Friday, January 25, 2008

Talking to your doctor about pain

Explaining your pain to a doctor can be very difficult. Your idea of pain and the doctor's idea of pain may not be on the same wavelength or your doctor may not understand what you are trying to convey.

If you look at how many people are reluctant to mention their pain to their doctors to begin with and combine this with a difficulty to discuss pain, then you can see we have a real problem.

Some people are much better with visual aids than explaining things, so the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has published a pain drawing that allows you to mark where you are having pain and what the pain is like. If you click on the drawing, you will go to the site where you can download it to print it off. I think it's a great idea so I do hope that people will take advantage of it.

News for Today:

Cigarette toxins wipe out anti-aging gene: U.S. study

New technique could spare transplant patients from anti-rejection drugs

Heart bypass best for multiple blockages

Thalidomide Receives Positive Opinion for Treatment of First-line Multiple Myeloma from European Medicines Agency

African Americans Should Not Stop Taking Vytorin or Zetia Without Consulting Their Healthcare Providers

Allergies blamed for some cases of irritable bowel

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Driving proves potentially hazardous for people with early Alzheimer's

Driving proves potentially hazardous for people with early Alzheimer's - that's the title of a press release on Eurekalert. Gee, you think?

I don't want to make light of this and I'm not. Alzheimer's disease is a devastating illness and people who have been hurt in accidents because of someone driving who shouldn't have been is equally devastating. But I'm astounded, truly astounded, to read this: "While the study does confirm previous reports of potentially hazardous driving in persons with early AD, it also indicates that some individuals with very mild dementia can continue to drive safety for extended periods of time."

Who is going to decide which people with early AD can drive? Do we really have the resources to follow up on this? If someone with early AD can drive one month, depending on the speed of deterioration, who is to say he or she can drive the next month?

This paragraph blew me away: "The study results indicate that people with early AD experienced more accidents and performed more poorly on road tests when compared to participants without cognitive impairments. “We also found that people with what is defined as mild dementia were significantly more like to fail a road test than those defined with very mild dementia.”"

I know I've gone on about studies that are a waste of time and money, but really - was this necessary? Did we really need a study to tell us that someone with dementia could be a danger behind the wheel??

News for Today:

Study questions benefit of cough, cold meds for adults

Too few U.S. adults get their vaccines: survey

Study Says Allergy Shots Help Children, Reduce Health Care Costs

Less education may lead to delayed awareness of Alzheimer's onset

Driving proves potentially hazardous for people with early Alzheimer's

Mayo Clinic Study Finds Further Association Between Diabetes and Pancreatic Cancer

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Keeping our older friends and family safe

A big issue when an elderly parent or grandparent lives alone is safety. People who are older tend to have more medical problems than the younger generations and this can lead to problems like falling.
Certain medications may make someone dizzy or light-headed or if a sleeping pill is taken and they have to get up in the middle of the night, they may get disoriented. Sadly, once an elderly person breaks a bone, it may not be easy for him or her to recover fully. This article brings to light the importance of accident prevention: Risk Of Falling Is Overlooked As The Major Cause Of Fractures In The Elderly.

Accidents will always happen; many are not avoidable, however, many are. In order to stay safe, here are some safety tips:

- Get rid of all scatter rugs. They can slip and cause a fall.
- Ensure that all edges of carpets and rugs are flat or taped down.
- Keep stairways free of clutter that can be tripped over or stepped on.
- Make sure stairways are well lit at night.
- Install handrails in the bathroom for both the toilet and the shower.
- Ensure all electrical cords are tucked well away so they don't become tripping hazards.
- Be sure that there are as many telephones as is reasonable so that one may be reached in case of emergency.
- Consider registering for one of the one-button safety programs so help is within reach.

If you have any to add, I would love to hear them.

News for Today:

Melanomas may appear noticeably different than other moles
Surgical site infections more common than expected following breast procedures
Saline nasal wash helps improve children's cold symptoms
Risk Of Falling Is Overlooked As The Major Cause Of Fractures In The Elderly

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pregnant? Worried about staying healthy and safe?

Being pregnant seems to be a minefield these days. "Don't do this, don't do that - I know we used to do this but now we don't" - and so on. Who do we believe?

The latest don't is caffeine: Kaiser Permanente study shows link between caffeine and miscarriage. This is, to me, a rather significant study because caffeine is in many things we eat and drink. While we all realize the amount of caffeine in coffee, we don't always realize we are consuming it. Caffeine is found in some soft drinks, tea, and chocolate, for example.

In this study, over 1000 women participated and the researchers found that women who had two or more cups of coffee per day (or 5 12-oz cans of caffeinated soda) had a risk twice as high than women who did not of having a miscarriage.

Since caffeine is a stimulant, this does make sense. It's like a drug and one the baby's developing body can metabolize properly.

News for Today:

Kaiser Permanente study shows link between caffeine and miscarriage

Humira (adalimumab) Receives FDA Approval For Moderate to Severe Chronic Plaque Psoriasis

Anaesthetic Plaster In UK - Rapydan(R) - Now Available For The Relief Of Pain Associated With Injections