Cardiac Arrest and CPR

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, aka Dr. BCW. Today I want to discuss a critical condition, Cardiac Arrest, and the emergency treatment, CPR, that can be lifesaving. Cardiac arrest has been in heavy news rotation due to LeBron James’ son, Bronny James’ recent episode with cardiac arrest.

 

What is Cardiac Arrest?

Cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly loses its ability to function, leading to a halt in blood circulation throughout the body. This can cause a person to gasp for air, lose consciousness, or stop breathing.

During a cardiac arrest, immediate action is crucial. Performing CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) or using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can be lifesaving by helping the heart re-establish a rhythm or heartbeat.

How do you perform CPR?

The American Heart Association recommends placing two hands, one on top of the other, centered on the chest, with shoulders directly over your hands and locked elbows. Perform chest compressions of at least two inches deep on each push at 100 compressions per minute. Allow the chest to return to normal after each compression.

A common question is whether rescue breaths should be given. Rescue breaths involve giving oxygen directly when someone can’t breathe on their own. The answer is “Yes.” The American Heart Association recommends rescue breathing with compressions.
Visit here for more: https://cpr.heart.org/

 

Is CPR Effective?

CPR can double or even triple the survival rates for individuals experiencing cardiac arrest. Studies have shown that the sooner CPR is performed, the better the chances of survival and the fewer complications survivors experience.

Sadly, a recent nationwide study by the American College of Cardiology found that Black and Hispanic individuals were 41% less likely than white individuals to receive CPR when suffering cardiac arrest in public. Moreover, Blacks and Hispanics were 26% less likely to receive CPR when cardiac arrest occurred at home.
Fro more please visit: https://www.acc.org/About-ACC/Press-Releases/2022/03/23/17/31/Racial-Minorities-Are-Less-Likely-to-Receive-CPR-When-They-Need-It

This disparity in access to CPR is concerning and emphasizes the importance of everyone learning the procedure. By knowing CPR, you hold the power to save someone’s life. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where CPR could make a lifesaving difference for someone in need.

 

Conclusion

If you have the opportunity, please take the time to learn CPR. It could be the most valuable skill you acquire and might make a life-or-death difference in the future, it helped save an unsuspecting Bronny James and it could it very well save someone you love as well.

Stay informed and prioritize your health!

– Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)

 

Check out Dr. Curry-Winchell’s Beyond Clinical Walls video on this subject:


Black Mothers Dying

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell or Dr. BCW for short.  I am thrilled to share insights from my recent TEDx talk on Black Maternal Mortality with you. In this talk I cover a topic that has gotten some recent press, Black Mothers Dying. I shed light on the persistent issue of race-based medical practices and unconscious bias within our healthcare system and its real impact on black health. Specifically the life expectancy of black mothers. If you want to see more you can also check out my recent BBC interview which aired shortly before my TEDx talk was released.

 

Real-Life Stories:

During my TEDx talk, I wanted to urge the audience to grasp the gravity of the situation. I began by recounting the near-death experience of Serena Williams, a world-renowned athlete and champion. Serena’s terrifying encounter during childbirth highlights that even individuals with access to the best healthcare are not exempt from the dangers black mothers face during pregnancy. When disparities in black health are discussed, the argument inevitably falls to “lack of access.” Still, for maternal mortality, this is not the case. Affluent Black Mothers are dying 3x the rate compared to white women despite access to the best healthcare.

 

Unconscious Bias:

Unconscious bias is an invisible force that affects everyone. It affects our perceptions and decisions without us even realizing it. I shared a personal story from my experience as a patient and mother. My concerns were dismissed due to unconscious bias. If not for my personal relationships in medicine and the help of my husband, these dismissals could have cost me my life. Even though unconscious bias affects everyone, when the results of unconscious bias severely negatively impacts one group, it is something we must address. With Black Mothers dying at a 3x rate compared to other races this shows real negative impacts.

 

Invisible Pain:

One persistent stereotype that took hold many years ago was the thought that individuals with black skin feel less pain. I delved into the dark history of medical experimentation on enslaved black women, where pain medication was withheld under this false belief. And, of course, sadly, this bias persists today, as research shows that healthcare providers may struggle to recognize pain in black patients. Other studies have shown that many medical students believe black patients have thicker skin and feel less pain. This incorrect belief and subsequent disparity in pain management puts lives at risk and calls for immediate action.

 

Race-Based Medical Practices:

A significant issue I called out in my TEDx talk was the flawed VBAC scoring system. The original VBAC pushed risky medical procedures on specific racial and ethnic groups while pushing others towards safer natural births. I emphasized that race is a social construct and should not determine medical decisions. While progress has been made with revising the VBAC, I highlighted the need for continued change. I urged healthcare providers to advocate for updated policies and comprehensive training. Addressing race based medicine will help reduce black mothers dying during child birth.

 

Taking Action Together:

I ask everyone, healthcare providers and patients, to be agents of change. I called upon my fellow healthcare professionals to educate themselves about the fallacy of race-based medicine and to actively challenge these practices within their institutions. To patients, I stressed the importance of speaking up when witnessing racial inequities and engaging in self-reflection to confront our own biases. If we all look at our own biases we can overcome Black Mothers dying 3x and so much more.

 

Conclusion:

This TEDx talk on Black Maternal Mortality was incredibly emotional for me. I shared a very personal story from my life. I share my passion and commitment to addressing race-based medical practices and unconscious bias. My hope is that by shedding light on these issues that result in Black Mothers dying more than any other race, we can create a healthcare system that is equitable for every individual, regardless of race or ethnicity.

 

Stay informed and make well-informed decisions about your health and well-being.

-Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)


Vaping: Beyond Harmless Water Vapor

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell or Dr. BCW. I recently partnered with the Nevada Cancer Coalition to discuss the dangers vaping poses to young people. In recent years, e-cigarettes or vape pens have gained popularity among young adults as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. However, it is crucial to understand that vaping poses significant risks to the health of young individuals, particularly those under 25. Contrary to popular belief, e-cigarettes do not merely emit harmless water vapor. In this blog post, we will explore the potential dangers of vaping and shed light on the importance of raising awareness about these risks.

The Reality of Vaping

E-cigarettes produce an aerosol, commonly mistaken for water vapor, that can contain harmful chemicals found in the e-juice used to fuel them. When inhaled, these aerosols enter the lungs, similar to traditional tobacco cigarettes, and like combustible cigarette smoke, this aerosol is also exhaled into the surrounding environment. This exhaled aerosol can pose a potential danger to those nearby, making passive exposure a cause for concern.

Nicotine and Its Impact

One of the most common concerns associated with vaping is the presence of nicotine. Nicotine, when inhaled, can disrupt the development of both the lungs and the brain, particularly in individuals under the age of 25. Young adults are still in a critical stage of growth and development, and exposing their developing bodies to nicotine can have long-lasting effects. It is important to realize the dangers of vaping extend beyond addiction; they can affect overall health and well-being.

Unintended Consequences of Flavoring

Flavored e-juices are extremely popular among e-cigarette users, with approximately 85% opting for flavored options. However, these flavors were not designed to be inhaled and may pose serious health risks. Artificial flavors used in e-cigarettes have been linked to the development of lung diseases. Shockingly, these flavors can contain dangerous chemicals such as benzene and heavy metals like nickel, tin, and lead. The inhalation of these substances can have severe consequences on respiratory health.

Taking Proactive Steps

Young adults must understand the risks to their health and the health of those around them. Recognizing that there is no safe use of e-cigarettes among youth, especially between the ages of 10 and 25, is the first step toward informed decision-making. By understanding the dangers of vaping, young individuals can make more informed choices about their well-being.

Conclusion

Vaping is not the harmless activity it is often portrayed to be. The risks associated with e-cigarettes extend far beyond harmless water vapor. The aerosol produced by these devices contains harmful chemicals, which, when inhaled, can disrupt the development of the lungs and the brain in young adults. Moreover, while enticing, the flavors used in e-cigarettes can introduce dangerous substances into the respiratory system. 

For more information on this topic, please visit HealthyLungsNV.org or these other sources.

Remember, your health matters.

Dr. Curry-Winchell (Dr. BCW)

 


Maternal Mortality – Health with Attitude

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell, participates in a regular segment with Eugene L. Green called Health With Attitude.  In the most recent installment, Dr. BCW talks with Eugene on Mother’s Day about Maternal Mortality in Black Mother’s.  There are serious disparities between black mothers and white mothers when it comes to death during pregnancy and it is something that needs to be addressed and taken seriously as it is literally killing mothers.

Dr. Curry-Winchell also recently did a blog on this topic as well.  Find that here – https://drbcw.com/maternal-mortality-in-black-women/

Check out this important video that highlights a serious equity issue that is terrorizing the black community.

Remember, to subscribe to Beyond Clinical Walls.  It really helps the channel and it helps Dr. BCW continue to provide helpful informations on health topics, health literacy and health inequity .  Thank you so much for your support – Dr. Curry-Winchell


Danger of Supplements

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell’s, health series Beyond Clinical Walls, talks about the danger of supplements after a recent study that found dangerously high levels of Melatonin in some gummy supplements.

In this episode of Beyond Clinical Walls, Dr. Curry-Winchell M.D., aka Dr. BCW, talks about a recent study that found dangerously high levels of Melatonin in some gummy supplements that were reviewed.  With some gummies having over 300% the recorded amount of Melatonin and some having zero Melatonin.  And some had substances that were not even recorded on the label at all.  It is important to be very mindful about vitamin and hormonal supplements you take.  Some can have negative impacts on your health.  Since there are no regulations regarding the manufacturing, distribution or marketing of supplements you also never know what you are actually getting.  To learn more about the danger of supplements, check out this video to learn more.  Make sure and check out this episode to learn more.

Remember, to subscribe to Beyond Clinical Walls.  It really helps the channel.  It also helps Dr. BCW continue to provide helpful informations on health topics, health literacy and health inequity .  Thank you so much for your support – Dr. Curry-Winchell


No Menthol Sunday

Hi, it’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, Dr. BCW, and today, let’s talk about No Menthol Sunday. No Menthol Sunday is an important initiative that aims at addressing the issue of menthol cigarettes and their impact on Black communities. Let’s delve into this topic and shed light on menthol.

The Influence of Menthol Marketing

Menthol is a minty flavor added to tobacco products, enticing younger individuals to start smoking and making it more challenging for them to quit. Shockingly, research reveals that 85% of Black smokers prefer menthol cigarettes, while only 30% of White smokers do. This is not an accident. This results from decades of targeted marketing efforts by the tobacco industry in Black communities.

The Role of the Tobacco Industry

The tobacco industry has invested heavily in advertising menthol products in Black publications and communities for years. This deliberate strategy has perpetuated the disproportionate prevalence of menthol cigarette use among Black smokers. By specifically targeting these communities, the tobacco industry has contributed to the disparities in health outcomes Black individuals face.

The Difficulty in Quitting Menthol

Studies have shown that quitting menthol cigarettes is more challenging than quitting tobacco without this flavor. The menthol’s cooling sensation can create a soothing effect, making it harder for individuals to break free from the addiction. Consequently, many Black smokers find it especially difficult to quit smoking.

The Impact on Health and Quality of Life

More than 16 million Americans currently live with smoking-related diseases. Black smokers, in particular, experience a higher burden of smoking-related health issues, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, chronic cough, and recurring lung infections. These symptoms disrupt their ability to engage in daily activities and enjoy life fully.

No Menthol Sunday and Taking Action

No Menthol Sunday is an important initiative to raise awareness about the impact of menthol cigarettes and support Black communities in overcoming this challenge. By educating individuals about the harmful effects of menthol and providing resources for quitting, this campaign seeks to empower Black smokers to make healthier choices and improve their overall well-being.

Getting Involved

I highly recommend watching “Black Lives / Black Lungs” by Lincoln Mondy on YouTube (link here). This eye-opening video sheds light on the intersection of race, tobacco marketing, and the impact on Black lives. To learn more about “No Menthol Sunday” and the organization responsible for establishing it, The Center for Black Health and Equity, please visit their websites. By supporting these organizations and spreading awareness about the impact of menthol cigarettes, we can help reduce health disparities and promote healthier communities.

Conclusion

The impact of menthol cigarettes on Black communities is a pressing issue that requires our attention. We can make a difference by supporting initiatives like “No Menthol Sunday” and promoting health equity for all. Stay informed, take action, and remember your health matters.

– Dr. BCW (Dr. Curry-Winchell)


Black People and Skin Cancer

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell’s, health series Beyond Clinical Walls, talks about black people, skin cancer and sunburns and some myths associated. Before you go out and enjoy the sun or have your next doctor visit make sure and educate yourself on the truth behind these topics.

In this episode of Beyond Clinical Walls, Dr. Curry-Winchell M.D., aka Dr. BCW, talks about sunburns, skin cancer and having dark skin.  Often there are myths surrounding people of color and things like sunburns and melanoma.  Many people believe that people of color cannot get sunburns.  And many believe that people of color cannot get melanoma.  These are both untrue, common misconceptions that can lead to major health disparities for people of color.  Make sure to learn more about the true nature black people, skin cancer and sunburns check out Dr. BCWs quick video on the topic, you might find that some of your long held believes are not 100% correct.  Make sure and check out this episode to learn more.

Remember, to subscribe to Beyond Clinical Walls.  It really helps the channel.  It also helps Dr. BCW continue to provide helpful informations on health topics, health literacy and health inequity .  Thank you so much for your support – Dr. Curry-Winchell


More Black Doctors, Longer Life Spans

Dr. BCW, Dr. Curry-Winchell’s, health series Beyond Clinical Walls, talks about a recent study that shows that counties with more Black Doctors results in Longer Life Spans for Black residents.

In this episode of Beyond Clinical Walls, Dr. Curry-Winchell M.D., aka Dr. BCW, talks about a recent study from The Journal of the American Medical Association, which showed a correlation between the number of Black Physicians in a county and the life span of Black residents in that county. This is another example of the critical role that Black Doctors play in bringing Health Equity to our healthcare system.  It is important to support improving black representation to help bring equity to health care.  This topic is incredibly important to Dr. BCW; in fact, it was the topic of her first TEDx talk – Why Do Blacks Mistrust the Healthcare System?  To learn more about how More Black Doctors equals Longer Life Spans, check out this video to learn more.  Make sure to check out this episode to learn more.

Remember, to subscribe to Beyond Clinical Walls.  It really helps the channel.  It also helps Dr. BCW continue to provide helpful informations on health topics, health literacy and health inequity .  Thank you so much for your support – Dr. Curry-Winchell


The Importance of Sharing Information with Your Doctor

Hi, It’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, Dr. BCW. Today I want to discuss the importance of sharing information with your doctor for the best health outcome. Effective communication between patients and healthcare providers is crucial for receiving optimal care. During doctor visits, you must openly share your concerns, family history, medication details, and the status of your health issues.

Unfortunately, barriers, such as fear, mistrust, and lack of knowledge, can hinder some patients from sharing. So let us explore the significance of sharing critical information with your doctor and provide tips for better communication. I did a related article on this with Eat This, Not That a while back. You can find that article here (https://www.eatthis.com/news-things-you-should-never-hide-from-your-doctor/). But this topic was so important I thought I should do a blog on it as well.

Sharing Your Concerns:

One of the primary challenges patients face is hesitating to share their concerns. Fear of being judged, feeling that their complaints will be trivialized, or worrying about wasting the doctor’s time can prevent patients from fully expressing their health issues. It is crucial to remember that every concern matters, and no question is too small. Doctors are there to support and guide you on your health journey, so it’s important to voice your worries.

Family History:

Sharing your family history with your doctor is vital. Many diseases and conditions have genetic links. Understanding your family’s medical background helps healthcare providers order appropriate screenings, monitor risks, and develop a comprehensive health plan.

Conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, and certain cancers can have a hereditary component. By sharing your family history, you empower your doctor to make informed decisions with you about your care plan.

Medications, Vitamins, and Supplements:

When visiting your doctor, please do not forget to disclose all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements. Even seemingly harmless over-the-counter medicines can interact with prescribed drugs or have unexpected side effects. A comprehensive list of your medications helps your doctor assess potential interactions and ensure your treatment plan is safe and effective.

Status of Your Health Issue:

Communicating the details of your health issue is essential for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Tell your doctor about the duration of the symptoms, how they started, and whether they have worsened, improved, or remained the same. This information provides valuable insights into the progression of your condition. Additionally, following up with your doctor after the visit is crucial, especially if your symptoms persist or worsen. This feedback allows your healthcare provider to adjust your treatment plan or recommend other care if needed.

Addressing Communication Challenges:

In cases where you feel your provider does not understand your concerns, advocate for yourself. Invest in a conversation, express your thoughts, and ensure your doctor hears and understands you.
If, for some reason, you are not able to communicate effectively or feel uncomfortable, consider seeking a new provider. Your health should be your top priority, and finding the right provider to be your health advocate is crucial.

Conclusion:

Effective communication between patients and healthcare providers is the cornerstone of quality care. By openly sharing your concerns, family history, medication details, and the status of your health issues, you empower your doctor to provide you with the best possible care. Patients should be active participants in their healthcare journeys. Work with your healthcare provider, forge stronger relationships, and help providers build the best healthcare plan possible.

Stay informed and make well-informed decisions about your health and well-being.
– Dr. BCW (Dr. Curry-Winchell)


Maternal Mortality in Black Women

Hi, It’s Dr. Curry-Winchell, Dr. BCW. In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to discuss maternal mortality in black women. Within this troubling reality of maternal mortality, a striking disparity exists. Black women, particularly in the United States, face a disproportionately higher risk of maternal death than their white counterparts. This fact demands attention and immediate action to address the systemic factors contributing to this tragic inequity.

The Stark Reality:

The statistics surrounding maternal mortality in black women are alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black women in the U.S. are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. Even in high-income brackets, well-educated black women face higher risks than their white counterparts with lower incomes and education levels. This glaring disparity persists across all age groups and income levels, underlining the deeply rooted structural issues.

Underlying Causes:

Access is often cited as the cause of many health-related disparities. However, given the findings that even economically fortunate and highly educated black women face a higher risk of death, this issue is not simply a matter of access. Several factors contribute to the elevated rates of maternal mortality among black women. First and foremost, racial bias within healthcare cannot be overlooked, and unconscious bias and racial stereotypes are undoubtedly a factor. These biases influence medical professionals’ decision-making resulting in poor health outcomes for black mothers. Studies show that black women often face inadequate medical care, misdiagnoses, and delays in treatment, leading to preventable deaths.

Do not fall into mental trap that this isn’t an issue any more. These biases are alive and well today.  Look at the 2016 study that showed that almost half of medical students surveyed believed that black patients had thicker skin and felt less pain than white patients.  Find the study here: https://www.aamc.org/news/how-we-fail-black-patients-pain

Social determinants of health can play a role. Economic disparities, limited access to quality healthcare, and higher rates of chronic diseases all contribute.

A Call for Action:

Addressing maternal mortality in black women requires everyone’s help, and we need to target both healthcare systems and social structures. Here are some steps that can help:

  1. Raising Awareness: Awareness of the disparities in maternal health outcomes among black women is crucial. Education and dialogue can foster empathy, drive change, and encourage action.
  2. Eliminating Racial Bias in Healthcare: Implementing training programs for healthcare professionals to recognize and combat racial bias is critical, as is dismantling structural racism within healthcare systems. 
  3. Investing in Community-Based Support: Establishing community-based programs that provide culturally competent care, support networks, and education can empower black women during pregnancy and childbirth. These initiatives can help bridge the gaps in healthcare access and provide vital resources.

Conclusion:

Maternal mortality in black women is a devastating and persistent crisis that needs our attention. The systemic factors contributing to this disparity must be acknowledged and addressed at all levels. By addressing racial bias within healthcare systems, improving access to quality care, and investing in community-based support, we can move towards a society where every woman, regardless of race, receives the care and support she deserves during the miraculous journey of motherhood.

Stay informed and make well-informed decisions about your health and well-being.

– Dr. BCW (Dr. Curry-Winchell)