Thursday, November 6, 2008

Canadian "best" blogs

Although my blog reaches far beyond my Canadian borders, I never forget that I am Canadian. I must admit though, that I get a big kick when I look at the visitors who stopped by. I get visitors from the Philippines, India, Turkey, New Zealand, the Netherlands, England, and so many other countries. I hope that they find the information here helpful.

But, back to being Canadian. Many blog contests or searches for the best blogs end up being American. I have no issues with that as there is a huge market in the US for these blogs, but I was thrilled to see that there are Canadian Blog Awards. If you're like me and like to support Canadian initiatives, why not check them out? Last year's winner in the health category was Weighty Matters, by Ottawa family physician and obesity specialist Yoni Freedhoff.

Today at Cancer Commentary:

Are you ready to be a caregiver?
Michael Crichton, creator of Jurassic Park and ER, dies of cancer
Your income level affects survival of lymphoma

Today at Help My Hurt:

Cynthia Toussaint to be on ABC World News Now tomorrow
Use caution with on-line yoga videos
Aha! Proof that fibromyalgia *is* a “real” disease

Today at Womb Within:

Pre-eclampsia could be warning sign of future heart health
Can acupuncture induce labor?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election day in the U.S. - health care issues

As my regular readers may know, I'm Canadian. We had a general election in October, five weeks after it was called. But, as many Canadians, I have been following the US election with great interest. I think it's an historic time for all and I've been as captivated as many Americans in the back and forth between the political parties.

One major issue that I keep reading about and know of from American friends relating their personal experiences, is that of health care. As you make your decision of who to vote for, many of you are basing this on health care.

It's easy for me, as a Canadian, to roll my eyes when I hear the arguments against "socialized" medicine, but it breaks my heart when I read about my American friends who have to make job decisions based on insurance and who still end up paying large amounts of money just to get basic health care.

The Canadian medical system isn't perfect. It definitely has its faults and its flaws. But, I know that if I'm sick, I can go to the doctor (emergency room, clinic, etc) and get the basic care I need without having to worry about if I can afford it. Our buildings may not be flashy, our walls may need a good paint job, but the people who are working within the system are doing their best to make it work. I do wish I could wave a magic wand and fix all the problems we do have, but I also thank God that I don't live in a place where my health has a dollar value.

Please don't think of socialized medicine as a great big evil. Whoever you vote for, whatever your beliefs, please just take this thought away: there are only two countries in the developed world that don't protect their citizens' health: South Africa and the United States. If you want to be the greatest country in the world, you're going to have to make sure that the people in that country can afford decent health care.

Today at Cancer Commentary:

Obama’s grandmother dies of cancer, one day before historic election
Never discuss politics, religion or - Gardasil - at a dinner party
Patrick Swayze - hard at work a year after pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Today at Help My Hurt:

The migraine that’s not quite there, but won’t quite go away either
Bowling may give you more than you bargain for

Today at Womb Within:

TV shows do increase chances of teen pregnancies
Not rushing labor results in fewer Cesarean sections

Monday, November 3, 2008

More on the elderly and falling

One of my pet topics is preventing injury among our seniors. I've written a few times on the dangers of a senior breaking a hip and how this can be the beginning of a decline that can result in someone who was originally very healthy, seeing his or her independence lost forever (Broken hips in the elderly can lead to death).

When I teach first aid, I emphasize prevention of the accident to begin with before I start teaching what to do after the emergency happened.

Some famous people have fallen lately - two seem to be recovering, but one has died since his fall two weeks ago. Not long ago, Nancy Reagan fell and broke her pelvis. Recently, Barack Obama's grandmother, the who raised him, fell and broke her pelvis and hip. And the other day, author Studs Terkel, died two weeks after he fell.

There are several ways to minimize falls in the home and outside. They can't eliminate all accidents, but they can limit the chances of them happening:

Remove all scatter rugs, even those that lay on carpets. While scatter rugs on smooth floors can slip, scatter rugs on carpets can catch the toe of someone and cause that person to trip.

Ensure handles and side rails on all stairs, even if there are only 2 or 3 steps, are present and well fastened.

If there is carpet on the stairs, be sure it is well tacked down.

Consider putting rubber treads on wooden stairs.

Don't leave any objects on the stairs.

Have a nightlight that turns on when it senses movement, particularly at the top of stair cases.

Install grab bars in the bathroom.

Wipe up all spills immediately to prevent slipping.

Make sure all electrical cords are off to the side or in such a way that they can't be a tripping hazard.

Wear slippers or shoes with good rubber soles or anti-slip fabrics. Do not walk on non-carpeted floors in your socks.

If you take medications to help you sleep, do not take laxatives that will work in the middle of the night.

Do you have any to add?

Today at Cancer Commentary:

Patrick Swayze - hard at work a year after pancreatic cancer diagnosis
Pap tests can save your life - Q & A
Michigan voting on legalizing medicinal marijuana

Today at Help My Hurt:

Bowling may give you more than you bargain for
Rheumatoid arthritis and gum diseases?

Today at Womb Within:

Not rushing labor results in fewer Cesarean sections
More bad news about gaining too much weight in pregnancy

News for Today:

How To Tackle Downturn-Related Depression
Flu shot protects kids -- even during years with a bad vaccine match

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Time changes - more to it than the Clock Change Shuffle

Not everyone does the twice-a-year Clock Change Shuffle and according to the health experts, that may be a good thing. Besides the annoyance of having to change all the clocks in the house. car, purse, and pocket (and Lord knows, we have way more clocks these days than we ever did before), there seems to be a not-so-good effect on our health and well-being most of the time. But - it's not all bad.

Statistics show that there are more accidents in the few days following time changes and that many people suffer from sleep problems as they adjust to the one hour change either way. One would think that it's easy enough to make up for a lost hour of sleep in the spring and enjoy the one extra hour of sleep in the fall, but that doesn't seem to be so. And, pity the poor night-shift worker who has to work that extra hour in the middle of the night. I've done it and man, does that extra hour make a big, big difference in how you feel that night.

Anyway, back to health stuff. As weird as this sounds, falling back an hour in the fall slightly increases our chance of developing breast, prostate and colorectal cancers if you live in a northern country like Canada. The evidence isn't strong enough to warrant any action, but there is a link to the amount of vitamin D you get (from the sun) and certain types of cancer. So, organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society has issued a plea that we up our daily intake of vitamin D to balance out the lack of it from the sun during the winter months.

Now for the good news. Mondays are notorious high heart attack days in hospital emergency departments. Every Monday that is, except for the one following the change back from Daylight Savings Time. Swedish researchers published the results of a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, that showed there were 5% fewer heart attacks the Monday after the time change. Of course, if there's this effect in the spring, we can assume - and we'd be right, say the researchers - that there's a rise in heart attacks the the full week, not just Monday, after we go back to Daylight Savings Time.

Today at Cancer Commentary:

New MRI procedure may detect even earlier cervical cancer
November: Cancer awareness months for several health issues

Today at Help My Hurt:

Rheumatoid arthritis and gum diseases?
November is…

Today at Womb Within:

More bad news about gaining too much weight in pregnancy
November: Raising awareness on premature babies
Yes, your life is going to change

News for Today:

New Drug Approved for Overactive Bladder
Bed nets pay off with plunge in malaria cases in Gambia
Doctor with Down son denied immigration