have much going on!

What are you doing with your life that you could never have predicted a decade or two ago? Leave a comment and let me know!

a shirt with a tag-shelfie

 

update June 15, 2018

I’m happy to report that Joanne’s Kickstarter campaign is complete and Shelfie Shoppe is fully funded! I committed and will receive one of her “cozy” dresses as my reward.

 

Whether  you need “cozy clothes” or not, I think we can all learn a lesson from Joanne’s life.

When the circumstances of life leave us feeling

  • impatient

  • unsettled

  • unfulfilled or

  • scared

 we may need to evaluate if change is necessary.

It may not be as drastic a change as she made, but even small steps can get us to a place where we can use our talents and passions to create a life that satisfies us and blesses others.

Please  spend some time on Joanne’s blog. She has a variety of posts on health, family, kids, food, and humor. Here’s a sample of a hilarious but thoughtful post about

Why I’m glad I got toilet paper stuck to the seat of my pants

 

a wooden door with a heart shaped hold

 

And please follow watercress words and me on social media, and explore the

                   HEART of health with me.                 Dr. Aletha stethoscope with a heart

statue of 4 athletic people jumping in celebration

Surprising effective ways to relieve back pain

What is the most common disability world wide? What most commonly causes workplace absence?

Would you be surprised that it is low back pain?

Pain in the spine, including the neck and back, affects 85% of people at some time. I’ve had it, my husband has had it, and likely you have too. Low back pain causes $7.4 billion in lost revenue from lost or decreased workplace productivity. Add to that the health care costs and it exceeds $100 billion.

Let’s explore  what causes back pain, and what we can do about it, focusing on non-drug non-surgical methods.

 SURPRISING EFFECTIVE WAYS TO RELIEVE BACK PAIN -WATERCRESSWORDS.COM

BASIC POINTS

This post will explain some of the treatments which are backed by medical studies and recommended by medical experts.

We should use medication and surgery when appropriate, but when these can’t be used or are not helpful, we can consider alternative methods, or what I and other doctors prefer to call complementary or integrative treatment.

This post focuses on symptom relief, not necessarily curative treatment.

Herbals and supplements are drugs and can be effective for certain conditions, but this post will discuss non-drug treatments only.

Many cases of back pain improve spontaneously with no specific treatment.

Almost everything works sometimes.

There are few if any down side to any of these treatments. Used under supervision they are unlikely to have adverse side effects or result in long term complications.

The most important ingredient in managing a chronic or persistent condition is having a therapeutic relationship with your physician and other healthcare professionals- physical therapist , mental health counselor, nutritionist.

doctor holding a patient's hand

I do not recommend you pursue any of the treatments mentioned in this post without first consulting a qualified health professional about your condition.

What causes back and neck pain

Pain in the spine results from many medical conditions, ranging from minor to life threatening. Most cases are due to routine or excessive physical activity or a minor injury causing strain of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and will go away with no or minimal intervention in less than 12 weeks.

a human skeleton

The spine connects the head to the rest of the body. It extends from the skull to the pelvis and legs, and along the way attaches to the shoulders and rib cage.

Some cases are due to serious but treatable conditions like

  • Infection
  • Major injury, causing broken bones (fractures) or more severe injury to the muscles and nerves.
  • Cancer of the spine, which may have started somewhere else in the body and spread to the bones, called metastasis.
  • Various forms of arthritis- degenerative, rheumatoid, psoriatic
  • Disorders of the intervertebral discs, the soft jelly like cushions between the bones of the spine, the vertebrae
  • Fibromyalgia– a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Managing pain in the neck or spine

The first step in treating back pain is to identify the underlying cause and treat that appropriately, which might involve anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and/or injections.

But sometimes pain persists after these treatments, or none of those treatments are appropriate or effective.

Medications for back pain

Patients often expect, and doctors have traditionally turned to pain relieving medications starting with the non prescription drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and the anti-inflammatories called NSAIDS. A muscle relaxer might be added if muscle spasm is present. If those are not sufficient, the next step was often narcotics or opioids.

But we know that the benefit and effectiveness of these drugs do not always outweigh the side effects and risks so we look harder at non-drug methods to relieve pain. And studies comparing them indicate they can be as effective if not more so than drugs.

More about this at my related post

7 overused drugs

Integrative medical treatments for back pain

Lifestyle changes

Back pain sufferers should start by avoiding or modifying activities that cause or aggravate back or neck pain .

  • In  the workplace- more frequent breaks, limits on lifting, a different chair, adjusting the height of a desk or computer monitor or keyboard.
  • At home- changes in performing chores like vacuuming, mopping, gardening, laundry.
  • Smoking may not cause back pain, but use of tobacco seems to increase the risk of developing back pain. Another good reason to not start or to stop if you already start.     7 surprising reasons to be smoke free
  • Excess weight also contributes to back problems,maybe by putting more stress on the spine, or by limiting physical activity. Losing those extra pounds or kilograms may decrease pain. Obesity and pain- you can lose both this year

sign says NO smoking, wilderness area

When walking, wear proper shoes; and NO smoking.

Physical activity/Exercise for spine pain

All guidelines for back pain treatment encourage continued physical activity rather than bedrest, and agree than any activity is better than nothing.

a bed in a room

Rest in bed only for severe pain and for short intervals.

Some of the frequently recommended activities include

Meditative movement therapies are exercises that include body movement or positioning and focus on breathing and relaxation. Examples include Tai chi and yoga.

Other types of exercises which involve a combination of stretching and strengthening, as well as aerobic conditioning. This includes Pilates and other exercise, walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, and many sports.

jogging trail sign

Get up and move more.

When using any exercise to treat back pain you should consider working with a certified instructor who is aware of your condition. Don’t do any positions or movements that cause or aggravate the pain.

Topical therapies

    • Heat and/or ice applications
    • Hydrotherapy or aquatics – the use of water or an aquatic environment (includes exercise in water)

 Manual therapy

  • Massage
  • Spinal manipulation, osteopathic or chiropractic

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, a staple of traditional Chinese medicine, which is becoming more popular in the Western world, uses very fine needles to stimulate various pressure points around the body and re-shift the body’s balance of energy. The practice is also thought to improve blood flow and increase levels of the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.

Dr. Michelle Ramirez explains more about  acupuncture and its uses at this link.

A look at acupuncture

Mindfulness based stress reduction/CBT(cognitive behavioral therapy)

Does the way you think affect pain? Apparently so. Studies show that “mind-body” approaches that reduce stress and enhance relaxation can reduce functional limitations and distress from back pain.

WebMD explains how this works-

“Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy that helps people identify and develop skills to change negative thoughts and behaviors.

CBT says that individuals — not outside situations and events — create their own experiences, pain included.

And by changing their negative thoughts and behaviors, people can change their awareness of pain and develop better coping skills, even if the actual level of pain stays the same.”

Managing Chronic Pain: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach

 

 

 

 

 

The North American Spine Society offers

10 Tips for a Healthy Back

feet in sports shoes

Don’t let back pain keep you from  being active and enjoying life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The product links in this post are for illustration only, and do not imply endorsement.

Please share this post on social media and follow this blog.

In a future post I will talk about how to manage other types of pain, and use of non-drug treatments for other conditions.

exploring the HEART of health with you.

    Dr. Aletha  

 

 

 

I’m pleased to share this post at

Encouraging Hearts and Home

a link up of family friendly blog posts every Thursday

 

 

an open Bible

Finding a better way to a healthy heart

 

 

When (King) Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him.

1 Samuel 10:26, NLT

New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“The touch of God is awesome not just because it is God who touches, but also because it is a touch. It is a real connection. That it involves the heart is awesome. That it involves God is awesome. And that it involves an actual touch is awesome.”

quote Dr. John Piper, Solid Joys devotional 

 

 

You can listen to this and other devotionals by Dr. John Piper  at

Solid Joys at Apple Podcasts.

Listen now to God, Touch Our Hearts  

(These are affiliate links, purchases made from them pay this blog a commission which funds our mission.)

 

 

 

 

IT IS THE SEEKING HEART THAT DETERMINES OUR ETERNAL DESTINY. quote PETER KREEFT

graphic courtesy of Lightstock.com, affiliate , stock photo site

 

Peter Kreeft, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at Boston College.  He loves his five grandchildren, four children, one wife, one cat, and one God.  He has written 75 books including (affiliate link) MAKING SENSE OUT OF SUFFERING

and MAKING CHOICES: PRACTICAL WISDOM FOR EVERYDAY MORAL DECISIONS

I’ve written about our physical hearts and how to keep them healthy. You may want to review them or read now if you missed them.

“Our brain controls the actions of the body’s other organs, but the heart supplies the power that keeps everything working smoothly, including the brain. Using the intricate “highway” system of arteries and veins, the heart pumps blood carrying oxygen, water, and nutrients to every cell in the body.”   more at –

Exploring -the HEART

diagram of the human heart

 

 

“Anyone who has ever had a “broken heart” (and who hasn’t?) knows that sadness and grief cause not just emotional pain, but also physical pain. And since that pain is often felt in our chest, it makes sense that we call it “heart break”.” Continue at-

Exploring -when HEARTS break

EKG tracing

In sudden cardiac death, the heart stops beating abruptly

 

 

“Keeping our HEARTS healthy involves doing what we can to change the 7 risk factors what doctors often call the modifiable risk factors.” Find them at –

7 Keys to a Healthy Heart

 

 

Thank you for considering  the affiliate links  and advertisers that support this blog. You are helping it grow and support those who offer medical care to the sick and needy throughout the world.

Please share this post and follow Watercress Words for more  

Faith, Love, HopeWeekend Words-

sharing faith, hope, and love                                 (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Thank you so much.    Dr. Aletha

 

 

 

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a medical person holding a stethoscope

The surprising new doctors caring for you

Who will be your next doctor? What will your future doctor look like?

Your doctor within the next 10-20 years is likely in medical school or a residency program in a United States medical center right now. Within 1-10 years, they will join the ranks of practicing physicians, while some doctors currently in practice will change to a non-clinical job, retire, or die.

More women physicians are coming

For the academic year 2016-2017,  83,000 students, attended United States medical schools ,  slightly more males than female. However, in 2017, the entering class of medical students was slightly over 50% female, for the first time ever.

CELEBRATE WOMEN IN MEDICINE MONTH#WIMmonth

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, since 2015 the number of women students has increased by 9% while the number of men has decreased by 2 %.

And already, the majority of  young practicing physicians-under age 40 years old-are female.

So you are likely to be treated by a female physician eventually, if you haven’t already,  especially if you go to a primary care doctor. Gynecology and pediatrics  residency programs are now overwhelmingly comprised of female residents.

Ethnic diversity is sadly lacking

Ethnically, medical students and residents, both male and female, are still predominantly white. The ethnic cpercentages of most other students is far below their representation in the general population. Based on self-identification, race and ethnic origin of medical residents includesa male doctor holding a tablet

  • White-60%
  • Black- 7%
  • Hispanic(any race)- 6%
  • Asian-26%
  • Multiracial- 3%
  • Unknown/other-7%
  • Native American/Alaskan/Pacific Island -less than 1%

Are many physicians foreign born ?

Will your physician come from another country?

70% of  U.S. medical residents are native citizens,  8% are naturalized citizens and 6% are permanent residents. ( adds to less  than 100% due to some status’ unknown.) Female doctor looking at an xray

Credentials

The average grade point of entering medical students was 3.56.

77% had done some type of volunteer medical service .

77% have experience in medical research.

These statistics gleaned from JAMA, December 19, 2017 

The specialization of medical care- the good and the bad

March 16 was Match Day. Not a match as in color choice for an outfit nor a match as in finding a spouse, but the concept is similar.

On Match Day,  graduating medical students learn which  residency program they will enter through the National Resident Matching Program , which “matches” them with available positions in residencies at medical centers all over the United States. A kind of medical “matchmaking” you could call it.

Why should you care? This matching process determines who will care for our medical needs in the next 30-40 years; our family physicians, internists, pediatricians, general surgeons, obstetricians, and the multitude of other medical specialties. Most doctors will continue in the same speciality their entire career, although some  switch after a few or many years.

doctor talking to a woman

Ted Epperly, M.D., consults a patient at his practice in Boise, Idaho.photo compliments American Academy of Family Physicians

Some medical students know what speciality they want to pursue before they enter medical school, while others decide after trying the different types of medicine while students. We still have the traditional specialities that most students enter- (there are also many subspecialities under each of these categories.)

 

 

Primary care 

  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine -(adult medicine)
  • Pediatrics-children and adolescents
  • Obstetrics/Gynecology- care of women’s health and pregnancy

Surgical specialities

  • General Surgery-  surgery on skin and internal organs
  • Orthopedics-bones and joints
  • Otorhinolaryngology- ear, nose, throat
  • Ophthalmology-eyes
  • Neurosurgery-the brain, spine, nerves
  • Plastic and Reconstructive surgery
  • Cardiac and vascular surgery

Others 

  • Dermatology-skin
  • Psychiatry-mental health
  • Anesthesiology-surgical sedation and pain relief
  • Emergency medicine- emergencies and trauma
  • Radiology- xrays and other imaging-CT, MRI, US
  • Pathology-laboratory medicine
  • Allergy
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation
  • Oncology-treatment of cancer
  • Integrative and complementary medicine

As medical care has become more complex and technological, so have the specialities of physicians. This has produced a plethora of new highly specialized fields of practice.

  • Sleep medicine
  • Medical genetics and genomics
  • Pain management
  • Geriatrics- care of the elderly
  • Palliative care-managing diseases that cannot be cured and are likely terminal
  • Hospital medicine-care of patients admitted to a hospital
  • Critical care medicine-care of patients in an ICU (intensive care unit)
  • Aerospace medicine
  • Wound management
  • Medical informatics – use of computers and medical software in medicine
  • Bariatrics- treatment of obesity with or without surgery
  • Sports medicine-treatment of athletic injuries and fitness training
  • Transplant medicine- surgery to transplant organs and after care
  • Addiction medicine

A recent viewpoint in JAMA suggested that we need a new specialty, virtual medicine, to describe physicians who treat patients through a virtual medium, telemedicine or  web based, on a computer or a mobile app.

Consider that in the early 1970s, there were only 20 medical specialties !

THE SURPRISING NEW DOCTORS CARING FOR YOU

photo from Lightstock.com(affiliate link) graphic created with Canva

 

 

 

What this means for you as a patient

According to the New England Journal of Medicine,

“the progress of biomedical science is a major factor in the emergence of new subspecialities. There are some patients who benefit from highly focused knowledge and skills.”

All of these specialities mean more medical  knowledge and experience will be  available to both treat and prevent a diverse and growing  variety of disorders.

Today’s new specialist will have a high degree of expertise in their field, making them better able to treat your problem in the most efficient, effective, safest way.

You may find your doctor recommends more testing which may lead to more treatment than might otherwise have happened; some of which may not necessarily improve outcomes. More specialized testing and treatments may increase the cost of medical care.

Dr. Sandeep Jauhar addresses this issue in this article

One Patient, Too Many Doctors: The Terrible Expense of Overspecialization

 

 

With a more narrow focus of experience, that doctor may be less familiar with other aspects of your medical status.

So, to close this gap, primary care physicians have become increasingly important to oversee and coordinate care, especially for complex patients.

So there was good news in the Match this year. The upward trend in students matching into family medicine continued for the ninth consecutive year . In 2018 more students matched into family medicine than in any  previous year, 3,535 compared to 3,237 in 2017. 

“The number and proportion of U.S. medical graduates going into family medicine is the strongest indicator of the future of the primary care workforce because family medicine is the only specialty completely devoted to primary care,”

said Michael Munger, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Michael Munger, M.D., consults a patient at his medical office in Overland Park, Kan.

Michael Munger, M.D., consults a patient at his medical office in Overland Park, Kan. Photo compliments of American Academy of Family Physicians

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve often been asked ,”Why didn’t you specialize?” My answer, “I did. I specialize in Family Medicine.”

Once called “general practice”, Family Medicine is now a recognized specialty, requiring a residency and certification by  the American Board of Family Medicine.

 

 

 

Dr. Sandeep Jauhar wrote about his first year as a resident in

Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation

“In Jauhar’s wise memoir of his two-year ordeal of doubt and sleep deprivation at a New York hospital, he takes readers to the heart of every young physician’s hardest test: to become a doctor yet remain a human being.” ― Time

 

 

 

 

Unless otherwise stated, the doctor photos in the post are from the Lightstock.com collection . Get 5 free downloads at this affiliate link. (This blog can earn a commission if you buy photos which helps support the mission of Watercress Words.)

 

Thank you for joining me to explore the HEART of health. I hope you’ve learned something. Please contact me about topics you want to read about.

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my regards, Dr. Aletha