Tag Archives: medical

(QUIZ) Would You Recognize a Medical Emergency?

In a potential emergency situation, it can be difficult to make the call. You may wonder if you are overreacting by calling for help, or underreacting if you don’t. It is important to practice clear thinking and utilize common sense in a troublesome situation. Let’s take a look at some true or false statements about first aid below to see how you might do in an emergency today:

True or false:

  1. Medical emergencies are purely physical, such as an injury, and are almost always obvious to the naked eye.
  2. Fainting is considered to be a medical emergency.
  3. Suspected bones are painful, but do not constitute a medical emergency. You should just check in with your doctor as soon as you can get in to see him or her.
  4. If someone has an injury that leaves them severely mobility impaired (like an acute neck or back injury), you should move them to a comfortable location such as a stiff bed until help arrives.
  5. CPR stands for central practical recovery, and should be performed whether or not you’ve had training.
  6. If your child is exhibiting any odd signs such as clamminess, in combination with an unexplained change in demeanor, you should seek emergency medical treatment.
  7. While vomiting can potentially be an emergency, diarrhea is not a medical emergency. Just be sure to stay hydrated.
  8. An ‘emergency’ boils down to a subjective judgement call. If in doubt, always go to the ER.



Scroll down for the answers…no peeking!



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  1. FALSE. Suicidal thoughts or feelings are also a medical emergency. Changes in mental state such as unexplained confusion could also possibly indicate a medical emergency.
  2. TRUE. You don’t know why the person momentarily lost consciousness, therefor, it should be treated as an emergency so the attending medical team can determine if it is a crisis or if the person is okay.
  3. FALSE. Broken bones (or suspected broken bones) should be treated as an emergency and attended to as soon as possible.
  4. FALSE. If a person has serious mobility-impairing injuries you should not try to move them as that could cause much worse damage. You should try to make them comfortable where they are until help arrives.
  5. FALSE. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and generally should be performed by a person who knows the proper technique, as it can cause damage in some situations. However, if the person is not breathing you will have to try it regardless of whether or not you’ve been trained. See the proper technique for reference here.
  6. TRUE. A baby or small child cannot tell you what is wrong, and it is so easy for a child to get their hands on a poisonous substance around the house when your back is turned. If your child is violently ill all of a sudden, shaking, clammy or experiencing any other out-of-character signs, you should seek immediate treatment.
  7. FALSE. Severe or prolonged diarrhea or vomiting, especially that which contains blood, should be treated as a medical emergency as it could indicate any number of serious underlying conditions.
  8. TRUE. It can be very hard to tell if something is critical or just appears serious momentarily, but if you’re ever unsure, it is best to check it out before things make a turn for the worst.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Aim to get your First Aid training soon so you will be ready to save a life if need be!



10 Health-Related Numbers You Should Know

We live in a world of constant information streaming. We see hundreds of facts, suggestions, tips and ideas daily; it can be hard to know how much of it to take to heart. Well, the following list of health guidelines would be a good start. Let’s check them out:

  1. 200 mg/dL – Is the ideal total blood cholesterol level (or lower) for adults. Your LDL (bad) cholesterol level alone should be less than 100 mg/dL.
  2. 35 inches – is the largest a woman’s waist size should be in order to keep her risk of heart attack or other life-threatening diseases down. A man’s waist size should be under 40 inches in order for him to avoid weight-related illnesses like heart disease.
  3. 7-9 hours – is the ideal amount of sleep we should be getting per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
  4. 150 minutes – Is the amount of cardiovascular exercise adults should undergo weekly to maintain a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes. This number does not factor in strength training, which should also be completed several times weekly.
  5. 420 minutes – Is the amount of exercise children should get weekly. Growing children need more exercise. The CDC recommends 60 minutes of daily exercise for children and teenagers.
  6. 56 grams – Is the amount of protein the average (sedentary) man should consume daily. Women should aim for about 46 grams.
  7. 6-10 – Is the average number of colds children get each year. It is important to instill good hygiene habits and in your child and teach them prevention tips so they can avoid colds easier at school.
  8. 84.3 years – is the average life expectancy for a man. A woman’s life expectancy is 86.6. In order to live up to (or exceed!) these impressive numbers, be sure to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and get plenty of exercise!
  9. 50 million – Is the approximate number of Americans living with allergies. (If you’re one of those 50 million, check out our tips on allergy-proofing your home to get some relief)!
  10. 10 hours and 39 minutes – Is the average amount of time Americans spends looking at screens daily, according to a recent in-depth study. The American Academy of Pediatricians (APP) recently put forth a recommendation of less than 2 hours of daily screen time for children over 2 years of age and adults alike. While many of us won’t cut down that much, we have to admit, over 10 hours daily is certainly an excessive amount of time to be glued to screens and newsfeeds instead of doing more productive activities!

    There you have our top 10 health-related numbers you should be aware of! Thanks for visiting DocChat, stay happy and healthy!

What is Genetic Counseling?

Genetic counseling is a medical process one can undergo, with the help of a genetic counselor, to learn more about inherited predispositions (or familial risk level) for developing certain medical conditions.

Where Can Genetic Counselors be Found?

Genetic counselors work in clinics, hospitals, genetics laboratories, research centers, prenatal centers and even insurance companies to help assess the potential hereditary health risks of families and individuals for different reasons.

Who Should Consider Genetic Counseling?

Anyone can seek genetic counseling to get a better look at potential health conditions they may be at higher risk of developing. People most likely to seek or be referred to genetic counselors may include:

  • Those who have been diagnosed with a disease such as cancer and want to learn how their genetics may impact the prognosis.
  • Those who have family members with certain types of cancer and wish to learn about specific cancer genes they may have inherited that may raise their personal cancer risk.
  • Those who belong to certain ethnic groups or geographical populations with higher instances of disease.
  • Older parents thinking about conceiving and want to know the risks involved.
  • People who want to check if their genetics are compatible before conceiving. For example, if both parents carry a gene specific to cystic fibrosis, the child will have a 25% chance of being born with the disease.
  • Those who’ve already had child born with a genetic disease such as congenital heart problems or cleft palate.
  • Those who’ve had a child with autism spectrum disorder or another developmental disorder and wish to learn more about the situation.
  • Those who have received an abnormal ultrasound report for their unborn child.

We’ve only scratched the surface of this complex, comprehensive process that can help shed light on a person’s personalized medical topography and risk level for disease or help with prenatal planning. Thanks for visiting DocChat!



Endometriosis Fast Facts

Endometriosis is a complex reproductive condition that causes endometrial tissue to grow outside the uterus in places like the ovaries, bowel or even the lungs. This abnormal overgrowth causes inflammation and pain. Some other facts about endometriosis include:

  • Approximately 5 million American women have endometriosis (nearly 1 in 10).
  • Endometriosis is most common amongst women in their 30’s and 40’s, but can occur any age between menses and menopause (sometimes even after menopause).
  • Endometriosis can adversely affect fertility. Some women have to undergo fertility treatment or adjust their medications to better chances of pregnancy.
  • Endometriosis can cause lesions or scar tissue that sometimes requires surgery to eradicate.
  • Symptoms of endometriosis include: pain during and after sex or during ovulation, heavy bleeding, fatigue. It can also significantly impact mental health.
  • Pregnancy or a hysterectomy can sometimes relieve symptoms but not in all cases.
  • Women with endometriosis may be at greater risk of developing certain types of cancer.
  • Endometriosis is not considered an autoimmune disease, despite the immunological abnormalities it causes.
  • Endometriosis can be a very frustrating condition as treatment isn’t effective for everyone and little is understood about it and doctors don’t all agree on all aspects about it.
  • It can be a very frustrating disorder fraught with treatments that don’t work well.
  • Synthetic hormone treatments may help some of the symptoms of endometrioses but they will not cure it long term.

There you have some fast facts about endometriosis There is so much we don’t yet know about the painful condition, but medical researchers are still hard at work to get more answers. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you stop by again soon.

Medication Safety Tips (Part 2)


According to the CDC, each year there are hundreds of thousands of ER visits due to medication complications and mishaps. Most of these incidents could have been prevented with the proper medication care. We looked at our first 5 medication safety tips in our last post, now for the next few:

6. Always check the ingredients. Aside from checking for potential allergenic filler ingredients, you should also know how much of the active ingredient is in each medication you’re taking as it is easier to overdose on OTC medications than you may think. For example, acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) is camouflaged in many OTC and prescription medications such as decongestants and cold medicine. In fact, over 600 North American medications contain acetaminophen! So if you are taking the maximum dose of extra strength Tylenol for aches and pains, along with another acetaminophen-containing medication you may be risking serious problems.

7. Practice caffeine caution. Some medications don’t react well with caffeine, so be sure not to chase them with a large iced tea or coffee unless the pharmacist says it is okay.

8. Make sure all medications are inaccessible to children and pets. Even 1 pill or supplement can harm a child, let alone if they happen to get into a whole bottle. Keep your medications tucked away on a high shelf or in a cabinet that can’t be accessed by little ones.

9. Use steroid creams sparingly. Unless it has been okayed by your doctor or pharmacist, be sure not to use topical steroid creams too heavily as they can potentially thin the skin (atrophy), especially in sensitive areas.

10. Know if it is safe to drink alcohol. Some medications can be dangerous when combined with alcohol.

11. Don’t discontinue medications before consulting your doctor or specialist. It isn’t a good idea to stop taking medications without first consulting your doctor, unless of course you are having an allergic reaction. In which case, seek emergency medical attention.

12. Rinse your mouth out after using puffers. Puffers can cause thrush (yeast infection) of the mouth if you do not rinse the medication out of your mouth after use. Some other medications may have similar instructions to follow, so be sure to check the label every time.

Well there you have the rest of our medication do’s and don’ts! Click here for more information about how to correctly take different medications. Thanks for visiting DocChat! Remember, our board certified physicians are on standby 24/7/365 if you have any medical or medication related inquiries.


Medication Safety Tips (Part 1)

Modern medications are responsible for vastly improving healthcare and life longevity, however, they are certainly far from risk free. When used correctly and appropriately, medications can save lives and better thousands of health conditions, but there is always the potential for toxicity due to accidental misuse or overdose, drug interactions or unsafe use of certain medications (such as while pregnant). The CDC reports over 700,000 medication-related ER visits annually in the United States. Many medication mishaps are preventable by following these key safety steps:

  1. Pay close attention to the directions as well as your pharmacist’s tips. It is estimated that between 20-50% of patients don’t take their medications properly, resulting in potentially fatal mix-ups. For example, some medications are only to be taken once weekly and taking them daily could be dangerous. It is extremely important to ensure you know the correct directions and dosage of each of your medications. Do not crush or alter the medication in any way unless it says so on the container.
  2. Make a list and check it twice! If you can’t name all your drugs and dosages, you should keep a list handy in your wallet or purse of all your medications and prescribed dosages to show a new pharmacist, doctor, nurse or in case of emergency.
  3. Think before reaching for OTC medications. Though many people don’t take OTC medications as seriously as they do prescription pills, OTC drugs also carry significant risks if misused such as internal bleeding or liver damage. There are many that can interact with prescribed medications, worsen pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, or conflict with other commonly used OTC medications.
  4. Treat Supplements like medications. Most people think supplements are “no biggy”, but they can actually be pretty dangerous when taken incorrectly or with the wrong medications or medical conditions. Some supplements can even render your medication ineffective. It is also important to tell your doctor about any supplements you are taking or wish to take.
  5. Keep an eye on any new side effects. You don’t need to be alarmed or too worried about listed side effects of medications as most of them are quite rare. However, it is a good idea to keep an eye on any changes you notice since taking the new medication and let your doctor or pharmacist know at your next appointment. If the side effects are serious, seek emergency treatment right away.

Well there you have the first few of our medication do’s and don’ts. Keep an eye out for Part 2 next.  Thanks for visiting DocChat! Remember, our board-certified physicians are on standby 24/7/365 if you have any medical or medication related inquiries.



COPD – Get The Facts

COPD is a serious and misunderstood chronic lung condition. It is one of America’s stealthiest top killers, even though many people are hardly aware of the facts. COPD is serious business, and everyone should be aware of the early signs. Let’s take a gander at some of the facts:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a few progressive (and life-threatening) lung conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and refractory asthmatics (symptoms never go away).
  • People with COPD have a hard time breathing because their airways lose elasticity, scarring destroy airway walls, or too much mucus is produced which clogs the airways.
  • It is also a leading cause of disability.
  • At least 11 million Americans are afflicted with COPD (the numbers are likely much higher is it is underdiagnosed).
  • Every hour approximately 250,000 people worldwide will die of COPD.
  • More women die of COPD than men, largely because of misdiagnosis but it appears estrogen plays a role as well.
  • COPD often affects those in their 50’s and 60’s, but younger people can also have COPD.
  • Many people aren’t diagnosed until their disease is in the advanced stages. Know the early warning signs: chronic coughing, shortness of breath, blueish lips or fingernails, chronic wheezing, chest tightness, fatigue and frequent bouts of bronchitis.
  • While the main cause of COPD is smoking and inhaling smoke, not everyone who has the disease is a former smoker. Inhaling environment pollutants over a long term (such as at a hazardous job) and genetics can also cause COPD.
  • If you have COPD, ask your doctor to screen you for the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency AATD gene, as it may help shed light on how severe your lung disease is or will likely become.
  • The best way to prevent COPD is not to smoke or be around second hand smoke, and to quit if you are already a smoker.
  • There is no cure for COPD, but it is a highly treatable condition if it is caught early enough. Many of the same medications that asthmatics take help COPD sufferers, as well as corticosteroids or oxygen therapy.
  • Early screening can catch COPD before too much damage is done, so the condition can be treated to help slow its progression. Doctors can screen for COPD with a simple spirometry test in their office. Ask your doctor about COPD screening today.

If you have been experiencing some of the symptoms we listed, do not ignore them. Make an appointment today to see your doctor (of one of ours!) to get screened for COPD. Thanks for visiting, we hope you’ll be back again soon!

Unbelievable Medical Conditions (Part 2)

We have explored many common conditions such as cardiovascular disease or asthma, but for this post we wanted to delve into some of the lesser known and more mysterious conditions that exist. Awareness promotes understanding and acceptance over ignorance, which is key for rare disorders that are often misunderstood by others. In Part 1 we looked at elephantiasis, musicogenic epilepsy, bibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva and Brain-Eating Amoeba, now for the last 3 on our list:

  1. Trimethylaminuria  

    Also know as fish odor syndrome, it is a rare genetic metabolic condition whereby nitrogen-containing compounds (like the fishy-smelling trimethylamine) aren’t able to be properly broken down by the body. Because of this, trimethylamine builds up in the system and causes a highly unpleasant, strong fishy odor to emit from the person’s sweat, urine and breath. This strong odor is the only medical consequence of the disorder, otherwise the person is likely strong and healthy. It can be an extremely embarrassing and unpleasant condition, often causing interpersonal problems and self esteem issues. There is no cure for the disorder, but there are certain steps a person can take to modify or lessen the smell such as avoiding certain foods, using certain soaps and taking specific medications or supplements the doctor may prescribe.

  2. Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis (EV)  

    EV is an uncommon genetic autosomal recessive skin disease that causes large wart-like growths on patches, or all over the body that display the appearance and texture of tree bark. The warts usually appear at some point during childhood. These warts are a product of an abnormal reaction to specific strain of human papilloma virus (HPV). As with certain other types of HPV, this type can lead to the warts becoming cancerous, usually later in life. Unfortunately, EV is a lifelong disease and there is no cure currently available.

  3. Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome

    KT syndrome is a disorder that causes abnormal soft tissue and bone growth, dark red blotches (called port-wine stains) on the skin, as well as twisted varicose veins. Bone overgrowth causes one limb to be larger and more cumbersome and painful than the others which can lead to mobility impairment. This condition can largely alter the appearance as well as cause other more serious complications such as internal bleeding or lymphedema.

Of course these are only a few of the hundreds of rare and misunderstood conditions, but they may help shed light on some of the unique and rare limitations placed upon some people. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any medical questions, our qualified, board certified DocChat physicians are around 24/7/365.



Unbelievable Medical Conditions (Part 1)

We often touch on common conditions such as diabetes or allergies, but in this post we wanted to delve into some of the lesser known and more mysterious medical conditions that exist. Awareness is necessary when it comes to all diseases, especially rare or misunderstood ones, as it promotes understanding and acceptance over ignorance. The first 4 conditions on our list are:

  1. Elephantiasis 

    This parasitic disease is caused by the filarial worm, which is most often transmitted to humans by carrier mosquitoes. It causes the lymphatic system to become blocked, leading to immense swelling of the limbs and sometimes other parts of the body such as the genitals. The disease is sometimes accompanied by feelings of general malaise. Elephantiasis affects approximately 120 million people worldwide, but luckily there is a medication that can kill the worms which usually helps resolve the condition.

  2. Musicogenic Epilepsy 

    A few unlucky people across the United States are afflicted by an unique epileptic condition whereby focal seizures are primarily triggered by playing or listening to music. Research suggests the music may induce a reaction from the mesial temporal and orbitofrontal areas of the brain, triggering seizures.

  3. Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva 

    This debilitating genetic condition gradually deforms and disables the body by growing excess bone through the muscles, ligaments, tendons and other tissues, virtually encasing the body in a second skeleton. There is no known cure or treatment for this mystifying condition. Surgical attempts to fix the growths have made cases worse, as it was discovered that the trauma of surgery causes more bone growth in response. Luckily, it is a very rare condition with only 265 confirmed cases in the United States.

  4. Brain-Eating Amoeba 

    Medically known as Naegleria fowleri, these microscopic amoebas are responsible for a handful of deaths each summer, most of which take place in the southern states. N. fowleri are found in untreated sources of warm freshwater such as lakes, rivers, untreated pools, puddles, ponds, hot springs, aquariums or untreated tap water. They enter through the nose and travel to the brain, causing a disease called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Cases of PAM are rare but almost always fatal, with only 3 survivors out of more than 130 cases since the 1960’s.

That concludes our look at the first few rare and astounding medical conditions, keep an eye out for 4 more coming up next. Thanks for visiting DocChat, stay happy and healthy!


Is Another Health Condition Causing Your Headaches?

 While primary headaches don’t have an underlying medical cause, secondary headaches are direct products of other health conditions such as allergies, sinuses, a chronic inflammatory condition or something more pressing.

Are Secondary Headaches Serious?

While primary headaches like migraines can be debilitating, they are not life-threatening. Secondary headaches, however, can be signs of potentially life-threatening health problems in rare cases (such as stroke or cancer). Before you press panic, note that only 10% of the headaches doctors encounter are secondary headaches, and of those, most are due to non-urgent conditions like sinuses or neck problems. Drugs and medications can also be the underlying causes of chronic secondary headaches.

Conditions That Can Cause Secondary Headaches

There are hundreds of medical conditions that may produce headaches, some of which include:

  • Strokea sudden unusual headache accompanied by blurred vision, trouble speaking, mobility problems, face drooping or confusion should never be ignored. A strange, sudden headache along with these symptoms may signal a stroke. Seek emergency medical attention in this instance.
  • Head or neck injury – it isn’t unusual for a person who has sustained a concussion or trauma to the upper body to experience a persistent headache. If you have not been treated for your trauma and are getting a nagging headache, seek medical attention.
  • Sinus problems – one of the least threatening and perhaps most common cause of secondary headaches on our list is sinusitis or rhinitis. These headaches tend to be over one eye, quite severe (sometimes migraine-like), and worsen with pressure. People with chronic sinusitis will likely struggle with chronic headaches unless they find medication that helps better control their sinus condition.
  • Medication (or substance withdrawal)certain medications such as blood pressure medications, pain medications like NSAIDs or opioids or birth control can cause chronic headaches. As can non-medical substances like alcohol, recreational drugs or caffeine. Similarly, withdrawing from any of these substances can also cause headaches temporarily.
  • Structural problem – a structural or muscular problem with the head, neck or upper back can cause headaches as well. Talk to your doctor about physiotherapy or treatment that can help resolve any existing muscular issue, or to ask if surgery can help a structural problem.
  • Psychiatric disorder – many types of mental health conditions can cause chronic headaches such as anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia or insomnia, to name a few. Speak to your doctor or psychologist about any medications or therapy that may help these headaches.
  • Infection – a systemic infection can cause headaches as well. If you experience a new type of headache that is persistent and accompanied by symptoms such as fever, inflammation, nausea or chills it is important to seek medical attention to check for an underlying infection.
  • Cranial mass – a benign or malignant tumor or cyst can cause headaches by increasing intracranial pressure. If your headaches are worsening over time and feel like immense pressure in the skull, seek medical treatment to rule out an intracranial mass as it could be serious.
  • Chronic pain disorder – those with systemic chronic pain disorders such as autoimmune conditions, fibromyalgia or arthritis may be more likely to experience chronic headaches either from the stress of dealing with daily pain or because of higher levels of inflammation. Talk to your doctor (or one of ours) about pain management strategies.

When To See The Doc

If you are getting chronic headaches of any kind, you should talk to a doctor about what may be causing it if it is a secondary headache, as well as treatment that may work for you. It is important to remember that the vast majority of all headaches are non-critical, so try not to stress about your headache until you talk to a doctor about your concerns. He or she will be able to rule out any acute problems and prescribe the necessary treatment. However, if you experience severe, sudden headaches or ones with troubling accompanying symptoms, seek medical treatment right away. Remember, our highly qualified, board certified DocChat physicians are here 24/7 to assist you with any medical concerns, so feel free to sign up today. Thanks for visiting!