Tips For Developing Great Patient-Provider Communication Skills

Patient Provider Communication Skills

Communication must be a two-way street Rare disease patients often battle a variety of complex clinical symptoms. A visit to your specialist often results in as much confusion by the end of your appointment as at the beginning. Healthcare providers are often under pressure to keep patient face time to a minimum, so clear communication is a vital step in understanding your plan of care. Your doctor needs accurate information to help you. It’s essential patients with short-term memory problems or mild cognitive impairment pre-plan for what they need or expect to learn during their appointment. Gary keeps a small daily notebook where he records his vitals, notes about medication or symptom changes, fluctuations in blood pressure, pain levels and new questions. Without this health diary, he is unable to remember significant details or forgets essential questions whether an appointment is a few months down the road or tomorrow. He brings his notebook to every regular office or hospital visit. Physicians find details with dates and times very helpful. It also helps if you can tell the story of events leading up to a specific incident. I was doing my usual ____ late in the afternoon, and then I was doing…

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Vitamin D : Feed Your Brain

Vitamin D for brain function

Vitamin D : Feed Your Brain   One detail Gary’s neuropsychologist recently brought up was his low vitamin D level. Everyone knows calcium and vitamin D help maintain healthy bones, but we had no idea the role it plays in cognitive decline. Studies found patients with a vitamin D deficiency experience faster declines in both episodic memory and executive function. Patients are also seen to underperform on one or more cognitive function tests and have a higher diagnosis rate of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early dementia A blood test now gives your health professional a simple yet reliable tool to identify at-risk patients. A vitamin D deficiency can be corrected if found early, with a good chance progression from MCI to dementia will be slowed or avoided. Natures Vitamin Store The dangers of sun exposure and skin cancer have us all aware of the importance of regularly wearing sunscreen. What no one told us is while we practice good skin health we are also blocking our prime source of vitamin D. If you mix in low absorption from diet sources with seasonal or geographical limitations to sunlight then you may be headed for vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D2 or…

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Quarterly Neurology Follow-Up

Quarterly Neurology Follow-Up The New Normal By the time we went to our quarterly neurology follow-up we had a pretty good list of questions. The cholesterol medication was a big one. What kinds of exercises could we safely add to the walking? Did we need to see a Neuroopthamoligist instead of our ophthalmologist? What alternatives, besides prescription medications, were there for the neuropathy pain, body, and joint pain? The hand and trigger finger problems had become extreme. Some days it is impossible to hold a fork or use a knife. Was this even SS related? What decision had the doctor come to in regards to searching for an active bleed? The Statin Question Our neurologist agreed pretty quickly we had a valid concern about the ten-year history of statin use. She reviewed cardiac health history. His parents had both been treated long-term for high cholesterol. Gary’s number had a history of being high at times; it was not at a level now that would suggest he was in a high-risk category. Blood pressure was stable. Plus there was the bonus of the chelation diet regimen. We avoid all red and organ meat five days a week and load up on the…

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Rethinking Cholesterol Medication

myelin axon nerve cell

Rethinking Statin Use   Are you a long-term user of popular statin drugs on the market? Studies are convincing it’s time to rethink cholesterol medication use if you’re in a high-risk, neurodegenerative patient group. If you are already fighting nerve degeneration, there is evidence your cholesterol medication may be contributing to peripheral nervous system damage. 25% of the adult population in the US, over the age of 45, is now on a prescribed statin. The popularity of cholesterol-lowering medication was rolled out with both an advertising blitz and a push from industry drug reps. Physicians initially thought statin drugs had few side effects. For the high-risk individual who has heart disease, statin drugs can be a life-saver, lowering bad cholesterol by as much as 50 points.    Does My Body Need Cholesterol   Cholesterol has become synonymous in the public mind with heart disease. Cholesterol is bad, bad, bad; an ingrained mantra pounded into our subconscious. If your arteries become blocked and you suffer a heart attack, then yes, you have a problem. For people with neurodegeneration, cholesterol plays a vital part in trying to maintain healthy nerve function. 25% of cholesterol resides in your brain as Myelin Sheaths.  The parts…

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Benefits of Green Tea

Green tea for memory

  Green tea has enjoyed such a surge in popularity that more than a few people are skeptical. Every healthy living blog touts the benefits of green tea for everything from cardiovascular health, diabetes or weight loss. That will raise an eyebrow or two, but when you do some research, you may find yourself changing your mind. One of the more worrying symptoms of superficial siderosis is cognitive impairment. 20% of SS patients will experience early onset dementia. That’s not an enormous number considering that’s about one in five (of 270 diagnosed cases) but when you might be one of the ill-fated headed in that direction the number gets BIG real fast. Small signs that something was off showed gradually but began increasing last winter. Gary can remember the phone number and address of every house he has lived in but forgets the daily meds he’s been taking for years. A big red flag. Short-term memory problems like losing his train of thought. He begins cooking and then forgets he has something on the stove. It all was becoming progressively worse. Our neurologist diagnosed mild cognitive impairment (MCI) after an in-office evaluation and written test. We were sent to a…

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