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How Cannabidiol Work : CBD for Anxiety

Approximately 40 million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety or anxiety-related disorders, such as panic attacks. Anxiety can be a critical adaptive response that can help people cope with threats to them or their loved ones. This response helps people identify and avoid potential threats and can also help motivate them to take the best action for the situation (e.g., take care of bills, improve health, clean house for company, etc.). However, if not managed effectively, responses to anxiety can become maladaptive and negatively impact quality of life and relationships. Eventually, these responses can turn into clinically diagnosed anxiety-related disorders.

benefits of cbd for anxiety

There are numerous drugs available to treat anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. These drugs range from tranquilizers, like the benzodiazepines Valium and Xanax, to serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac and Zoloft.

These drugs are sometimes effective for many patients, but some don’t respond favorably. However, many medications will leave the patient feeling foggy in the head or sedated. Also, while a small number of patients may be lucky enough to find the right anti-anxiety medication that will offer long-term results, for the vast majority of users, they will only experience temporary relief, followed by a gradual return of anxiety symptoms.

This is where supporters of cannabidiol (CBD) step in. CBD is a non-psychoactive constituent in cannabis and may provide an alternative relief to anti-anxiety medications.

CBD is just one of over 85 identified cannabinoids found in the plant cannabis. Each of the cannabinoids found in cannabis can elicit different neurophysiological effects. Most people are more familiar with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the predominant cannabinoid found in cannabis and is ingested by an estimated 230 million people each year as a psychoactive euphoriant.

CBD accounts for about 40 percent of all cannabinoids found in the cannabis extract, although it is not as abundant as the THC content. Whereas THC is psychoactive, CBD is non-psychoactive and is not typically ingested with the intention of attaining any type of psychological euphoria or “high.” Therefore, the medicinal properties of CBD are thought to exceed those of THC.

Research suggests that CBD may act as an anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and antioxidant agent. Further evidence suggests that CBD oil may be an effective treatment for ongoing anxiety symptoms, such as panic attacks. Those who have anxiety disorders and who have not benefited from traditional medications or are unable to tolerate the side-effects of common pharmaceuticals may benefit from using CBD oil to treat anxiety on an ongoing basis.

CBD offers a novel approach to treating anxiety-related disorders. Said to be an anxiolytic agent, CBD is believed to modulate neurotransmission in a number of ways. For example, CBD can alter several receptor sites (mu/delta, CB1/CB2, GPR55, and 5-HT1A) while enhancing hippocampal neurogenesis at the same time. It is thought that the combination of these neurophysiological effects contribute to its effectiveness as an anti-anxiety agent.

Hippocampal Neurogenesis:

One mechanism by which pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medications might decrease anxiety is thought to be through hippocampal neurogenesis (i.e., new neuron growth). Research has shown that the administration of CBD in animal models can induce hippocampal neurogenesis and the same is thought to be able to occur in humans. Specifically, research on rats showed that with chronic administration of tandospirone (5-HT1A), the biomarker of doublecortin could be increased, which indicated that new neurons had emerged in the hippocampus.

Researchers believe that such hippocampal neurogenesis could play a major role in decreasing symptoms of depression and/or severe anxiety.

While not all 5-HT1A partial agonists can induce hippocampal neurogenesis, CBD is believed to achieve just that.

A study that was published in 2013 reviewed the effects that CBD had on mice who were exposed to chronic stress. The study suggested that the administration of CBD caused an increase in neurogenesis in the hippocampal region. It was presumed that the hippocampal neurogenesis may have been caused by the CBD’s affinity for cannabinoid receptor CB1 and CB2.

Researchers believe that anxiety can be reduced through hippocampal neurogenesis. A study that was published in 2015 reported how increasing adult neurogenesis seemed to decrease the participants’ anxiety symptoms.

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CBD Benefits for Anxiety

There are several different possible benefits of using CBD to treat anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. The agents found within CBD appear to be highly effective at reducing several different types of anxiety both when administered on an as-needed basis and through regular maintenance. In addition to helping decrease anxiety symptoms, CBD is thought to improve mood, act as an anti-inflammatory, have antioxidant properties, preserve brain function, and enhance sleep quality. In comparison with traditional anti-anxiety medications, CBD is not currently known to cause any negative side-effects or substantial contraindications, making CBD an appealing treatment worthy of further investigation.

As Needed: There is not a lot of research documenting the chronic administration of CBD in humans on an as needed, or acute, basis. Acute administration has be reported to provide significant anti-anxiety effects. Unlike SSRIs, CBD can provide fast-acting relief of anxiety symptoms without requiring daily administration or several weeks to start decreasing symptoms.

Adjunctive Option: Researchers speculate that CBD might assist the effects of pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medications. CBD has been found to have nearly zero negative interactions with other anti-anxiety medications. Therefore, someone who is taking pharmaceutical medications to manage long-term effects of anxiety, may benefit from additional administration of CBD to help combat short-term effects.

Antipsychotic: Some researchers believe that CBD can help reduce the anxiety symptoms of conditions such as schizophrenia. CBD has antipsychotic properties which might reduce psychotic symptoms, possibly by modulating dopaminergic transmission.

Anti-Inflammatory: Many people who have neuropsychiatric disorders also have severe inflammation, such as neuroinflammation. Neuroinflammation is thought to lead to cytokine and glial cell abnormalities, which can both contribute to anxiety disorders. CBD has been found by researchers to reduce neuroinflammation, which is believed to also reduce anxiety.

To learn more about CBD for anxiety, visit www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

References:

CBD Oil For Anxiety (06/04/2014). [Web]. In Buy CBD Online. Retrieved from: http://www.buycbdoilonline.info/2014/06/cbd-oil-anxiety/

CBD Oil For Anxiety: Is Cannabidiol An Effective Treatment? (n.d.). [Web]. Retrieved on 09/24/2017 from: http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2016/02/24/cbd-oil-for-anxiety-is-cannabidiol-an-effective-treatment/

How Cannabidiol (CBD) Works for Treating Anxiety (n.d.). [Web]. In Leafly. Retrieved on 09/24/2017 from: https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cbd-for-treating-anxiety

 

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6 step to Healthier Joints

As the summer comes to an end and the weather starts to cool, we find ourselves indoors more often. For some, that means less physical activity. For others, it’s a call to get back to the gym before the holidays arrive. Any change in activity makes us more susceptible to joint- and bone-related issues. Here are 10 tips for preventing damage, reducing pain, and improving your general quality of life and health.

Tips For Healthier Joints

  1. Exercise to protect and strengthen your joints

Overall, by strengthening muscles and aiding in weight loss, exercise can reduce the strain on joints. Squats and lunges, as well as certain exercises with weights, can help strengthen quadriceps and reduce the pressure on your knees. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking also helps maintain bone density, no matter what your age. However, note that running and other high-intensity exercise can damage joints and ligaments, leading to inflammation, pain and, eventually, arthritis.

  1. Stretch and warm up prior to exercising

Our bodies need to be warmed up in order to work properly and avoid excess injuries. This allows our tendons to flex and become more supple, helps the muscles to loosen up and work better, and gets the blood flowing through our body. Bodybuilding and weight lifting-related joint pain problems can be caused by tendonitis, an inflammation or irritation of the tendons. This type of joint pain can be reduced or eliminated by stretching and warming up tendons before working them too hard. This makes them more flexible and able to handle the added weight or exercise loads we put on them.

  1. Change exercises 

Both avid and occasional exercisers should consider changing the type of exercise we do. Impact-style exercising, such as step aerobics or kick boxing, is harder on our joints than exercises such as yoga and water-based workouts.

  1. Don’t over-exercise

Regardless of the type of exercise we do, or how heavy the workout, our bodies need time to repair. Someone who does hours of intense exercising daily will have more problems with chronic joint pain than someone who allows their body to recuperate. Our muscles, tendons and ligaments all need time to rest and repair after a hard workout. That’s what causes them to strengthen over time.

  1. Lose weight 

Extra body weight creates strain on our joints, particularly the knee joints. Losing as little as 10 pounds of body weight can help reduce pain, and improves breathing and circulation.

  1. Understand the value of omega-3 fatty acids 

Omega-3 acids are primarily found in fatty fish and some nuts and seeds, such as flaxseeds. Omega-6 acids are found in many vegetables, such as corn and corn oil. While the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (which include fish oil supplements) is well known, less known is the fact that your intake of these fats can affect both bone formation and the rate at which bone is broken down. It’s important to consume both varieties, though consuming more omega-3 fatty acids improves bone mineral density, particularly important for good hip health. Eating a fatty fish like salmon twice a week is recommended, and many physicians suggest fish oil supplements.

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And while complaining about a bad back or stiff hips might typically be considered a sign of old age, it’s a frequent problem. Regardless of age, it’s time to start taking care your joints so you can enjoy life, and training, to the fullest.

Age-related and disease-related Muscle Loss

Also called sarcopenia, muscle loss may be due to a number of different factors. Changes in hormone, lack of adequate protein intake, and lack of exercise are all contributing factors to muscle loss. By following a few tips, you can halt sarcopenia from stripping you of your health.

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Causes of Muscle Loss

One study found that within 48 hours of ceasing exercise, rats began to experience a lower steady-state rate of protein synthesis and their bodies stopped building and repairing muscles. While rats and humans are certainly different creature, the findings could mean implications for the human musculature as well. Muscles that lie dormant while waiting for use don’t get any stronger.

Age

Regardless of how often an individual works out, the simple, natural act of aging can begin to cause muscles loss. Sarcopenia begins to kick in as young as 20 and only picks up as time goes by. By the time a person reaches the age of 50, they begin losing 0.4 pounds of muscle mass each year.

Diet

Another study demonstrated that rats that are fed less calories over a 30-month period showed signs of improved protein synthesis and better muscle activity when compared with rats that were fed more calories over the same period of time. This finding contradicts earlier assumptions that muscles loss was due to not eating enough. Of course, malnutrition can also contribute to muscles loss, so a balanced and healthy diet full of vitamin D and protein is crucial to regain muscle mass.

Sleep

Researchers understand that sleep is imperative to allow the body to build and repair muscle. When a person is suffering from lack of sleep, the body is less likely to build and repair muscle effectively. Even when a person is hitting the gym regularly, a lack of sleep means a lack of muscle so sleep is crucial, especially between workouts.

The Short and Long-Term Effects of Muscle Loss

In the short term, losing any amount of muscle can lead to complications from premature aging (wrinkling and sunken cheeks) to an inability to perform everyday actions (like opening jars or carrying objects). If left untreated, muscle loss can lead to a wide range of complications later on, such as becoming disabled or even an increased risk of mortality due to injuries and frailty.

Muscle loss can also increase your risk for developing various metabolic disorders and diabetes. The increased risk for these conditions is because muscle tissue plays a major role in regulating the body’s blood sugar, hormones, and insulin.

The estimated amount of annual direct healthcare costs of muscle loss may be as high as $18.5 billion in the United States, making it even more costly than osteoporosis.

Dr. Douglas Paddon-Jones, professor of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston says that muscles loss is often a slow and gradual process that doesn’t just happen overnight. Muscle loss is subtle at first and becomes more advanced as time goes by. Therefore, it is imperative that individuals begin working on ways to build and maintain as much muscle as possible as early as possible (around 30 or 40). However, starting work on muscles can be helpful regardless of which age you start.

Fortunately, there are a number of easy solutions that have been scientifically proven to help build and preserve muscles.

Tips for Preventing Muscle Loss

Protein

Protein provides the amino acids which are integral to building muscle so increasing protein is one of the most important steps you can take to building and preserving muscle. Research has discovered that one particular amino acid, leucine, is especially effective at activating your body to build muscle. Foods rich in leucine, such as meat, fish, and soy, will help to turn on this switch that then builds muscle. Try to eat protein at each and every meal.

More Protein

Whereas most people probably eat a small breakfast, a medium-sized lunch and then a dinner meal that is chopped full of protein, research suggests that people should be getting their protein intake in a different way. Susan Kundrat, nutritional sciences program director at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee says that it is more important to get a consistent amount of protein at each meal, than to try to eat as much protein as possible at only one meal. The recommended dose of protein for each meal is 30 grams. The reason for this moderation is that the human body does not have a large storage reserve for protein. Consume any more than 30 grams at a meal and the rest will most likely just end up washing out when you use the restroom.  In real life terms, 30 grams is about equal to three eggs, a 4-ounce hamburger, a 5-ounce salmon, or a cup of yogurt with almonds.

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Resistance Training

Resistance training is crucial for building muscle and preventing muscle loss. Specialists recommend about 20 or 30 minutes of resistance training at least three times a week but research suggests that even one short workout that emphasizes resistance training can improve the strength and mass of your muscles. Specialists say that the key to building and maintaining muscle is to really work out your muscles by varying workouts with different types of exercises, different number of reps, and different weights. Switching up exercises, reps, and weights every other day may be a solution. One study found that participants who ate at least 30 grams of protein directly before resistance training exercises were able to increase their potential for building muscle by about 100 percent. Exercising without enough protein will be hardly beneficial, but snacking on high-protein bars or snacks could help.

To learn more about muscle loss, visit www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

References:

How to Eat and Exercise to Prevent Age-Related Muscle Loss from Sarcopenia (n.d.). [Web]. In EatingWell. Retrieved from: 09/20/2017 from: http://www.eatingwell.com/article/275991/how-to-eat-and-exercise-to-prevent-age-related-muscle-loss-from-sarcopenia/

How to Prevent and Reverse Muscle Loss as We Age (n.d.). [Web]. In Aging Fit. Retrieved on 09/20/2017 from: http://www.agingfit.com/muscle-loss/

Skladzinski, L. (2012, May 24). How to Stay Strong and Prevent Muscle Loss. [Web]. In Greatist. Retrieved from: https://greatist.com/fitness/how-stay-strong-and-prevent-muscle-loss

Spending on Healthcare in America

American health-care spending, measured in trillions of dollars, boggles the mind. Last year, we spent $3.2 trillion on health care — a number so large that it can be difficult to grasp its scale.A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals what patients and their insurers are spending that money on, breaking it down by 155 diseases, patient age and category — such as pharmaceuticals or hospitalizations. Among its findings:

healthcare spending

Chronic — and often preventable — diseases are a huge driver of personal health spending. The three most expensive diseases in 2013: diabetes ($101 billion), the most common form of heart disease ($88 billion) and back and neck pain ($88 billion).

Yearly spending increases aren’t uniform: Over a nearly two-decade period, diabetes and low back and neck pain grew at more than 6 percent per year — much faster than overall spending. Meanwhile, heart disease spending grew at 0.2 percent.

Medical spending increases with age — with the exception of newborns. About 38 percent of personal health spending in 2013 was for people over age 65. Annual spending for girls between 1 and 4 years old averaged $2,000 per person; older women 70 to 74 years old averaged $16,000.

The analysis provides some insight into what’s driving one particularly large statistic: Within a decade, close to a fifth of the American economy will consist of health care.

“It’s important we have a complete landscape when thinking about ways to make the health care system more efficient,” said Joseph Dieleman, an assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington who led the work.

The data show that the primary drivers of health-care spending vary considerably. For example, more than half of diabetes care is spending on drugs, while only about 4 percent of spending on low back and neck pain was on pharmaceuticals. Generally, more spending is done on elderly people, but about 70 percent of the spending on low back and neck pain was on working-age adults. Such insights provide a way to find the drivers of growth in health-care spending and to launch strategies to control it.

“Data like this continues to draw attention to the fact a lot of these proposals being discussed about controlling health-care costs really don’t address the underlying issue, which is rising disease prevalence,” said Ken Thorpe, a professor of health policy at Emory University who was not involved in the study but has done similar research. “You see this rise in chronic disease spending — much of it is potentially preventable.”

Most of the discussion of health care in America has focused on access to insurance, but the spending breakdown shows that the biggest opportunities may come in preventing disease.

The researchers also analyzed spending on public health and prevention. In a separate editorial, Ezekiel Emanuel, a former health-care adviser to President Obama, pointed out that the largest public health spending was on HIV. But fewer than 7,000 Americans died because of HIV/AIDS in 2014 and it ranked 75th on the list of diseases by personal health expenditures.

“Few public health dollars focus on lifestyle conditions that ultimately contribute to the majority of chronic illnesses seen today,” Emanuel wrote. Low back and neck pain, for example, ranked low on the list of public health expenditures with $140 million in public health funding, but high on the list of health-care spending. Tobacco control received $340 million in public health spending, but smoking contributes to several diseases that drive health-care spending.

What the data also show is that conditions that drive health-care spending aren’t necessarily the ones that come to mind when people think about health care. Falls were the fifth-highest cause of health spending, followed closely by depression. Pregnancy and dental care were in the top 15.

 

Pregnant Traveller Tips

An extra-large baby bag full of diapers, bottles and blankets is an essential part of any mom-to-be’s future travel plans. But for now — since the only extra weight you’re carrying is that in-utero bundle of joy — traveling can be a slightly easier undertaking. Whether you’re planning a mind-clearing babymoon, a critical work trip or that four-hour drive to your in-laws, make sure to prioritize your comfort and health while on the go. Before you start squeezing your oversized maternity wear into your itty-bitty carry-on, read these valuable tips for taking a trip when you’re expecting.

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  1. Time Your Trip Well

For most women, pregnancy has its fair share of nausea, discomfort and fatigue. But the good news is all three symptoms won’t usually span the full nine months. Take advantage of the second trimester when you’ve likely overcome morning sickness, but not yet felt the onset of increased fatigue. When possible, it’s best to schedule your travel between the 20- and 30-week marks.

Regardless of whether you can schedule your travel for that hopefully asymptomatic sweet spot, try to avoid traveling after 36 to 38 weeks of pregnancy. And always consult with your doctor before you head off — women with higher-risk pregnancies may be discouraged from traveling. Most airlines require a note from your doctor if you are scheduled to deliver within 30 days of takeoff, but restrictions vary by carrier. Before you buy your ticket, determine your airline’s pregnant flyer policy.

  1. Choose a Domestic Destination

It can be tempting to visit a far-off destination before the yelps of a crying infant leave you in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation. But if you can reel in those vacation fantasies to domestic locales, you may face less discomfort on your journey. Stay closer to home and you’ll reduce some ambiguity when it comes to contaminated food, unsafe drinking water and foreign medical care.

  1. Bring a Copy of Your Prenatal Records

No matter where your itinerary takes you, always bring along a copy of your prenatal records and medical notes. And while you’re planning your trip, be sure to determine where the nearest hospital or medical facility is located. Should you need treatment from a local doctor during your trip, your records will provide an essential starting point for a medical professional to understand the circumstances of your pregnancy. If you have health insurance, keep proof of insurance with you at all times.

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  1. Travel By Car

Flying may be faster and traveling by boat may let you rock your soon-to-arrive neonate to sleep, but if you plan to travel while pregnant the best mode of transport is the good old-fashioned automobile. The reason? You’ll have more immediate access to emergency medical care and you can make frequent pit stops to stretch,

visit a restroom or take a break from any nausea-inducing motion. While you’re on the road, be aware of your seat belt placement: Secure the lap belt below your belly so that it rests against your hip bones, and wear the shoulder belt across the center of your chest and to the side of your baby bump.

  1. Stay Hydrated and Bring Healthy Snacks

Pregnant women should drink eight to 12 glasses of water per day in order to ensure that their amniotic fluid is renewed and breast milk production is on track, among other health benefits. Thankfully, some of that water can be used to wash down periodic snacks. When you’re packing bites to eat — and it’s a good idea to bring along quite a few — stick to healthy foods that are part of your usual diet.

The idea of travelling when you’re pregnant may seem daunting at first. When it’s hard to get comfortable in your own bed, you might think there’s no way you’ll manage it on a plane or in a strange hotel room. But guess what? This is one of the best times for you to get away and treat yourself.

You don’t need to be reminded that your world is about to revolve around someone else, but you may need the encouragement to prioritize yourself, plan a comfortable and fun trip, and hit the road with your partner for much-needed time together. So, follow all these tips and enjoy your vacation!

Healthcare Business Salary

Job opportunities in the health care field are booming. Median wages are higher than any other industry in the U.S, and occupations in the sector are expected to continue to grow rapidly in the next 10 years.Employment of health care occupations is projected to grow 19% from 2017 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the new edition of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, published Dec. 17, 2015. (The OOH projects the growth of professions over 10 years.) The net effect of that growth in health care is an additional 2.3 million new jobs.

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It’s true: You’ll need some specialized education to land many of these, but the career benefits—can be well worth the investment. Here are 10 health care positions expected to grow both in number and salary in the coming decade according to the refreshed BLS guide, and—bonus—most of these fields are expecting above-average growth.

Physicians and Surgeons

Median salary: $187,000

Jobs available: 700,000

What they do: Physicians and surgeons are the highest earning professionals in the health care world. Physicians diagnose and treat patients, as well as take medical histories and prescribe medication. Surgeons are also responsible for treating patients, but focus more on operating to repair ailments such as broken bones or cancerous tumors.

Education required: Doctoral or professional degree

Dentists

Median salary: $155,000

Jobs available: 150,000

What they do: Dentists treat patients’ teeth and gums as well as provide preventative help on maintaining good oral health

Education required:  You must first get a bachelor’s degree, then go to a dental school (four years) and pass a licensing exam.

Pharmacists

Median salary: $120,000

Jobs available: 300,000

What they do: Pharmacists dispense prescription medications to patients and offer advice about safely administering medicine without causing adverse reactions.

Education required: Doctoral or professional degree.There are almost 300,000 jobs available.

Podiatrists

Median salary: $120,000

Jobs available: 9,000

What they do: Podiatrists provide medical and surgical care for foot, ankle, and lower leg problems.

Education required: Doctoral or professional degree. Podiatrists often do internships and residencies early in their careers.

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Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners

Median salary: $100,000

Jobs available: 170,000

What they do: Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia and medical care during and after surgeries. Nurse midwives provide family planning services and prenatal care to women. Nurse practitioners serve as primary care providers and help integrate health promotion strategies into their patients’ lives.

Education required: Master’s degree

Optometrists

Median salary: $100,000

Jobs available: 40,000

What they do: Optometrists examine and treat visual problems and manage any diseases or injuries to the eyes.

Education required: Doctoral or professional degree

Physician Assistants

Median salary: $95,000

Jobs available: 94,000

What they do: Physician assistants include examining, diagnosing and treating patients with help from teams of physicians and surgeons.

Education required: Master’s degree

Physical Therapists

Median salary: $82,000

Jobs available: 210,000

What they do: Physical therapists help injured patients improve their mobility and manage their pain through exercise and non-invasive procedures.

Education required: Doctoral or professional degree

Radiation Therapists

Median salary: $80,000

Jobs available: 16,600

What they do: Radiation therapists are responsible for treating cancer and other diseases through radiation treatments.

Education required: Associate degree

Healthcare is an increasingly important sector of employment due to an aging population and constant advances in medical science. These are the highest paid healthcare jobs, so if you are thinking about taking up a new career these are definitely the best of the best.

Facts about Patient Education: Know the Basics

Patient education is a key driver of a treatment outcome. Learn here what it is, what the benefits are and what you can do.

Do you remember your doctor’s instructions on how to use an inhaler? Are you confused about which medicine to take first when you have a bag full of pills? Well, you are not alone if you have difficulty following medical advice. In fact, it happens to a large number of patients. Regrettably, low health literacy is a common yet often overlooked problem in the US. In this article, we will explore facts about patient education and how increasing health literacy boosts treatment outcomes.

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Before we begin our journey, let’s have a quick look at patient education.

What is Patient Education?

Basically, patient education is a patient’s right to actively participate in a treatment program. In essence, it enables them to gain sufficient knowledge about the proper use of medicines, medical devices and helps them to follow a medical advice. On a healthcare provider’s part, it is their duty to ensure the patient is getting information as intended.

Patient education may also be considered as a subset of health education. The latter concept embraces other aspects of disease like prevention, lifestyle changes, and dietary habits. Traditionally, the concept of patient education was limited to patient information. However, now, the trend has progressively shifted to empowering the patients through individualized approach and attention to the individual needs.

“Patient Education is a teaching learning process aimed at ensuring good health and optimal treatment outcomes”

Know the Benefits of Patient Education

  • The high quality of care. Educating a patient is key to a high quality of care. In order to optimize the treatment outcomes, it is very important that a patient knows how to use a medicine, the importance of following medical advice, and what the medicine is doing to their body.
  • Enhanced quality of life. According to a WHO report, patient education significantly decreases the number of hospital admissions of patients with bronchial asthma or diabetic coma. Moreover, it results in a better quality of life by delaying amputations in 75% of cases.
  • Improved patient satisfaction. High quality of care naturally results in improved patient satisfaction. We should always keep in mind that patients are central to any treatment program as they deserve the right to know what’s happening to their health. Particularly, this is critical in the management of chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, problems with respiration and arthritis.
  • Increased compliance. Compliance, also called adherence, refers to the degree to which a patient follows a doctor’s advice on the use of medicines. In a broader sense, it also includes proper use of medical devices, self-care measures, and therapy sessions. Most notably, you should understand that it’s not only the patient who is key to increase In fact, a positive patient-physician relationship determines the degree of compliance. When apatient can’t understand what they were told, you cannot expect a good result.
  • Improved staff satisfaction. Though staff satisfaction comes next to patient satisfaction, it is the quality of care. Highly motivated staffs are always in a better position to deliver high-quality health services.
  • Effective use of resources. A treatment program comprises of a number of resources. For example, human resources, financial resources, materials and time. An effective patient education ensures all these resources are optimally utilized.

What Physicians Can Do to Make Patient Education Effective

Considering the patient is a beneficiary, it’s the duty of the doctor in charge to make the patient education effective. Here are some tips the doctors may want to consider.

  • Evaluate your patient’s needs, preferences, level of knowledge and potential barriers in the teaching-learning process.
  • Sit with your patient and make a plan about how you are going to deliver the information in the best possible way.
  • Set realistic objectives and goals.
  • Find the essential resources and make sure to use them efficiently.

Irrespective of the type of patient education, do not miss the following factors.

  • What your patient needs to do and why
  • When your patient can expect results (if applicable)
  • Warning signs (if any) your patient should watch for
  • What your patient should do if a problem occurs
  • Who your patient should contact for questions or concerns

The Role of the Patient in Patient Education

As a patient seeking treatment and high-quality health services, you may want to follow the tips mentioned below.

  • Ask questions whenever there is a confusion or you have a query.
  • Take a note of the key points.
  • Prepare a list of the questions that you would like to ask on a doctor visit.
  • Learn enough about your condition through reliable sources like authentic health websites, printed materials, and counseling from registered health professionals.

Know the Means of Patient Education

A doctor can use various methods to impart patient education through many ways. One-to-one communication forms the cornerstone but you may use other methods mentioned below.

  • Brochures or other printed materials
  • Podcasts
  • YouTube videos
  • Videos or DVDs
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Posters or charts
  • Models or props
  • Group classes
  • Trained peer educators

Key Takeaways

  • Patient education is patient-centered approach and a subset of health education.
  • Doctors, patients, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals are the components of patient education.
  • To address specific patient problems, there may be a need for training the concerned health professionals.
  • Patient education is critically important to the patients with long-term illnesses.
  • Over the last few decades, the patient education model has changed from a general information delivery approach to an individualized approach.

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