March 29, 2008

Health Risks of Premature Babies

It is found that premature babies have higher death rates in their childhood years and are more likely not to have children in their adult years. This is based on a study that followed 1.2 million Norwegian births over many years.

Most premature babies grow up to have good health and be able to reproduce normally but the risk of health and reproduction problems are significantly higher than babies born at full term. Premature babies also have the risks of lung problems, disabilities, mental retardation, and being mentally behind other children their age in school. The study found that the preemies were more likely to die in their first year of life than full term babies and the higher risk continues throughout their life.

Things that could help prevent premature births include hormone treatments for women with a history of giving premature birth, not inducing labor unless it is needed and medically necessary, and reducing the number of embryos implanted at one time during fertility treatments. Women that are born premature have a higher risk of having premature babies when they give birth.

March 21, 2008

Simple Ways to Live Longer

Living a long and healthy live doesn’t have to be difficult. There are simple things that you can do in your everyday life to increase you lifespan.

Exercising can increase your lifespan. Walking just a half hour each day can lengthen your life. Exercising regularly can burn calories and help to maintain a healthy weight, which can protect you against type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and colon cancer. Exercising your muscles is very important because your muscles and bones weaken as you get older. Weight lifting can stop the weakening and will strengthen your muscles.

Losing body fat can increase you long you live. A body mass index is a measure of your body fat based on dividing weight and height. A body mass index of 25 to 29.9 takes three years off of your life span. A body mass index of 30 or above takes seven years off of your life. Extra weight can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Flossing your teeth can keep you healthier. The same bacteria that can cause periodontal disease can cause an immune response that will make your arteries swell, constrict blood flow, and collect plaque. These issues can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Being optimistic can increase your life span by seven and a half years. This positive attitude and outlook boosts the body’s immune system and helps it to handle stress better.

Not smoking can also increase your life span. People that quit smoking by age 35 live 6 to 8 years longer than people who continue to smoke. Giving up smoking can decrease the risks of lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.

HPV Test Better Than Pap Test in Detecting Cancer

It is found that the human papillomavirus (HPV) test can be up to 40 percent more accurate than a Pap Smear test in detecting the risk for HPV. HPV is the leading cause of cancer. A Pap Smear can find existing precancerous cells in the cervix, but the HPV test can detect the infection that could possibly progress to precancer in the future.

Most HPV infections don’t turn into cervical caner, especially the ones contracted before 30 years old because the immune system is more likely to fight the disease by itself. For women over 30 years old, it is recommended to ask a doctor about getting both a Pap Smear and an HPV test. Cervical cancer is usually curable if it is caught early.

March 20, 2008

The Worst Times to be in a Hospital

It is recommended that the best time to have cardiac arrest is during normal workday hours because you will have a better chance of surviving. In every part of a hospital, excluding the emergency room, hospital staff working the night shift are more tired, less experienced, and fewer in number. These things cause a slower response time when a person needs urgent assistance.

If urgent care is needed for a cardiac arrest patient before 11 p.m., the patient has a 20 percent chance of surviving and being discharged from the hospital. If care is needed after 11 p.m., the patient has less than a 15 percent chance of surviving and being discharged. A similar effect is also seen on weekends.

The Good and Bad of Probiotics

Probiotic supplements can make you healthier if you are already healthy and if you are sick they can be threatening to your life. Probiotics have been found to strengthen the immune systems of healthy people and to double the risk of death in people with pancreatitis.

Probiotics work by providing good bacteria in the stomach to keep a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria in the stomach. When a person has an illness, they can put a dangerous strain on the immune system.

March 18, 2008

Cocaine Could Cause Heart Attack Symptoms

The American Heart Association is warning doctors that younger ER patients with heart attack symptoms should be asked if they had recently used cocaine. Some heart attack treatments can be deadly to a person that is using cocaine. Symptoms of a heart attack in younger people that don’t have a heart disease risk could be caused by cocaine use.

Cocaine can cause chest pains, shortness of breath, anxiety, palpations, dizziness, nausea, and heavy sweating, which are all symptoms of a heart attack. Cocaine use can cause a heart attack but that only happens in 1 to 6 percent of people with chest pain caused by cocaine. It is important for anybody that has chest pains for any reason to get it checked out. Cocaine works by increasing blood pressure and heart rate. It also constricts the arteries into the heart. The heart rate would go up because the heart would need more oxygen and arteries that go to the heart would shrink.

Cocaine users that go to the hospital due to chest pains should be given an electrocardiogram and other tests to rule out a heart attack. They should be monitored and not admitted to the hospital as having a heart attack. Users with chest pains should not be treated with clot busting drugs because they have a risk of bleeding into the brain in people with high blood pressure. Betablockers should be avoided because they would raise blood pressure and squeeze arteries that are already narrowed by the cocaine. It is recommended that cocaine users that have a coronary artery blockage get a bare metal stent instead of a drug-coated one since drug users may not take the medication as needed to prevent new blockages.

Why to Avoid Retail Therapy

A new study has found that people that are feeling down or gloomy are more likely to make big purchase decisions that they will later regret. These people are willing to pay up to 300 percent more for an item. Researchers say that sadness causes people to feel worthless and they often overspend as a way to feel better about themselves. The high that the person feels from overspending is short and they feel sorry about the purchase later, also known as buyer’s remorse. It is good advice not to go shopping while feeling down.

March 17, 2008

Teens and the Addictive Powers of Smoking

Researchers have found that teenagers can get addicted to nicotine by smoking just one cigarette. After just one cigarette, a powerful reward system is set up in the brain. The more often a person smokes, the stronger the cravings will be.

Artificial Sweeteners Could Make You Gain Weight

It is found that artificial sweeteners could make a person gain weight. The sweeteners confuse the body and the body is already programmed to associate sweet tastes with calories consumed. When we break that connection by eating or drinking something with little or no calories, our bodies become confused and want more food. Also, sugar substitutes don’t increase metabolism so fewer calories are burned. A larger appetite combined with a slower metabolism can cause a lot of weight gain.

March 15, 2008

New Study Says Antidepressants Don’t Work

A new study says that antidepressants are as effective as placebos when it comes to relieving a person’s depression. This was found by British researchers that went through data from 47 published and unpublished clinical trials of drugs, such as Prozac and Paxil. They found that drug companies were being selective in reporting the results of their studies and the drugs only showed significant mood improvements in the most severely depressed people. For most people, antidepressants are no more effective than taking a sugar pill.

It is suggested that antidepressants work because people expect them to and not because they change the chemistry of the brain. Studies have found that talk therapy and regular exercise are just as effective as the drugs in relieving mild depression.

March 14, 2008

Cell Phones Could Cause Infertility

It is found in a recent study that men who keep their mobile phones in their front pants pockets could be negatively affecting their fertility. The heat or electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones could possibly be the cause. The men that are most likely to experience infertility are the ones who use Bluetooth or headsets to talk with their phones in their pocket.

Teenagers and Plastic Surgery

The rise continues with teenagers and preteens having plastic surgery to fix what they think are flaws. The United States has the highest number of plastic surgery patients per year with Brazil and Spain following next. At least 10 percent of the patients are minors under the age of 18.

Most surgeons refuse to operate on minors, even with the parent’s consent, but there are some surgeons that wouldn’t have a problem with it. Some parents even encourage plastic surgery on their children and give nose jobs or collagen injections as gifts.

March 10, 2008

New Vaccine for Cocaine Addicts

Scientists are currently working on a vaccine that could prevent cocaine addicts from getting a high from the drug. The vaccine contains inactivated cocaine molecules that are attached to pieces of the inactivated cholera virus. When the vaccine is injected into the body, it trains the body’s immune system to see the drug as an invader. If the vaccinated cocaine addict takes cocaine, antibodies surround and attack themselves to the cocaine molecules and prevent them from reaching the brain to create that sense of feeling high. For people that want to stop using cocaine and kick the habit, the vaccine could be very useful.

March 6, 2008

Study Says Unpopular Girls Tend to Gain More Weight

It is found that unpopular girls and girls that are low on the social ladder are more likely to gain weight during their adolescent years. Harvard University researchers did a study on 4,500 junior high and high school girls and found that the girls who felt like they weren’t well liked gained more weight than the more popular girls. The unpopular girls were 70 percent more likely to gain more than 11 excess pounds over a two year period.

Vegas Clinic Sickens Thousands of Hospitals

Almost 40,000 people learned this week that a visit to their local doctor may have made them sick. A Las Vegas clinic has been found to reuse syringes and vials of medication for almost four years. This situation may have led to the outbreak of hepatitis C and exposure to HIV. This discovery has led to the biggest public notification operation in U.S. history. It has caused demands for investigation and has caused lawyers to seek out patients at risk for infections. The surgical center and five affiliated clinics have had to be closed.

Thousands of patients are being advised to be tested for viruses. Six acute cases of hepatitis C have been confirmed

March 5, 2008

Sleeping is Essential to Learning

Research has shown that teenagers have internal body clocks and hormones that make it hard for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. and hard for them to wake up before 8 a.m. Most high schools start classes around 7:30a.m., so students have to wake up very early. A National Sleep Foundation survey found that up to 28 percent of high school students fall asleep during their first class. A few high schools have recognized this issue and moved their starting times to around 8:30 a.m. When they did this, test scores and attendance increased.

March 4, 2008

Celiac Disease Sweeping Across Italy

Celiac disease is currently on the rise in Italy. People who have the disease can’t digest gluten and the disease causes health problems, such as gastrointestinal distress and malnutrition. The disease is manageable if wheat or any other grain that includes glutens is avoided.

A big problem is that pastas, pizza, and bread are very popular in Italian diets and these products contain gluten. If it is not possible to cut out these kinds of foods, then a person with the disease has to eat as little of it as possible.

March 3, 2008

The Healing Powers of Magnets

A recent study has found that magnets have the ability to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. Researchers at the University of Virginia used powerful magnets on the paws of injured rats and measured the blood flow to the area. They found that the magnetic field caused by the magnets opened tiny blood vessels and increased the oxygen and nutrients to damaged tissues. Swelling was also reduced by 50 percent.

If the same results are found in humans, then doctors have the possibility of using magnets as another option for treating conditions, such as sprains and bruises.