Medical Directions

Follow Us To Good Health


According to the Washington Post, the average adult sits 8 hours a day and it’s not just out of pure laziness, many Americans are forced to sit due to their occupational field or sitting behind the wheel of their car. An hour commute, an 8 hour shift at work, a 2 hour binge watch at night, this may be your typical day, which means you are sitting far more than the average American adult. Not only can sitting all day become rather boring, but sitting can lead to health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and simply increase your mortality rate of any cause of death by 50%. Here are some tips for staying healthy and active in a world of sitting:

Adjust Your Desk and Chair

 

Millions of Americans sit at a desk and in front of a computer screen for 40 hours a week. The more you sit, the more you may notice little things like an achy back, a nagging headache, or even eye strain, which are often all related to your posture at your desk. Take a look around the office, how many colleagues are slouching, straining their eyes, or resting their feet on the legs of their rolling chair. This posture often occurs when we are concentrating or simply forget how we should be sitting.

 

A healthier (and proper) posture is to sit up straight rather than leaning forward, relax your shoulders, keep your arms close to your sides, keep elbows bent 90 degrees, and your feet flat on the floor. With a proper adjustment of your chair, you should be able to achieve this posture. Many people, who work in front of a computer all day, put their computer monitors on a stand (or elevate them some other way) so the head can look forward, rather than down. By simply changing your posturing, you are taking stress and pressure away from your spine, neck, and even vital organs. If you need to remind yourself to sit up straight, set an alarm on your computer or phone to “check your posture”. It may take you time to adjust, but you’ll notice improvements over time.

Get Up

 

When you’re hard at work, answering emails, filing reports, and taking care of other important business, it’s easy to lose track of time. You check your clock and it’s already lunchtime (when you’ll leave your desk and continue to sit somewhere else). When you have a break, try to make the most of it. If you’re hungry, have a light snack, but then take the remaining time to walk around the office complex or even hit the outdoors. If you’re short on time, do a couple of laps up and down the steps (skipping the elevator whenever possible). If breaks are somewhat infrequent, set an alarm on your computer or phone and take a short lap around the cubicles. Take any chance you can get to move, even if that means grabbing a document from the printer or filling up your water bottle at the water cooler.

If you need a little boost of motivation to remind you to keep moving in a busy work day, download a self-monitoring app to your phone, such as an app that tracks your steps, and set a goal to hit that amount of steps each day.

Keep Moving

 

When you have a busy work and home life, it’s difficult to find time to exercise, but make it a goal to move, stand, or stretch whenever you get a free moment whether you’re binge watching your favorite show or taking the subway home from a long day at the office. Your mind and body will thank you.

 

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What’s cffDNA?

Cell free fetal DNA testing, or shortly cffDNA is a new test that gives parents’ the ability to know whether their unborn baby suffers from certain chromosome disorders. Such disorders include Down Syndrome, Patau Syndrome, and Edwards Syndrome. Besides these, any other condition connected to irregular chromosome numbers can be detected. Of course, other tests in the past existed and still exist, such as amniocentesis, which give accurate results. However, one of the most positive aspects of cffDNA is the non-invasive method of examination which is done through the mother’s blood. The material which is examined is the cffDNA. This is the genetic material that is released by the placenta into the bloodstream of the mother. The release of cffDNA starts in the initial trimester of the pregnancy. At the beginning of the pregnancy, it is released in low quantities, but it increases as the pregnancy progresses. It serves to detect the genetic map of the baby that is developing.

Screening/Diagnostic Testing

This test represents a screening test, rather than a diagnostic test. It is not standard in use as the older routine prenatal tests, but it can be requested. This test gives more accurate, specific and sensitive data. In cases when the screening findings appear abnormal, the direction of the procedure turns to more invasive methods such as CVS (chorionic villus sampling) and amniocentesis. Only after the latter two are performed, a correct diagnosis can be carried out.

As stated, cell free DNA testing can be ordered, but usually under certain circumstances. These may include cases when the mother has an increased possibility of carrying a child that has increased risk of a chromosome disorder because of maternal age, previous pregnancy with a trisomy, known circumstances that place the fetus at risk, as well as several other related factors.

After the test has been performed and the protein examined, the results can be positive or negative. If the cffDNA results are negative, then it means that the circumstances for the baby having a trisomy 21, 18 or 13 are highly unlikely. However, other types of chromosome abnormalities that have not been tested should not be excluded just yet. If the test results are positive then the fetus is at increased risk. As mentioned, this is only a screening test. After receiving positive results, then it is obligatory to perform the diagnostic tests to be certain.

Additional information about the DNA test

The cffDNA test is still new and being worked on, so it may take a while until it becomes routine clinical use. As the research expands, so do the possibilities of usage of the test. Some of the flaws of the test are the false negative results which a mother can get if the test was performed before the tenth week of the pregnancy. This can happen because of the scarcity of the protein in the woman’s bloodstream. Test results can also be affected by obesity, which in turn decreases the amount of the cffDNA in blood. Researchers have also found a rare instance where different cell lines with genetic information can appear in the placenta. That means that some cells can contain a trisomy, while others don’t, thus giving a false prediction about the overall pregnancy in general.

What are your thoughts on the reliability of cffDNA testing?

 

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The news may be tough to hear for many drinkers, but the British government recently unveiled new recommendations for alcohol consumption. The recommendations suggest fewer drinks per weeks than have past recommendations.

What are the new guidelines? What is the reasoning behind them? And does this new announcement signal a global change in recommended alcohol intake? Let’s find out.

Stick to Two Drinks a Day

The basic new National Health Service (NHS) advice is that regular drinkers should stick to 14 drinks per week. This has long been the standard advice given to women, but it now applies to men as well. Luckily, regular drinkers can still safely get some of their evening drinking in; 14 drinks per week averages out to 2 a night. Not too bad. And since men and women now get the same recommendations, sticking to this schedule will be easier for couples to stick to.

Pace Yourself Over the Course of a Week

Regular moderate drinking is still preferred over quick binges. It would not be safe to have seven drinks twice a week, for instance. Binge drinking is never safe or advisable. Bingeing is associated with high risks of long-term health problems, and it leads to greatly increased risks of accidents, falls, and other physical damages that come with drunkenness.

The NHS advises drinker to pace themselves, to consume food with alcohol, and to alternate alcoholic drinks with nonalcoholic drinks. This will prevent drunkenness and encourage a huge variety of healthy lifestyle choices.

Pregnant Women Should Avoid Alcohol Completely

If you’re pregnant, you should cut out drinking completely. Everything you consume will filter down to your unborn child, and your future child’s body is not yet up to the challenge of dealing with alcohol. You wouldn’t give beer to a toddler, and you should give one to a fetus.

This advice is, of course, not new. Pregnant women have been told for years to avoid alcohol, but the new guidelines reiterate this important point.

Why Were the Guidelines Changed?

Governments have been offering drinking advice for decades, so why has the NHS recently changed its tune? Science always improves on itself, and more data means that public health experts are always improving their knowledge and advice. The NHS had not updated its policy in about twenty years, so researchers figured it was time for a fresh look at the guidelines that included more information. They took that look, and the new guidelines are the result.    

What About Other Governments?

Every government in the world offers drinking advice. Why should you be paying attention to the NHS’s guidelines, especially if you’re not a British citizen?

The UK’s guidelines are much more limiting than most of the world’s governments’, at least for men (14 per week is a common recommendation for women around the world). One thing the British research takes into account is the link between alcohol and cancer. 21 drinks per week may not be immediately dangerous for men, but it may increase risks for many cancers.

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For decades, the future for mesothelioma patients has been bleak. The lung cancer that is related to exposure to asbestos typically affects anyone who worked with or in close quarters with asbestos containing materials. “Shipyard workers and Navy veterans are at a high risk of developing mesothelioma,” says Belluck & Fox, “since many of those individuals lived and worked on navy vessels that asbestos containing materials such as insulation and heating/cooling systems.”

 

On Navy vessels, in particular, the work and living spaces are cramped and ship workers and Navy seamen were likely to breathe in the asbestos particles when they moved, fixed or even brushed up against any component that contained asbestos. At the time, basically anytime before the 1970’s, no one really knew of the dangers of being in contact with the cancer causing materials. Unfortunately, the damage that asbestos causes doesn’t appear until decades later when individuals find out they have an aggressive form of lung cancer and often times, there’s little that can be done.

Promising New Drugs

 

Up until recently, the only available treatments for mesothelioma was surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, and even those have had less than promising results. Many patients opt for treatment in hopes of relieving some of the pain, while others (doubtful of any hope) reject treatment of any kind.

 

In October of 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two new immunotherapy drugs, Keytruda and Opdivo, to be used to fight malignant pleural mesothelioma (or the mesothelioma that affects the lungs). Both drugs were currently used to treat and fight other forms of cancers, but seemed promising for mesothelioma patients with the shortest rates of survival.

 

Keytruda and Opdivo target PD-1 and PD-L1, specific proteins that block an immune system from attacking cancer cells, these proteins were found in patients with aggressive forms of mesothelioma and who had been given the shortest survival time.

How It’s Being Used in Treatment

 

While each drug has shown promising results when used on its own, Keytruda and Opdivo are most effective when used with other drugs as secondary treatment in eliminating any remaining cancer cells after surgery, for example.

 

Since mesothelioma and lung cancer are different because of the way that mesothelioma forms in the lungs. Over time, years after asbestos exposure, cancerous masses cover a large area of the lungs and the ability to separate healthy or cancerous cells is almost impossible. Lung cancer on the other hand can occur from many different types of exposures and doesn’t necessarily spread the same way mesothelioma does. Despite the differences, researchers are confident that Keytruda and Opdivo, with their immunotherapy capabilities, will start to make small changes and hope for mesothelioma patients who have wanted assuming that there’s little option of survival.
While some individuals with mesothelioma may not be recommended for treatment using Keytruda or Opdivo, it may be particularly promising and hopeful for individuals who have otherwise been given a small window of survival. As with all cancer treatments, nothing is guaranteed, but after years of little promise, Keytruda and Opdivo may just be the key to stopping mesothelioma from spreading.

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Diabetes does not have a cure. In spite of all the advancements made on treatment, the only way to beat diabetes is by managing it. This can be done through lifestyle and food choices. It is a commitment that has to be made to oneself. These lifestyle choices may mean becoming more active, quitting smoking, and taking prescribed medications as indicated, among other changes.

Managing Diabetes: Lifestyle

Diabetes can be controlled and there is treatment for it. There are a few things to help manage diabetes.

  • Keep your blood sugar levels in check. Have an understanding on what to do to keep the levels as close to normalcy as you possibly can. Religiously take your medicine. Maintain a good balance of medication, food, exercise, and good sleep habits.
  • Follow a meal plan. Adhere strictly to the diabetes eating plan as much as you can.
  • Keep healthy snacks You’ll be less likely to snack on empty calories.
  • Regular exercise.It helps you stay fit, burns calories, and helps get your blood glucose levels down.
  • Medical appointments are a must.Schedule regular appointments with your dietician, family doctor, dentist, ophthalmologist, other professionals from your health care team. Your approach to your health should be holistic.

Optimal Foods for Those with Diabetes:

Oatmeal

Oatmeal, although a carbohydrate, can aid in controlling your blood sugar. The high soluble fiber is slow to digest and keeps you feeling full for longer. The oats do not raise blood sugar as much as other carbohydrates may or as quickly.

Broccoli, Spinach, and Green Beans

Broccoli, spinach, and green beans, are non starchy vegetables that should definitely be added to any diabetic diet. They are low in carbohydrates as well as high in fiber, making them perfect for people with diabetes.

Strawberries

As strawberries are sweet, some diabetes patients tend to avoid them. A cup of strawberries is a healthy snack that won’t raise the blood sugar too high. Of course, strawberries are a much better option to cookies. They are high in fiber and water, but, low in calories and carbohydrates. You will feel fuller longer. Once you feel full longer, the fewer carbohydrates you’ll consume overall.

Salmon and Lean Meats

High protein meats do not contribute to blood sugar like carbohydrates. Fish, skinless chicken breast and lean cuts of meat in good proportions are good picks for diabetic meal plans. Salmon contains omega 3 and helps prevent heart attacks or strokes, which statistics show, 65% of diabetic patients die from. Chromium is a mineral a found in meat. It helps insulin function properly and aids the body in metabolizing carbohydrates.

Sparkling Water

If you are someone who likes sodas, go for the option of sparkling water. They come in many different flavors such as apple, pear, grapefruit, and tangerine. Quite a number of sparkling waters have no calories or carbohydrates. This is not just good for blood sugar, but also for losing or controlling weight as well.

Cinnamon

There has been a lot of hype about cinnamon lately. It is said that it may contain qualities similar to those of insulin and aid in reducing blood sugar levels. After a recent study in Germany, it was observed that of two groups of type 2 diabetes patients, those that those who took the cinnamon extract, their blood sugar level was lowered by 10.3% as opposed to the other(placebo) group’s 3.4%. This brought them to the conclusion that there may be a moderate effect of cinnamon reducing blood sugar levels, most especially among those who had more trouble controlling blood sugar.

How do you manage your diabetes? Please leave your comments below:

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Does the response time in medical emergencies significantly affect mortality? Studies show that the response time in medical emergencies, including motor accidents, does indeed have an impact on mortality and in life threatening situations. The lower the response time, the higher the chance of saving the patient.

Although the response time is usually lower in emergencies featuring cardiac arrests, there is no doubt that fast response times matter in other emergency cases as well. There have been several technological advances created for decreasing response time in medical emergencies, as well as preventing those emergencies.

Call to Shock Time

According to an article on the Huffington Post, the average response time to get to a building on fire in New York City is 4 minutes and 12 seconds, while the response time for a life threatening emergency in the same city is 6 minutes and 17 seconds. However it is generally acknowledged that these are merely official response times, and that the actual response time is usually much more in most cities in the US, including Los Angeles. Each year, several lives are lost which could have been saved if emergency services had gotten to the scene on time. As a result of this, many cities are now deploying technology to save lives. One such city is Rochester, Minnesota. Rochester has issued defibrillators and the appropriate training on how to use these devices to police officers. They have placed a high emergency on those who suffer from cardiac arrest. If there is an emergency, an alert goes out to every officer all over the city. This has been met with incredible success.  With patients who suffer from cardiac arrest, every second matters.

Preventive Technology

Every year, more than 30 thousand people die from automobile accidents in the US. Teens form a large percentage of this number. To that effect, there are now several companies using technology to diminish the number of teen mortality in automobile accidents. The strategy is a preventive one. Through apps and virtual technology, parents can now keep tab on their teen’s driving habits. Beyond that, car manufacturers are beginning to include systems on their vehicles which provide parental controls. Taking it a step further, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been working on an automatic breaking technology. These preventative measures could potentially save lives.

Mobile and Cloud Technology

Data is an integral part of efficient medical emergency response and law enforcement firms are harnessing the potential of mobile and cloud technology to make the sharing of data between emergency response teams seamless. This has always been a problem for emergency response teams. Having access to a platform that is web based and can be shared seamlessly across mobile devices is expected to significantly diminish response times.

 

Word of Caution

As with anything that is newly emerging, there may be faults with the application. These technologies are relatively new, so use caution. Keep in mind that a glitch in a hospital’s electronic health records can result in major medical errors, as stated by Indianapolis medical malpractice attorneys. Be sure to always communicate your medical information to the appropriate personnel when receiving care. Carrying important medical information in a hardcopy can also be useful.

Many more technologies are emerging which make use of mobile and cloud technologies to improve response times. If mortality can be affected by a delay of mere seconds, the importance of improving response time in medical emergencies cannot be overemphasized.

Have you been in a medical emergency where help took too long to arrive?

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Delirium in Hospitals

Delirium in Hospitals


Posted By on Nov 10, 2015

Delirium is harrowing condition characterized by hallucinations and confusion. Delirium sufferers can experience vivid waking nightmares, which can appear without warning and last weeks. Hospital delirium is scary. Hospitalized patients are already in weakened states, and hospitals contain a huge number of hazards for people who are in a confused state.

 

Luckily, medical professionals, families, and journalists have been raising awareness about this strange and nightmarish condition. Several articles have lately pointed to the acute dangers presented by delirium appearing in already hospitalized patients. Medical professionals are still not entirely sure about the causes of or solutions to hospital delirium, but they and the care teams of patients are discussing the big relevant issues and trying to identify solutions.

What is Delirium?

First, delirium is not the same thing as dementia. Delirium can come and come, and it is generally less predictable than dementia. The two can be present together, and ruling out delirium is an important step in identifying dementia. Delirium patients frequently recover fully, so the distinction is an important one.  

 

Delirium is often preventable but is regularly missed or misdiagnosed (research suggests it can be missed in up to half of all cases). Part of the reason delirium is so often missed is because its symptoms can include things present in other conditions. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), these symptoms can include:

  • hallucinations
  • exhaustion and disrupted sleep  
  • memory loss
  • trouble completing normal tasks like going to the bathroom
  • mood swings

Many of these symptoms will look familiar to anyone who has dealt with dementia. Even trained physicians miss it. Unlike dementia, though, delirium can often be stopped (dementia is usually permanent and degenerative). Delirium is often directly related to medications, and taking a patient off these medications can make the problem vanish.

Why Does Delirium Occur in Hospitals?

Delirium hits hospital patients most often when they’ve been sedated (in fact, some doctors refer to the condition as “ICU psychosis”). The sedatives which medical professionals use to numb patients during highly stressful and invasive operations—ostensibly to keep patients’ emotions safe—appear to be associated with delirium. Additionally, the intense stress that comes with an operation, and the unfamiliar location of the hospital, can put patients at risk of developing the condition.

 

Hospital delirium is a common occurrence, affecting 7 million patients every year, according to an article which ran this summer in the Atlantic. If one of your loved ones is sedated during an operation, monitor her or him for any sign of delirium. Don’t write off strange behavior as simply the normal reaction of an elderly person to stress. Additionally, don’t assume someone who acts strangely around the same time as their surgery is developing dementia. Remember how frequently delirium diagnoses are missed.   

 

Keep an eye on any hospitalized loved ones you suspect may be suffering from delirium. Hospitals are not good places to wander around confused in. Medical equipment can be dangerous when misused. Moreover, hospitals can be cold and frightening to a person suffering from hallucinations and confusion. Stress will not help someone with delirium, and may even prolong the effects.

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A trip to the emergency room can catch anyone of guard. However, it is crucial to be prepared for even this type of scenario. The Colleran Firm reports that, “emergency room errors may be caused by doctors’ fatigue, poor decisions, and overcrowding…The consequences are serious: delays in treatment, inappropriate diagnostic testing, medication errors, and failure to call in specialists (among other errors) can all lead to a patient’s injury or death.” Knowing this, it is important to know what to do if there is a medical emergency. Knowing what to expect can help you better understand the chaos in an emergency room. Being prepared before you are taken to an emergency room can prove to be just as important.

Keep things handy: Whether it is for you or your loved ones, you need to keep emergency contact numbers handy. Save the contact details of the nearby hospital or doctor on your cell phone. You can also consider keeping an emergency contact number on the lock screen of the phone itself. This would mean that you can make a call to the emergency contact even when your phone is locked. You can save important medical information in your mobile phone or in just any other form you want. Information regarding diabetes, allergies, and the medicines you take should always be kept handy in case of an emergency. In case of an accident, people often do not remember such details. That is the reason you should make it a point to carry important documents digitally or as hard copies. The information list that you keep should also contain important facts like allergies and ailments.

Speak up about your ailments and repeat yourself: If you ever fall victim to an emergency situation, you should communicate and speak up as much as possible with the doctors and caregivers. You must make sure that they understand the exact problems you are in. If possible, relay the same information to all the caregivers who come to treat you. Do not assume that if you have told a particular thing to the nurse, the doctor will surely know it too. Repeat, repeat, repeat to help avoid medical malpractice. You must provide a clear picture of your health condition before the  doctors make any decisions about your care.

Give Information and ask for information:You must remember that a lot of cases of medical malpractice occur due to improper, delayed, or incorrect diagnosis of health problems. Do not hold any sensitive issue from the doctor who is treating you. When you are prescribed any medicine, you need to ask which medicine you need to take for what problem and when. You should also ask when to follow up. Do not be hesitant to question emergency room staff and doctors until you are completely clear, and understand all details.

Plan ahead: Know what  your payment method will be ahead of time. It is important to keep credit cards handy in case you must rush out the door. This way you are able to pay for any emergency related medical costs using these cards at a medical facility. Keep a change of clothes and other essentials in a bag nearby for unexpected overnight stays.

Medical emergencies are scary and usually unexpected experiences. You may not always be able to avoid them, but there are a number of things that you can do better handle a crisis situation.

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