Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and the subcutaneous tissue, or the tissue directly under the skin. Cellulitis causes redness, swelling, and pain at the affected site. Usually the causative microorganism cannot be identified. Our skin is covered by microorganisms and any break in the skin, which is a protective barrier, allows these microorganisms to get into and under the skin and cause an infection. At any rate, research has shown that most cases of cellulitis are caused by B-hemolytic strep, the same strep that causes throat infections. Annual U.S. ambulatory visits for skin and soft tissue infections increased from 4.6 million in 1997 to 9.6 million in 2006 with the largest relative increase occurring in ERs. It is during this

Today I would like to discuss health insurance, specifically Medicare. Medicare is government supervised health insurance that kicks in either at age 65 if you are retired or younger than 65 if you are disabled. It should not be confused with Medicaid, which is health insurance provided at no cost for those who have a low or zero income and few, if any, assets. Medicaid is mostly paid for by the states. Medicare was started in the 1960s during the Johnson administration. As originally designed

Aspirin, chemically acetylsalicylic acid or ASA, is called a wonder drug and has been in use since antiquity. Aspirin is a pain reliever, fever reducer, is used as a blood clot preventer, and is recommended for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). One of its drawbacks, however, is that it can cause bleeding in the gastrointestinal system (GI bleeding). A common misconception is that aspirin causes stomach or intestinal bleeding by directly irritating or eroding the

It has been 20 years since the first publication of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. This diet emphasizes foods rich in protein, fiber, magnesium and calcium such as fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, fish (salmon, herring, and tuna) and low-fat dairy. It limits foods rich in saturated fat and sugars. The DASH diet has been proven in study after study to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure across a wide range of ethnic groups. While not

Quinine has been used since the 1930s to treat muscle cramps, especially nighttime cramps, and more recently it has also been used for restless leg syndrome. In 2006 the FDA cautioned about using quinine for this off-label use because of efficacy and safety concerns. Despite the FDA warning, quinine is still used for muscle cramps. Quinine is also found in lemon bitters and tonic water and it gives both the sharp taste they are known for. Recently a study was performed in the United Kingdom to

A few months ago two articles were printed in a prominent medical journal regarding the use of testosterone supplements in older men. Testosterone levels in men decrease naturally over time. A low testosterone level may cause not just sexual dysfunction but also tiredness, weakness, and muscle wasting. Testosterone replacement therapy can be given to men either by injection or by using a gel that is applied to the skin. There have been a number of studies done on the harms and benefits of

Total knee arthroplasty (replacement) (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) are very common procedures and the medical costs associated with them rank first and eighth in the U.S. respectively. The cost of the implanted device is usually the largest expense associated with these procedures. It has been alleged that health insurance companies pay without knowledge of the actual cost and model of the device. Recently a study done at Boston’s Children’s Hospital was published. The purpose of the

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