Flu vaccination helps protect more than just the people who receive them – they help prevent the spread of influenza to their family, friends, colleagues and communities, and especially those more vulnerable to the flu such as infants and young children and those with weakened immune systems.
(BPT) - “I’m not the same person. The person before just kind of took life for granted. And now I cherish every moment I have because I know it can be taken away very quickly.”
Lisa Pellerin, a mother and a nurse, shared these words as she recounted an experience so devastating to her health that it changed her entire perspective on life. It wasn’t cancer. It wasn’t a heart attack.
It was the flu.
Surprisingly, the flu is a source of worry for only 8 percent of adults 50 years of age and older, according to a recent survey. And, even if they were to get the flu, the majority (80 percent) only saw themselves as being at average or below average risk for flu-related complications. For some, these misperceptions could be dangerous.
Adults 50 years of age and older are more likely than younger age groups to have a chronic illness, such as asthma or other lung disease, heart disease or diabetes. Flu can exacerbate symptoms of these conditions and lead to serious complications, like pneumonia – or sometimes even death.
Flu and chronic health conditions
According to the CDC, about 70 percent of adults ages 50 to 64 have at least one chronic illness. Lisa is among this group, living with both asthma and diabetes. All it took was one day for the flu to land her in the hospital. “I just kept getting worse. I was in the hospital for three weeks. Everyone thought I was going to die,” she said. Lisa continues to struggle with shortness of breath and a persistent cough, but she’s grateful to be alive.
After receiving a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosis, Jim Piette still enjoyed fishing, hunting and woodworking – until he got the flu. “Now, I’m on oxygen 24/7,” he said. “I can’t do much without running out of air.” After a year and a half, Jim still hasn’t been able to resume all his usual activities.
Take the precaution: Get the shot
Vaccination is the best way to help protect people, including older adults, from the flu and help reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalization and death. That’s why the American Lung Association created the MyShot campaign in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur. The campaign helps educate adults 50 years of age and older about the potential dangers of flu and the critical importance of getting a flu shot every year.
The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial and vaccination continues to be offered throughout flu season.
For adults, it’s important to know that there are multiple options depending on your age and whether you have one or more chronic health conditions. A doctor can advise which option may be right for each individual, taking into consideration age and other factors such as chronic health conditions.
It’s not about one person – it’s about everyone in your life
Flu vaccination helps protect more than just the people who receive them – they help prevent the spread of influenza to their family, friends, colleagues and communities, and especially those more vulnerable to the flu such as infants and young children and those with weakened immune systems. JoJo O’Neal’s bout with the flu turned into a family issue, infecting not only JoJo, but her sister who has COPD, and her niece. “I started to realize my health decisions can impact others,” she said. Now, she does everything she can to help protect herself and others from the flu, which always includes getting her annual flu vaccination.
If you or someone you love is 50 years of age or older, go to GetMyShot.org to learn more and speak with your healthcare provider about flu vaccine options that may be right for you.
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health is testing whether the nicotine patch can improve memory and functioning in people who have mild memory loss or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
Nicotine to Help Treat Memory Loss?
(Family Features) A study funded by the National Institutes of Health is testing whether the nicotine patch can improve memory and functioning in people who have mild memory loss or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
The largest and longest running study of its kind, the MIND (Memory Improvement through Nicotine Dosing) Study is looking for 300 volunteers at sites across the United States who have mild memory loss but are otherwise healthy, non-smokers over the age of 55.
“The MIND Study will provide valuable information for researchers with regard to early memory loss that is associated with normal aging and early Alzheimer’s disease, but we need volunteers if we are going to succeed,” said Dr. Paul Newhouse, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine and lead investigator for the MIND Study.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately one in five people age 65 or older have mild memory loss or MCI and are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Currently, there is no FDA-approved medication indicated to treat this condition; however, nicotine stimulates an area in the brain known to be important for thinking and memory, and scientists believe it could be an effective treatment for adults with MCI.
“People often think nicotine is addictive and harmful because it is in tobacco products, but it’s safe when used in patch form,” Newhouse said. “Nicotine is an inexpensive, readily available treatment that could have significant benefits for people experiencing mild memory impairment.”
The MIND Study needs 300 people to enroll in sites across the United States. Researchers are looking for healthy, non-smoking adults over the age of 55 who are in the earliest stages of memory loss to participate in the MIND Study.
Potential study volunteers can learn more by visiting MINDStudy.org or calling 1-866-MIND-150.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Memory Improvement through Nicotine Dosing (MIND)
For the up to 16 million Americans living with IBS-D, it is often an uncomfortable disorder that can reduce a patient’s quality of life. IBS-D affects twice as many women as men and often occurs in people younger than 45. It can cause interference with daily activities and avoidance of certain foods. If you’ve experienced these symptoms, Dr. Howard Franklin, MBA, vice president of medical affairs and strategy at Salix Pharmaceuticals. offers two important steps you can take.
(BPT) - "As a doctor, I want patients to have open conversations with me about any symptoms they may experience without feeling uncomfortable," said Dr. Howard Franklin, MBA, vice president of medical affairs and strategy at Salix Pharmaceuticals. "But, I understand that patients may sometimes choose not to talk about symptoms they find embarrassing."
Such is the case when it comes to discussing bowel movements. For people who experience abdominal pain and diarrhea, it is important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor as they may be signs of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D).
A report published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that up to 75 percent of individuals living with irritable bowel syndrome may be undiagnosed. You are not alone.
For the up to 16 million Americans living with IBS-D, it is often an uncomfortable disorder that can reduce a patient’s quality of life. IBS-D affects twice as many women as men and often occurs in people younger than 45. It can cause interference with daily activities and avoidance of certain foods.
If you’ve experienced these symptoms, Franklin offers two important steps you can take.
Understand the disorder
IBS-D is a disorder of the large intestine and though the precise cause is unknown, it is believed that there are various factors that can play a role in creating symptoms. Stronger, longer muscle contractions in the intestines and poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines are all possible causes for IBS-D. Often, IBS-D is triggered by food, caffeine, stress, carbonated drinks, artificial sugars or infectious diarrhea.
Changes in bacteria in the gut have also been linked to symptoms of IBS-D. In a healthy state, the microbiome and the human host have a mutually beneficial relationship as the host intestine provides the bacteria with an environment to flourish and the bacteria provides physiological stability. A change in the number of bacteria and in their type can disrupt this relationship.
Talk to your doctor
Don’t hesitate to initiate the conversation with your doctor if you experience symptoms of IBS-D.
It’s time to talk to your doctor if:
* Your abdominal pain keeps coming back at least one day per week in the last three months
* The frequency of your bowel movements, and/or the way your stool looks has changed
Here are a few ways you can prepare for a conversation with your doctor:
1. Write down your symptoms and triggers.
2. Make a list of all your medications.
3. Plan questions in advance, such as: What are the likely causes of my symptoms? Should I make any changes to my diet or lifestyle? What treatment options do you recommend for me?
There is no need to suffer with IBS-D in silence. Speak up to your doctor and, together, find ways to manage the disorder. For more information about IBS-D, visit www.LetsTalk-2.com.
If you’re a male over the age of 45, chances are you may be suffering from a condition more common than prostate cancer – benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It can cause bothersome urinary symptoms that can worsen with age. Consider these steps for alleviating enlarged prostate symptoms.
Treatment Options for Men with Enlarged Prostate
(Family Features) If you’re a male over the age of 45, chances are you may be suffering from a condition more common than prostate cancer – benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). More commonly known as enlarged prostate, BPH can cause bothersome urinary symptoms that can worsen with age. In fact, nearly 40 million men in the United States are affected by enlarged prostate, according to research published in the “Journal of Urology.”
During Men’s Health Month, consider these steps from the experts at NeoTract, Inc., manufacturer of the UroLift System, for alleviating enlarged prostate symptoms:
Signs You Should See a Urologist
An enlarged prostate obstructs the bladder opening and can lead to a myriad of bothersome urinary symptoms. Symptoms of BPH include frequent urination, a weak or slow urine stream, incomplete bladder emptying, difficulty or delay in starting urination and a urine stream that stops and starts. It’s important to see a physician if any of these problems arise or persist.
Enlarged prostate can also cause loss of productivity and sleep and, in some cases, can lead to depression. According to a survey sponsored by NeoTract, one of the most common symptoms of BPH – interrupted sleep – is also impacting men’s partners. Sixty-four percent of women surveyed who were affected by their partners' BPH symptoms said it impacts their sleep, too.
Traditional Treatment Options
Medication is often the first-line therapy for enlarged prostate, but relief can be inadequate and temporary. Some patients may suffer uncomfortable side effects from the medications, including dizziness, headaches and sexual dysfunction, which can prompt them to quit using the drugs.
“Medical and surgical treatments for BPH ranging from medications to surgery have been used for decades with varying degrees of success and side effects,” said Dr. David O. Sussman, DO, FACOS. “Medications can be helpful in relieving symptoms for some men, but patients must continue taking them long-term to maintain the effects.”
The classic alternative for patients who opt against medication is surgery that cuts, heats or removes prostate tissue to open the blocked urethra. Sussman said surgical options such as transurethral resection of the prostate or photovaporization of the prostate are usually effective. However, these options typically require general anesthesia, overnight hospitalization and post-operative catheterization. Surgery can also increase the risk of erectile dysfunction or loss of ejaculation.
An Alternative Treatment Method
Another option for men looking to relieve their BPH symptoms without undergoing major surgery or taking long-term BPH medications is the UroLift System treatment, a minimally invasive procedure that takes less than an hour and doesn’t require any cutting, heating or removal of prostate tissue.
A urologist uses the device to lift and move the enlarged prostate tissue out of the way so it no longer blocks the urethra (the passageway that urine flows through). Tiny implants are then used to hold the tissue in place, leaving an unobstructed pathway for urine to flow through normally.
Most common side effects are mild-to-moderate and include pain or burning with urination, blood in urine, pelvic pain, urgent need to urinate or the inability to control the urge. The procedure has a low catheter rate and most symptoms resolve within 2-4 weeks after the procedure.
To learn more, visit UroLift.com .
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Man at the doctors)SOURCE:
(BPT) - Most patients undergoing knee surgery want to know when they’ll be able to return to a pain-free, active lifestyle and do the things they once enjoyed before knee pain took over. For 58-year-old Kathleen Cohan, this meant a desire to return to mountain biking, hiking and skiing — activities she had always loved to do as a youth and continued to enjoy with her husband in their hometown of Golden, Colorado.
Cohan recently participated in a clinical trial to treat persistent knee pain caused by a meniscus tear. After receiving the NUsurface Meniscus Implant — the first “artificial meniscus” — she completed a six-week rehabilitation program and was ready to return to doing the things she loved.
“The NUsurface Meniscus Implant changed my life. It feels great to not have to worry before I choose an activity about how much pain I’ll be in afterward,” Cohan says. “My husband and I recently went on a 100-mile mountain bike trip, and I climbed a 14,000-foot peak last month and my knee didn’t bother me at all. The implant gave me a chance to extend my activity level as long as I possibly can.”
Three months after surgery, most patients have completely recovered and are able to return to many activities that were too painful or difficult previously. Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, the safest way to restart activity after meniscus surgery is to find activities that avoid placing unnecessary stress on your knee joint. Here are three activities to help you move safely after knee surgery:
1. Walk (don’t run!). Experts say walking outside your home three to five times each day is one of the best ways to regain your knee strength. While you may need to adjust the length of your step and speed, you will be able to spend more time walking for exercise once your muscle strength improves.
2. Dance. While you should avoid high-impact moves like jumping or lifts, ballroom dancing and gentle modern dancing are great ways to use leg muscles, engage in aerobic activity and have fun! Just be sure to avoid abrupt movements or twists that could potentially put your knee out of alignment.
3. Swim. Once the wound has healed, many people choose swimming as their exercise of choice as it’s not a weight-bearing activity and therefore reduces stress to the joints. If your knee is still a bit tender, opt for water aerobics or pool walking.
Want to mix it up? You can feel safe doing many other recommended activities such as yoga, golf, boating, aerobics or rowing. If you have experience prior to your surgery doing more intense activities, like Cohan, your doctor may give you the go-ahead to resume cycling, hiking, cross-country skiing and doubles tennis. Whichever activity you choose, remember that rushing into activities before you’ve recovered sufficiently may put you at risk for complications, so be sure to check with your doctor first before resuming any activity after meniscus surgery.
To be eligible for the NUsurface Meniscus Implant clinical studies, you must be between the ages of 30 and 75, and have pain after medial (the inside of the knee) meniscus surgery at least six months ago. To find a study site near you, visit www.activeimplants.com/kneepaintrial.
When was the last time you and your doctor talked about your hearing?
(BPT) - When was the last time you and your doctor talked about your hearing?
The fact is, only about 3 in 10 adults who had a physical exam in the last year say it included a hearing screening, according to research conducted by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). That’s a shame, because research shows that hearing health is more closely tied to whole health and quality of life than previously understood — which means that diagnosing and treating hearing loss early may be beneficial on many fronts.
To help people take charge of their hearing health, BHI has created a free digital flipbook, “How to Talk to Your Doctor About Hearing Loss,” which anyone can view and download at www.betterhearing.org/news/how-talk-your-doctor-about-hearing-loss.
The flipbook provides pertinent information to help consumers start the discussion, which is especially important because research shows that patients are more likely to initiate the conversation about hearing than their doctors are.
To go along with the free flipbook, BHI has put together this short list of reasons to speak up and start the conversation on your hearing:
1. Hearing loss has been linked to other significant health issues. In recent years, a flurry of studies has come out showing a link between hearing loss and other health issues, including depression, dementia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, moderate chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, obesity, an increased risk of falls, hospitalization and mortality, and cognitive decline. With so much new and emerging research, it makes sense for people to talk with their doctors about their hearing as a routine part of their medical care.
2. Addressing hearing loss often has a positive impact on quality of life. Most people who currently wear hearing aids say it has helped their general ability to communicate, participate in group activities and their overall quality of life, according to BHI research. The research also shows that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic, feel engaged in life, get more pleasure in doing things, have a strong social network and are more likely to tackle problems actively. Many even say they feel more confident and better about themselves as a result of using hearing aids.
3. Leaving hearing loss untreated may come at a financial cost. Most hearing aid users in the workforce say it has helped their performance on the job. In fact, BHI research found that using hearing aids reduced the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss. People with untreated hearing loss can lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, the BHI research found. Health care spending may also be affected.
For instance, middle-aged adults (55-64) with diagnosed hearing loss had substantially higher health care costs, according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, indicating that hearing loss may place patients at risk for increased health care use and costs. The study authors suggested that early, successful intervention may prevent future hearing-related disabilities and decreased quality of life.
For more information on hearing loss, visit BetterHearing.org.
(BPT) - Designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new treatments, clinical trials are the only way medical advances can move knowledge and science forward. In regard to knee pain, clinical trials offer the newest and latest ideas on finding better ways to treat pain.
People participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. For Debra Tongue of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a clinical trial provided a chance for a life-changing opportunity. An active mother of three and grandmother of two, Tongue was devastated when she tore her meniscus — a tissue pad between the thigh and shin bones. As a personal fitness trainer and avid sports enthusiast, Tongue went from a very high activity level of biking, hiking and running to having immense knee pain during any kind of physical activity. She underwent a meniscectomy, the surgical removal of the torn meniscus, but constant pain and swelling in her knee persisted. She was told she was too young for a knee replacement.
At age 46, Tongue made the decision to participate in a clinical trial to receive the NUsurface Meniscus Implant — the first “artificial meniscus” designed to replace the damaged one in patients like Tongue with persistent knee pain due to injured or deteriorated meniscus cartilage. The implant, which is made of medical grade plastic and inserted into the knee through a small incision, can serve as an opportunity to treat knee pain and keep patients active until knee replacement surgery is a viable option. The clinical trial is part of regulatory process to gain permission to allow the device to be distributed in the U.S.
“After receiving the NUsurface Meniscus Implant and undergoing a 12-week rehabilitation program, I felt back to normal and ready to take on the world,” Tongue says. “In fact, I was even able to go on a trip to India with girlfriends for a two-week retreat at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. The NUsurface Implant gave me a second chance to enjoy life the way I did before.”
Are you suffering from knee pain and considering enrolling in a clinical trial? Here are three reasons it may be the right choice for you:
1. You’ll get access to treatment not yet available in the U.S.
If you enroll in a trial, you could have access to treatments that are not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but could potentially work better than existing options to reduce pain or manage a disease.
2. You’ll receive high-quality care.
There are strict rules for clinical studies that have been put into place by the National Institute of Health and the FDA. In addition, all U.S. clinical trials must be overseen by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to make sure patient risks are as low as possible and that proper trial procedures are followed. Patients in clinical trials are monitored closely by their doctor using advanced diagnostic techniques, and information about you will be carefully recorded and reviewed.
3. You’ll help advance science.
Clinical trials offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future who have their same condition. By participating, you can provide researchers with the information they need to continue developing new procedures, medical devices and treatments.
To be eligible for the NUsurface Meniscus Implant clinical studies, you must be between the ages of 30 and 75, have pain after medial (the inside of the knee) meniscus surgery at least six months ago. To find a study site near you, visit www.activeimplants.com/kneepaintrial.
Living with diabetes is no laughing matter, but as many would say, laughter is often the best medicine. This is certainly true for comedic actress Yvette Nicole Brown, who offers these five tips for a healthy smile and managing diabetes with a touch of humor.
5 Tips for Managing Diabetes
This is certainly true for comedic actress Yvette Nicole Brown, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2013. In partnership with the American Diabetes Association and Colgate Total through the “Laugh Out Loud” campaign, Brown offers the following tips for a healthy smile and managing diabetes with a touch of humor.
Give Your Smile Some Extra TLC
Befriend Your Dentist
Find Your Tribe
When Brown was a kid her mom would say, “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.” That’s sometimes what people do when they get any kind of health diagnosis. The first response is, “Oh no,” and then you find a way around it.
For more information about the connection between oral health and diabetes, visit OralHealthandDiabetes.com or search #OralHealthDiabetes on social media.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (women walking)SOURCE:
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