and Tamiko Morgan, MD
Eighty-six percent of Americans sit all day at work. We remember the days when we “envied” those who had the ability to sit at work. As practicing physicians, much of our time at work was spent on our feet, and sitting was often considered a treat on a busy day! Now that we have transitioned to jobs that require less physical exertion, we wondered just how beneficial or detrimental this change would be. Sedentary jobs are those that are characterized by or involve sitting. Continue Reading →
By Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD
Dr. Crutchfield, I went to pick up a prescription and instead of the brand-name drug my doctor prescribed, the pharmacy gave me a generic drug. Is this ok?
The vast majority of patients experience the same results from a brand or a generic medication. That being said, it is unclear to doctors why, rarely, patients report they respond better or differently to either a brand-name medicine or a generic medicine when they are equivalent. In fact, brand-name drugs and generic drugs have the same active ingredients in the same exact amounts. The term for this is “bioequivalent.” Some patients are unaware they have the same active ingredients and can get confused.
Brand-name medicines almost always cost more than generic drugs, and some people mistakenly think that if it costs more, it must work better. Some attribute this to the “placebo effect.” Sometimes the cost difference can be so significant that unless a generic is used, the patient could not afford the medicine. Continue Reading →
Last week in this column we discussed how community programs, physicians and medical schools, and pharmaceutical companies can help reduce healthcare disparities. This week we look at three other players who can contribute to the effort.
Conclusion of a three-part column
The Affordable Care Act is adding millions of new healthcare consumers to the market but adds no new doctors to serve them. This limitation is compounded by insurance plans now restricting which doctors can see the patients the insurance plans cover by either refusing to add the doctors to their coverage or dropping doctors they were already covering. By limiting their patients’ access to physicians, the health plans contend they save money, but in doing so, they restrict everyone from choosing their own doctor and ultimately perpetuate the health disparities. Continue Reading →
By Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD
Last week in this column we discussed how individuals and their families can help reduce healthcare disparities by developing and executing Personal Health Plans (PHPs). This week we look at other players who can contribute to this effort
For individuals without immediate family willing to participate, the community can help. Local community centers and other organizations like the YMCA and YWCA and even religious organizations and churches have done a great job in the past, and they should continue to develop and refine support programs to assist those in need to follow their PHPs. These organizations can also assist in healthcare access by organizing transportation to eliminate barriers to getting to medical appointments. For organizations with available resources, they can also offer supportive nutritional and fitness programs. Organizations that have made similar commitments are already reaping dividends for their members and the community at-large. Continue Reading →
Last week in this column we defined health disparities. Merriam-Webster defines disparity as “the state of being different.”
The term “health disparities” refers to several conditions. It almost always refers to differences in groups relating to socioeconomic status, race and/or gender. It can mean differences in the presence of certain diseases within groups. It can mean the outcomes of diseases treated in these groups. It can mean the quality of health care and access to healthcare services that exist within these groups. Disparities can also be caused by a lack of efficiency within the healthcare system. As a result of the lack of efficiency, some studies have speculated (Joint Center for Political and Economic studies) that approximately $50 billion are spent wastefully every year in the U.S. By reducing or eliminating health disparities, there could be a significant savings to the healthcare system accompanied by an overall increased quality of health care. Several factors contribute to health disparities amongst socioeconomic, racial, gender, and ethnic groups. These factors include poor access to care, low quality of care, community markers (such as poverty and violence), and social habits. Continue Reading →
Conclusion of a 4-part column
Most skin diseases occur in people of all nationalities, regardless of their skin color. Certain problems encountered in the skin are more common in people with different hues of skin, and sometimes a disorder seems more prominent because it affects skin color. This week concludes our review of these disorders and their treatments.
Tinea capitis, also known as ringworm, is endemic in African American children. Any child with a scaling, itching scalp should be thoroughly investigated for tinea capitis. Continue Reading →
Most skin diseases occur in people of all nationalities, regardless of their skin color. Certain problems encountered in the skin are more common in people with different hues of skin, and sometimes a disorder seems more prominent because it affects skin color. This week continues our review of these disorders and their treatment.
Throughout evolution, our skin has become quite skillful at repairing any sites of injury or damage. Once the integrity of the skin barrier has been interrupted, invaders such as bacteria, fungus, and virus can penetrate the skin and important
bodily fluids can leak out. Continue Reading →
Most skin diseases occur in people of all nationalities, regardless of their skin color. Certain problems encountered in the skin are more common in people with different hues of skin, and sometimes a disorder seems more prominent because it affects skin color.
Variations in skin color
Skin color is determined by cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are specialized cells within the skin that produce a pigment known as melanin. Melanin is produced and stored within special structures, known as melanosomes, contained in the melanocytes. Continue Reading →
By Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD
Dr. Crutchfield, my brother tells me his doctor told him that he should not drink grapefruit juice while on a new cholesterol medication. Why is that?
Grapefruit juice is a natural, delicious, nutritious drink that has positive health benefits. Some estimates say that as many as 20 percent of all Americans consume grapefruit juice on a regular basis. Scientists discovered several years ago (quite by accident) that grapefruit juice binds to and blocks a certain enzyme in the gastrointestinal tract where medicines are absorbed. Continue Reading →
Dear Doctor: My skin is red and itchy. How do I know if I am having an allergic skin reaction? An allergic skin reaction is a common skin rash that occurs when your skin comes into contact with a substance you have an allergy to. It is often called “allergic contact skin dermatitis.” There are other types of allergies, namely those from things you eat (peanuts, for example) or breathe in (pollen and seasonal allergies). This article will only talk about the rash one gets from substances that touch or “contact” the skin. The most common natural allergic contact dermatitis is from a plant oil found in the leaves of the poison ivy plant. dye for beards and moustaches
dye for beards and moustaches
Why should I care about an allergic skin reaction? Continue Reading →