Thursday, August 14, 2008

Did you have or do you want to use a midwife?

Midwives are becoming increasingly popular among women who are giving birth. Using a midwife for an uncomplicated pregnancy takes the "medicine" out of such pregnancies. And, if you think about it, why are doctors needed for pregnancy if there is nothing wrong?

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be doctors. Even the most uncomplicated pregnancy can end up with problems during the labour and delivery, but the chances are lower than with the complicated ones. So - what's wrong with the happy medium: allowing (and encouraging) mothers to use the services of midwives with the back up of doctors in case of emergency? It definitely seems like a win-win situation for everyone, except the doctors who lose any income from delivering obstetrical care.

If you are concerned about the health of midwifery in the United States, I suggest you take notice of the fact that the Miami Dade College in Florida is *closing* its midwifery program. That is a devastating decision for both those who want to spend their working life helping women have positive pregnancy and birth experiences, and the women who want them.

Today at Help My Hurt:

Finally - at 40, a woman with Crohn’s disease begins to live life
Rules on how to be a better patient
Database for MS information
Tui Na - a gentler form of therapeutic massage
If someone can’t talk - how do they tell you they have pain?

Today at Womb Within:

Yeast infection in pregnancy - a question from a Womb Within visitor
Uterus size predicts risk of very premature twins After IVF
Wondering about all the prenatal tests?

News for Today:

Postpartum PTSD Study Looking for Participants
Teens lack judgment when driving, trauma study finds
Is nookie an athletic no-no?
Red Bull drink lifts stroke risk: Australian study

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Clumsy child = obese adult?

Were you one of those kids who broke things that you only had received a few hours earlier? Did you trip over things that weren't there? Did you constantly misjudge where exactly the door jamb was every day? I was.

I had bumps and bruises and tons of broken things that weren't broken before I got my hands on them. And, at 47, I'm still not the most graceful female to walk this earth. If there's a flight of stairs I need to take regularly, there's a good chance that I'll fall up or down them with regularity. If I'm in a hurry and fling a door open, there's a good chance my foot's in the way and the door will hit my foot (hard!) and bounce back, catching me as I'm trying to get through. On a good day - I'll have been wearing shoes at the time. On a bad day...

So, what has this got to do with anything? There's a new study that claims that clumsy children grow up to be obese adults. I'm not skinny minnie, but I'm nowhere close to overweight, let alone obese. but, according to the study, 11,000 people were tested at age 11 and were followed to age 33. The findings were published in the recent issue of BMJ (British Medical Journal).

The researchers didn't look at falling down stairs or tripping on invisible rocks, but rather they focused on the fine motor skills, picking things up, for example. According to this article, Clumsy kids more likely to become obese adults: study, "researchers said the risk of becoming obese in adulthood was more than doubled in seven-year-olds who "certainly" showed poor hand control during the tests and tripled for those who were affected by clumsiness, compared with children who were easily able to perform the tasks." I guess I'd better be careful!

Today at Help My Hurt:

If someone can’t talk - how do they tell you they have pain?

Osteoporosis doesn’t slow down Olympic cyclist Kristin Armstrong

Painful sex - some women not offered any options

Today at Womb Within:

You want to get WHAT pierced?

Guidelines for breast cancer treatment during pregnancy

Olympic swimmer has chicken pox: Another reason to vaccinate

News for Today:

Study: Some overweight people heart-healthy

Eating disorder risk high in young active women

For strokes, closest hospital might not be best

Running eases the aches of aging: study

Acid reflux drugs may heighten fracture risk

Monday, August 11, 2008

How can you die from pneumonia? Bernie Mac did.

Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs - it can be caused by a virus or by bacteria. There is also a third type of pneumonia that is caused by fungi. Because of the infection, fluid (pus and mucus) collects in the alveoli (air sacs) and that is why people associate pneumonia with having fluid in the lungs. With the infection and the fluid, the linings of the alveoli swell and become less elastic, making it harder for the oxygen to get through.

Most pneumonias are caused by a virus. These types of pneumonia cannot be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics will not kill viruses, nor will they shorten the length of time you are sick. It can be frustrating to find out that you have pneumonia and your doctor not give you anything, but that is how it works with viral pneumonia, unfortunately. Viral pneumonias are, however, usually the less serious of them all.

Bacterial pneumonia is the type that is treated by antibiotics. Fungal pneumonia is treated with anti-fungals.

You can also get pneumonia called aspiration pneumonia. This happens when someone inhales a liquid, food, or chemicals. Many elderly who cannot swallow properly, as well as people who have had strokes, can develop this type of pneumonia easily.

The symptoms of pneumonia can include:

  • laboured breathing
  • rapid breathing
  • painful breathing
  • coughing
  • fever, chills
It is usually diagnosed with symptoms and x-rays. Pneumonia can be idenfied on lung x-rays, usually quite clearly.

So, can someone die from pneumonia? We heard in the news that actor and comedian Bernie Mac died of complications from pneumonia. He was only 50 years old. Most deaths from pneumonia are among the elderly or people with chronic illnesses. Bernie Mac fell into that second category. Apparently, he had sarcoidosis, which made him more vulnerable to illnesses like pneumonia.

When someone dies from "complications of pneumonia," they have died from sepsis, which is the body's toxic response to infections, like pneumonia. In the United States alone, sepsis kills one person every two minutes. For more information, visit or go directly to their page on pneumonia: Sepsis and Pneumonia.

Can pneumonia be prevented? In some cases, yes. When a person has undergone a general anesthetic, often they can't understand and don't like it when their nurses are getting them out of bed just hours after surgery, if it's possible. That's because people who don't move around enough and have had anesthetic can develop pneumonia. The same thing happens if you have a cold. Even though you don't feel like moving around, you should. If an elderly person chokes easily on food, he or she needs to be able to take their time to eat and not be rushed, which ill increase the chances of aspirating food or liquid. In terms of viruses, high risk groups are being encouraged to get vaccinated against certain types of pneumonia. Vaccination doesn't eliminate the risk of developing it, but vaccines do reduce the possibility.