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Hey, I am a med student who likes to write. Each week I provide a handful of tips that will help you in your quest to become healthier.

20 Questions You Need to Ask Your Surgeon Before You or Your Loved One Has Surgery

Written: 04/08/2008 | Join the discussion (0)


Millions of Americans have surgery every year (estimates range anywhere from 23 million to 60 million procedures per year!) and must put their health into the hands of their surgeon. Fortunately, most surgeries are elective, or at least not immediate, which means you have time to do your homework and choose a surgeon that you feel comfortable with.

It's your body, after all, and you must take the time to learn about your surgeon and the procedure that's going to be done. You wouldn't simply buy a car or a house without first looking into it, would you? Nor should you go blindly into any health care procedure.

Moreover, studies have found that well-informed patients heal faster and report having a better surgical experience than those who are not, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

So take your time "interviewing" your surgeon with the following top questions so you feel certain that the procedure and the surgeon are right for you.

  1. How will the surgery be performed? (Ask him or her to draw you a diagram, if you like.)

  2. Is there more than one way of performing the procedure?

  3. Are there alternatives to the surgical procedure?

  4. What are the benefits of the surgery?

  5. What are the risks of the surgery?

  6. If I opt NOT to have the procedure, what are the risks/benefits?

  7. What is the expected outcome of the surgery?

  8. How many of this (or similar) surgery do you perform each year? (A good indicator of experience and ability)

  9. What kind of anesthesia will be used? (And what are the risks/benefits of it?)

  10. Will I meet with an anesthesiologist before surgery?

  11. Will my heart rate and breathing be monitored during the surgery (and is anything else monitored)?

  12. At which hospital will the surgery be performed?

  13. How often is this procedure performed at that hospital, and what is the success rate? (Studies show that patients do better in hospitals that have experience with the procedure.)

  14. How long will I be in the hospital?

  15. Is there a 24-hour recovery room in the hospital (or, where will I recover in the hospital)?

  16. What are the qualifications of the staff in the recovery room?

  17. What are my options for pain control after the surgery?

  18. How long will it take me to recover?

  19. What will the procedure cost, and is it covered by my insurance?

  20. What about a second opinion? (Getting a second opinion is fairly common before an elective surgical procedure is performed.)


References:

Agency for Health Care Research and Quality


American Society of Anesthesiologists

Top Five Health Benefits of Garlic

Written: 04/01/2008 | Join the discussion (3)

It's the subject of countless festivals, ancient folklore and entire cookbooks, and is a flavor that people either love or hate. Garlic -- the beloved small vegetable, or "stinking rose," that's been cultivated for over 5,000 years -- is not only tasty, it's incredibly good for you.

A Bit of Garlic Lore


Garlic has long been considered a food of strength. Ancient Egyptians put it in Pharaohs' tombs and gave it to the slaves who built the pyramids. In ancient Greek and Roman cultures, athletes ate garlic before events and soldiers did so before going off to war.

Cultures in China and India are also known to have taken advantage of the therapeutic effects of garlic.

The Top Five Health Benefits of Garlic


Most likely, you've heard that garlic is good for you. You may, however, not know exactly why. Garlic, a member of the lily family, contains potent sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for many of its healthy effects, along with its characteristic odor.

Aside from providing manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C and selenium, garlic is known to offer the following healthy benefits.

  1. Protect Your Heart
    Eating garlic is known to benefit your blood pressure, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower triglycerides, prevent atherosclerosis and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

    These benefits are, at least in part, due to the sulfur compounds allicin and diallyl disulphide (DADS) (which are also found in onions, leeks and chives). These compounds help to induce the relaxation and enlargement of blood vessels, which improves blood flow throughout the body

    In fact, eating from one-half to one clove of garlic a day may lower your cholesterol by up to 9 percent, according to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

  2. Reduce Inflammation in Your Body
    Compounds in garlic inhibit key enzymes that generate inflammation in your body. By reducing inflammation, garlic may help to prevent severe asthma attacks and reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

  3. Prevent Cancer
    According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating garlic is an excellent way to lower your risk of cancer. Compared to those who ate the least amount of garlic, those who ate the most garlic had a:
    • 57% reduced risk for esophageal cancer
    • 44% reduced risk for laryngeal cancer
    • 39% reduced risk for cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx
    • 31% reduced risk for renal cell cancer
    • 26% reduced risk for colorectal cancer
    • 22% reduced risk for ovarian cancer
    • 19% reduced risk for prostate cancer
    • 10% reduced risk for breast cancer

  4. Fight Infectious Diseases
    Garlic has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties that, when combined with its vitamin C, kill harmful microbes and fight diseases including:

    • Cold and flu
    • Stomach viruses
    • Candida yeast
    • Tuberculosis
    • Botulism

    Garlic is also a potent antibiotic, fighting a wide range of pathogens, and studies show it even appears to fight antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

  5. Prevent Weight Gain
    Among animals fed a sugar-rich diet, those given allicin from garlic did not gain weight like those not given allicin, according to a study in the American Journal of Hypertension. The researchers concluded that allicin may be useful for weight control.
The TYPE of Garlic Matters

Most of the health benefits of garlic refer to it in fresh form, so it is ideal to always use fresh garlic in your cooking (not dried, jarred or paste forms).

In order to convert garlic's phytonutrient alliin into beneficial allicin, the garlic must be chopped or crushed. So if you plan to eat a whole garlic clove for health benefits alone, you must chew it first.

To maximize garlic's allicin content, wait a few minutes before you eat or cook the garlic.

References:
The World's Healthiest Foods
Garlic Recipes