Thursday, November 26, 2015         

Health Scene

For articles after August 3, 2011, see the Premium Archives »

After years of research, the message is clear: Smoking kills. Tobacco use is responsible for 1 in every 5 deaths in the United States.

As the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant developed following the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March, there was concern about radiation exposure in Hawaii.

We should all take a moment to applaud recent developments at the state Department of Human Services and the Legislature.

There is a growing awareness that obesity is a disease, one that affects about one-third of adults in the United States.

May 4 is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day. While recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that teen births in the United States have reached an all-time low, this data should not tempt parents, educators, health care providers and community leaders to let down their guard.

On a recent interisland trip, I found myself nodding in agreement as the flight attendant explained the steps for putting on the oxygen mask that drops down in front of you in an emergency.

Having a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedure can be a stressful experience, even for adults.

Starting preschool is a milestone for any child, but imagine being a 3-year-old who was accepted into a preschool but later denied admission because of a food allergy. That was the case for the Guiffreda family of Hawaii Kai.

We've all been struck by a bad cold or the flu. The aches and congestion are never pleasant and always inconvenient. In our fast-paced society, we've been conditioned to want immediate relief. Surely there's a pill you can take to make that pesky cough go away in no time, right?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Hawaii. Although preventive screening to detect and treat colorectal cancer early can result in a 90 percent survival rate, fewer than 50 percent of cases are diagnosed early enough for lifesaving treatment to be effective.

According to HMSA claims data, the average person in Hawaii fills 10 prescriptions per year -- and seniors fill three times as many. Medicine helps keep us healthy, saves lives and curbs pandemics, but when medicines aren't taken as directed or are combined in unsafe ways, they can have harmful effects.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while we have made great strides in building awareness about this disease, there are still many women we have yet to reach.

As family doctors, we hear every day from patients who have trouble paying for medications and who have stopped or skipped their drugs. Last month we sent a woman to the hospital because she hadn't taken her diabetes medication ("too expensive") and she ended up with a bad infection in her leg when her blood sugar went too high.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease consists of several diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD blocks airways, making it difficult to breathe. It's the fourth-leading cause of death in Hawaii and the nation. COPD can't be cured but it can be managed. Getting tested early can help you keep the disease from worsening.

As a doctor, it's hard to tell someone they have cancer. But it's not the worst part of my job. The real tragedy is telling someone they have cancer and that it was completely preventable.

Most Popular