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Patient Empowerment and Healthcare Technology

Posted by Mandy Tomlinson on Thu, Oct 18, 2018 @ 08:23 AM

In a post from 2015, we reported how important the Internet had become, over the previous decade, in enabling health information to be available to all patients. We also suggested that health technology including symptom checkers are becoming tools used in everyday life. A survey published this week by the University of Phoenix supports this and conveys that patients are utilizing healthcare technology to take control of their health.  The September survey involved 2,006 US adults of whom 1,215 had been a patient within the previous three months and some of the findings were:

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Could I have osteoporosis? Osteoporosis signs and symptoms

Posted by Charlotte Maude on Thu, Oct 11, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

20 October is World Osteoporosis Day, calling for global action to help improve bone health and prevent fractures caused by this condition that, much too often, is diagnosed too late to make a difference. Osteoporosis is a growing problem around the world affecting one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50. Fractures caused by osteoporosis can have a devastating impact, not only on the sufferer but on costs to society and healthcare systems. And yet despite effective medical advances, only 10% of women with fractures will receive osteoporosis therapy. In 2010 in Europe alone it was estimated that 12.3 million high-risk patients were left untreated. Increased awareness is undoubtedly the key, both among the medical profession and among patients who should look out for the early warning signs and make lifestyle choices to help prevent osteoporosis from defining their old age.

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Could I have meningitis? Types and symptoms of meningitis

Posted by Charlotte Maude on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

Meningitis is a disease that can affect anyone, although it is most common in babies, children and young adults. The condition can be bacterial, viral or fungal, and the severity and treatments depend on the type contracted. As the most common condition to affect children, spreading awareness and encouraging research in the field is important to Isabel, as we started out as a pediatric tool following the misdiagnosis of 3 year old Isabel Maude, only later expanding to include all ages in the Isabel DDx Generator. In this blogpost we go over the basics of meningitis, the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this sometimes acute and potentially fatal disease.

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Make the diagnosis - Childhood Absence Epilepsy (CAE) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Posted by Mandy Tomlinson on Thu, Sep 20, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

Childhood Absence Epilepsy (CAE) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have similar symptoms and are often incorrectly diagnosed in children. There are many reasons as to why children are misdiagnosed, including failing to obtain a good history, or poor information from the family. The child’s school teacher may have contacted the parents  as they have noticed the child’s lack of attention, ‘blanking out’ or daydreaming episodes in class, which are affecting the child’s learning.  CAE and ADHD need careful evaluation as they have different treatment options and the wrong diagnosis can make the child’s symptoms worse or cause them to develop new symptoms due to incorrect medication being prescribed.

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Could I have heart disease? CVD conditions, symptoms and causes

Posted by Charlotte Maude on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

Our blog this week is devoted to cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, to tie in with the new online ‘Heart Age Test’ recently launched by Public Health England (PHE) in the UK. PHE decided to launch the campaign to try and help reduce the number of people who die unexpectedly and unnecessarily each year from heart attacks and strokes. According to PHE, “Millions are at risk of cardiovascular disease but don’t know it, putting themselves at real risk of suffering ill health or dying younger”. While the death rate from cardiovascular disease has seen a massive drop, falling more than 75% since 1961, it still causes more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK with similar figures in the US.

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World Sepsis Day (WSD) 2018 - 10 Facts about sepsis you may not know

Posted by Charlotte Maude on Thu, Sep 06, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

If you’ve been a long time subscriber to the Isabel blog, or followed our work from its beginnings in 1999, then you’ll know we’ve always had a strong connection to sepsis, particularly in pediatric care. Isabel Maude was nearly fatally misdiagnosed when she fell ill with necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease which when missed can very quickly become dangerously infected and cause sepsis. September 13th every year is World Sepsis Day (WSD), where we try to raise awareness globally of this life threatening emergency disease.

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The Patient’s Glossary - Terms that doctors use explained

Posted by Charlotte Maude on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

Going to the doctor, or talking to a doctor in hospital, can bring about many anxieties. There is, of course, the original issue for which you are going to the doctor and its looming diagnosis, which can be downright scary, be it a sore throat or an unexplained lump. Add on top of this, however, the time constraints of your consultation, the many questions you know you’ll forget as soon as you get in the room, and the many more questions which will inevitably come up once the doctor starts talking, and it doesn’t take long before you’re contemplating the idea of not going at all, or just ignoring the problem. At Isabel, we want to do everything we can to alleviate these anxieties, and help patients feel empowered to talk to their doctor about their problems, ask the right questions, and feel satisfied with their consultation, diagnosis and follow up. One of the big worries is understanding the vocabulary that doctors use. Not understanding the terminology during an appointment with your doctor can be a real block in processing the possible diagnoses and getting answers to your questions, which may even delay a diagnosis or cause a misdiagnosis. It is also an issue which is relatively easily solved. With our handy blogpost of the most common terms that come up, you can go into your next doctor’s appointment or talk in hospital with confidence!

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IBD vs IBS - What’s the difference?

Posted by Mandy Tomlinson on Thu, Aug 23, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

In the world of digestion there are many terms and different conditions, and so it’s no wonder that this can cause some confusion. The symptoms for many gastrointestinal conditions, as they are known, can be quite similar as well, and this can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Two very common terms we hear around the subject are ‘IBD’ and ‘IBS.’ You’d be forgiven for thinking these two acronyms are interchangeable and refer to the same condition, but they are, in reality, different. We will explain the two terms in this blogpost, talk about some of the symptoms of common gastrointestinal conditions, and the treatments that are recommended for them.

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1 Minute Read - Psychiatric Disorders During Pregnancy

Posted by Mandy Tomlinson on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

Pregnancy is portrayed as a time of happiness and emotional well-being, and for many that is their experience, but evidence shows mental illness can affect women in pregnancy.  Pregnancy impacts women from many angles with regards to their physical and mental health and also the baby’s health. There is much debate over whether you are more or less likely to have ill mental health during pregnancy. Statistically, if a woman has had mental ill health in the past or at the time she falls pregnant, then she is more likely to have mental ill health during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth (postpartum) than at other times in her life. Overall, however, psychiatric admissions and completed suicide are less common in pregnancy than at other times. Indeed, some women who have had mental ill health in the past remain well during pregnancy, everyone is different and have varying triggers for becoming unwell.

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Could I have blood cancer? Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Posted by Charlotte Maude on Thu, Aug 09, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

Blood Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) takes place each September in countries around the world and is dedicated to raising awareness about what blood cancers are, who is affected and calling for improvements in patient care. A recent survey by the NHS in the UK revealed that blood cancers are taking longer to diagnose than most other cancers. Over a third of blood cancer patients visiting their family doctor with symptoms needed to see their doctor at least 3 times before receiving a diagnosis. Phil Reynolds from the UK charity, Bloodwise, explains this is due to a number of factors: “including a lack of awareness of blood cancer symptoms and the ease in which many symptoms can be confused with more common conditions. He continues: “for some types of blood cancer, early diagnosis can have a significant impact on outcome for patients” which is why BCAM is so vitally important to help reduce delayed diagnosis.

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