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Category: Lessons from the Doc

Where to Turn the Tide on Opioid Abuse

Turn the Tide on Opioid Abuse Your Resource Guide by Tanya Feke, MD You will be hard pressed to find someone who has not been touched by the opioid epidemic. Whether you know a loved one, a friend of a friend, or you yourself have used opioids, the problem is all too common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both street drugs and prescription medications are to blame for an increasing rise in opioid-related deaths. Nearly half a million people died in the United States from 2000 to 2014 alone. Today, it is estimated that 78…

The Generation Gap in Medicine

The Generation Gap in Medicine Boomer, Generation X, and Millenial Doctors by Tanya Feke, MD A Review Sparks Debate I read the New York Times review of a wonderful book, “The Finest Traditions on My Calling” by Dr. Abraham M. Nussbaum. I highly recommend it. What struck me most about the review was the audacity of the reviewer, a physician herself, in practically berating the author for his young age before she even talks about the content of his work. She writes, “Medicine is full of young recruits writing veterans’ books, war stories full of hopes and…

Artificial Sweeteners Are as Bad as Sugar

Artificial Sweeteners Are as Bad as Sugar Triggering Prediabetes Despite Fewer Calories by Tanya Feke, MD Diabetes is a real problem in the United States. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 29.1 million people had diabetes in 2014 with as as many as 8 million of those people undiagnosed.1 Taken a step further, obesity is also on the rise. More than a third of Americans are obese.2 In a world where sugar is making us sick, artificial sweeteners sound like a great option. They can replace sugars that are high in calories (each…

Modern Day Funerals Lose Heart

Modern Day Funerals Lose Heart Technology Breaks the Human Connection by Tanya Feke, MD I never thought I would be one of those people to say it. At least not until I was old and gray, committed to wearing cardigans with orthopedic shoes. Not at 40 years old. “Back in my day.” I am at that interesting age where technology in high school was synonymous with giant desktop computers that took over entire desks, if you could afford one. Believe it or not, I did not get my first computer until I graduated from college! Over the years…

Treating Diastasis Recti with Alternative Medicine

Treating Diastasis Recti with Alternative Medicine Diastasis Recti Series: Part 4 by Tanya Feke, MD Beyond exercise and surgery, what options do you have to treat your diastasis recti? Having the condition myself, I have heard more than my fair share of fads and miracle cures. Some sound desperate, others have merit. Let’s break down the good and the bad of these claims. Alignment and Ergonomics Diastasis recti is an anatomic problem so could it have an anatomic solution? Absolutely. It is a simple matter of physics (not that I ever found physics easy). Your posture affects how your…

The Truth About Diastasis Recti Surgery

The Truth About Diastasis Recti Surgery Diastasis Recti Series: Part 3 by Tanya Feke, MD Some people struggle to get a flat tummy. Those with diastasis recti may struggle more than most. Diastasis recti occurs when a gap forms between the “six-pack” muscles in the abdomen. This happens when the connective tissue, fascia, between the muscles stretches out too much, either from weight gain or pregnancy, and cannot support the tissue and organs behind it. The tissues then push against the abdominal wall and form a gap between the muscles. The gap can appear as a belly bulge, sometimes…

The Tenacious Belly Pooch

The Tenacious Belly Pooch Diastasis Recti Series: Part 2 by Tanya Feke, MD Do you have a belly pooch that won’t go away? Even after diet and exercise? You could have diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is a medical condition where the connective tissue between the six-pack rectus abdominus muscle stretches out, thins, and widens. This causes separation of the abdominal muscles and leaves a weak area in the center of your core. Your inner organs may be at risk without strong enough support here and could bulge through the thinned tissue leading to any or all of the…

Measles Vaccine Protects Against Other Illnesses

Measles Vaccine May Protect Against Other Illnesses More Evidence to Support Vaccination by Tanya Feke, MD The choice whether or not to vaccinate remains controversial for some families. The debate started in 1998 when Dr. Andrew Wakefield published a study in the medical journal Lancet suggesting that MMR vaccination caused autism. It was all lies. After Wakefield acknowledged he falsified the data for financial gain, the study was retracted in 2010. However, it was too late to convince many parents that had been living in a state of fear. The MMR vaccine, which prevents measles, mumps, and rubella, has been…

Why Many Women Cannot Get a Flat Tummy

Why Many Women Cannot Get a Flat Tummy Diastasis Recti Series: Part 1 by Tanya Feke, MD Body image. We are constantly bombarded with images of what we should look like on television, in the movies, in magazines, and more. Even the people in our lives, whether they mean to or not, push unrealistic expectations on us for how we look. How we feel about ourselves is far more important than what someone else perceives about us. As cliché as it sounds, no one has ever walked in your shoes. The only opinion about your life that matters is yours…

MMR Vaccine Not Linked to Autism

The Autism-Vaccination Smack Down MMR Vaccine Not Linked to Autism by Tanya Feke, MD Ding, ding! The vaccine debate is once again entering the ring. A study published in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on April 21, 2015 is packing a big punch. This JAMA study looked at more than 95,000 children and found no association between the MMR vaccine and autism spectrum disorders, even if the child already had a sibling with autism. It is the largest study to take a good hard look at the autism-vaccine debate and is even more convincing as…

Side Effects of Asthma Inhalers

Asthma Inhalers Are There Long-Term Side Effects? by Tanya Feke, MD Medications may help to control your asthma, but they also have side effects. Specifically, inhaled steroids and long-acting beta-agonists have been found to have complications with chronic use. Understanding your risks and what to watch out for when you use these medications will let you know when to reach out to your doctor. Asthma Attacks Long-acting beta agonists known as LABAs treat asthma by decreasing muscle spasm in your airway. Examples of these medications include formoterol (Foradil) and salmeterol (Serevent). They open the lungs and…

Time to Talk About the F-Word (Fitness)

The F-Word Get in Gear for Fitness by Tanya Feke, MD It’s time to start talking about the F word, a word that sometimes strikes fear into the heart of people young and old – FITNESS. The sad truth is that the majority of Americans do not exercise enough.  In fact, many are unaware of the recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Last updated in 2008, these fitness goals include not only aerobic exercise (150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week – i.e.  brisk walking – or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week…

Limitations in Urgent Care

What to Expect From Your Local Urgent Care Clinic Urgent Care Series by Tanya Feke, MD Having an urgent care clinic in your area does not mean it is going to be all things to all people. It shouldn’t be. An urgent care clinic is intended for urgent matters only, not for routine health matters or primary care. Setting reasonable expectations when you go to an urgent care clinic will help you to make the most of your experience. 1. Wait times. People complain all the the time about sitting in waiting rooms too long. In primary care…

How An Urgent Care Clinic Is Different Than an Emergency Room

Urgent Care vs. Emergency Rooms Urgent Care Series Tanya Feke, MD Urgent. Emergent. It’s all the same, isn’t it? Think again. The words may sound very similar but they have different meanings. Urgent care is care that must be given in a short window of time ranging from hours to days to stabilize a condition. Emergent care is an EMERGENCY. If not dealt with immediately, it can result in severe complications or even death. AN URGENT CARE CLINIC IS NOT AN EMERGENCY ROOM. It is important to distinguish between the two so that you know where it is…

When to Go to an Urgent Care Clinic

When to Go to an Urgent Care Clinic? Urgent Care Series by Tanya Feke, MD Life throws unexpected things our way all too often. Much of that time, our health takes a hit. You may need to get health care and fast. The question is where should you go? First and foremost, if you have a primary care provider, you should ALWAYS call them first. They have access to your medical records. Knowing your history, they can offer you appropriate treatment and offer continuity of care if you need follow-up. If your primary care provider is unavailable, if they…

Vitamins for Acne Treatment

Vitamins for Acne Treatment Do They Work? by Tanya Feke, MD Though there is some data to suggest that there may be vitamin deficiencies in people who have acne, there is limited information to support using vitamin supplements for treatment. In fact, vitamin A derivatives are the only thoroughly studied treatments on humans. You should consult with a doctor before attempting to treat your acne with any vitamins. Vitamin A Over-the-counter vitamin A supplements had once been used to treat acne but are generally not recommended due to increased risk for toxic side effects. The doses needed to…

Flu Myths Busted

All About Influenza Flu Myths Busted by Tanya Feke, MD The most effective tool in our arsenal against influenza is vaccination. Immunity to the flu develops within 2 weeks. Individuals older than 6 months of age are eligible for vaccination unless they have an allergy to eggs, a past allergy to influenza vaccination, or a history of Guillain-Barré Syndrome.  People with ongoing fever, regardless of the cause, should wait until their illnesses resolve before pursuing vaccination. Unfortunately, there are several misconceptions out there about the available vaccines. It is time to bust these flu myths. FLU MYTHS – #1…

Basic Flu Facts

All About Influenza Basic Flu Facts by Tanya Feke, MD Influenza is not your everyday virus.  It is a specific virus that affects the respiratory tract (nose, throat, and lungs), and it can be deadly.  There is no “stomach flu” as much as the phrase is tossed about. Learn to respect the flu and not throw out those words on a whim. Here are your basic flu facts. The flu spreads from person to person when infected water droplets reach the respiratory tract.  When someone talks or coughs, those tiny droplets can travel up to 6 feet.  If someone coughs…

The Truth About Trans Fat

The Truth About Trans Fat It Really Is That Bad by Tanya Feke, MD Fats have been seen as bad guys for decades, but not all of them are bad. In fact, studies have shown that despite years of pushing low-fat diets for heart health that heart disease rates have NOT improved. We need to cut back on the bad fats but not the good ones. So who are the real baddies? There are different categories of fat — saturated fats, trans fats, unsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. Saturated fats and trans fats tend to be solid at…

Is Winter Making You SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Treatment with Light Therapy by Tanya Feke, MD Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that develops in the fall and winter months. During these times, shorter days lead to decreased sun exposure. This affects circadian rhythms and how the body regulates certain hormones. People living in northern latitudes may be at higher risk for the condition because of less sun exposure to these regions. Resolution of seasonal affective disorder is often spontaneous as days lengthen in the spring and summer. The prevalence of the condition is as high as 9.7% in the…