HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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Rather than searching the internet, what about using a symptom-checking app on your smartphone or tablet? These apps – some from trusted institutions such as Harvard Medical School or the Mayo Clinic, among many others – are specifically designed to provide fingertip access to diagnostic and triage advice. But they are not regulated for safety or the accuracy of the information provided.


Though apps may be in roughly the same range as phone consultations for diagnostic and treatment accuracy, they are poor substitutes for consulting in person a health care provider who knows you and your health history. Studies find physician diagnostic error rates to be much lower than that of apps, though still in the 10 percent to 15 percent range.


Among the benefits of searching online are those behaviors that promote the acceptance of personal responsibility for one’s health and well-being. This further encourages practices of behaviors to maintain or improve personal health. Still, the patient is a critical element in how relevant obtained informa-tion can be used. Clinicians assessed the quality of advice on some of the web-sites, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, for searches on common health complaints such as chest pain or headache. None of the sites listed all the necessary symptoms so a user could obtain an accurate triage upon visiting the emergency room, calling their doctor or treating the condi-tion at home. About a third of the sites failed to list the key symptoms and what to do about them.


The Pew researchers found people went online to look up information about a specific disease or medical condition 63 percent of the time. They looked for information about a particular medical treatment or procedure 47 percent of the time. Popular health topics included diet, nutrition and vitamins (44 percent); exercise and fitness information (36 percent); prescription or over- the-counter medications (34 percent); alternative treatments (28 percent); health insurance (25 percent); stress, anxiety or depression (21 percent); and a particular health care provider or hospital (21 percent) of the time. The lesson learned is that looking up health and medical information is one of the most popular online activities, but those seeking such information should proceed with caution and follow up by contacting their health care provider with their health-related concerns.


Sources and Resources


RISKS AND BENEFITS OF EXPLORING HEALTH CONDITIONS ONLINE

medical information has provided a greater accessibility and awareness of medical conditions and related information to more people than ever, but are there risks and benefits to layperson efforts?


Physicians and health care providers from the Mayo Clinic examined the risks and benefits of online health advice. They found many patients explore their medical conditions on line and through smartphone apps prior to seeing a physician. The results suggest going online for health advice is more likely to result in getting limited or incomplete advice that may or may not relate to their actual condition.


There are other options in searching for health- related information. Some insurance companies provide a nurse-staffed telephone triage line. Some users view these as comparable to or better than apps with respect to diagnostic accuracy and appropriate triage. Some online symptom checkers suggest diagnoses. The drawback is these sites can suggest so many diagnoses patients are not often able to deduce which one is most helpful. Researchers found older adults could discern the correct diagnosis of an illness only half the time using Google or other health servers.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Department of Gerontology, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller

In  today’s  do-it-yourself  world,  we  are  called  upon to scan food items ourselves when checking out at the  grocery  store,  manage  our  own  bank  accounts on  line,  fill  our  gas  tanks  and  manage  our  lives  in any number of ways. Several individuals have come to  rely  on  healthcare  Web  sites  for  valuable  health and  medical  information  in  an  attempt  to  under- stand  unexpected  signs  and  symptoms  they  have observed in their bodily functions.


The number of people turning to the Internet to search a diverse range of health-related subjects continues to grow, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project (2017). Researchers found 80 percent of Internet users, or about 93 million Americans, have searched for a health-related topic online. Women are more likely to seek health information online than men (85 percent compared to 75 percent) and younger consumers are more likely to research health topics online than senior citizens. Married couples from 25-34 years of age were nearly 80 percent more likely to use the Web for health information than adults over age 65 years. Only 22 percent of Americans over age 65 years have Internet access and of those, 70 percent have searched for health topics.


The rise of the Internet has led some individuals to attempt to self-manage their health conditions. The availability of health and