Friday, October 5, 2007

Good marriage = good health?

Are people who are married healthier than those who aren’t? Some studies claim that they are. In this article at WebMD, Married People Are Healthiest, Except for Weight, Says CDC, the author reviews a study of 127,000 adults between 1999 and 2002 published by the Centers of Disease Control in the United States. It says, “Across the board, married people were healthiest. "’Married persons were healthier for nearly every measure of health,’ says the CDC. That was true for all ages, ethnicities, and levels of income and education. The connection between marriage and health was strongest in the youngest group, aged 18-44.”

The article goes on to say, “Married people were also less likely to smoke, drink heavily, and be physically inactive.” What is interesting is that the study goes on to say that living together didn’t have the same effect as marriage.

Ok, that’s one article/study – but the has another one: Healthy Marriage: Why Love is Good for You. In this article the authors used a study from Harvard: “According to one Harvard University study, married women are 20 percent less likely than are single women to die of a variety of causes, including heart disease, suicide and cirrhosis of the liver. Married men enjoy an even greater benefit — they're two to three times less likely to die of such causes than are single men. Statistics have also shown married people are less likely to be victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes.”

Of course, an unhealthy marriage isn’t going to have the same effect, so we can’t say that all marriages will produce healthier people, that’s for sure.

So, what’s with all this marriage talk today? Twenty-two years ago, my husband and I joined the marriage club. Two sons and a daughter, and 22 years later, we’re still married and still moving ahead. He’s a good man and a wonderful father to our kids. I couldn’t have picked better.

News for Today:

Health Canada pulls osteoarthritis drug Prexige
ATV hospitalizations vastly outnumber last decade
Pregnant women not eating enough fish, U.S. group says
Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Men with chronic heart failure can have active sex lives
Screening: Testing Early for Cholesterol
Studies Endorse 'Virtual Colonoscopy'
Kids' use of heartburn drugs jumps: study

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Saturday, October 6, 2007: World Hospice & Palliative Care Day.

What is World Hospice & Palliative Care Day? According to their website, “World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world.

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day will take place on October 6th 2007 with Voices for Hospices, the global musical marathon event which has over 500 concerts around the world and is the official fundraising event for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2007."

Among the people who know me, it’s no secret that I have a strong interest in death and dying, and the end-of-life stages. I recall taking a humanities class in college called Death and Dying, although truth be told, I can’t recall anything of what I learned. But it must be that the class sparked my interest because even when I was working in the acute care hospitals, I felt like I could make a difference with my patients who we knew were going to die.

To that end, I’ve started my own site on Palliative Care. I invite people to look at it and use it for the resource that I hope it will be. It’s definitely in its infancy and I’m hoping that it becomes as useful a tool as I think it could be. If it does, I’ll move it to its own domain and see how large it can grow.

News for Today:

New device helps repair meniscus tears in knee
Drug-coated stents safe, Canadian study finds
How pitching changes little leaguers' shoulders
FDA explores behind-the-counter drug sales
American College of Physicians recommends flu vaccination for health-care workers
Left main coronary artery disease can double or treble heart risk in siblings
New guide aims to help parents ensure their children get best available ADHD treatments
Taste and anorexia

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Many waiting for organs

Almost 4000 Canadians were waiting for life-saving organ transplants in 2001, and thousands more were waiting for other transplants, such as corneas and heart valves, indicate statistics gathered by Health Canada. Sadly, according to more information from 2001, there were only 14 organ donors per million people. Luckily for the few people who do get the organs, the organ donors usually donate more than one organ upon their death.

What adds to the frustration of these low donation numbers, is that organ transplants are highly successful surgeries – adding years to the recipients’ life.

According to Health Canada, nearly 98% of all kidney transplants, 90% of liver transplants, and 85% of heart transplants are successful.

Five myths about organ donation:

Myth 1: You can’t donate if you’re older than 65 years.
If your organs and tissues are healthy, they can be donated for transplantation.

Myth 2: Your religion may forbid organ donation.
Most religions make allowances for organ donation. It falls under the realm of saving a life or as an act of kindness.

Myth 3: You cannot have an open casket if you’ve donated your organs.
When organs are removed, it is performed as surgery and the body is treated with respect. Since bodies in an open casket are wearing clothes, there would be no sign of any incisions or marks.

Myth 4: Signing my organ donation card is all I need to do.
While a signed organ donation card indicates to the medical staff that you want to be an organ donor, your family is usually consulted and can over-ride your wishes, so it is very important to speak to them and discuss your wishes.

Myth 5: Doctors won’t work as hard to save you if you are an organ donor.
Most of the time, the doctors who are working to save your life won’t even know you are an organ donor. If they do know, this still doesn’t affect your care. Organ donations are handled by different doctors in different groups; they are only called in when a potential donor has been identified and cannot be saved.

News for Today:

Many high-risk people skip flu vaccination: StatsCan
Men Are Likelier to Receive Heart Devices, Studies Show
UT Southwestern investigating hypothermic technique in treating pediatric head injuries
Health alerts issued for 4 unauthorized foreign medications
Exercise and supplements boost seniors' strength
Patients over age 60 do well after liver transplantation

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Thoughts on studies

Ever wonder why a particular study is done? Where the ideas come from and how researchers get their funding? I do wonder sometimes.

I understand the interest and the need to understand the basis of certain disorders, but some are just so obvious. One of the stories today, Panic attacks associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events and death in older women. Am I the only one who isn’t surprised? If you have a panic attack, your heart races like mad, your body reacts in ways that trigger that fight or flight response (big time!) and you either want to curl up in bed and hide forever or you want to die. Another story, High blood pressure may be due to excess weight in half of overweight adults from last week, also made me wonder if I should even pick it for my news picks.

Many studies I read are very interesting and provide good food for thought, but other ones really make me wonder why they’re being done and if they are really helpful or just high-level make-work projects. What can I say? I’m a wee bit on the cynical side.

News for Today:
Common prostate cancer treatment could lead to metastasis: study
Health Canada issues alerts for unauthorized arthritis, joint treatments
Loud classrooms hurting students: audiologists
Driven people may avoid Alzheimer's
M. D. Anderson-Prevention poll finds women can do more to prevent cancer...but aren't
Panic attacks associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events and death in older women
Combination of medication and psychotherapy appears most effective for treatment of depressed teens
ACP and APS issue comprehensive guidelines for treating low-back pain
New treatment for stroke works up to a day after symptoms start

Monday, October 1, 2007

Occupational therapy and physiotherapy

Many people don’t understand the difference between the two professions, so when an article such as Occupational therapy is an effective way of improving the daily life of stroke patients
appears, it can raise questions.

Even after I’d graduated from nursing, I wasn’t entirely clear on the difference between the two because I’d had so little exposure to them. It was only when I worked in a school for physically handicapped and/or deaf children that I learned what each did.

The easy explanation is that the physiotherapists focus on getting people moving, working on their gross motor function skills. They help people learn how to walk again, maintain their balance, use walking aids, and as well as helping them with range of motion of the joints. Physiotherapists also work on reducing pain and inflammation of certain types of injuries. Occupational therapists work on the finer motor things that allow people to regain their independence, such as helping you dress yourself, cook, or work, for example. They figure out adaptations to make these possible if adaptations are needed. OTs can work with children, the disabled, or the elderly, as can physiotherapists.

Of course, I won’t/can’t presume to speak for anyone in those two fields so I will keep my explanation at that basic level, but their work does involve a lot more than just what I wrote. Although their clients may be referred to them by medical doctors, the therapists need to assess their clients, make up treatment plans, and then follow through on the, adapting them as needed. They often have to work with families to help with special adaptations, as needed, or to help them learn specific types of exercises and therapies so that treatment can continue at home.

Both are very interesting fields and can lead in many directions.

News for Today:

Women with severe PMS perceive their sleep quality to be poor
Journal SLEEP: disturbed sleep linked to poorer daytime function in older women
Lower metabolism, eating behavior possibly explain the cause of overweight in narcolepsy
Initial reaction to nicotine can dictate addiction
Treating sleep apnea reduces heart attack, stroke risk: study
Cough, cold medicines not for young children: U.S. health officials
Occupational therapy is an effective way of improving the daily life of stroke patients
Only half of hypertensive California adults take blood pressure-lowering drugs
High blood pressure may be due to excess weight in half of overweight adults

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Popping up on Google a lot

A quick Sunday morning post.

I've found that my blog is definitely picking up in hits. Although I have a few regular readers, I get lots of readers from Google hits. It's interesting to see what word string have brought people to my blog.

Using StatCounter, I can see where people come from and get an idea of how many hits per day I'm getting. I use the free version so I have to keep clearing my stats, but it's all I need for now. Anyway, sometimes, I'll go back and do a Google search for the ones I see on my stats page and I'm amazed at how high my blog is - almost always in the first page and then, at least half-way up, if not higher.

I hope that people who find their way here through these searches like what they see and get something out of it. I have fun writing the posts and do love getting emails and comments about my posts.

And that's it for an early Sunday morning. See you tomorrow.