Monday, October 5, 2009

General Health Topic - Wearing ID While Participating in Sports

Hello Everyone,

I am sadly writing about this topic again.

Another tragedy just occurred in the area, Two cyclists were riding a tandem bicycle on a common cycling route outside of town. A distracted motorist plowed into the rear of the cyclists killing the woman instantly. The male rider was still alive and taken to a hospital where he later died.

The female rider was wearing an ID bracelet and was able to be identified. The male rider was not wearing ID and was not able to be identified until the next day. At that time, the male rider was identified as the husband of the female rider.

Wearing a sport ID would not have saved their lives. However, it would have made identification of the riders easier, with quicker notification of relatives.

To motorist - Please pay attention to what you are doing! More cyclist and motorcycles are sharing the road. Pay attention to your surroundings! Please give cyclists a very wide berth if possible.

To cyclists - Pay attention to your surroundings!. DO NOT wear headphones while you are riding! Be careful.

There are many suppliers of Medical and Sports ID. Please get one.

I hope we will not have any more of these tragic stories.

Until later,

Dr. Paul

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

General Health Topic - Emergency ID

Hello Everyone,

I was going to include this topic in my last post on Medical ID. However, since it is such an important topic, it deserves it's own article.

My last topic was on the importance or wearing Medical ID if you have a medical condition that warrants it. This topic is on wearing identification even if you do not have a medical problem.

Are you a jogger, cyclist or walker? Do you go to the gym, leave your ID in your car or in the locker? If so, you need to be wearing some type of sports ID.

There have been at least 2 incidences in the area where ID could have been helpful.

1. A man was struck by a vehicle while running. When he was taken to the local trauma center, he was unrecognizable due to his injuries. He did not have any ID on him and he was probably listed as a "John Doe". The doctors and nurses working frantically to save his life did not recognize him. Unfortunately, the patient died from his injuries. As it turned out, the patient worked in that emergency room.

2. A young man was out running and was hit by a vehicle. I am not sure but he may have died on the scene or later. However, he did not have any ID and it took authorities 5+ hours to identify the person

These are just two examples to show that carrying ID is important. In these two incidences, the ID would not have saved their lives. However, it would have been easier for the authorities to notify the men's emergency contacts.

An ID used while exercising should have your name, allergies, medical conditions, emergency contact information, doctors name and any other information that may be important.

There are sports ID that attach to the running shoe, wrist bands, ankle bands, cycling helmet stickers. I prefer to use the type that attaches to my running shoes. That way I don't have to remember to put anything on.

Many sports ID products also have reflective material to make the wearer more visible.

Even in the gym, wear an ID on your person. If you collapse after a hard session on the elliptical trainer, an ID in your locker will not help you!

There are many companies that provide sport ID products. make the small investment and be safe.

One last thought / comment. In at least one of the examples above, the jogger was wearing headphones.


It is not safe. You need to be aware of your surroundings, cars, people, other runners, cyclists etc.

Until later,

Dr. Paul

General Health Topics - Medical Identification

Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since I have written about this topic. However, several things have happened in the area which brings the topic to the forefront.

Wearing medical ID is so important and it is a potentially life saving practice. Are you diabetic, have a pacemaker, defibrillator or other heart condition? Do you have asthma, epilepsy or on anti-coagulation medicine? If you have any of these or other medical conditions, you need to let people know.

One of the easiest ways to notify people that you have a condition that requires special attention in the event of an emergency, is to be wearing some sort of medical ID.

For example, a gentleman is in the grocery store and faints suddenly. The bystanders come to his aid and the first thought may be that he has had a heart attack. The paramedics are called and they arrive in a few minutes but the patient has not revived. He is taken to a local hospital when he makes a full recovery.

Taking the same scenario, a gentleman goes down in the grocery store. This time he is wearing a medical ID bracelet that identifies him as having diabetes. This information is relayed to the paramedics. Since a common problem with diabetics is having an episode of LOW blood sugar (hypoglycemia), this could alert bystanders or emergency personnel that the first step to take would be to try to revive the patient with glucose. The patient is administered a dose of glucose in the store, he recovers and a trip to the hospital may not be necessary.

The Medical ID can be in the form of a bracelet, pendant or watch tag. I recommend that the ID be something that you wear, not just in your pocket. There are wallet cards, key fobs and other types, however, in the case of emergency, you may not have your wallet or keys on your person.

There are many companies that can provide you a Medical ID. They are not free, however, it is a good investment.

Please take a few minutes and obtain a Medical ID. It may save your life!

Until Later

Dr. Paul

Thursday, August 27, 2009

General Health Topic - Exercise Induced Asthma

Hello everyone,

Does this ever happen?.... you go to the gym and within a few minutes of starting your workout you are extremely tired or short of breath? Do you experience chest tightness, wheezing or coughing when you exercise? The first thing you may be thinking is wow, I need to get into better shape! If you do, you might have exercise induced asthma (EIA).

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) brochure to help educate patients, approximately 20 million Americans have EIA. Their airways may be overly sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, especially colder, drier air. While exercising, many people start breathing through their mouths, bypassing the warm moist nasal passages which allows colder, less humid air to reach the lungs.

To know for sure if you have EIA or even a chronic asthma condition, you need to see your physician to get tested. If positive for EIA, work out a treatment plan with your physician and pharmacist. There are many treatments that are effective in controlling EIA.

Inhaled medications taken prior to exercise are helpful in preventing or controlling EIA. The medication of choice is a short-acting bronchodilator spray used 15 minutes before exercise. These medications, which include albuterol and levalbuterol are effective in the majority of patients. They work quickly and last for up to four to six hours. These inhalers can also treat EIA symptoms after they occur.

If symptoms are not readily controlled by medications, patients should talk to their physician.

A severe asthma attack is a medical emergency and if EIA symptoms cannot be controlled, more rescue medications may be needed. An "Epi-pen" (epinephrine injection) and emergency supplemental oxygen are items that should be available.

Enjoy your workout.

Dr. Paul

Saturday, August 15, 2009

General Health Topic - Medical ID Cards

Hello Everyone,

In a previous post I stressed the importance of EVERYONE carrying in their wallet or in their purse a copy of their medication lists and other important medical information.

Here is a link you can use to generate a FREE medical ID card that has your medical conditions, medications, physician information that you can carry with you at all times.

If your spouse, significant other, children or other people in your care are on multiple medications, you should also carry a copy of their medical information as well. I have seen many occasions where a person will present to an emergency room, unable to speak and the family member that is with them does not know the medications the person is taking.

Please take a few minutes to enter in the information and generate an ID card for yourself and loved ones.


Dr. Paul

Thursday, August 13, 2009

General Health Topic - New System to Eliminate Tattoos

Hello Everyone,

A tattoo is forever. Or is it? At one of the hospitals where I work, on one Saturday per month, they host a tattoo removal clinic. Several practitioners donate their time and equipment to perform laser tattoo removal.

This clinic is "PACKED"!!!. There are so many people that are enduring this painful procedure to have their tattoo removed. I suppose that they wish that their tattoo wasn't so permanent.

Check out this new system that has been developed to fade tattoos without the use of painful lasers.

If anyone tries it out, please let me know the results.


Dr. Paul

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

General Health Topic - Cardiac Arrest or Heart Attack?

Hello Everyone,

Here is a great article from Bottom Line's "Daily Health News" that I want to pass along. some great information here that just might save a life!

Cardiac Arrest or Heart Attack

A heart attack and cardiac arrest are the same, right? Wrong. While many of us use the terms interchangeably, those in the know are aware that they are two very different things. And, most importantly, that they require very different emergency treatment. A person's likelihood of surviving a cardiac emergency has much to do with what happens in the moments after it becomes apparent that something terrible is happening. Always call 911 first... but be aware that what you tell the dispatcher can make the difference between life and death... and what you do while awaiting the arrival of emergency personnel is not exactly the same for people suffering cardiac arrest as it is for those having a heart attack.

The reason the distinction is important is that a person in cardiac arrest needs a defibrillator immediately and the results of a new study show getting immediate care can save lives. Researchers found that one symptom in particular -- noisy breathing, in the form of gasping, gurgling, moaning, snorting, even snoring -- is both a result of cardiac arrest and a predictor of the likelihood of survival. I urge you to read this article all the way to the end in order to understand some important differences that truly may end up saving a life -- yours, someone you care about, even that of a stranger in line behind you at the supermarket.

In order to understand, let's first define the terms. A heart attack is what happens when the heart does not receive enough blood due to a blockage, leading to muscle damage. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping blood due to an arrhythmia (ventricular fibrillation). This can be caused by a heart attack but can also result from previous damage to the heart from a heart attack or from other heart conditions.


Cardiac arrest strikes immediately and without warning. If a person is upright when cardiac arrest occurs, he/she will immediately collapse due to a loss of consciousness. Signs of cardiac arrest include a sudden loss of responsiveness (for instance, no response when you tap on the victim's shoulder or call his/her name)... abnormal breathing sounds (gasping, groaning, moaning, even snoring -- which can sound halting, labored or like gurgling). These sounds are evidence that blood flow to the brain and body has been severely impaired and the brain can no longer coordinate the functions of normal breathing.

How to respond...

Call 911.
Report whether the person is breathing or not and describe what the breathing sounds like to the dispatcher.
Perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). If a person's heart stops beating, even bystanders who are untrained in CPR can help: Simply push hard and fast in the center of the chest until emergency personnel arrive. Aim for 100 compressions/minute. The 911 emergency dispatcher can also tell you how to properly perform CPR. A victim who receives CPR and/or defibrillation doubles or triples his chance of survival.
Get an automated external defibrillator (AED), if one is available, and use it at once. Commonly available in malls, airplanes, gyms and office buildings, AEDs help restore normal heart rhythm. Though it is vastly better to have a person who is trained in its use administer the treatment, the AED is designed to quickly guide even the untrained responder through the right steps in its lifesaving use.
Important: In the University of Arizona study, published in the December 9, 2008, issue of Circulation, presence of abnormal breathing correlated with a greater likelihood of survival. The study found that of patients who received emergency intervention (CPR), 39% of those who had gasped survived... compared with just 9% of those who did not have abnormal breathing. Survival plummeted among those who didn't get bystander help (21% of gaspers, compared with 7% for non-gaspers), with the odds decreasing steadily in relation to how long it took for emergency medical services to be administered.


About one in four Americans recognizes the warning signs of a heart attack and would call or seek help for someone appearing to have a heart attack, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Once again, immediate action is critical, since faster intervention reduces the amount of muscle damage... and extensive muscle damage can lead to cardiac arrest, right away or down the road.

The warning signs: The most widely recognized symptom of a heart attack is crushing chest pain, often radiating to one or both arms. But many individuals who have heart attacks do not experience such obvious symptoms, warns Keith Churchwell, MD, assistant professor of medicine and executive medical director of the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. In fact, some heart attacks are "silent," without the classic symptoms, or sometimes (though rarely) with no symptoms at all. Other signs include arm, jaw, neck, back or abdominal pain, chest discomfort or tightness... shortness of breath... faintness... nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain as their primary symptom.

How to respond...

Call 911. Even if you're not sure that symptoms constitute a heart attack, don't take chances. Calling 911 is nearly always the fastest way to get treatment, and people with chest pain who arrive in hospitals by ambulance receive care more promptly.
Do not use a defibrillator on a person who is not in cardiac arrest. A heart attack by itself is not a reason to use a defibrillator and its use in this situation would be dangerous and could cause death.
Chew an aspirin. Aspirin has anti-clotting properties, and chewed aspirin enters the bloodstream faster.
Note: The American Heart Association offers online CPR and AED training at This should be paired with hands-on instruction. To find a CPR class near you, enter your zip code or state at

Alertness to the signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest and heart attack is the single best way to increase the odds a person will survive. Listen to your body, Dr. Churchwell urges, and see your doctor if something seems amiss. If someone near you collapses, move quickly to get help. Seconds and minutes will make a difference and doing something is always better than doing nothing.


Keith Churchwell, MD, assistant professor of medicine, executive medical director, Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute, Nashville, Tennessee.

American Heart Association,