Monthly Archives: May 2016

Tips on Choosing a Quality Stethoscope

A stethoscope is a simple instrument that magnifies sounds. Because of its simplicity, and ease of use, it is mostly found in the medical field, with doctors, nurses, and medical professionals using it to listen to sounds in the human body. It is one of the most basic and important diagnostic tool that is used to get vital information regarding a patient’s body.

If you need to replace your stethoscope, you should choose it with care, as a stethoscope that does not function properly can be detrimental in medical practice. Here are a few things you should look at before buying a stethoscope.

Choosing a Quality Stethoscope

The four basic factors to keep in mind while buying a stethoscope are quality, durability, acoustics, and versatility, which are almost self-explanatory. In addition to these, other factors to consider while choosing a good stethoscope are:

Nature of Work
Your nature of work will determine the proper stethoscope that you will need to use. For example, a normal diagnostic one will be helpful for a nurse, whereas a lab technician may need a more specific one to accommodate his wide range of diagnostics.

Sensitivity
The sensitivity to sound of a stethoscope is very important. Most good stethoscopes come with a bell and tunable diaphragm, which help the user to listen to all the frequencies of sounds within the body without rotation of the device. These might be a little expensive, but will serve you better.

Types of Stethoscopes
Stethoscopes come in two main types: acoustic and electronic. Depending on your need you can choose the one that suits you the best. A digital model is also available, but the two most commonly used models are the acoustic and electronic.

Acoustic Models
High frequencies are caught by the diaphragm and lower ones are magnified by the bell. Acoustic models are highly efficient, the only issue being the amplification of some sounds which can be vague and confusing.

Electronic Models
These scopes can amplify the sound quality almost 10 times, and hence, provide highly efficient sound quality. These models often feature an equalizer to adjust various sound parameters and noise filters that allow doctors to hear only relevant sounds. They also have an extended range of lower and higher frequencies which gives doctors sharp, clear, and distinct sounds, and are suited for noisy environments.

Strength of the Tubes
The tubes which carry the sound to the listener also needs to be considered while buying a good stethoscope. The length and composition of the tube must be appropriate and of optimum size, i.e., neither long nor very short. It must be made up of a hard and flexible material. All in all, a good stethoscope must be of short length with thick walls to reduce the external sound disturbances, dual tubes, and a high internal diameter.

Well-fitting Earpiece
Then comes the earpiece. It should fit snugly and comfortably in your ears so that all the other noise in the room is inaudible. It should be the right and perfect fit, so you may have to try on various stethoscopes before buying one. A stethoscope which does not fit properly is uncomfortable, painful, and may function ineffectively. Hence, choosing the best-suited, well-fitting earpiece is very important.

Frequency Range
Again, this will depend on the field of specialization that you choose in future. For example, if you plan to use the stethoscope for cardiology or pulmonology, then you will require the widest range of frequencies to diagnose even a slight disturbance or problem with the heart. If it is for general use, then a small frequency range will be good for you.

Budget
Of course, your budget will matter while choosing a stethoscope, so, select one which suits yours the best. Stethoscopes start from about USD 50, but can go up to as high as even USD 300, depending on the features and the quality. Select one that is of good quality, but suited to your needs as a doctor, nurse, or technician.

You will need to try many scopes prior to choosing the one that is best-suited for you. Remember, it is a valuable tool that you will use to help diagnose the patient’s illness. So, choose the best stethoscope possible, which will remain your best friend in the years to come.

Ways to Use a Stethoscope in a Proper Way

While conducting a physical assessment, doctors need skills such as inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation, and olfaction. The term ‘auscultation’ is derived from the Latin word Auscultaure, which means ‘to listen’. In the field of medicine, auscultation is performed with the help of a stethoscope. The term ‘stethoscope’ is derived from two Greek words called stethos and scopos. While the former refers to the chest, the latter means examination. An acoustic medical instrument, the stethoscope is integral to the diagnosis. This instrument is extremely useful, when it comes to diagnosing medical conditions associated with the organs located in the chest cavity. While the stethoscope that was designed by René Laennec was made of wood, the advancement of medical science has led to the development of several designs with added features. However, even the modern acoustic stethoscopes have simplistic designs. Doctors now also have the option of using electronic stethoscopes that can even amplify sounds.

Parts of a Stethoscope

Doctors are aware of the intensity, quality, or pitch of sounds that is normally associated with certain parts of the body. If they hear any variation from the normal sounds, they can perform other diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis. A stethoscope helps the doctors ascertain the presence and location of abnormal sounds. At times, the absence of sounds could help in the diagnosis. For instance, the absence of bowel sounds can be an indicator of bowel problems.

Components of a stethoscope

The components of a stethoscope include:

✦ Earpieces/eartips
✦ Binaurals (ear tubes or curved metal pipes that connect the earpieces to the tubes of stethoscope)
✦ Air-filled tube
✦ Chest piece

The headset comprises the two earpieces and ear tubes. The chest piece consists of a bell and a diaphragm. While the bell is the cup-shaped side that is used for listening to low frequencies or low-pitched sounds, the diaphragm is the flatter side that is used for high frequencies. A removable chill ring prevents the chest piece from coming in contact with the skin, and also keeps the diaphragm in place. In case of dual-frequency, tunable stethoscopes, the bell and the diaphragm are combined on one side of the chest piece. All the user needs to do is apply varying pressure to listen to low or high frequencies. Low pressure and high pressure needs to be applied to listen to low frequency and high frequency sounds, respectively.

In case of the two-sided chest piece, the user can switch between the bell and the diaphragm, depending on the frequency. It must be noted that only one part of the chest piece can work at a time. The sound can be amplified either through the bell or the diaphragm. If the sound is barely audible through the bell, it implies that the diaphragm is in the position for use. There are certain types of stethoscopes that don’t have a bell.

When the diaphragm is placed on the skin, it vibrates due to the sounds from the body. This leads to the creation of the acoustic pressure waves, which in turn travel up through the tube. The sound is transmitted from the bell or the diaphragm to the earpieces, which fit in snugly in the ears, thereby preventing other sounds from entering the ears.

How to Use a Stethoscope Properly

There are a few aspects that you need to keep in mind in order to use a stethoscope properly. Basically, you need to put the earpieces in such a way that they create an airtight seal with the ears. This is to block the noises from the outside environment, so that you can focus or clearly listen to the sounds emanating from the internal organs. Here are a few pointers on using a stethoscope in a correct way:

Eartips should point forward

✦ After placing the earpieces in the ears, adjust them so that they point slightly forward. Usually, binaurals or the ear tubes are positioned at an angle of 15°, so that earpieces can point forward and align with the ear canal. Ensure that the earpieces are a snug fit.

Eartips should be a perfect fit

✦ If you have placed the earpieces properly, the external noise will become faint. Earpieces are available in small, as well as large sizes. So, make sure that you opt for a size that is a perfect fit.

✦ Make sure that you check the earpieces on a regular basis. Look for cracks. Also, it is essential to clean the earpieces, so that auscultation is not affected by the accumulation of earwax, lint, or dirt.

Don’t place the fingertips on the edge of the diaphragm/bell

✦ The chest piece should also be held in the right manner. It must be held between the index finger and the middle finger of the dominant hand. Fingertips should not be placed on the edge of the diaphragm or bell, as that can lead to noise, which in turn will affect one’s ability to listen to the sounds from the internal organs. Make sure that the stethoscope tube doesn’t rub against the patient’s skin.

Double-sided stethoscope with a bell and diaphragm

✦ If you are using a double-sided stethoscope that has a bell and diaphragm, you will need to rotate the chest piece, so as to open the bell or diaphragm. If the diaphragm is open, the bell will be closed, and vice versa. This is to ensure that sound doesn’t come through the other part. This prevents noise interference, thereby allowing doctors to hear high or low frequency sounds properly.

Tunable stethoscope

✦ If you are using a tunable stethoscope, move the chest piece in a half circle. Once you hear a click, tap the bell and diaphragm to check which one of them is open.

✦ Make sure that the parts of the chest piece are not loose. Look for signs of damage.

✦ Do not touch the tube (tube that runs from the chest piece to the headset) while examining a patient with a stethoscope.

Place the stethoscope on bare skin to minimize noise interference

✦ Placing the diaphragm or the bell on bare skin would also help avoid noise interference that could occur due to the mixing of sounds from the body and clothes.

On a concluding note, it is essential to clean the stethoscope to ensure optimal acoustical performance, as well as reduce the risk of transmission of pathogens. It is advisable to disinfect the bell/diaphragm of the stethoscope before using it on another patient. It can be wiped with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution. Also, make sure that it is not exposed to extreme temperature, solvents, and oils. Remove the earpieces from the tubes regularly for thorough cleaning.

Heart Healthy Diet Tips for Women

Your heart is a machine, that is continuously pumping blood. Just as every machine requires servicing, your heart requires a little care and attention too. But obviously, you cannot send your heart to a service station, for a regular maintenance. Thus, maintaining a healthy diet is all that you can do, to keep it hale and hearty. Having a right diet, is the only way of preventing your heart from any kind of illnesses. Today, the risk of heart related problems is equal for both men and women. After the age of 40, it is imperative for a woman to take care of her heart’s health to lead a healthy life for a healthy family.

Harmful Fats
Experts say, that the daily consumption of foods high in nutrition can reduce the risk to your heart by 80%. Thus, it is important to understand how your food affects your heart. Restricting your intake of saturated fats and quitting any form of trans fat is the best way reducing the level of bad cholesterol or LDL. Avoid the butter, cheese, margarine or even white butter on your bread and food to keep away from these fats. Substitute the high fat food such as fried potato with baked potato and cook your meals in healthier oils such as olive oil, safflower, sunflower or canola. Start your day by eating only egg whites and plain toast. This is a better idea as compared to the tasteless oatmeal breakfast. You do not have to make drastic changes in your diet to have a healthy meal. Small changes like adding vegetables, fruits and low fat substitutes to your food will go a long way in making your heart healthy.

Low Cholesterol
Low cholesterol is the biggest culprit for heart related problems. Watching what you eat is the only way of controlling your cholesterol levels. The best way of avoiding HDL or bad cholesterol is by keeping away from fried packaged food. Replacing chips, cookies and fries with fruits, proteins and fibrous food stuffs is the best way of avoiding any form cholesterol intake. Nuts, fish oils, olive oil and food substances that contain sterols or stanols, block absorption of cholesterol. Simply avoid packaged food to bring down your cholesterol levels.

No Processed Food
Eating a lot of processed food can be a major risk to your heart. Easy food items such as packaged dinners, processed meats and dairy products are harmful to the heart and must be avoided as much as possible. Replace these by fresh food, fruits, salads, soups and unsalted meats. Eating excessive salt increases your blood pressure, which exposes you to the risk of heart attack. Thus reducing your intake of sodium and avoiding processed food items as much as possible is a great way of staying fit. Instead of salt, try adding spices and herbs to your food to make it tasty.

Besides eating healthy meals, it is also important that you exercise everyday. Cardiovascular exercises make your heart strong and improve the blood circulation. Regular exercise builds endurance, improves flexibility and reduces body fat, thereby minimizing the risk to your heart. While balancing your exercise and diet, maintain your focus on fibrous food as they are rich in nutrition and a great help in keep the heart fit as a fiddle. They not only mitigate the risk of heart diseases, but also assist weight loss. Go back to eating homemade meals as they are fresh and the ingredients can be monitored. Bake or boil your meals, instead of frying them. A healthy meal and a health conscious mind is the key to a healthy heart for a lifetime!

Finding the Best Dentist Sugarland TX

Our teeth are our strongest enamel. It does not break easily but at the same time it is prone to cavities and tooth infections that can severely affect the quality of your teeth and your smile eventually. The best way to ensure a sparkling white smile, you need a good dentist who will ensure that your smile remains the same ever! Now the question arises, how to find the Best dentist Sugarland TX? Read on to know more.

What makes a dentist excel over the others? – The way he treats his patients makes all the difference. Most of us are scared to visit a dentist simple because we are scared of the idea of our tooth being pulled out. But a good dentist will make sure that your fear is put to rest. He will talk to you and make sure that all your fears are put to rest and that you are comfortable talking about your teeth issues. Visiting a dentist does not necessarily mean that you need to get your teeth pulled out. In most cases it is to avoid this that we visit a dentist. So make sure that the dentist that you are planning to visit is a good communicator and will make you feel at ease with the whole situation.

Expertise and skill: this is really very important because if the Houston dentist lacks this skill and expertise he will end up hurting you more. And trust me you don’t want that to happen. So make sure that the dentist is known for his work.

Procedure and infrastructure: next you need to find out about the infrastructure of his chamber along with his procedure of treatment. Make sure that all the equipments are well sterilized and are up-to-date. Who wants to visit a dentist who still believes in primitive methods of treatment?

Cost factor: and finally you need to take into account the cost involved. There are many Affordable Dentist Houston but don’t go by the cost. Go by the repudiation and skill when you select a dentist. He should be worth the money spent. What is the point of saving money if you end up being more hurt and in greater pain?

We recommend that you go through online reviews and client testimonials before you go ahead and opt for a dentist. Make sure that you opt for one who is well known. It is better not t take chances. If you have to pay extra to visit a good dentist than it is better to do so!

Most of the dentist nowadays has an online website which you can check out and find out more about them. Do that. So what are you waiting for? If you have never visited a dentist so far, it is time that you do so. Generally one should visit a dentist at least after every 6 months so that your teeth and gums remain in good shape. Start this procedure if you wish to be the owner of a sparkling sign.

Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Misconception
It is a serious misconception that being in excellent physical condition makes you less vulnerable to heart diseases. It is true that good levels of physical conditioning are a contributing factor in keeping your heart healthy, but it is not the only one. In short, fitness and health may be two different subjects if we look at it with intricacy. It is not an absolute necessity that a bodybuilder is less prone to developing a heart disease than an average man.

Go Green
When we speak of the heart, we cannot ignore the importance and benefits of plant-based foods. Vegetables are an excellent source of Glutamic acid. It is a class of amino acids which helps to keep blood pressure at lower levels; safe levels, so to say. What’s more? Veggies lack cholesterol, fat and even calories, which otherwise tend to be the common culprits for causing heart diseases. Not to mention, the amount of vitamins and minerals that vegetables provide.

Be Active
Without the aid of daily exercise, maintaining your health is a daunting task. Exercises not only improves heart function, but also helps in lowering blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in the body. A mere 30 minutes stroll daily does good for the heart. It is said that sprinting is more beneficial for the heart, than jogging.

Reduce Oil
Although, you cannot avoid oil completely, you can keep its consumption to a minimum. As oils are a storehouse of calories mostly consisting of fat, they have high chances of leading to the development of plaque in the arteries. This gives rise to some nasty heart problems. However, not all types of oil are unhealthy. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help in preventing cardiovascular diseases and reduce instances of heart attack.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, people with cardiovascular disease had 30% less likelihood of heart attacks because of omega-3 fatty acids. Best sources include salmon, mackerel and herring. Flax seed, walnuts, and soybeans are also good sources.

Cut the Smoke
If you think you cannot shun the habit of smoking, then you might as well know that you cannot do anything good for your heart. One of the most severe risks of smoking relates to heart diseases in almost every smoker. Quit smoking, and you have done half the job in keeping your heart healthy!

Lose Weight
If your figure is slim, and belly flat, then you may have less things to worry about heart diseases. I am talking about weight loss. Being overweight puts extra load on the heart, thus increasing the risk of heart conditions. So, consume less sugary foods and more fiber, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the basic necessities for a healthy heart today.

Add More Fiber
Fiber exists in two major groups; soluble and insoluble. Although both types are beneficial to health, it is the former type that does way better to reduce cholesterol levels in the body. Due to its soluble nature, it binds with the cholesterol in the intestines and keeps it from being absorbed. A healthy person requires a serving of 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day to avail this benefit of low cholesterol. Foods rich in this fiber include apples, peas, prunes, etc.

Beware of Saturated Fats
It is important that you limit the amount of saturated and trans fats you consume. These spike cholesterol levels in the body, thus increasing the risk of coronary disease. So avoid or limit consumption of food such as red meat, dairy products, coconut oil, palm oil. These are rich in saturated fatty acids. To avoid trans fats, eat less fast food, bakery products, snacks, crackers, and margarine. Go for foods rich in healthy fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Eat Less Salt
Sodium is good for the body, but in small amounts. High salt intake means high blood pressure, which eventually points out to heart conditions. When sodium starts accumulating in the blood, it attracts water which in turn, increases the blood volume. Now to keep this blood circulating through the blood vessels, the heart has to work harder thus, causing high blood pressure. The recommended amount of sodium in the food per day must be less than 2300 milligrams.

Take the Right Medication
In most cases, heart diseases are also related to the use of drugs. So, it is important that you take medicines as prescribed by the doctor, or get them altered if necessary.

Moderate Alcohol
Drinking alcohol in moderate amounts does not harm the body. In fact, some studies show that moderate consumption provides some benefits for the heart. However, the habit of drinking is analogous to walking on thin ice. It is not difficult for any one to step out of his limit, and become a heavy drinker. So, ensure that either you stick to moderate drinking or you don’t drink at all.

Manage Stress
Stress has also been known to be one of the common culprits of heart problems. Any stressful situation elevates blood pressure and this response takes its toll on the heart. So, keep yourself relaxed by practicing meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques.