Hospital Accreditation and Certifications by American Heart Association (AHA)

MH900314367Check this site for those hospitals in your area deemed centers meeting the AHA standards for treatment of heart problems including failure, AFib (an arrhythmia) and resuscitation as well as stroke. ‘The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize the hospitals for their success in using Get With The Guidelines to improve quality of care for heart disease and stroke patients. This list is current as of May 15, 2013. It is updated monthly’.

‘Continuous quality improvement’ so end result is measurable patient health. The AHA program sets guidelines for medical personnel, offer clinical tools provides mechanism for reporting tracking and patient management tools. Workshops and webinairs for staff and patient education materials for outreach programs are also available.

Medical Diagnosis Testing -Not Always Needed

MH900409552MH900432538You may often thought  do I really need all those tests – well finally medical professionals from 17 medical societies have addressed this issue.

They have identified tests and procedures that are likely unnecessary for the 26 medical specialties. Examples of unnecessary tests from the specific medical society include:

  American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Antibiotics for apparent viral respiratory illnesses such as sinusitis or bronchitis

American Academy of Neurology (AAN): Electroencephalography (EEG) for headaches

American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO): Antibiotics for pink eye

American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP): Population-based screening for vitamin D deficiency

American Urological Association (AUA): Routine bone scans in men with a low risk of prostate cancer

Society of Hospital Medicine, Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI): PET/CT scans for cancer screening in healthy individuals.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which is new to the list, recommended against performing annual Pap tests in women ages 30 to 65, since doing so offers no advantage over screening at 3-year intervals


Visit  for more information ‘Choosing Wisely’ 



Heart Healthy Diet – Mediterranean

MH900412774 MH900215505Have you heard of this diet? The traditional Mediterranean diet  is characterized by generous use of unrefined olive oil (extra-virgin), fruit, nuts, vegetables, legumes (include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, soybeans, and peanuts) and cereals, some fish and poultry, and small amounts of dairy products, red meat, processed (chemically treated) meats, and sweets. So think of the Mediterranean diet as a “plant-based” diet. Also a critical component of this diet is what DocHandal preaches – moderate amounts of wine (preferably red) with your meals. (Check with your doc first!)

A recent study in Spain showed that a diet incorporating extra-virgin olive oil or a diet rich in nuts was better than a low-fat diet to lower the rate of major cardiovascular events in folks already at increased risk for heart disease.

This study is unique in that it choose over 7,000 participants (of which 57% were women) who were free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events (never had ex: heart attack-MI, angina, irregular heard rate) at the start. Even though free at the start of CVD,  these participants all had positive risk factors that lead to cardiovascular disease events – either Diabetes or at least three important cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking, hypertension, or obesity, family history, high cholesterol. Important to remember that all the participants were already at risk for cardiovascular events. All received education – face to face 4/yr. and depending on group assignment, either received free extra-virgin olive oil or free mixed nuts. The study’s goal was to find out what diet could prevent progression to a CVD event.

A Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or mixed nuts saw a reduction in the rate of major cardiovascular events by nearly 30% compared with the control group eating a low-fat diet over 4.8 years.

This study does not say but one may infer that the Mediterranean diet is good for anyone even those without risk factors for heart disease.

Stroke: How to Decrease the Odds

A recent long-term study out of Sweden* enlisted 366,715 women some with known/diagnosed cardiovascular disease (CVD) and some w/o. The number with known CVD was 5,680 at the start of the study.  Correlation was sought between anti-oxidants in their diets and risk for stroke. Women were evaluated for 11 years.

Dochandal’s Nutshell of the Findings:

-In women w/o CVD. – were 17% less likely to have a stroke.

-In women with known CVD at start who consumed high dietary antioxidants – were 46%-57% less likely to have a stroke.

-Researchers studied ‘all’ possible antioxidants not specifics like Vitamin C or E but using values for each food in their diets.

-Outcome from this study found associations based on frequency of taking antioxidants not the amounts.

 You know antioxidants are good for many of health matters-right!


* Total Antioxidant Capacity of Diet and Risk of Stroke A Population-Based Prospective Cohort of Women” Susanne Rautiainen, MSc; Susanna Larsson, PhD; Jarmo Virtamo, MD; Alicja Wolk, DrMedSci

Demodex Blepharitis (Demodicosis)

Simply put ‘Blepharitis’ means eyelid inflammation and ‘Demodex’ are tiny mites- hence eyelid inflammation due to mites = Demodicosis.

One of the most common causes of itchy eyelids (in 20% of the general population) is due to ‘mites’ on the eyelashes! Other symptoms include burning, foreign body sensation, crusting and redness of the lid margin, and blurry vision. Looks a lot like dandruff at the root of the eyelashes.

Sounds a bit nasty, but not to worry you can get rid of them! You will have to take steps to eradicate them. An easy action plan involves making an inexpensive solution, washing and then rinsing your lids. No fear it is not a prescription medication, but one you can make all you need is Tea Tree shampoo and Tea Tree oil (Trader Joes or you favorite health food store). Mix a handful of shampoo ( 2-3 oz.) with 20 drops of pure tea tree oil, paint the mixture on closed eyelid margins wait 45 seconds then rinse.


Mix a handful of shampoo ( 2-3 oz.) with 20 drops of pure tea tree oil, paint the mixture on closed eyelid margins wait 45 seconds then rinse. Apply this solution twice a day BE SURE to leave it on for 45 sec. (‘One-One Thousand, Two-One Thousand…45-one- thousand’) do this for 6-8 weeks. This length of time will insure that all the mites no matter where  in their life cycle are gone!

 TIP: use a squirt bottle filled with water and spray each closed eye with the eye down (turn neck) spraying from nose side out.

Huffing, Sniffing & Dusting

Alcohol lowers inhibitions and gives teenager’s courage and confidence that they may not have otherwise, often getting teens into trouble that they may have avoided if they had been sober. When using any product that allow for vapor inhalation expect rapid uptake with serious side effects. Examples include alcohol through a  “Vaportini”, computer cleaning duster, nail polish remover and butane. Well known is cocaine, glue and gasoline is worldwide. Often termed ‘huffing’, ‘sniffing’ (or glue sniffing), ‘dusting’ must be watched for in teens. Remember teens weigh less and will have quicker and more serious health side effects.

Social effects, cause teens to use inhalants or alcohol on a regular basis in order to cope with stressful situations. Once suspected or recognized the coping and emotional skills needed to protect against using drug ‘abuse’ as an easy coping solution. It everyone’s job to help!

Drunk on Alcohol Vapor

Listen Up – V_webpic_003The new way to consume alcohol. If you want to get the effects of alcohol faster or avoid the tell tail sign of consuming alcohol (breath odor), use a  “Vaportini”! A receptacle that allows heat from a candle (140º) to vaporize your alcohol drink so that the you can inhale and get alcohol into blood stream faster and more efficiently. More for less – since drinking alcohol results in only about 15% being absorbed into the blood.

A unique internet purchase –  “Vaportini” recommends only 1 oz. alcohol to be taken using this device.

Alcohol addiction and poisoning is very possible given its effects are much faster than drinking and less expensive.

Do not dismiss the potential for lung side effects. Alcohol is known for ‘denaturing’ tissue one of the causes of oral cancer.

Just wanted to give you all a ‘heads-up’ on new and possibly dangerous gimmicks.


Stroke-A Time Change for Care

MH900438746Guidelines were made 6 yrs. ago and now there is a consensus resulting in a new document for medical personnel with ‘21 new recommendations as well as 50 revisions’ of existing recommendations*. To give you an idea of the complexity of aggressive stroke care– another 42 recommendations remain unchanged. In the past many patients having a stroke were excluded from receiving a clot-buster, now many of these contraindications have been dropped. These include those with a minor stroke, a rapidly improving stroke, recent major surgery, or a recent heart attack. It was believed but now proven incorrect that patients with minor or improving stroke should not get clot-busters

EMS also needs to be ready to bypass hospitals that may not offer certain procedures, such as advanced CT or MRI imaging (which is recommended before intravenous (IV) clot buster – tPA  can be given)

As is so common in drug therapy progress – FDA has approved tPA to be given within a 3-hour window of symptom onset while in Europe, the clot-busting drug is approved for up to 4.5 hours.

Genentech, maker of tPA, asked the FDA to approve the drug for the extended 4.5-hour time frame and provided the agency with additional data. But the FDA last spring declined the request.

“For each minute the brain goes without blood flow, there are 1.9 million nerve cells that are dying, that affect 14 billion nerve connections and 7.5 miles worth of never fibers”.

Health care providers believe patients are eligible to receive tPA, within 4.5 hours of symptom onset.

“What this tells us is we should treat patients as quickly as possible to reduce the likelihood they will have disability from a stroke.”

*Jauch EC, et al “Guidelines for the early management of patients with acute ischemic stroke: A guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association” Stroke 2013; 44; DOI: 10.1161/STR.0b013e318284056a.

Go Red – For Your Heart!

The 10th National Wear Red Day3D_vol_ren_of_LAD is Feb. 1, 2013 to bring awareness to heart disease in women.

More women than men have heart attacks! Heart disease is the No. 1 ‘killer’ in women more than all forms of cancer combined.  According to the American Heart Association (AHA)  ‘one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, heart disease claims the lives of one in three. That’s roughly one death each minute’.

Here I go on my  ‘soapbox’:

Heart disease affects women of all ages.  Birth control pills and smoking boosts risk in young women by 20 percent. Yes risks do increase with age; things like obesity and/or inactive lifestyle contribute to clogged arteries later in life. Having high cholesterol and being thin is NOT a free ‘get of jail card’. The AHA recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20, or earlier, if your family has a history of heart disease. Also always watch your blood pressure readings.

Many women are either unaware of heart symptoms or may rationalize pains/aches as due to other causes. Examples for chest/arm, neck or jaw aches/pains include ‘my bra is too tight’, ‘I worked out too much’, ‘I over did it cleaning’. Some women experience dizziness, tiredness, lightheadedness or actually faint! Fainting without anything else is common elderly women. Know they all could be ‘screaming’ symptoms of a heart attack/disease. You do not have to have any symptoms over 60% of women who die suddenly from heart attacks NEVER had any symptoms! Yes it is possible they did have symptoms but either they themselves or their healthcare provider(s) ignored them. AGAIN women do not get the ‘classic’ chest pain described in medical books (based on studies of men).

For more listen to Doc Handal’s podcast channel –  ‘About A Woman’s Heart‘.

SO WEAR RED  ON Friday, FEB. 1 st.