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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

larryB&W@300This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one. I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

QUESTION: I have now heard from a few people in the comments section to this column who say that despite going to one of the top academic medical centers in the U.S. they are still no better. They want to know: What now?

ANSWER: Going to the largest academic medical center near you is the right start. However, there are situations where even that will not be enough. For example, I live 45-minutes north of the University of California San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF). I generally get good care there. However, if I were to develop a problem that is not getting resolved at UCSF, then I would look for a medical center that specializes in that particular part of the body or that particular diagnosis.

For example, if I were to develop an eye problem that was not resolved at UCSF, I would go to the nearest ophthalmology specialty center. For me, it would be the Jules Stein Institute at UCLA, a 7-hour drive south. There are specialty ophthalmology centers all around the U.S. For the complete list, go to http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings/ophthalmology

Medical centers specializing in other specialties can be found at http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings

Sometimes, even a specialty center is not enough. For example, there are experts in specific diagnoses. It could be that you have a rare disease and that the top expert for that diagnosis is not at any of the specialty hospitals or at any of the larger academic medical centers. The way to find that person is to search for your diagnosis on PubMed or Google Scholar. You will find one individual who has published far more than anyone else. If that researcher does not see patients, he or she will recommend who you should see.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment. What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health? Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column.

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