Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gout, Sugar-Sweetened Soft Drinks and Caffeine

Gout, the most common inflammatory arthritis in the U.S., is a very painful form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid. Uric acid crystals become deposited on the cartilage of joints, tendons and other surrounding tissue, especially the feet.

Gout rates are climbing not only because it is being diagnosed earlier but also because people are living longer and because diuretic therapies are typically prescribed for high blood pressure in postmenopausal women.

There are good medications that can potentially prevent gout attacks. Even so, attacks are common.

Researchers have tied gout attacks to consuming alcohol, red meat, and certain seafoods. Now they are also beginning to link them to sweetened beverages and caffeine.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Risks For Early Dialysis

It used to be that people with 1-2% of kidney function were put on dialysis.

More and more people with up to 15% kidney function are currently receiving dialysis and that number is increasing.

Dr. Steven J. Rosansky, senior research fellow at Dorn Research Institute of the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina, "found that there is a remarkably higher risk of death in healthy people that are being put on dialysis at higher levels of kidney function". "People who started dialysis early, based on their kidney function were more likely to die in the first year than were those who started dialysis at a later stage of their disease: about 20 percent vs. 5 percent."

A recent study has shown that putting people on dialysis earlier has no beneficial effect and it may be harmful.

Physicians need to reexamine their recommendations.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Asprin and Colorectal Cancer

Dr. Peter Rothwell, a professor of neurology at the University of Oxford (UK), believes that colon cancer high risk patients should take low-dose (75 milligrams) aspirin as a preventative.

A study including 14,000 people over 6 years and conducted by Dr. Rothwell showed that people who "regularly take a low dose of aspirin may be reducing their risk of developing colon cancer (of a certain type and location) by 24 percent."

Also those taking aspirin reduced their risk of dying from this colon cancer by 35%.

The downside to this preventative is that aspirin may induce gastrointestinal bleeding.

Always consult a doctor before taking medication.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hospice Care Too Late For Many American Men

Hospice care is best known for its work at easing the experience of dying. A recent study showed that most American men with terminal prostate cancer are too late in signing up for hospice care to appreciate its benefits.

According to Dr. Mark Litwin, a professor of urology and public health at UCLA, "it's important that we maximize quality of life when quantity of life cannot be changed."

Doctors often focus on "not giving up" to prolong life so they recommend hospice care too late. Instead, according to a study, physicians need to rethink their focus not on survival "of poor quality" but rather preparation for the next step.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Interactions Cause Seniors to Drop Antidepressants

Over half the Americans who were prescribed antidepressants suffered uncomfortable side effects when the antidepressants and their other medications did not interact well. 45% of them still refilled the prescription. But another quarter stopped taking the antidepressants altogether.

Physicians need to become more aware that older adults often take dangerous combinations of prescription drugs.

Men's Sexual Problems Due To Low Testosterone Or Something Else?

Even though "low testosterone and sexual problems quite often coexist," according to hormone expert Dr. Frederick Wu, a new study shows that decreasing levels of testosterone does not necessarily cause impotence or decreased libido.

Dr. Michael Marberger of University of Vienna Medical School asserts that "testosterone replacement therapy has become a very common thing." Maybe it's too common.

Dr. Wu told Reuters Health that "most people with erectile problems do not have hormone problems...but often have blockages in the arteries to the penis."

Testosterone levels dwindle with age, race, country. But in men who admit to some sexual dysfunction, age, urinary symptoms, body mass index and diabetes impacted performance more!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Marriage Helps With Quality of Life

If you have a good marriage, you are more likely to enjoy a better quality of life and experience less pain from rheumatoid arthritis.

Research leader Jennifer Barsky Reese at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported that a "high-quality marriage ..seems to buffer a patient's emotional health."

Reese and her team questioned 255 adults with RA (average age of 55) about happiness in their marriage, interrogating them in such areas as finances, demonstrations of affection, sex, philosophy and interactions with in-laws.

All of this isn't surprising to psychoneuroimmunologist Nancy Klimas who asserts that you can "teach yourself to deal with pain and chronic disease." She feels that people do better with a supportive relationship. But that doesn't necessarily mean marriage--it could also mean a high-quality relationship between committed but unmarried partners.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Carotid Stent or Carotid Endarterectomy?

According to a MedlinePlus article dated October 11, 2010, implanting a carotid stent is more likely to cause a stroke or death than surgically clearing blockages (carotid endarterectomy). But those patients opting for doctors cutting open the neck and scraping away the fatty deposits (endarterectomy) have greater risk for nerve damage and heart attacks.

Both therapeutic procedures are effective and have a relatively low rate of serious complications so doctors resort to one procedure over another based on what is best for the particular patient.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blood Pressure Meds: When to Take Them

Results of a five-year study of 2,156 (average age of 56) men and women with high blood pressure have shown that those people who have taken their blood-pressure medications at bedtime fared better than others who took their medications in the morning.

The key here is the importance of sleep-time blood pressure, "the most sensitive predictor of a person's risk of death from cardiovascular disease."

Taking blood pressure medicine at night encourages blood pressure to dip at night--like in healthy people. "This effect of the proper timing for dosing seems to be directly related to the documented reduction in cardiovascular events."

The study proves that researchers and physicians need to reevaluate the way hypertension is diagnosed and treated.

"However, those who now take their pills in the morning should not begin taking them at night without their doctor's knowledge."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

27% of Those With HIV Over 50 Years Old

Currently, about "27% of those with HIV are over 50. By 2015, more than half will be, " according to a report of the Office of National AIDS Policy at the White House, October 28, 2010.

A 55-year HIV patient tends to look like a 70-year-old without HIV in terms of the treatment needed. 91% suffer from chronic medical conditions. such as arthritis, hepatitis, neuropathy, depression and high blood pressure. About 77% had two or more.

The survey studied about 1,000 HIV-positive 50+ year olds--640 men, 264 women and 10 transgender people.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How to Recycle, Reduce and Reuse: Earth911 Has the Answers

As we approach the big battery-dependent children's holiday of the year, Christmas, I am reminded about all the times I've wanted to dispose old batteries and didn't know where to dump them.

Then I turned to, entered the item and my zip code and found several places within a few miles that I could safely (and legally) get rid of stuff that to this day keeps me environmentally challenged.

Earth911 is an excellent site for holiday gifts, best online stores, making a holiday fashion statement, and whether or not you should opt for a real vs. artificial Christmas tree. Oh, and the site is packed with information on recycling, reducing and reusing.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Adding Monounsaturated Fats to Diet May Boost Heart Health

New research suggests that adding monounsaturated fat (MUFA) to your diet in the form of nuts, seeds, avocados, and oils such as olive, canola and sunflower oils, raises your "good" HDL cholesterol by about 12% and lowers your "bad" LDL cholesterol by about 35%.

The study randomly assigned 17 men and seven postmenopausal women to either a high or low MUFA diet.