Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Health Insights from a Medical Transcriptionist

My wife is a medical transcriptionist and types doctor's reports all day long. As someone who is constantly listening in on the medical profession and the state of people's health, I thought I'd ask her what she has learned while documenting thousands of cases. She is obviously required to keep patient's identities confidential, but she said there were many similarities in most reports she types. I thought I'd pass along some information which I found to be interesting.

Disclaimer: These are only insights and observations. We are not suggesting you act contrary to a physicians recommendations. We are not offering medical advice, but we have some strong feelings about the state of people's health and think the information below is quite telling.

1) Her first observation is that some people verge on being hypochondriacs and jump at the chance of going to the doctor for the smallest of ailments before they try to do anything about their health on their own. Rather than research their problem, or make lifestyle changes, many people go straight to a doctor. Perhaps they do this in hopes that their doctor can make everything better without any accountability on their part.

2) Many doctors have a knee jerk reaction to prescribe medications to deal with symptoms and ailments. She has been shocked to hear how many medications some people are on. Many of these medications are prescribed to offset the side effects of other ones they take. She said it's not uncommon to hear of patients being on as many as 10-15 different prescriptions. It makes you wonder if people weigh the benefits of taking certain prescriptions versus the side affects, especially if they are taking so many.

3) The most common health problems people have are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. These typically go hand in hand. Many of the health conditions people suffer from are made worse because they are obese or if they smoke. Fortunately, lifestyle factors can play a big role in treating and preventing these diseases.

4) She seldom documents cases of chronic diseases for people who are active and exercise regularly. They may still go to the doctor, but it's typically for things like kidney stones, skin conditions, or allergies as opposed to life-threatening conditions. Sedentary individuals usually have more serious health problems.

I know these observations are broad generalizations, and I'm not trying to present them as scientific data, but there is definitely a pattern in the reports she does. The typical profile of the average person seeking medical attention for chronic disease that she does reports for, is someone who is aging, sedentary, overweight, and either suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.

I understand that there is no guarantee to good health. An avid marathoner could fall over and die form a heart attack at any moment, and people who pride themselves on taking good care of themselves are still susceptible to cancer and other diseases, but there are certainly things you can do to stack the odds in your favor. Immortality is not the goal, rather longevity and quality of life. That's why it's important that we take care of our bodies today.

No comments: