Health care seems to get more expensive every year. But it doesn't have to be that way.
In other industries that are not as highly regulated like the tech industry, prices tend to decrease and new innovations arrive all the time. In stark contrast, significant innovations in the medical industry have stagnated and prices continue to rise.
More and more pharmaceutical companies are just producing slightly different variants of previous drugs and charging a lot more for them. This contributes to high drug prices. In addition, our federal government has not been aggressive about negotiating down drug prices like other countries which supports high prices.
But by far the biggest contributor to costs is a lack of competition or a free market in the medical industry. Due to a lack of price transparency and government regulations, prices go up and corresponding insurance costs rising significantly. In addition, government has legislated away catastrophic insurance plans and forced everyone to pay for high deductible and high priced insurance.
Are there other options?
There are alternative lower cost options such as doctors like myself that offer much lower prices for health care. There are even hospitals such as the Surgery Center of Oklahoma that offer affordable and transparent pricing for many surgeries.
The solution to the health care crisis is very simple. Converting health insurance back into actual insurance and having people pay their health care providers directly for most health care services would drive prices down quickly.
It would also incentive Doctors to provide a higher quality of service which would be a win-win for everyone.
For more information on how you can get a higher quality of service at a much more affordable price give me a call at Murdock Health.
At this time of year many of us commit or more commonly recommit to work on our health. This often comes in the form of weight loss goals and dieting.
In my family practice I work with a lot of people on their diet and I am often asked if there is a specific diet plan that will work for everyone.
Despite the title of this article there is no one diet for everyone. In my experience everyone is different. We all have different ways to cope with life and stress. Some may use food as a coping mechanism while others may not. Some have a higher tolerance for high carbohydrate foods and others will be predisposed toward diabetes. In reality, the right diet for you will probably be totally unique to you.
That is why it is important to examine what role food plays in your life while at the same time using some basic blood tests to examine your biochemistry.
When you go to a lot of other doctors they don't particularly focus on risk factors in your blood work that can point toward how you should change your diet. Many doctors use the reference ranges as guides and as long as your numbers fall within these reference ranges they may not even mention them to you. There are also some blood tests that are not performed that can help provide some useful information.
For example, the reference range for blood glucose is, depending on the lab, about 70-100. So if your fasting blood sugar is 95 your doctor may not even mention it to you as it falls withing the reference range. However, there is some data that suggests that people with blood sugar levels above 85 are at increased risk of diabetes and the optimal blood sugar may be between 70-80.
A blood sugar level that is higher in the reference range probably means that the carbohydrate component of the diet should be addressed.
Another very telling level to pay attention to is the fasting blood fat level (Triglycerides). Higher levels of triglycerides are associated with a high carbohydrate diet and is often elevated when the blood sugar is elevated. Lowering the carbohydrate component of your diet and losing weight will often result in significant lowering of your triglycerides. Lowering your triglycerides will also dramatically lower your risk of heart disease.
There are many other tests that can be done. One I commonly recommend is a fasting insulin level. If your fasting insulin level is elevated this may indicate that you body is at risk of developing diabetes and the amount of blood sugar in your diet is too high.
In general, the majority of Americans can probably eat less carbohydrates and eat more fat and vegetables.
To know precisely where you fall in terms of dietary risk factors I definitely think it is worth getting some basic testing done with a doctor that has expertise in the area of diet and nutrition. I am definitely passionate about this area and can help.
At Murdock Health, we can address both primary care issues and acute issues such as cough, colds, sprains, and cuts. You can walk-in or make an appointment.
It is a very common for patients to mistake the symptoms of the stomach flu for the seasonal viral infection that we call the "flu". The flu vaccine is directed toward the seasonal flu but will not protect individuals from the stomach flu.
The stomach flu, or viral gastroenteritis, happens when the stomach and intestines get inflamed and irritated by a virus. The symptoms of stomach flu include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
On the other hand, the seasonal flu comes with symptoms of fever, congestion, muscle aches, and fatigue. The cause of the seasonal flu is the influenza virus.
Viruses cause about half or more of all "stomach flu" gastroenteritis cases in adults and children. Some of them include:
Stomach viruses, like influenza, are very contagious and spread easily. The keys to stopping the spread includes incorporating proper bathroom hygiene and hand washing.
Occasionally, the stomach flu symptoms can be so profound that significant dehydration can occur. When this happens or if there is any blood in the stool immediate medical attention should be sought.
Worrisome signs to watch for in regards to dehydration include:
The key to avoiding dehydration is drink plenty of fluids. There is no rush to eat food. When you can keep food down again, try bland things like toast, rice, bananas, and applesauce first. Go back to a normal diet within 24 hours if you can.
The good news is that the stomach flu usually resolves within a few days.
Patients that have significant abdominal pain, blood in the stool, and dehydration should see their doctor. We are also happy to help at Murdock Health.
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