Depression and Your Body – It’s Physical, Too

 

If you visit your primary care physician’s office due to sore muscles, a disrupted sleep schedule, migraines or digestive issues, you might not expect a diagnosis of depression. But there’s a chance you’ll get one, even if you’re not necessarily aware of “feeling” sad.

Major depressing disorder is a condition that’s characterized first and leading by a persistent low mood and lack of interest in life. But many people don’t know the disorder has a number of other symptoms, and they’re not just psychological.

In fact, “most of the signs are physical,” says Michael Gitlin, a professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California–Los Angeles School of Medicine, and they range from changes in sleep, appetite and energy to widespread body pain, headaches and gastrointestinal problems. “They’re so common that they’re really inherently part of the definition of how we diagnose depression,” he says.

But too often during the diagnostic process, psychological symptoms take a backseat to physical ones – making patients and doctors alike unaware that the problem is depression in the first place. Screening individuals for not just physical – but emotional – symptoms, doctors say, is important for effective treatment.

Not One Symptom, Nor One Explanation

Doctors can’t explain why, exactly, depression is tied to myriad physical maladies. But along with a low mood and loss of enjoyment in life, patients with depression often notice that something’s “off.” For example, points out Jordan Karp, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine, someone’s lower back or abdomen might hurt. He or she might have a headache or experience constipation, diarrhea and other irritable bowel-type symptoms. Or that person will have numbness or tingling in their limbs. He or she will try to discover the source of the discomfort by looking for a physical cause, such as a thyroid issue or low blood count. This person doesn’t realize, however, that the organ of interest is actually their brain.

While there’s no one scientific explanation for this range of physical symptoms, Karp says, “We know depression lowers the pain threshold. There’s both a shared psychology as well as a shared biology in the brain. Regions that modulate or regulate mood also regulate pain. If they are out of whack because of depression, people may be more likely to experience sensations as painful, or pain as more intense.” He also points out that depression causes changes in the autonomic system, which might lead to gastrointestinal problems.

Still, Gitlin says, not all physical symptoms of depression – tiredness, a lack of concentration or bowel issues – have a definite medical explanation. “The exact biology of why people with depression have pain that feels worse, why they get constipated, why they have low energy – one day we’ll know the answer to that, but today is not that day,” he says.

An Incomplete Evaluation 

When patients experience depression’s physical side effects, doctors say, their first instinct is to head to their primary care physician’s office to pinpoint what’s wrong. Once there, they’ll answer a series of screening questions and might undergo lab tests. They’re searching for an easily identifiable physical answer. Often, they won’t consider mentioning they feel depressed, and the busy doctor – whose focus isn’t mental health – won’t suggest an evaluation.

“It is very normal for [doctors] to screen patients for diabetes, and to screen you for hypertension and blood pressure. It’s not very common to screen patients for depression,” says Madhukar Trivedi, a psychiatrist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “So unless you ask patients to provide the nine or 10 symptoms that make up the diagnosis for clinical depression, often patients forget to tell the primary care physician [about non-physical symptoms].”

Even if physicians do ask patients if they’re depressed, they don’t always receive a clear answer – and for a variety of reasons, Trivedi and Karp say. Sometimes an individual will focus on his or her bloated belly and fail to mention an accompanying bad mood because he or she fears the stigma of mental illness. Other times, patients aren’t educated about the traits of depression and have no idea what they’re experiencing. And occasionally they think its “normal” to feel sad, so they don’t mention that their frequent migraines also come with a side of the blues. Plus, there’s always the chance they simply lack the vocabulary to explain what’s wrong.

“Some patients are just not as psychologically minded, and maybe have some difficulty with [turning] the emotions they’re experiencing into words,” Karp says. “So they might feel crappy, but it’s easier to say that their back hurts, they feel tired and worn out and that they’re grumpy.”

These various factors, physicians say, make an already difficult-to-diagnose condition harder for both patients and doctors to identify. And they’re likely common among patients, as indicated by a noted World Health Organization survey conducted in the early 1990s. Researchers analyzed data from more than 25,000 people living in 14 countries who had recently visited their primary care physicians, and found that 69 percent of those who met the diagnostic criteria for depression only told their doctors about their physical symptoms. And 11 percent denied experiencing psychological symptoms when the doctor asked about them.

 

Recognizing – and Treating – Depression

So does a recurring headache coupled with a feeling of malaise mean you’re clinically depressed? Doctors say it isn’t always so clear-cut. Depression is a complex disease, and it presents in different ways and combinations. There’s no “normal” way that a patient experiences it, nor will it look the same in everyone else.

Therefore, primary care physicians should keep an eye out for whether patients have problems such as pain, irritable bowel syndrome and poor sleep habits – and then screen them for emotional symptoms just to be safe.

Perhaps most important, is educating patients about depression – in all of its physical and emotional forms. “Simply having people who don’t feel good in some unclear and generic way to think’’, supposed by experts.

Thus the study confirms that a supporting program must be required in this field to assist facilitators in order to get them familiar with mental health issues specifically depression cases. In expert’s opinion – a program must comprise a range of learning techniques to enhance their mental health knowledge and may offer an effective solution to overcome related challenges.

 

MHEALTH: YOUR HEALTHCARE SOLUTION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

We are surrounded by technology throughout our everyday lives, and have become increasingly dependent upon it.  The shift in technology from being largely desktop dependent to focused on mobile phones, has led to the increase in popularity of digital solutions. Examples of this are seen in the surge of online shopping, banking, travel, etc. Through these and many more applications, technology has enabled us to do day-to-day tasks more conveniently, while saving both money and time. These changing trends have also brought a whole new dimension to the healthcare system.

mHealth (mobile health), is a term used to specify telemedicine and healthcare facilities which are supported by mobile devices. It aims to provide healthcare in a way that is both easily accessible and transportable. The prevalence of mHealth has seen a large rise in the recent years, since the exponential growth of fields including telemedicine and eHealth, and of mobile and smart phone use.

Due to these changes, many m-health applications that will help reach the masses more efficiently and effectively, are being designed. The applications have the unique quality of being designed according to the patient’s needs. They play a major role in helping bridge the gap between the patient and healthcare facilities in urban areas when facilities near them are sub-par.

MDConsults is a web and mobile based platform that has been designed while keeping the need of eHealth and mHealth in developing countries in mind. It aims to reach communities in remote areas through hassle-free wireless healthcare with its mobile application, which brings cost effective healthcare solutions to your fingertips anywhere, anytime. The software avails GSM signals to send data entered by primary healthcare workers to professional physicians or specialists. MDConsults is completely HIPAA compliant, and hence highly sensitive and secure.

Further, MDConsults also has a personal care application, MyMDConsults. This serves as a healthcare solution for your daily lifestyle, and enables you to stay healthy and keep up with your health status.

MDConsults is now the fastest growing telemedicine solution of its kind. Such innovations and applications will create a great impact on the healthcare industry as they continue to provide easy and affordable access to all.

Tech4Life Enterprises receives overwhelming response at MedEdge Summit 2016

With the aim to provide access to healthcare for all, Tech4Life displayed its game changing technologies at the MedEdge summit and received remarkable response from the visitors. Our flagship product ‘MDConsults’ and the next generation ‘digital stethoscope’ were highly appreciated by the healthcare practitioners and decision makers. These solutions enhance telemedicine experience and improve diagnosis and care in remote locations.

For more detailed information, visit www.tech4lifeenterprises.com or contact info@tech4lifeenterprises.com

Telemedicine bridging the gap between patient and health system

Recent rapid technological evolution has caused drastic changes in various industries, resulting in better services and improved outcomes for the consumers.  Similarly, medicine has also embraced such growth and continues to provide quality health care solutions to people through Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The field has produced groundbreaking discoveries in trying to bridge the gap between the patient and health system.

Telemedicine provides an alternate solution for physical visits to a doctor or hospital. This helps save both time and money, as doctors, physicians, sub specialists, and specialists can all be reached through one domain. This is done through different web or mobile application based software which connect doctors and patients at a distance.

In especially rural areas where the community health providers or nurses are the first response to patients, This connection comprises of a physician at one end, and a community health provider at the other. Using telemedicine allows the patient or health worker to communicate their problem, and receive specialized diagnosis in the most efficient way. Instant video and high definition images can be easily shared through certain platforms that help the physician consult and prescribe proper treatment. Telemedicine may also be used by doctors to supervise medical procedures.

These advancements can also be used to improve distance learning in the healthcare field, where proper education and training can be provided to the Health Care Providers to improve their knowledge and performance.

Organizations around the world are venturing into the field of telemedicine, and Tech4Life is one of the leading companies to do so. It’s easy to use web-based and mobile application software, MDConsults, is now being used in 20 countries around the world, and continues to make significant contributions in remote healthcare. The MDConsults mobile application was initiated to make wireless healthcare easily accessible in remote areas through GSM signals which are flexible and convenient to use.

Typically, a well-functioning, quality telemedicine software requires high bandwidth internet and robust technologies to help in proper diagnosis, and are hence often found to perform poorly in remote or rural areas. MDConsults on the other hand, was developed with the goal of overcoming this limitation. Its web-based nature allows it to perform even in low bandwidth locations. Further, the software is completely HIPPA compliant, and ensures patient confidentiality in all its set procedures.

Tech4Life Enterprises has also developed a personal lifestyle solution application, MyMDConsults , for the general public. It allows individuals to record and manage their own daily health, and improve their quality of life in an extremely easy to use way.

Overall, MDConsults is a significant addition to the telemedicine field. It aims to provide quality healthcare facilities at a low cost and with unwavering confidentiality, to ultimately increase patient access in remote parts of the world.

Friends Hospital Islamabad and Tech4Life implement Telemedicine for better access to healthcare

Tech4Life Enterprises is proud to announce yet another implementation of its fastest growing telemedicine solution ‘MDConsults’ in Pakistan. We have recently deployed our integrated telemedicine platform ‘MDConsults’ at Friends Hospital, Islamabad Pakistan.

Friends Hospital is constructed with the idea to provide very low cost but high quality treatment and diagnostic facility to poor and needy patients. Friends Hospital is now expanding its services through deploying MDConsults along with the next generation point of care devices. This initiative will enhance access to healthcare for their distant communities, and improve quality of services. Tech4Life and Friends Hospital have also agreed upon further expanding it to their other health facilities to broaden their network and reach the masses. For more detailed information, contact info@tech4lifeenterprises.com or visit www.tech4lifeenterprises.com

Explore the world’s fastest growing mobile telemedicine application ‘MDConsults’ and plug-n-play digital stethoscope ‘eSteth’ at the MedEdge Summit in Toronto.

MedEdge is a catalyst for advancing life science ideas, connections and innovation into commercial success in York Region and the Greater Toronto Area’s life sciences sector. This year’s theme “Exponential Health – Transforming Health Care” focuses on exponential health and seamless integration through exponential technologies and advancements.

 

Tech4life Enterprises would be a part of the summit to showcase its new health technologies and innovations and how they could impact the future. Avail the opportunity to have hands on experience of the world’s fastest growing telemedicine solution ‘MDConsults’ along with the next generation digital stethoscope ‘eSteth’ at our exhibit.

 

For more detailed information, visit www.tech4lifeeenterprises.com or contact us at info@tech4lifeenterprises.com

Expanding MDConsults and eSteth to US Clients: A successful exhibition at the American Telemedicine Association meeting in Minneapolis

Telemedicine is changing the way healthcare is delivered around the world. Growing demand for Telemedicine use in Unites States offers new opportunities for high quality online consultations to rural health providers and home care patients. American Telemedicine Association is leading the growth of Telemedicine in North America.

For over 20 years, the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) Annual Conference & Trade Show has been the premier forum for healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs in the telemedicine, telehealth and mHealth space. Tech4Life Enterprises participated at this year’s meeting on May 14-17, 2016, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Tech4Life showcased its integrated telemedicine ecosystem ‘MDConsults’, world’s fastest growing mobile telemedicine solution, along with the next generation plug n play digital stethoscope ‘eSteth’

For more detailed information about the organization and products, visit www.tech4lifeenterprises.com

Tech4Life and doctHERS extend Telemedicine to Urban slums in Karachi, Pakistan.

Tech4Life congratulates our partners at doctHERs’ for setting up another clinic in Korangi area, an urban slum in Karachi Pakistan, and expanding access to healthcare in hard to reach areas. Tech4Life provides telemedicine support to this initiative through its state of the art program, MDConsults.

A medical camp was setup for vital signs & online medical triage. Patients were connected with the lay doctors all over the country using MDConsults.

MDConsults – an effective telemedicine platform for Improving access to Hospitals & Health Systems

 

Increasingly, telemedicine is being utilized by healthcare providers and patients to boost access to care, However, not all telemedicine programs are designed the same or offer the same level of service. A telemedicine program should offer clinicians & Health care providers the necessary capabilities, such as secure messaging & Diagnosis, store and forward capability & access to patient via Live consultation. MDConsults is a game changing web and mobile based telemedicine solution, which not only enhances improves access to health providers, but also enhances their competitiveness. MDConsults  has also proven to improve population health by lowering the cost of care, improving resource utilization,  and helping providers connect to access patient information for highest quality of care. It is one of its kind mobile & web based telemedicine platform that facilitates better diagnosis by connecting with a variety of peripheral devices including dermascopes, otoscopes, ultrasound, and digital stethoscopes etc. MDConsults enables the delivery of high definition audio, video, images and data for caregivers to provide better diagnosis and treatment. In short MDConsults is an effective and innovative tool for telemedicine and point of care around the world. For more details kindly visit the link http://tech4lifeenterprises.com/mdconsults/ or log onto www.MDConsults.net

Connect yourself with the world’s fastest growing Telemedicine solution now at ATA 2016

After a number of successful implementations of its fastest growing web & mobile based telemedicine solution MDConsults, around the globe, Tech4life Enterprises is pleased to announce its participation at the ATA 2016 on 14th- 17th May 2016, in Minneapolis, MN. We look forward to meeting current and future business partners at our booth 1621. If you would like to arrange an appointment with one of our representatives, please contact  nida.eqbal@tech4lifeenterprises.com.

Highlights of our recent successes include:

  • Reached customer base in 20 countries within one year
  • Capable of complete integration with EMR and Health Enterprise solutions.
  • Successful Implementation of MDConsults at huge scale in Asia and Africa.
  • Launched first ever Plug n Play digital stethoscope for telemedicine, called eSteth
  • Launched first telemedicine based call center in Saudi Arabia.
  • Named among the top 25 up & coming ICT companies in Canada (https://www.branham300.com/index.php?year=2016&listing=4)

For more details please visit our website: www.tech4lifeenterprises.com