How Avoiding Your Doctor’s Advice Could Lead to Bigger Issues

Avoiding medical treatment is a leading cause of health problems in the United States. Many patients may actually go do the doctor when a health problem arrives, but they neglect to follow instructions for further treatment or avoid taking medications that are prescribed. In addition, most of these patients also refuse or avoid follow up examinations, making their healthcare all the more problematic.

There are many reasons why avoiding your doctor’s advice could lead to much bigger problems, but these are some primary ones to consider. Think about each of these, so that you and your physician can work together toward the best healthcare possible for your needs.

Proper Health Care Requires Treatment and Follow up Coordination

For any medical treatment to be effective, it must be done according to a scientific method and a process with checks and balances. A physician is unable to accurately assess the results of any medical treatment, if the patient refuses to follow their instructions and regiment for taking medications. Proper health must follow the standards of practice or it is all guesswork, and won’t be likely to benefit the patient healthcare overall.

Not Following Medical Advice and Instructions Causes Other Health Problems

The primary risk of avoiding instructions and advice from a physician is having other health problems manifest. Most illness, if left untreated will cause other conditions throughout the body. This is because the healthcare of the entire body is necessary, as all internal systems interact and become impacted when another part of the body is sick. This includes all physical therapies, diagnostic procedures, surgical needs, medications, and follow up examinations. Without the advice of a qualified physician, the patient may be putting themselves at risk for health complications that would not manifest otherwise.

Bad Interactions with Non-Prescribed Medications Are Dangerous

Taking the wrong combination of medications can have serious health risks to the patient, or complicate their current treatments negatively. Using non-prescribed drugs, alternative medicines, illegal drugs, or even alcohol can greatly impact patient health, while backsliding any benefits their treatments might have been providing. The complications caused by mixing incompatible medications and drugs is perhaps the most dangerous way of avoiding a doctor’s advice. This is primarily because when a patient does this, it is also unlikely such a person will inform their primary care physician, unless something worse manifests health wise.

Not Following Medical Treatment Can Impact Patient Health Benefits

As if the potential for positive healthcare impact being lost weren’t bad enough, the patient refusing to follow medical advice could lose access to medical care by legal default. Many healthcare providers, insurance companies, nursing care groups (like ACN SCAM), and administrative care organizations view avoiding proper treatment as a hindrance to their effectiveness and a risk to patient safety. Thus some situations create a hostile environment for all involved, which can lead to a patient being dropped from a medical plan or insurance provider’s coverage. Losing medical benefits can impact a patient permanently, and is often and cause irrecoverable health problems.

Lack of Necessary Treatment Can Threaten Patient Life Expectancy

In the most extreme cases, not getting necessary treatments can be fatal. Anyone who refuses or avoids critical healthcare procedures is putting their own life at great risk, but also creates a medical environment that makes physicians and nurses unable to do their jobs properly. In all cases of terminal or critical care, life expectancy goes down significantly, when a patient lacks necessary and available healthcare.

The results of avoiding a physician’s advice inevitably complicate the health of any patient, thus causes bigger issues to manifest. Following a doctor’s advice is part of the patient contract. In order for a physician to be most effective, they must have an honest relationship with those persons under their care. Otherwise, any benefits from treatment will be negated and the patient health will not improve

Ten Tips for Effective Communication With Your Doctor
By Dr. Karen Trollope-Kumar

Sometimes my work as a family doctor the days don’t always go as expected. On a busy day, I feel like I’ll never catch up, and it’s frustrating that I can’t give adequate time to each individual patient. One afternoon not long ago, I was feeling unusually tired. I looked down at my schedule and saw that my last patient was Beth, a young mother with a seven-year-old son. I thought to myself – Let’s hope this one is just a simple sore throat!

“So what brings you in today?” I asked, after a brief greeting.

“Well, I’m worried about Jimmy”, said Beth anxiously. “He’s getting into trouble at school a lot, and his teachers say he’s not paying attention. Sometimes he has stomachaches. I’m not sure what to do… Also, I’m wondering if you could just check his foot, I think he’s developed a plantar wart.”

I couldn’t help letting out a sigh. “Well, let’s just focus on the main problem,” I say. “What more information can you give me? Have you got his latest report card? Any specific comments from the teacher?”

Beth shook her head. She tried to explain more about her concerns about Jimmy, but she sensed that I was not listening closely, and she tripped over her words. Finally, I said in a voice edged with irritation, “There’s not much I can do in this short appointment. This is a complicated issue. Can you re-book for another time?”

After Beth and Jimmy left the office, I felt very guilty for brushing her off that way. I knew that she was not happy with the appointment, and neither was I. We had a communication problem, aggravated by time constraints. Unfortunately, such problems are all too common between family doctors and their patients and with a little teamwork can get the critical doctor-patient relationship back on track.

Like any healthy relationship, good communication is fundamental and that applies to the doctor-patient relationship as well. When that vital link of understanding is broken between doctor and patient, a cascade of negative consequences can result. If the patient hasn’t been able to fully explain his or her symptoms, an incorrect diagnosis might be made. If the doctor hasn’t clearly communicated his or her assessment of the problem, the treatment plan might fail. Poor communication inevitably leads to dissatisfaction for both doctor and patient.

There are ten quick tips to communicate better with your family doctor, and to make your office visit more effective:

1.     If you are seeing the doctor for a complicated issue (like Jimmy’s problem) ask the receptionist to book you a longer appointment.
2.     Prepare what you’re going to say ahead of time, and keep it concise and focused.
3.     If you’ve done some research on the Internet about your problem and want to share it with your doctor, make sure you use reputable sites to get that information.  Doctors get frustrated when patients bring in reams of information of dubious value.
4.     Avoid coming into the doctor’s office with a list of unrelated problems – focus on your main concern for that visit.
5.     If you are going in to get results of an important test, bring a friend or relative with you. Sometimes it can be hard to remember what the doctor has said, especially when the topic is emotionally laden.
6.     If you have a particular worry about a symptom (for example, Could this be cancer?), express that concern to the doctor.
7.     If the doctor advises a treatment you don’t feel comfortable with, explain your reasons, and see if an alternative approach would be possible.
8.     Keep your follow up appointment, and at that time let the doctor know how well (or not) the treatment has worked.
9.     If you’re not happy with the service you’re getting, communicate this clearly but politely, using “I” statements.  (for example, “I feel concerned about how long it took to receive these test results.”)
10.  If you’re happy with the service you’re getting from your doctor, a word of thanks or a card is always appreciated. Doctors are human too!

Improving communication requires work on the part of both the doctor and the patient. Thinking back on this appointment with Beth and Jimmy, I realized my faults: I was tired and also frustrated because the issue was complex and difficult to address during a short appointment. Yet still, I could have done a better job at communicating with compassion. On Beth’s part, she could have prepared for this appointment by thinking ahead about what information might be useful for the doctor. Working together, patients and family doctors can form great partnerships if they keep communication at the forefront of their relationship.

Dr. Karen Trollope-Kumar is a family physician in Canada and author of Cloud Messenger: Love and Loss in the Indian Himalayas. For more information, please visit

mobileDOCTOR by - Introducing Canada's First Telemedicine Program for International Students


TORONTO, April 12, 2017 /CNW/ - International Insurance now offers international students direct access to a doctor at the touch of a button, anytime, anywhere, using a mobile device. International students across Canada that are covered by can now talk to a medical professional over the phone without having to visit a clinic or wait long hours in an emergency room.

The new mobileDOCTOR by is the first and only telemedicine service of its kind to provide immediate and confidential medical attention to international students 24/7 and in over 140 languages. When unsure if they should go to a clinic or the emergency room, international students can access on-the-spot medical advice, get a referral, or obtain new prescriptions when appropriate.

"The mobileDOCTOR program helps eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services that are not always available in rural communities," says Keith Segal, president and CEO of International Insurance. "In urban areas with long wait times, calling mobileDOCTOR can mean speaking to a medical professional in minutes instead of hours. It can also save lives in critical care and emergency situations."

Telemedicine is most beneficial to international students unfamiliar with the healthcare system in Canada who are often unprepared for the long wait times for doctor appointments and emergency room visits. The mobileDOCTOR service lets students call and talk to a nurse or physician about common health concerns such as cold and flu symptoms, infections, rashes and injuries so they can receive proper medical advice without delay. Mobile technology allows healthcare professionals in multiple locations to receive photos, share information and discuss patient issues to provide a high level of care for students.

mobileDOCTOR by was developed in partnership with Praxes Medical Group, which has over 20 years' experience providing health services for clients in locations around the world.

SOURCE International Insurance

Stretch Mark Solutions…What Can Be Done Safely?

Women of all ages regardless of height, weight, or parental status are susceptible to stretch marks. This is a simple fact. Another fact, which will hopefully make you feel a bit better, is that supermodels yes, the bikini models you see in Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret, have stretch marks. If you’re like the 95% of the women out there you prefer them gone. Dr. Kirk Brandow, founder and director of the Brandow Clinic for Cosmetic Surgery who has appeared on national programs such as Good Morning America and 20/20 offering insights on cosmetic surgery, shared the real deal on stretch mark solutions with several facts on popular procedures and topical options to prevent and remove stretch marks. Here’s what he has to say.


Option #1: Topical Creams & Preventative Foods

“There are a variety of topical treatments, the ones with cocoa butter are the trend, but they won’t do much if anything to improve severe stretch marks. These creams and oils perform better when used as preventive measures because fully developed stretch marks are rarely skin-deep,” explains Dr. Brandow.


Gelatin powder has been suggested as a great way to get more collagen into your system. Coconut oil mixed with beeswax is said to prevent stretch marks especially when applied throughout the day. Eating foods rich in vitamin C can help prevent stretch marks from the inside out. Adding things like red peppers, parsley, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts are good bets.


Option #2: Lasers

Many women who have post pregnancy stretch marks turn to lasers to eliminate this unwanted scarring. Kim Kardashian recently announced via her Snapchat that she would undergo laser treatments to rid her stretch marks. The Coolbeam laser, which is the one Kim Kardashian is going with, requires up to 5 treatments at around $5,000 per treatment which adds up to $25,000. Lasers are known for high level of safety and efficacy and most patients come away very pleased with the result. The treated area heals rather quickly, within a week to three weeks.


“Lasers are far less invasive than a tummy tuck, which has a much longer recovery time. Lasers do have some risk in that they can burn the skin or cause tissue damage. Therefore, it’s very important to choose a doctor who knows what they are doing,” advises Dr. Brandow.


Option #3: Platelet Rich Plasma with Micro-needling

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) has been around for the past two decades and used to help athletes like Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriquez recover from injury. A few years ago, the “Vampire Facial” made headlines when Micro-needling was added to the procedure offering a vibrant, smooth, flawless complexion. The results were so great that cosmetic surgeons started to explore other parts of the body such as stretch marks on the buttocks, breast, arms, thighs and abdomen.


This calls for blood to be taken from the patient then put into a machine that separates the platelet rich plasma from the blood. It is then spread over the face after the micro-needling is completed. The micro-needling is a process where a pen-like tool with several tiny needles at the tip is carefully guided over the affected area making microscopic holes on both the outer and inner layers of skin. These holes are so small that they heal within a few hours. The process triggers a healing response in the dermis layer which is what causes the fast fading of stretch marks. Doctors recommend micro-needling with PRP over any other treatment because the results are significant and the cost is about $1000 per session. “Micro-needling with PRP is a combination that offers a fast, in office option, with excellent results and is less costly than lasers,” explains Dr. Brandow who was recently on TV speaking of the procedure.


Dr. Brandow adds that the advantage of micro-needling with PRP for stretch marks over lasers is a lesser chance of scarring and skin discoloration. “Skin on the body is more susceptible to hyperpigmentation than on the face making Micro-needling is a safer option for ethnicities with varying skin tones. This is a big advantage over cool beam lasers, IPL or chemical peels,” he explains.


Option #4: The Tummy Tuck

This is the gold standard offering the best results however it’s invasive and the recovery time is longer. Known as abdominoplasty, the procedure removes excess skin in the abdominal region and tightens the muscles. The stretch marks below the belly button are discarded along with the excess skin. “The tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that comes with risk so typically candidates must be non-smokers in good physical health as certain they will not want more kids after surgery. It’s is the only option for complete and permanent stretch mark removal. Recovery time can be up to 6 weeks and again it is critical that one chooses a reputable doctor. A botched tummy tuck can lead to off-centered belly buttons, long thick scars, and dangerous infections,” warns Dr. Brandow.


Ultimately stretch marks are an unfortunate reality that comes with pregnancy, puberty and any other weight or muscle gain where the skin is stretched. There are preventative measures one can take. Be very weary of anything that seems too good to be true and always consult with a credentialed doctor when considering any kind of cosmetic procedure.



About the Doctor:

Dr. Kirk Brandow, founder and director of Brandow Clinic for Cosmetic Surgery is a plastic surgeon with 2 locations in the Philadelphia metro area and a 3rd one at the jersey shore. Named a “Top Doc” in Plastic Surgery by Philadelphia Magazine as well as nationally recognized for one of America’s “Best Plastic Surgeons” of this decade, Dr. Brandow is a trusted expert who has developed many innovative, minimally invasive procedures for the face, body and skin. He has been featured on local, national and international television programs including 20/20, CNN’s Headline News, Good Morning America.

Knee pain What to do when you get knee pain?

In my experience, 90% of the knee pain reported by athletes can be eliminated using preventative measures or ‘pre-hab’ type activities. These include all of the following measures:

1) Daily stretching. Areas to focus on – quads, IT band, glutes, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors. When any of these muscles become tight, it can result in knee pain. Always stretch when you are warm. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds, breathing slowly and deeply the whole time to encourage muscle relaxation. Stretching has to be done daily in athletes that are training every day and multiple times/day. The more stress on a muscle, the more likely it is to tighten up.

2) Foam rolling. At least every other day, athletes should be using a foam roller and/or rehab ball to find knots and kinks in the lower body and apply pressure to release them aka ‘roll them out’. Foam rolling should be done before or after your stretching. Spend about 5 minutes on each knot that you find, using very slow, small back and forth rolls alternated with constant pressure to stimulate the area to release.

3) Monthly massage therapy sessions. Try to find a therapist that has some experience with athletes – they tend to be able to find issues faster then the average / general therapist. Often times what happens is the muscles of the lower body can start to ‘stick’ together in bunches as the fascia gets tighter. A good massage therapist can identify this and work to loosen up the fascia and eliminate this bunching or sticking together of the muscles. You can also use an athletic therapist in place of a massage therapist, which would address the issue as well.

4) Epson salt baths. At least once per week you should be soaking in a hot bath with 2 cups of Epson salts to stimulate muscle relaxation, reduce muscle soreness and promote recovery. Be sure the salts are fully dissolved in the water by stirring around and lay for at least 15-20 mins. When following these four, maintenance-type does nothing to relieve your knee pain, you could have a mild form of arthritis. Although this is more common in the elderly, it’s not uncommon for athletes to develop it.

The best ways to treat arthritic knees are:

1) Natural anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and bioflavonoids. Some more common options are: curcurmin/turmeric, vitamin C, grapeseed, fish oil, resveratrol, aloe.

2) Anti-inflammatory meds. i.e. Naproxen (Aleve), Celebrex, Ibuprofen (Advil)

3) Reduction/elimination of all high impact activities i.e. box jumps, plyos, etc.

If after all this, you are still experiencing knee pain, the best advice is to see your doctor or a sports medicine clinic to have things investigated further. They will likely do a full assessment and in some cases send you for a ct scan or mri.

Thirteen Canadian health care organizations unite under one national framework for better patient care

Ensuring Canadian doctors have access to the world's best training model for patient care is a shared priority of 13 national and provincial health care organizations. Newly united under the CanMEDS Consortium, the organizations have pledged to embed a common set of values and competencies — the CanMEDS Framework — across the continuum of a Canadian doctor's education and career.

Represented by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), the consortium's mandate is simple — to improve patient care by using a consistent model to educate doctors in training and evaluate those in practice.

"Traditionally, CanMEDS has been used to train and evaluate new doctors during residency training, but the new consortium has pledged to embed CanMEDS values throughout their entire education and career, from the undergraduate years in medical school through to lifelong learning in practice," said Dr. Royal College CEO Dr. Andrew Padmos, FRCPC, FACP. "Each organization has pledged to embed CanMEDS in their respective areas of work. It's a move that represents a major step forward for the profession."

The CanMEDS Framework organizes the many competencies of a doctor under seven different roles: Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Leader, Health Advocate, Scholar and Professional. Numerous organizations in Canada and abroad have used aspects of the CanMEDS model for up to 25 years. Going forward, the consortium will enable a more systematic and coordinated adoption across the country.

"We see the new consortium as a great way to enable use of the CanMEDS Framework for family physicians and all other specialists," said CFPC Executive Director and CEO, Dr. Francine Lemire, CCFP, FCFP, CAE. "It will help to guide continuing professional development throughout physicians' careers, create more consistent professional standards and support better outcomes for our patients."

A consistent approach to education and evaluation will increase efficiency for the organizations delivering the training and the physicians receiving it. It will also help the medical regulatory authorities — who monitor the professional behaviours of residents and licensed doctors — to evaluate them along the same benchmarks.

"The CanMEDS Framework is a pivotal part of our education programs and the AFMC is delighted to be a co-chair of this transformative consortium," said Dr. Geneviève Moineau, FRCPC, President and CEO of the AFMC. "The pan-Canadian collaboration to further CanMEDS is a wonderful statement of our commitment to physician education and a manifestation of our social accountability to patient care."

CanMEDS Consortium members include: 

  • The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • The College of Family Physicians of Canada
  • The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada
  • The Canadian Federation of Medical Students
  • The Canadian Medical Association
  • The Canadian Medical Protective Association
  • The Canadian Patient Safety Institute
  • The Collège des médecins du Québec
  • The Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec
  • The Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada
  • The Fédération des médecins residents du Québec
  • The Medical Council of Canada
  • The Resident Doctors of Canada

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College) is the national, not-for-profit organization that oversees the medical education of specialists in Canada by setting high standards for postgraduate medical education and continuing professional development. In collaboration with health organizations and government agencies, the Royal College also plays a role in developing sound health policy in Canada.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) represents more than 35,000 members across the country. It is the professional organization responsible for establishing standards for the training and certification of family physicians. The CFPC reviews and accredits continuing professional development programs and materials that enable family physicians to meet certification and licencing requirements and lifelong learning interests. It also accredits postgraduate family medicine training in Canada's 17 medical schools. The College provides quality services, supports family medicine teaching and research, and advocates on behalf of family physicians and the specialty of family medicine.

The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) represents the country's 17 faculties of medicine and is the national voice for academic medicine. Our organization was founded in 1943 and functions to support individually and collectively Canada's medical schools through promotion of medical education, research, and clinical care. 


SOURCE Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada



The name of the game today in cosmetic surgery is fast and non-invasive. The reasons are obvious. Nobody wants to be bedridden out of work and off the social grid as they recover. Fast results of a thinner, tighter, younger look within an hour is very alluring. How many of these seemingly miracle procedures actually do what they claim to? We turned to board certified Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Kirk Brandow to breakdown cosmetic surgery hype; which procedures are zeros not heroes.


This injection is made of deoxycholic acid, which is actually produced by the body naturally to absorb fat. The synthetic version is a fat cell destroyer injected into the pocket of fat below the chin. So far this is the only location on the body for which Kybella is FDA-approved. Dr. Brandow cautions, “Kybella may shrink fat but it’s also an acid which could burn the skin and cause an abscess or an open wound if placed too close to the skin. Equally important is that it can also destroy the deeper tissues as well which could lead to a dent just under the chin.” Another issue with Kybella according to Dr. Brandow is potential for ‘redistribution of fat’ to other areas of the neck when people gain weight, over time. “The loss of fat in this focused, Kybella, injected spot will look odd when areas around it are heavier looking.”


If you’ve ever considered a breast augmentation, it’s not hard to understand the appeal of “test-driving” a pair of implants for a day. This “try it before you buy it” procedure called Instabreast takes about twenty minutes in office. A saline solution is injected into the breasts until they are enlarged to the desired size. Surgeons who offer the procedure claim that it takes the guesswork out of planning an augmentation by providing patients with 24 hours of experience with larger breasts.

“This is crazy!!” says Dr. Brandow. “How do you anesthetize the breast before you shoot in the saline? Wouldn’t this hurt? Just the thought of it would scare off my patients. Additionally, implants on top of the muscle versus under the muscle look different and the size you use on top looks totally different from the one you would use under the muscle.” Dr. Brandow questions the safety of injecting saline under the muscle in office with a local anesthetic. “I would say it’s a recipe for a punctured lung! Additionally, I would love to know how a surgeon inflates a young, tight skinned, A- cup woman who wants a full C- cup, without causing a lot of pain during that injection.”

Mesotherapy and Lipodissolve as a Fat Dissolver

Several cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists agree that if there is one procedure to avoid when shopping for a slimmer look, it's one called lipodissolve, a shot that claims to dissolve away stubborn fat deposits. This shot is often part of “mesotherapy;” a shallow injection of a cocktail of substances using a fine needle. "There is really not a single scientific study to show that it definitely works," says Dr. Brandow. Are these chemicals safe when injected into fat? What happens to this fat? Where does it go? Dr. Brandow feels lipodissolve is an ill-advised treatment. “This is a non-FDA approved use of a material called lipostabil, which can dissolve fat and other structures however, it can cause pain, swelling, hard lumps, ulceration of the skin, and contour irregularities. None of the pharmaceuticals used for injection are FDA approved.”

Laser Liposuction

It seems like everything that has the word “laser” in it today is perceived as a state-of-the-art breakthrough, but in this case, using laser to assist in liposuction is not necessarily so. Laser liposuction uses lasers to liquefy the fat before it is removed, making it easier to vacuum out and they may also stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, which results in firmer, tighter, and smoother skin. Lasers may also coagulate small blood vessels in the area, which translates to less bruising. What’s the downside? Dr. Brandow points out that, “There is greater risk of burning and therefore, pain. Laser liposuction, Smartlipo and similar procedures add both time and money to the typical technique.”

About Dr. Kirk Brandow

Dr. Kirk Brandow is a board certified plastic surgeon with practices in the Philadelphia metro area. Named a “Top Doc” in Plastic Surgery by Philadelphia Magazine as well as nationally recognized for one of America’s “Best Plastic Surgeons” of this decade, Dr. Brandow is a trusted expert who has developed many innovative, minimally invasive procedures for the face, body and skin. These procedures include the Boomer Lift™, the 48 Hour Facelift™, the Scarless Breast Implant, the Multilayered Micro-Lipo Augmentation, the Tumescent Technique for Liposuction and the CO2 Laser Blepharoplasty.

He has been featured on local, national and international television programs including 20/20, CNN’s Headline News, Good Morning America, ABC Action News, TV Globo and Telemundo to provide updates and opinions on the latest trends in cosmetic surgery. Dr. Brandow where he has spoken out on the controversial issues of cosmetic surgery, advising viewers to take a more responsible and more realistic approach to the latest fads and gimmicks in Cosmetic Surgery.

Dr. Brandow served as an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Aesthetic and Restorative Surgery as well as a preceptor for many live surgical training conferences where he helped teach other doctors advanced techniques in Cosmetic Surgery.

Connect with Dr. Brandow via

Endangered But Not Extinct: A Doctor That TRULY Listens

Alicia Bell - Fitness Expert

What if we were to compare a typical visit to the doctor with a visit to your favorite local business:  your hairstylist, banker, or real estate agent? If you regularly see these local professionals who have become a fixture in your schedule, then you have trust in their professional wisdom.  I bet they spend some “quality” time with you -- making eye contact, perhaps a bit of small-talk, and even sharing some family updates. Usually, you would not feel rushed, and you may even enjoy the encounter.

In the world of healthcare, which requires intimate professionalism, you would, at least, expect that the same basic premise of the business/client relationship would apply. For example, you would not expect your accountant to see you (as his 65th client of the day) and still be able to address all of your needs in 15 minutes. Likewise, you would also not understand if your mechanic scheduled you to drop your car off at 2:00, but still required you to wait 2 hours before spending only 7 minutes with the car -- meaning yours most likely would not be adequately repaired.  As well, you might move on to a new hairstylist if you had to wait more than 5 weeks just to have a basic haircut. And, when you did finally make it to the chair, I would expect that you would walk out if there were a computer that the stylist insisted typing on, with full attention to it, instead of you. The sad reality of our insane healthcare system is that we have come to expect and accept all of these behaviors in our appointment experiences with our healthcare providers.

“Wall Street”-style medicine ran by health insurance companies and executive CEOs without medical training has gradually taken over the reins of clinic management in all specialties. The quality of a patient encounter is currently based on factors that have little to do with the relationship between a doctor and a patient. Instead, measurable “metrics” are stressed which press the efficiency of the provider to get from room to room. Incentives are provided with increased pay to those providers who are able to force-fit more patients into their schedule. The administrative work generated from each visit from inefficient computer-based electronic health records keep the provider’s head down and attention distracted, so a personal conversation with real connection is virtually non-existent. The doctors who agree to work in this environment are not able to bring their compassionate selves to the visit with their patients due to the pressures of being a human calculator at warp speed to fulfill the demands from management.

So, how do you find a good doctor in the fast-food-style industry that healthcare has become? There are indeed some standing supporters of authentic, empathic doctors that doggedly retain the art of medicine in their practice. They are no further than your local towns, but you do have to look for them. Just as health food stores are not as populated as fast food restaurants, it might be a bit of a worthwhile hike to find a doctor who strives to make an empathic bond with each patient. In order to practice the type of medicine that is not dictated by insurance companies, some may have creative fee structures. But, those who truly care about the health of all most likely will have charges that agree to your budget, and often have ways you can be reimbursed by your insurance company if they are not under your coverage umbrella.

Why should we seek a doctor that “listens” to us? The truthful answer is that a problem is uncovered and often solved in a setting of a trusting relationship. The bond of empathy forms a connection that “plugs” the physician and the patient into a higher level of communal problem solving, together. Science has proven that compassion helps to restore a sense of peace and a resting state, as well. This  “dose of ease” is often what we all seek in solving problems or curing any disease state -- from ulcers to high blood pressure, and much more.  When there is a release of strain, body systems are able to shut off the frantic “fight or flight” modes that exhaust our body’s systems. In the sacred relationship between a patient and physician, the gears of natural healing and hope can begin to engage. Fear can be put to rest for peace of mind, and the collaborative, open space for discussion can mean that understanding and clarification can take place. This is not too much to ask for in your next visit with your healthcare provider.

In my book, “Discovering Your Own Doctor Within,” I include real patient stories that delve deep into what is possible when there is a commitment to listening with an open heart.  No metrics, no computers, no rush…  The ability to hone laser-like attention into deeper sources of symptoms arises naturally and easily. Often, when a person is truly heard, he/she begins to share clues that surprise even them. This saves money on unneeded procedures. More importantly, it also gives us hope that the human side of medicine is still maybe only endangered, but not extinct.


About the author
Dr. Amy E. Coleman is the CEO and founder of Wellsmart, a company that cultivates technologies and healthcare strategies that strengthen the patient/doctor relationship. She served as a United States Air Force flight surgeon, and was appointed the youngest and first female Commander of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Clinic. There, she helped guide global medical missions and build creative clinic systems, including those employing complementary care methods still employed today throughout the Air Force.



Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is such a regular occurrence for many women that they consider it a normal part of getting their period. The Mayo Clinic estimates about 75 percent of women get at least some form of PMS. Although the causes of PMS aren't well understood, “fluctuating levels of hormones and brain chemicals are thought to play a role. What a woman eats and drinks can also have an effect, “ says  Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O.  a Manhattan Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. He shares with us 10 do’s and don’ts for getting through PMS as pain free as possible.  


1)Do get more calcium

Some studies have shown that calcium levels are lower in women with PMS, and that those with the highest intake of calcium reported the mildest PMS symptoms. Dr. Calapai suggests sourcing your calcium from foods such as low-fat milk and dairy, calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and orange juice, and leafy greens.


2) Don't consume excessive salt

Salt increases water retention, so if you suffer from premenstrual bloating, do limit the amount of sodium you consume in the run up to your period. Eliminate the salt shaker, and cut back on the canned foods, processed foods and condiments, all of which are overflowing with sodium.

3) Do drink more water

“Although this sounds counter-intuitive,” says Dr. Calapai,  “Water can actually alleviate PMS-related fluid retention. Drink plenty of H2O -- aim for 8 to 10 glasses a day; more when you exercise -- to flush toxins out of your system and reduce premenstrual bloating.”


4) Do Eat Dark Chocolate 

Craving the sugary confections like chocolate and cupcakes is totally normal. Try and reach for dark chocolate when you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.  A bonus is, it will boost your mood.


5) Don’t Consume Coffee

While you may need that daily cup   (or two) to be functional, studies show that caffeine increases levels of anxiety. Dr. Calapai explains that, “Your blood vessels contract when caffeine is present in your body, which worsens menstrual cramps. Also, for those with loose stool while on their periods, adding caffeine to your diet will make it difficult for your body to retain water and worsen diarrhea.”


6) Do Eat Greens 

Losing a lot of blood can cause iron deficiency, which can cause lightheadedness or nausea. To counteract this problem, Dr. Calapai recommends stocking up on darker greens, like spinach, kale and broccoli to get your iron levels back up, but avoid eating them raw. For spinach, sautée with minced garlic and olive oil for a warm, flavorful bundle of nutrients!


7) Don’t Drink Alcohol 

It will only worsen feelings of depression and moodiness. One study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology also found that regular alcohol consumption increased length of and severity of cramps in women who experience cramps during PMS.


8) Do Eat Bananas 

Sleep disturbances right before your period are the norm for many women. Plus, experts at John Hopkins University in Baltimore found that too little sleep made women more susceptible to pain (meaning those cramps will feel even worse). So make sure to get your z's by eating bananas, which contain melatonin—a sleep-aid hormone that's secreted at night and helps regulate our body's natural rhythms.


Dr. Christopher Calapai D.O.

Anti-Aging Physician and "The Stem Cell Guru"

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed as the "The Stem Cell Guru" by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S.


His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer's, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson's.


Dr. Calapai started his practice in New York City in 1986 and for over 25 years he has hosted nationally syndicated radio shows, including his two weekly call-in shows on WABC 770-AM, where he offers health and medical advice. He has a show on Saturday morning 8-9am and Sunday evening from 6-7pm. He has consulted with numerous high-profile individuals including Mike TysonMickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Fox series Gotham's, Donal Logue and worked as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers hockey team as well as various modeling agencies.


Dr. Calapai received his medical degree from New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and he consults in Manhattan with practices on Long Island, in East Meadow and Plainview. He has appeared on News12 and in the pages of 25A Magazine and Social Life Magazine.



Toronto, ON (October 20, 2015) - Top Toronto sports and rehabilitation expert, Dr. Sapna Sriram announces the opening of her new clinic Integra Health Centre, Toronto's most comprehensive corporate boutique health clinic located in downtown Toronto's financial district. This unique one stop health service clinic offers patients a variety of services ranging from family medicine to sports medicine to cosmetic medicine to chiropractic, naturopathy and much more.
Having established herself as a leader in the sports medicine industry, Dr. Sapna's clinic Integra Health Centre integrates her 15+ years of experience to cater to the needs of Toronto urban and business communities all under one roof.
"Integra Health is not your typical doctor's office, we are a new boutique health clinic and we are reinventing how we take on your health." says Dr. Sapna, Sports and Rehabilitation expert. "Our goal is to cultivate an environment where patients can benefit from a variety of services at one convenient location using an integrative team based approach with top rated professionals. We have put together a team of industry professionals that will ensure our patients receive the best treatments and rediscover a healthier life"
Spanning 5000 square feet, the space boasts 18 treatment rooms, a rehab room, a comfortable private lounge, and presentation room. Integra Health offers the most comprehensive services under one roof, with top rated practitioners and top of the line state of the art technology and services.
 For more information about Integra Health Centre, please visit
About Dr. Sapna
Dr.Sapna, DC, R.Ac, Dip. Med. Ac, CSCS, ART®, FMS/SFMA, MBA is a Toronto born sports and rehabilitation expert. Graduating from McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Science in 2003 and a degree from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 2007 (where she graduated cum laude), Dr.Sapna also holds a Masters of Business Administration specializing in health industry management from the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. 
Dr. Sapna also holds a certificate in Contemporary Medical Acupuncture (Dip. Med.Ap) from McMaster University, a certified Active Release Techniques Provider, ART®, a Strength & Conditioning Specialist from  the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is also a certified personal trainer.  Dr. Sapna also holds dual licenses from both the College of Chiropractors of Ontario and The College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario.  For more information, please visit
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