Friday, February 22, 2008

Seniors and chronic pain

It stands to reason that many seniors experience chronic pain because many tend to have disorders or illnesses that can contribute to pain. The issue isn't so much that they have it - it's what we need to do about it.

Did you know that, in Canada, seniors are expected to make up about one-quarter the population by the year 2031? People who are in pain are less able to contribute to society, less able to care for themselves and require more assistance from others.

As the population ages, there will be fewer people in caregiving roles who will have to give more care. The CBC has an article on chronic pain and the elderly. It's a bit of an eye opener if this isn't an issue you've yet thought about:

News for Today:
Chronic pain a big issue for seniors: StatsCan
Improvement in diabetes a positive side effect of obesity surgery
Strokes triple among middle-aged women in U.S.: study
1 in 4 Americans knows heart attack warning signs: CDC
Stroke more prevalent in United States than in Europe
A regular dip could benefit fibromyalgia sufferers

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Google and Health

It's all over the news right now, about how Google wants to do a health information type thing, but they're not the first to do it. Microsoft and Revolution health have both done this already, and some US institutions have already been offering the service.

If you're interested, I wrote a quick article about it this morning for

What do you think about this?

News for Today:
Vitamin E may increase tuberculosis risk in male smokers with high vitamin C intake
Strokes triple among middle-aged women in U.S.: study

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Timing is everything

It's scary, but it's true: Heart attacks at night have worst survival rates: study. Timing is everything.

Researchers in Richmond, VA, undertook a study to determine if when a person had a heart attack would determine the outcome. The (realistic) nurse in me said "yes," right away. During the week, during standards work hours, there are more people around to notice things, do things, and react. Everything is done more quickly, so it would stand to reason that the care - although may be excellent - during off hours, could be slower and perhaps affect outcome.

Published today in JAMA, the researchers said, "Researchers also found that survival to discharge at night during the week was similar to weekends (14.6 per cent versus 14.8 per cent). Conversely, survival during the day/evening weekdays was 20.6 per cent — considerably higher than on weekends at 17.4 per cent."

News for Today:
US cancer deaths down but far too few Americans screened for colon cancer
Overweight and obese men have lower PSA values, even before they get prostate cancer
Heart attacks at night have worst survival rates: study

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pain conference going on

Throughout the year, there are medical conferences taking place - usually in resorts and tourist places. I know that some people wonder about the point of this and they consider it to be a perk for physicians that seem unfair. But, a lot of work is done at these conferences.

Once a year, researchers and specialists get to show and talk about their findings and ideas. While this information does end up in journals and articles, to hear the researchers speak in person and perhaps answer questions is really a more ideal situation for learning.

This week, the American Academy of Pain Medicine is meeting in Florida and already I've read several interesting pieces of news (listed below). Researchers want their work featured at these conferences so they're a great way to get the information out.

News for Today:
Viruses could cause high blood pressure in pregnancy, study suggests
Allergy Disorders Linked With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Higher dose capsaicin patch promising treatment for neuropathic pain
Pressing on Sciatic Nerve Relieves Pain and Discomfort
Duloxetine Appears Effective in Treating Patients With Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Monday, February 18, 2008

Think you don't need those pills?

Some people don't mind taking pills every day, other people do. Some people find that taking medications every day becomes a chore, hard to remember, or they just don't want to take them. Other people, sadly, can't afford to buy them.

The problem is, if you need the medications - you need them. I learned that lesson the hard way last week. I got busy, forgot to take some medications, figured I'd take them "tomorrow." Unfortunately, I forgot the next day too, and before I knew it, almost a week had gone by without the medications.

I've been taking them since Friday again but am still paying for my stupidity last week. Hopefully, it won't last too much longer.

If you take meds that make you sick to your stomach, speak to your pharmacist or doctor to see what you can do for that - same with if your medications keep you awake or make you too drowsy.

If you feel you take too many medications, again, speak to your doctor and maybe some can be combined or cut down, but don't stop taking medications on your own.

News for Today:
Chronic pain patches recalled for overdose risks
Major study links insurance status to advanced stage in multiple cancers
Let shin splints heal
PTSD a Risk Factor for Long-Term Disease
Physicians focus on stopping pain epidemic
CDC Study Warns of Deaths Due to the "Choking Game"