Do YOU Get Regular Eye Exams

Please don’t ignore your eyes!

As our title asks: Do YOU Get Regular Eye Exams? Or do YOU neglect your eyes? Please be sure to treat your eyes properly!!! 🙂

Recently, Sarah DiGiulio wrote about this topic for Sharecare. Here are some highlights:

“Roughly 11 million Americans older than 12-years old need vision correction, but glasses or contacts are just one reason to see an eye doctor. Comprehensive eye exams are essential for the early detection of health issues that can affect your vision.”

“As you age, your risk for diseases that can affect your sight, like glaucoma and macular degeneration, increases. During a comprehensive, dilated eye exam, doctors specializing in the eyes and vision, called ophthalmologists, or licensed health care professionals, known as optometrists, can not only pick up eye diseases that could lead to blindness or other complications, but also detect certain underlying health issues that can affect your eyes—even before you develop symptoms or realize that something is going on.”

“Nonetheless,survey data suggest they’re underutilized. A 2016 Harris Poll, commissioned by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, found that 64 percent of U.S. adults reported having at least one vision problem, such as blurry vision, double vision, or difficulty seeing at night. Yet, only 13 percent of these people reported seeing an eye doctor about it.”

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that up to 45 percent of adults in the United States haven’t had a dilated eye exam within the last two years. And only about half of the estimated 61 million adults at high risk for vision loss visited an eye doctor during the past year. (Keep in mind, there are free or low-cost options available, particularly for older people and those at higher risk for eye diseases.)”

Click the image to read a lot more.

Do YOU Get Regular Eye Exams
Your risk for eye-related disease increases as you age. Regular comprehensive eye exams can help protect your vision.

 

Avoid Genetic Testing Scams

Not every testing company is legit!!

Genetic testing has become an enormous business, with millions of people wanting to learn more about their backgrounds. BUT, not all genetic testing firms are legitimate.

For that reason, Health and Human Services recently issued a fraud alert:

Avoid Genetic Testing Scams

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is alerting the public about a fraud scheme involving genetic testing. Genetic testing fraud occurs when Medicare is billed for a test or screening that was not medically necessary and/or was not ordered by a Medicare beneficiary’s treating physician.

Scammers are offering Medicare beneficiaries “free” screenings or cheek swabs for genetic testing to obtain their Medicare information for identity theft or fraudulent billing purposes. Fraudsters are targeting beneficiaries through telemarketing calls, booths at public events, health fairs, and door-to-door visits.

Beneficiaries who agree to genetic testing or verify personal or Medicare information may receive a cheek swab, an in-person screening or a testing kit in the mail, even if it is not ordered by a physician or medically necessary. If Medicare denies the claim, the beneficiary could be responsible for the entire cost of the test, which could be thousands of dollars.

Protect Yourself

  • If a genetic testing kit is mailed to you, don’t accept it unless it was ordered by your physician. Refuse the delivery or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender’s name and the date you returned the items.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who offers you “free” genetic testing and then requests your Medicare number. If your personal information is compromised, it may be used in other fraud schemes.
  • A physician that you know and trust should assess your condition and approve any requests for genetic testing.
  • Medicare beneficiaries should be cautious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare numbers. If anyone other than your physician’s office requests your Medicare information, do not provide it.

 

Smart Speakers Can Aid in Heart Attack Detection

Contactless communication saves lives.

Alexa and other smart speakers have certainly come a long way. They’re no longer just for entertainment and shopping. They can be trained to aid in heart attack detection. From one’s home or other locale with such a smart speaker!

As Sarah McQuate-Washington observes for Futurity.org:

“A new tool for a smart speaker — like Google Home or Alexa — or even a smartphone can detect the gasping sound of agonal breathing associated with cardiac arrest, research shows. Almost 500,000 Americans die each year from cardiac arrest, when the heart suddenly stops beating.”

“People experiencing cardiac arrest suddenly become unresponsive and either stop breathing or gasp for air. Immediate CPR can double or triple someone’s chance of survival, but that requires a bystander to be present. Cardiac arrests often occur outside of the hospital and in the privacy of someone’s home. Recent research suggests that one of the most common locations for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is in a patient’s bedroom, where no one is likely around or awake to respond and provide care.”

“‘A proof-of-concept tool,’ which monitors people for cardiac arrest while they’re asleep without touching them and was developed using real agonal breathing instances captured from 911 calls, detected agonal breathing events 97 percent of the time from up to 20 feet (or 6 meters) away, according to a study in Digital Medicine.

“‘A lot of people have smart speakers in their homes, and these devices have amazing capabilities that we can take advantage of,’ says co-corresponding author Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.”

Click the image to access the full study.

Smart Speakers Can Aid in Heart Attack Detection
 

Do YOU Agree with This Scary Finding?

Does your appointment time matter?

Although doctors are human, like other service providers, we hope that they are always on top of their game. Especially when they see us!!! But new research offers some scary insights. Do YOU believe these insights?

As reported in an article in the JAMA Network Open, authored by Esther Y. Hsiang; Shivan J. Mehta; Dylan S. Small; et al.:

Question: “Are breast and colorectal cancer screening rates associated with the time of day a patient visits the primary care clinician?”

Findings:  “In this quality improvement study analysis of 33 primary care practices including 19,254 patients eligible for breast cancer screening and 33, 468 patients eligible for colorectal cancer screening, both clinician ordering and patient completion of cancer screening tests decreased as the time of day progressed.”

Meaning:  Patients with primary care clinic appointment times later in the day were less likely to be ordered for and receive guideline recommended cancer screening.”

As summed up in a Futurity.org article on this study:

“Examining data from 2014 through 2016 across 33 Pennsylvania and New Jersey primary care practices, the researchers found that ordering rates had far-reaching effects.”

“Among eligible patients, primary care doctors ordered breast cancer screening more often for patients seen in the 8 A.M (64 percent) as compared to those with appointments at 5 P.M. (48 percent). Similarly, doctors ordered colon cancer screening tests more frequently for 8 A.M patients (37 percent) compared to those coming in later in the day (23 percent).

“When looking at the entire sample eligible for screenings at these practices, the researchers tracked whether the patients completed a screening within a year of their appointment. The data showed that the downward trend associated with the timing of the appointments carried over. Breast cancer screening — which included mammograms—stood at a 33 percent one-year completion rate for the entire eligible population who had their appointment in the 8 A.M. hour. But for those who had clinic visits at 5 P.M. or later, just 18 percent completed screenings. For colorectal cancer, 28 percent of the patients with appointments in the 8 A.M. hour completed screenings such as colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, and fecal occult blood tests. That number dropped to 18 percent for patients who saw the doctor at 5 P.M. or later”.

Click the image to read the full research article.

Do YOU Agree with This Scary Finding?

 

Be Careful with Supplements

Choose your supplements wisely.

As part of our daily regimens, some of us take dietary supplements. BUT, we must be careful with these supplements.

In a very detailed and informative article, Markham Heid reports on issues related to supplement misuse. After just a short time, this article has received more than 11,100 likes!!!

According to Heid:

Background

“Earlier this year, federal authorities announced plans to strengthen oversight of the supplement industry. ‘The growth in the number of adulterated and misbranded products — including those spiked with drug ingredients not declared on their labels, misleading claims, and other risks — creates new potential dangers,’ said U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb in a February press release.”

“Heightened oversight is needed, Gottlieb argued, because expansion and change within the supplement industry has made it difficult for his agency to keep pace. ‘What was once a $4 billion industry comprised of about 4,000 unique products, is now an industry worth more than $40 billion, with more than 50,000 — and possibly as many as 80,000 or even more — different products available to consumers,” he said.”

BE CAREFUL!!!

“From multivitamins and botanicals to probiotics and protein powders, roughly three out of four Americans now take some kind of supplement on a regular basis. Since the days of palliative tonics and snake-oil salesmen, Americans have been readily lured by the promise of health or longevity in the form of a drink, pill, or powder. While the terminology has evolved — ’biohacking’ and ‘nutraceuticals’ are some of the buzzwords du jour — the implied benefits of most supplements still outpace or ignore the science. And despite recent studies that find supplements are frequently contaminated or that the best way to get nutrients is through food, Americans’ interest in supplements is only growing. And experts say many supplement users don’t recognize or appreciate the risks that accompany the use of these products.”

“The lesson here isn’t that supplements give people cancer. Rather, it’s that approaching supplements as though they’re all upside is a misguided and potentially harmful operating philosophy. When you swallow a capsule packed with concentrated amounts of a vitamin, nutrient, or other substance — a practice that did not become widespread until very recently — you can get into trouble.”

Click the image to access Heid’s full article.

Be Careful with Supplements

AN AUDIO SUMMARY

Click below to access a 15-minute audio summary from Heid.


 

Thank You Vets and Your Families!!

Remember our military. With two infographics.

Today, we present a post off our main health topic: Thank You Vets and Your Families!!

As is the case every year, we consider Memorial Day 2019 as a special day. First, Monday May 27 involves solemn reflection about the millions of U.S. veterans who have been lost in combat over the years. Unlike other light-hearted celebrations. Second, Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer. And lots of people travel.

What’s the Difference Between Memorial Day and Veterans Day?

First, we distinguish between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. As the Almanac notes:

“On both Memorial Day and Veterans Day, it’s customary to spend time remembering and honoring the countless veterans who have served the United States throughout the country’s history. However, there is a distinction between the two holidays.”

  • Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. In other words, we memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  We spend time remembering those who lost their lives and could not come home. Thus, we reflect on their service and why we have the luxury and freedom that we enjoy today. We might consider how we can support and safeguard their grieving families and loved ones who are left behind.”
  • Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL who served — in wartime or peacetime — regardless of whether they died or survived. Veterans Day is always observed officially on November 11, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls.”

Thank You Vets and Your Families!!
Remembering Our Vets: Memorial Day 2019 as a Special Day

Below, we offer two infographics relating to Memorial Day 2019.

Thank You Vets and Your Families!!

Thank You Vets and Your Families!!

 

Two Research-Based Medication Findings

Studies on kidney disease and A-fib.

As we know, particular medications may or may not be for us. Even if they are fine for others. Let’s consider two examples.

Heartburn and Our Kidneys

Marget Robinson of the University of Buffalo reports that:

“Common medications for heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers are linked to increased risks of kidney failure and chronic kidney disease, according to a new study. Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI), a group of drugs that reduce the production of stomach acid, may increase risk as much as 20 percent — and also come with a four times greater risk of kidney failure, researchers say. People at least 65 years old have the highest risk.”

“The research, which appears in Pharmacotherapy, is one of the first large, long-term studies to examine the effects of PPIs on kidney function. Researchers examined health data of more than 190,000 patients over a 15-year period. This study adds to a growing list of concerning side effects and adverse outcomes associated with PPIs,’ says David Jacobs, lead investigator and assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. ‘Given the increasing global use of PPIs, the relationship between PPIs and renal disease could pose a substantial disease and financial burden to the health care system and public health.'”

Click the image to read more.

Two Research-Based Medication Findings

 

A-Fib and Aspirin

Sarah Avery of Duke University reports that:

“The drugs apixaban and clopidogrel — without aspirin — comprise the safest treatment regimen for certain patients with atrial fibrillation (A-fib), according to new research. The finding — which applies specifically to patients with A-fib who have had a heart attack and/or are undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention—should reassure clinicians and patients that dropping aspirin results in no significant increase in ischemic events such as heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots.”

“The researchers presented data from the large study, known as AUGUSTUS, at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting. ‘We have a lot of studies on antithrombotic drugs in patients with coronary artery disease and similarly in patients with A-fib, but few studies in patients with both conditions,’ says cardiologist Renato D. Lopes, principal investigator for the trial and a member of the Duke University Clinical Research Institute. ‘The reality is that doctors and patients have a challenge in treating these patients without causing bleeding. The results of this trial give us an opportunity to better understand how to best treat them.'”

Now, look at a brief video on the study.