Health and Disease, Uncategorized

HWA-DOES COVID-19 TRIGGER DIABETES

DOES COVID-19 TRIGGER DIABETES

 

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, doctors learned that people with diabetes face a greater risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19 infections.

News Picture: Does COVID-19 Trigger New Cases of Diabetes?What they didn’t immediately realize is that the new coronavirus might trigger diabetes in people who didn’t have the blood sugar disease before.

To get a better idea of exactly how COVID-19 and diabetes interact, an international group of 17 leading diabetes experts just announced they’ll be collecting data through a new global registry called the CoviDiab Registry.

“The evidence so far is clear that there is an interplay between diabetes and COVID-19. The link is bi-directional as diabetes is associated with severe COVID-19 manifestations and, conversely, COVID-19 is associated with severe manifestations of preexisting diabetes,” said the lead author of the letter, Dr. Francesco Rubino. He is a professor of metabolic and bariatric surgery at King’s College London in the United Kingdom.

“Because of the preliminary nature of these observations, we have launched the international registry to quickly gather more evidence and confirm or dispel the concerns that the virus may indeed induce diabetes,” he explained.

Rubino said it’s not yet clear how COVID-19 might trigger diabetes. He said there are known stress responses that can make preexisting diabetes worse or unmask already existing diabetes. Some of the treatments used for COVID-19 are known to increase blood sugar levels, so that could play a role, too.

Past research also showed that the coronavirus responsible for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) seemed to trigger an acute type of diabetes. That virus also directly damaged the pancreas (the major organ involved in diabetes).

Sanjoy Dutta, vice president of research for JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), agreed that there are a number of potential ways that COVID-19 might lead to diabetes.

“The idea of a viral trigger has been associated with type 1 diabetes, but is definitely not proven. There are so many viruses and so many viral infections and, fortunately, the number of people with type 1 diabetes is much, much lower,” he said.

Dutta explained that there are other pathways in the body that can create an imbalance of blood sugar that could trigger acute diabetes. He said this type of diabetes might go away if blood sugar levels were controlled, but it’s still unknown.

While the registry is collecting data and getting a better understanding of how the two conditions affect each other, there are some helpful things people can do.

If you already have diabetes:

“Having diabetes clearly increases the risk of experiencing more severe COVID-19 [infections], as well as complications from diabetes itself,” Rubino said. That means avoiding infection is even more important for people with diabetes. Rubino said people with diabetes need to be extra cautious and follow public health advice — such as hand-washing, social distancing and wearing a mask — to mitigate risk of catching an infection.

People with diabetes should keep a closer eye on their blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, contact your doctor. Your diabetes care might need to be adjusted. Additionally, regularly checking your blood sugar can help you avoid serious diabetes complications if you develop a COVID-19 infection and don’t realize it.

If you have pre-diabetes or a high risk of diabetes:

If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or you’re at high risk of developing diabetes due to conditions such as obesity, taking steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle may be more important than ever to help prevent diabetes. Following public health guidelines to try to avoid infection is important for people with pre-diabetes and a high risk of diabetes, too.

If you have COVID-19, but don’t have diabetes:

If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, but don’t have diabetes, be wary of the sudden onset of symptoms that could indicate diabetes. These include being very thirsty, needing to urinate more than usual, feeling very tired, having blurry vision or feeling confused. These symptoms could signal complications of diabetes that require urgent medical attention, Rubino said.

Dutta said if you know you have a family history of diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes, it’s a good idea to let your doctor know because you have a higher risk of developing diabetes.

A potentially lasting risk?

For those who develop diabetes during a COVID-19 infection and then get better, Rubino said doctors don’t yet know if the risk of diabetes will return to normal, or if it will remain higher for an extended period.

Until we know more, it is prudent to assume that patients who have had diabetes during the course of COVID-19 could be at increased risk of diabetes later on even if diabetes resolves after the infection,” he explained.

Rubino said doctors should monitor anyone who got diabetes during a COVID-19 infection over time to see what happens to their blood sugar levels. He added that the global registry is accessible by any physician around the world, and he encourages doctors to share their findings to increase understanding of the COVID-19/diabetes relationship.

 

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REVIEWED BY DR PATRICIA CARROTHERS

The new registry information was recently published online as a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

HWA-TOO MUCH SITTING INCREASES RISK OF CANCER

TOO MUCH SITTING INCREASES RISK OF CANCER

 

Sitting too much could increase your risk of dying from cancer, a new study warns.

It included about 8,000 people without cancer whose physical activity over seven days was assessed using a tracking device. They were then followed for five years, CNN reported.

Sitting too much could increase your risk of dying from cancer, a new study warns.

During that follow-up, the least active people had an 82% higher risk of dying from cancer than those with the highest levels of physical activity, according to the study in the journal JAMA ONCOLOGY.

This is the first study that definitively shows a strong association between not moving and cancer death,” said lead author Dr. Susan Gilchrist, associate professor of clinical cancer prevention, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, CNN reported.

However, she added that replacing at least 30 minutes of sitting with either light, moderate or vigorous physical activity may reduce the risk.

 

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REVIEWED BY DR PATRICIA CARROTHERS

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

HWA-FDA APPROVES FIRST AT HOME SALIVA TEST FOR COVID 19

FDA APPROVES FIRST AT HOME SALIVA TEST FOR COVID 19

 

The first COVID-19 test using saliva samples that patients collect at home has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The emergency use authorization was issued to Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory for the diagnostic test using home-collected samples. Patients return their sample to the New Jersey-based lab in a sealed package for analysis.

First U.S. Company Announces an Upcoming Home COVID-19 Test | Time

The screening is the only authorized test that uses saliva samples to check for the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It is available only with a prescription.

Last month, the FDA gave emergency authorization for the first at-home COVID-19 test using a sample taken from the patient’s nose with a nasal swab and saline.

“Authorizing additional diagnostic tests with the option of at-home sample collection will continue to increase patient access to testing for COVID-19,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in an agency news release. “This provides an additional option for the easy, safe and convenient collection of samples required for testing without traveling to a doctor’s office, hospital or testing site.”

At-home saliva testing has several advantages over traditional nasal testing, in which a health care worker inserts a swab deep into the patient’s nose and rotates it to extract a sample.

Besides being invasive and uncomfortable, the nasal test requires a potentially contagious patient to leave home and the person administering the test to don personal protective gear.

Since the start of the pandemic, Hahn said FDA has authorized more than 80 COVID-19 tests, and adding more options for at-home sample collection is an important advance.

“It is important to note that this is not a general authorization for at-home collection of patient samples using other collection methods, saliva collection devices, or tests, or for tests fully conducted at home,” the FDA news release said.

Do know that you are giving your DNA over to the government to own.  You are sending you DNA, to a government supported genomics laboratory. If you have no symptoms, you do not need a test.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

HWA-WHAT IS COVID 19 LOCKDOWN DOING TO OUR MENTAL HEALTH

What Is the COVID-19 Lockdown Doing to Our Mental Health?

 

In the time of COVID-19, things move fast—and that goes for research, too. In fact, researchers out of the University of Sydney and the University of Adelaide in Australia have already conducted and published a study about the wellbeing of adults going through lockdown due to the virus.

sad lockdown

Researchers wanted to know: How does all this time cooped up under such stressful circumstances affect people’s health? Well, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people mentally, as well as physically, says a study published in Psychiatry Research. Sure, it may seem like a no-brainer. But now we have evidence to prove it.

The main findings of the preliminary study include:

  • Adults in locations more affected by the virus experienced distress, lower physical and mental health, and reduced life satisfaction.
  • Adults who had existing chronic health conditions were at increased risk of lowered mental and physical health during lockdown.
  • Adults who had stopped working during lockdown were also at higher risk of harm to their mental and physical health.

To gather this data, researchers spoke to 369 adults living in 64 Chinese cities after they have been living in isolation due to measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 for one full month (in February of 2020).

 

The public's top concerns about coronavirus and mental health

“As many parts of the world are only just beginning to go into lockdown, we examined the impact of the one-month long lockdown on people’s health, distress and life satisfaction,” said study author Stephen Zhang, Ph.D., associate professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Adelaide, in a news release. He says the study may act like a “crystal ball” for what’s ahead for people in other countries where lockdown measures are approaching that one-month mark, like Australia and the United States.

The study suggests that adults with chronic medical issues reported lower life satisfaction during the outbreak—notable, considering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that those certain chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease are at an increased risk of severe complications should they get ill with COVID-19.

Employment situations played a major role, too: Of those surveyed, more than one-fourth continued to go to work in an office setting. Thirty-eight percent worked from home, and 25 percent stopped work completely during the outbreak.

“We weren’t surprised that adults who stopped working reported worse mental and physical health conditions as well as distress,” study co-author Andreas Rauch, a professor at the University of Sydney, said in the news release. “Work can provide people with a sense of purpose and routine, which is particularly important during this global pandemic.”

Petition · Robert Bell: Increase mental health screening for newly ...

Another interesting finding in this study? Those who exercised more than 2.5 hours per day during lockdown reported lower life satisfaction, and those who exercised for half an hour or less reported positive life satisfaction. The study authors found these results surprising.

“It’s possible adults who exercised less could better justify or rationalize their inactive lifestyles in more severely affected cities,” said Dr. Zhang. “More research is needed but these early findings suggest we need to pay attention to more physically active individuals, who might be more frustrated by the restrictions.” While physical health is a major concern during this time, don’t let your mental health fall by the wayside. The CDC reports that it’s normal to feel extra stressed, anxious, or afraid during the COVID-19 pandemic—so it’s all the more important to take proactive steps to support your mental health during these unprecedented times. That may mean seeking the support of a therapist via telehealth, practicing self-care and relaxation techniques, and focusing on what you can control, experts say.

Other ways to cope with stress during this time include the following, per the CDC:

  • Listen to your body’s needs. During this stressful time, making your body a priority can be helpful. That may look like taking deep breaths, eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and staying active.
  • Take breaks from the news. When you turn on the TV or scroll through social media, it’s all pandemic talk, all the time. Taking a time-out from consuming news on the virus can be good for your mental health.
  • Make time for connection. We may be social distancing right now, but there are still ways to connect with others. Schedule video calls with friends and family to stay in touch and find support.

 

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Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors

Health and Wellness Associates

Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in Seniors

 

News Picture: Fatty Diets Tied to Leading Cause of Vision Loss in SeniorsDiets heavy in red meat and fatty foods could help spur a leading cause of vision loss in older Americans, new research suggests.

The study found that people who ate more typical Western diets were three times more likely to develop an eye condition that robs you of your central vision — late-stage age-related macular degeneration.

“What you eat seems to be important to your vision, and to whether or not you have vision loss later in life,” said study lead author Amy Millen. She’s an associate professor in the department of epidemiology and environmental health at the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, in Buffalo, N.Y.

“People know that diet influences cardiovascular risk and the risk of obesity, but the public may not know that diet can affect vision loss,” Millen said.

Age-related macular degeneration occurs when a part of the eye called the macula is damaged. Sometimes this happens when deposits called drusen grow on the macula. Or it can occur when new blood vessels keep forming and leak blood, scarring the macula, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Genetics and smoking are known risk factors for age-related macular degeneration.

The study included almost 1,300 people from a nationally representative sample. Most did not have macular degeneration. There were 117 who had early AMD, and 27 had late.

All of the study participants completed surveys about their diets twice during the 18-year study.

The researchers sorted the foods into 29 categories to measure the quality of the diet.

They found that people who ate a more Western diet were much more likely to develop late-stage AMD. Foods linked to a higher risk included:

  • Red and processed meats
  • Fats, such as margarine and butter
  • High-fat dairy
  • Fried foods.

“Diet is one way you might be able to modify your risk of vision loss from age-related macular degeneration,” Millen said, especially if you have a family history of the disease.

She noted that since the study was observational, it couldn’t prove that eating healthy foods would reduce the risk of AMD, but she said it did show the foods you probably don’t want to eat often.

Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, an ophthalmologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York City, wasn’t involved with the study, but said he wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“This study shows what we’ve suspected. A diet high in fatty foods, processed meats and refined grains makes the more severe form of macular degeneration more likely,” Deobhakta said.

Both Millen and Deobhakta said inflammation caused by a less healthy diet and stress on the cells in the eyes (oxidative stress) are likely behind the increased risk.

“The eyes are a sentinel for the rest of the body. In the tiny blood vessels of the eyes, even small changes that you would not otherwise notice in other organs, you will notice in the eyes,” Deobhakta said.

So can you make up for a lifetime of eating poorly? That’s not known. But both experts said that a healthy diet — full of vegetables (especially dark, leafy greens) and fruits and fatty fish — contains important nutrients for eye health, including lutein and zeaxanthin.

“It’s difficult to switch the way you eat overnight, but this is almost certainly a decades-long process, so try to slowly move toward more virtuous behavior with food. Try to supplement your current diet with more leafy vegetables and increase your consumption of fish,” Deobhakta said.

And both experts strongly advised no smoking.

The study was published in the December issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken

 

At a party over the holidays, someone informed me that spinach and artichoke dip is no longer “in.”

I had no idea that food, especially near-universally crowd-pleasing food, could fall so easily out of vogue.

Then again, this came from my sister, the same one who has insisted for years that no one gets acrylic nails anymore. All I can say is last time I went in for a full set, I was in line behind plenty of other ladies waiting to get plastic glued to their fingertips.

Likewise, my sister imparted this sage wisdom over none other than a spinach and artichoke dip that she herself had made. So whether or not it’s still “in,” we all still love it.

 

Ingredients

  • 6 ounce fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 (15 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach, cooked and liquid squeezed out
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 (6 ounce) boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese on high until fluffy. Add the artichokes, spinach, garlic, cheese, half the salt, and half the pepper. Mix on low speed just until combined.
  3. Carefully cut open the side of the chicken breast to create a pocket. Stuff each with the cream cheese mixture. About 3 to 4 tablespoons per chicken breast.
  4. In a large oven safe skillet, heat the olive oil. Once the oil is very hot, add the chicken carefully so the filling does not fall out. Cook each side about 1 to 2 minutes or until each side golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for about 10 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked though.
  5. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

 

Yields: 4 servings | Calories: 389 | Total Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 806mg | Carbohydrates: 16g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Protein: 54g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 4

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Stroke: Know These 6 Signs And Take Action

 

Signs of A Stroke

 

Knowing the signs of stroke is crucial, as prompt treatment is necessary to help reduce the damage that can be caused by sudden interruption of the brain’s blood supply. Be aware of these classic stroke symptoms:

  1. Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  2. Weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including the face
  3. Difficulty speaking
  4. Sudden disorientation, confusion or memory loss
  5. Dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination
  6. Severe headache that comes on suddenly with no apparent cause

Stroke is an emergency medical condition that occurs when the blood flow to the brain is cut off. Without blood intake, brain cells will die. This can cause a series of fatal complications, from permanent paralysis to death. There are more than one type of stroke. The most common are ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke. #ischemicstroke #hemorrhagicstroke #stroke #healthThe American Stroke Association suggests that anyone can identify a person having a stroke by checking for the signs of facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems. As a bystander, you can help to determine if someone is having a stroke by asking them to perform three simple actions:

  1. Ask the person to smile
  2. Ask the person to raise both arms above his or her head
  3. Ask the person to speak a simple sentence

If the person has any problems completing any of these steps, call 911 immediately, noting the exact time of onset if possible and describe the symptoms.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Balanitis (Inflammation of the Head of the Penis)

Balanitis (Inflammation of the Head of the Penis)

 

What is balanitis (inflammation of the head of penis)?

Balanitis treatment depends on the underlying cause.
Balanitis treatment depends on the underlying cause.

Balanitis is an inflammation of the skin of the head of penis (glans penis). If the foreskin is involved as well, it is referred to as balanoposthitis.

What are the signs and symptoms of balanitis? Is it painful?

Usually, most common signs and symptoms of balanitis are:

  1. Redness or mild swelling
  2. Iitching
  3. Rash
  4. Irritation or pain on or around the penis

An odorous discharge can accompany these symptoms.

What causes balanitis?

 

  • Balanitis is usually found in uncircumcised males. Poor hygiene can contribute when the area under the foreskin is not washed regularly and bacteria, skin, and sweat accumulate. Some underlying medical conditions can also increase the risk of balanitis, especially diabetes mellitus.
  • Allergies to certain chemicals can cause an allergic balanitis. This could be chemicals in soaps or other products in touch with the glans of the penis.
  • Certain infections (especially yeast infections) can cause a balanitis. Reactive arthritis (formerly Reiter syndrome) is associated with inflammation around the head of the penis (circinate balanitis).
  • Balanitis is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD); however, it can have similar symptoms (for example, itching and redness).
is balanitis contagious, balanitis causes, men's health

Is Balanitis Contagious?

It may depend on the causes

Balanitis, also referred to as inflammation of the head of an uncircumcised penis, may or may not be contagious if it’s caused by:

  1. Bacteria
  2. Viruses
  3. Fungus
  4. Skin irritants

 

How is balanitis diagnosed?

A health care professional will usually be able to diagnose balanitis based on asking the patient questions (history) and physical examination. No additional tests are usually necessary. If a doctor suspects that the balanitis is caused by an underlying medical condition, the patient might require blood tests.

 

Which medications treat balanitis?

 

 

First, the underlying cause is determined and the treatment directed against the reason for the condition. If there is an infection, the appropriate antifungal medication can be used. If it is a hygiene issue, daily habits are changed. Young boys may require instruction on how to retract and clean their foreskin.

The optimal medications will depend on the underlying cause of the balanitis. For examples, doctors will prescribe a topical antifungal cream if Candida infection is present, or an antibiotic if a cellulitis is suspected. In refractory or repeated situations, the doctor might suggest circumcision as a possible way to prevent further infections by eliminating the overlying foreskin.

 

Which home remedies or OTC medications soothe pain and treat balanitis?

 

Switching soaps or other possible offending irritants can be helpful. Other times, the doctor will prescribe oral or topical medications.

 

What is the prognosis for balanitis? Can it be cured?

The prognosis of balanitis is generally good.

 

Can balanitis be prevented?

The risk of balanitis can be reduced with proper hygiene, but not all balanitis can be prevented depending on the underlying cause. Circumcision has been advocated as a way of preventing or reducing the risk of balanitis in patients who had multiple episodes.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Pinched Nerve (Symptoms, Locations, Causes, Treatment, and Prognosis)

Pinched Nerve (Symptoms, Locations, Causes, Treatment, and Prognosis)

 

What is a pinched nerve?

A doctor points to an anatomic model of the spine and spinal nerves.

A “pinched nerve” is the name given to the uncomfortable sensation, pain, or numbness caused when increased pressure leads to irritation or damage to a peripheral nerve. (A peripheral nerve is one that is outside the brain and spinal cord.) Although this condition is often associated with back pain or a neck injury, almost any nerve is susceptible.

What are the signs and symptoms of a pinched nerve?

 

A young woman suffering from carpal tunnel holds her wrist in pain.The most common pinched nerve symptom is a tingling sensation, which can be accompanied by some numbness. This may initially come and go, but over time becomes persistent. Pain may accompany the tingling sensation and is often described as being “sharp” or “electrical.” Some patients experience a burning sensation in the affected area.

In severe cases, muscle weakness may occur because the nerve that controls the muscle has been irritated. If present and not identified and corrected, those muscles may decrease in size and function.

Common areas where nerves are pinched include the following:

  • carpal tunnel (where the median nerve at the wrist is injured)
    • ulnar nerve at the elbow (frequently caused by leaning on elbows while sitting or driving)
    • lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (This is also known as meralgia paresthetica, caused by compression of the sensory nerve leading to the upper thigh. This may also be seen in pregnancy, when the enlarging uterus can also cause nerve compression.)
    • common peroneal nerve injury (associated with crossing the legs at the knee)
    • sciatic nerve problems or sciatica, pain which travels from the low back into the leg (This is frequently used to label the symptoms associated with a pinched nerve in the low back or lumbar spine. Patients with this condition describe pain which travels from the back into a leg or hip.)
    • cervical spine (A pinched nerve in the neck can cause pain or tingling in the spine to travel into the arm or shoulder blade region.)
  • Of note, although tennis elbow is a painful condition often associated with repetitive activities, the pain is caused by inflammation of the tendons of the elbow, not a pinched nerve.

What causes a pinched nerve?

 

An illustration of a pinched spinal nerve.Pressure on a peripheral nerve can irritate the nerve itself, its protective covering (myelin sheath), or both. When this occurs, the nerve is unable to conduct sensory impulses to the brain appropriately, leading to a sense of numbness. This inflammation associated with the damage or injury can also cause pain or paresthesia (a tingling or prickling sensation) signals to be sent to the brain. In its early stages, many people may describe this sensation as a body part that has “fallen asleep.” However, if nerve inflammation persists, this sensation persists rather than resolving after a few minutes.

If the nerve is compressed for a short amount of time, it is often able to repair itself but it may take several weeks or months for the symptoms to fully resolve. However, if the compression remains present for a longtime, permanent nerve injury may occur.

What are the risk factors for a pinched nerve?

A male worker with poor sitting posture works on his computer at his desk.Anything which increases pressure around a nerve can cause a pinched nerve. Common causes include body position such as leaning on elbows, habitually crossing legs, or poor posture. Over time this may lead to pressure injury to nerves in these regions.

  • Disc herniation or bulging discs and arthritis in the spine can cause pressure on nerve roots which leads to the nerve pain or discomfort associated with a pinched nerve.
  • Weight gain or water retention can predispose people to developing pinched nerves; thyroid disease (especially hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels) can contribute to both water retention and weight gain and can increase the risk of certain types of pinched nerves.
  • Pregnancy, which is associated with increased weight and occasionally associated with water retention, is also a common risk factor for developing certain types of pinched nerves.
  • Repetitive activities (typing and using certain tools) can also increase swelling around specific nerves and lead to symptoms of a pinched nerve.

What tests diagnose a pinched nerve?

 

A doctor conducts an EMG (electromyography) nerve study on a patient's wrist.The health care professional often makes the diagnosis of pinched nerve by taking a history of symptoms and performing a careful physical examination. Depending on the findings, the diagnosis may be made clinically or further testing may be required.

Electromyography (EMG) is a nerve conduction study to help confirm the diagnosis of a pinched nerve and to determine the extent of nerve damage.

If the pinched nerve is in the neck (cervical spine) or back (lumbar spine), an MRI or CT scan may be considered to make the diagnosis and look for the cause (herniated disc, arthritis, or fracture).

What are pinched nerve treatment options and home remedies?

A physical therapist works on the neck and shoulder of a patient with a pinched nerve.The treatment of a pinched nerve depends upon the location and the cause. Resting the affected area is often very effective, especially in cases of injury caused by repetitive activities. Physical therapy is frequently beneficial when a pinched spinal nerve is caused by problems in the neck or low back. Exercises may strengthen the back or core muscles and decrease or eliminate pressure on a nerve root. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen may be helpful. Injections of corticosteroids (an anti-inflammatory medication) may also be beneficial for many types of pinched nerves.

For cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, splinting or bracing the wrist is often used. In cases of ulnar neuropathy or common peroneal neuropathy, learning to change body positions may be required to achieve the best outcome.

Weight loss can be of benefit for many types of pinched nerves.

Surgery may be required to release pressure on the nerve if it fails to respond to medication, splinting, physical therapy, or injections. The specific type of surgery depends upon the nerve involved. However, the goal of the surgery is the same, to eliminate or relieve the pressure on the affected nerve.

 

Can a pinched nerve go away without treatment? Can nerve damage be permanent?

In many cases, once a pinched nerve has been identified, the symptoms can be resolved when treatment allows the nerve to recover. There are instances where the nerve damage is permanent, and a patient may be left with permanent numbness or pain in the affected area. Many patients fall in between. Because nerves can regenerate (regrow) very slowly over time, it’s important to seek evaluation for symptoms which persist or recur over a number of days or weeks.

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Could Mammograms Screen for Heart Disease?

Could Mammograms Screen for Heart Disease?

 

By screening for breast cancer, mammography has helped save hundreds of thousands of lives. Using the test to also screen for heart disease might someday help save many thousands more.

Though expert guidelines vary, generally women are advised to have a mammogram every year or two starting at age 40 or 50. Nearly 40 million mammograms have been performed in the U.S. during the past year, government figures show.

The prospect of leveraging a test that already is so widely administered, without additional cost or radiation exposure, is tantalizing to researchers hoping to find a new way to fight heart disease, the No. 1 cause of death among U.S. women.

Besides revealing masses that may be tumors, digital mammography – a technique in which low-dose X-ray images are captured and enhanced using computer technology – can reveal buildup of calcium in the arteries in the breast. About 13% of women are estimated to have this buildup, called breast arterial calcification, or BAC, including about 10% of women in their 40s and around half of women in their 80s.

Early studies so far have found BAC’s presence appears to signal an elevated risk for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular consequences. Research has begun to reveal a link between calcium buildup in the breast and coronary artery calcification, an established measure that helps predict cardiovascular disease risk.

“Mammography has the potential to alter the course of two leading causes of death in women, breast cancer and heart disease,” said Dr. Quan Minh Bui, general cardiology fellow at the University of California, San Diego. “We believe that there is truth to the sentiment that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ and that seeing calcifications in the breast arteries may empower patients to participate in their medical care.”

Last month at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions conference, Bui and his UCSD colleagues presented preliminary research examining the utility of BAC in predicting existing or future heart failure, a condition in which the heart is weakened and doesn’t pump properly.

The study looked at records from 2006-2016 for 278 middle-aged and older women who had both a mammogram and coronary calcium test within a one-year window.

Almost one-third of the women had BAC, and 7% had heart failure. Even after accounting for age, diabetes and high blood pressure, all heart failure risk factors, women with calcium buildup in the breast arteries had 2.2 times the odds of having or developing heart failure.

Heart failure is a particular challenge in women, said Dr. Erin Michos, director of women’s cardiovascular health for Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. An estimated 3.6 million U.S. women have the condition, and more than 40,000 women die of it annually.

Compared with men, Michos said, women with heart failure tend to be older and have more symptoms such as shortness of breath.

They also have stiffer hearts but normal ejection fraction, a measure of pumping ability. Effective treatments for this type of heart failure are lacking.

“That’s why preventing heart failure from developing in the first place is so important, by identifying at-risk individuals and applying appropriate lifestyle and pharmacology strategies,” she said.

While a mammography finding of breast artery calcification should prompt women to pursue better heart health, it’s still unclear what doctors should do about it, Michos said. For instance, she asked, should those patients be given cholesterol-lowering statins?

It may turn out that BAC is better at predicting some conditions than others. It occurs in a different layer of the blood vessels than coronary artery calcium and may be more closely linked to hypertension and vessel stiffening – major risk factors for heart failure, Michos said. By contrast, “coronary artery calcium likely captures lifetime exposure to risk factors that are key for formation of coronary (plaques), such as high levels of LDL cholesterol.”

Bui’s team is reviewing additional mammograms from women diagnosed with cardiovascular conditions related to arterial plaque buildup, such as coronary artery disease. That effort may help fuel future studies to track breast artery calcium findings and heart health in real time, he said.

Meanwhile, the California researchers hope mammography reports will start to include more information about breast artery calcium.

“Incidental calcification is reported on other diagnostic studies such as CT scans, and we envision BAC not being any different,” Bui said. “We suggest that reports include a statement in fine print noting an association of BAC with cardiovascular disease.”

 

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