Tag Archives: doctor
Very short talk compared to the very long title but worth every second…
From the Ted website:
Developmental disorders in children are typically diagnosed by observing behavior, but Aditi Shankardass suggests we should be looking directly at brains. She explains how one EEG technique has revealed mistaken diagnoses and transformed children’s lives.
Aditi Shankardass is pioneering the use of EEG technology to give children with developmental disorders their most accurate diagnosis.
From the website: Dr. Oz’s Transformation Nation: Million Dollar You
Here’s how it works:
You’ll join Dr. Oz, Weight Watchers, Sharecare and a powerful team of health professionals to tackle the seven key steps to weight loss and healthy living. The new, healthier you could even be eligible to win a $1 million prize!
Kick off the program with our Ultimate Health Quiz, where you’ll get an overview of your health. Next, conquer the seven steps:
Tell a Friend
Official Weigh-in/Calculate Your BMI
Connect with Your Doctor
Learn Your Family’s Health History
Get More Sleep
Assess Your Stress
Start New Fitness Habits
Then show off your knowledge with the Final Health IQ Quiz. The public will vote for the participant it finds the most transformed and inspirational. The winner will receive $1 million and appear on The Dr. Oz Show.
(bolding and font changes mine)
They even have two helpful videos and family health history forms…
Here is what I would say to Dr. Oz…
Dear Dr. Oz,
You say knowing your family health history can save your life. Having knowledge that your family has a history of early age heart attacks and stroke can save your life and prevent events. Well of course I agree with you, that knowledge would have changed my life. If I knew that my family health history included multiple close relatives who had early age heart attacks and strokes, my doctor would have made different choices. But you see, I am just an adoptee, and therefore not worthy of having that knowledge, or even the right to seek that knowledge.
Furthermore, you and most of the medical community at large, have not stood up and demanded better for us adoptees. I doubt you even realize there are millions of adoptees in the US, who have no information that could be used to save them from events, that can take their lives in a heartbeat.
If you cared, you would talk about it on your TV show. You and the entire medical community would petition the government to change the laws. You would stand up for us, because you deem it crucial to our health and future.
All I hear is the medical community telling those who have access to their family to do it. For adoptees, all I hear is crickets…
An adoptee whose life was changed forever, because no one did the right thing for all adoptees.
I had to take mom in for day-surgery this week and then make sure her post-op time at home went okay. I was completely drained by the time I got home, and yesterday I was still tired and my thoughts weren’t translating into words and still aren’t the best, but I am glad I went and everything turned out okay. Mom needs me more and more and that worries me, in case I let her down because of my health.
But getting back to taking her for surgery – she got checked in and organized and were told both the surgeon and anesthesiologist would stop by in a few minutes. The anesthesiologist arrived first to talk about her health history and family health history asking a variety of questions. She is forgetting some things so I was glad I was there to fill in the blanks, and others she just doesn’t see the importance of mentioning – things that are important – like the health of your lungs when you are going under anesthesia. I don’t know if she has lost this knowledge, or never absorbed it from dad like I did, yet we all were at the dinner table when dad told us about his day and explained how things worked and answered questions. I guess I am worrying that she is losing information she once had, but I also question if she ever really listened and learned.
Anyway, one of the questions was whether she had ever been under anesthesia, and if any of her relatives ever had a hard time waking up from anaesthesia. That triggered me all over again, and made me realize that question must be asked by all anesthesiologists – that mine wasn’t just being overly careful – because he asked the question after finding out she had been put under before.
The whole experience triggered me that as adoptees – we aren’t entitled to that knowledge – knowledge that everyone else has and asked about. I know this is harping on the subject of family health history, but when are people going to wake up and start talking about the very real risks to all adoptees?
What do parents answer when they are asked that question when one of their children is going under anesthesia for surgery? Are they really okay with not knowing an answer that could in reality have very serious implications?
Hypothetical scenario that plays out more times than you would think…and for different diseases throughout life…
Karen age 25 is scheduled to go to the doctor today for her regular yearly examination, as she understands she has to be pro-active in preventive health care.
She and Dr. Jones sit and visit for a couple of minutes and the doctor asks her how she has been over the past year.
Karen answers that she hasn’t been sick other than the a couple of colds, but her monthly cycle has become more painful to the point that she is missing a day or two from work each month. Dr Jones asks her if fibroids or endometriosis runs in her family and specifically her mother and then remembers – oh yes, you were adopted so you probably can’t answer that type of question. So instead she offers suggestions on how to minimize the pain, and if none of those work then what they can try instead.
Then Dr. Jones goes on to ask her if she does monthly breast exams and if she has noticed any changes. Karens answer is yes, that is part of her pro-active preventative health care routine and that no, she has not found any changes or lumps. Karen then asks Dr. Jones about whether or not she should get early mammogram screening as she has just turned 25, or perhaps even tested for the BRAC genes just to be safe.
For most women under age 35, breast cancer screening is not part of their annual health routine. But for women with a family history of breast cancer, experts say screening should begin as early as age 25.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center recommends that women who have a first-degree relative diagnosed with breast cancer should begin yearly mammograms starting 10 years earlier than when the youngest family member was diagnosed. For example, if a mother was diagnosed at age 42, her daughter should begin annual mammography testing at age 32. For women in this risk factor group, experts also recommend clinical breast exams at least twice each year and monthly, self exams beginning at age 20.
Once again, Dr. Jones asks if that info was provided in the history she was given at the time of her adoption 25 years ago. Karen replies that it was noted that a great-aunt on her mother’s side had breast cancer. Dr. Jones asks if it was early age onset or later. Karen replies she does not know, it wasn’t included.
The average American woman has a 12% chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime; this figure can more than double for a woman with a family history of breast cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, women with a “first-degree” relative — such as a mother or sister — who had breast cancer have an approximately 30% chance of developing the disease, too. If that first-degree relative is diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer (breast cancer in both breasts), the risk jumps to 36%.
Among those with “second-degree” relatives (grandmother, aunt or niece), lifetime risk is about 22%. For those with a “third-degree” relative (cousin, great-grandparent or great-aunt) who had breast cancer, the risk is 16%.
Dr. Jones shakes her head and explains that it is highly doubtful that her insurance will pay for either when she only has a known family history for breast cancer in a third degree relative. That a great aunt’s diagnosis makes her risk 16% which is not much higher than the 12% risk all females in the general population have. If there was a first or second degree relative breast cancer diagnosis info they probably would approve it, but without that info chances are insurance will not pay for early mammography screening, or genetic testing, no matter how hard they fight.
Karen gets home and ponders whether she could afford to get the genetic tests and the early screening each year. Then starts to wonder if she should contact her adoption agency and decides on that as a first step.
Karen makes contact with the agency and finds out it will cost her $150.00 to get her non-id and medical info from the agency and does that, only to find out the medical info is the same 25-year-old info she already has. Her adoption agency does offer a limited confidential search service that costs way more money with no guarantees so she wonders what would be better, search or pay out-of-pocket for the screening each year.
In reality Karen – you are just an adoptee – suck it up – medical history is only important for the non-adopted. You just have to hope you won’t be one of the women who are diagnosed at an early age before the recommended screening age OR pay for early screening on your own dime because your adopted.
What would you do if you had no knowledge about whether or not breast cancer ran in your family and at what age?
“F” is for Family Health History…
Far too many adult adoptees are finding out the hard way the consequences of living without family health history. It’s effects are far reaching and do not just impact us the adoptees, but also our children and grandchildren. Even if you have an open adoption we all know that some will close or you lose contact for a variety of reasons. Add on the fact that some adoptions are done without even the knowledge of who the father is, let alone his family health history.
Genetic tests are not the answer and I doubt they ever will be because they have only isolated a few genes or genetic combinations for some diseases. And even if they isolate all the bad genes for all known diseases, how the disease plays out over successive generations provides valuable clues to your risk level. And insurance companies don’t pay for genetic tests if there is no family health history of the disease.
So many diseases have similar symptoms so when your doctor does not know what runs in your family he is taking care of you with one or both hands tied behind his back. Treating a disease early is always has better outcomes than treating it late.
In October I wrote two posts that I would encourage you to read that explains why family health history is so important and how even the best family health history taken at the time of adoption fails us, the children you want so badly.
The first post to read is titled Family Health History is important…so why are adoptees left in the dark? Then come back and read Testing knowledge based on age…
It’s time to stop this but prospective and adoptive parents are the only ones who can do this…