Inflammation Can Affect Overall Health

Seek medical support for any persistent inflammation.

Yes, we know that inflammation in our knees, shoulders, ankles, etc. can be painful. And chronic inflammation may be quite annoying. But do you know how inflammation can affect one’s overall health? Not just the affected body part.

The best advice? Do not let a substantial inflammation be under-treated or improperly monitored. Consult with your medical professionals. And listen to their suggestions.

According to observations for Elemental by Markham Heid, a health and science writer:

“Doctors today have a better understanding of inflammation and its role in illness. But their best attempts to define inflammation still lack the precision Ziegler found elusive more than a century ago.”

“The authors of a 2015 British Journal of Nutrition (BJN) study found inflammation is the immune system’s primary weapon in the ‘elimination of toxic agents and the repair of damaged tissues.’ But when inflammation persists or switches on inappropriately, they write, it can act as a foe rather than a friend. Hardly a week goes by in which researchers fail to discover new links between inappropriate inflammation and a common disease or disorder.”

“From Alzheimer’s and heart disease to arthritis, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders, elevated or out-of-whack inflammation is a common thread that ties together these seemingly unrelated ailments. For now scientists are still exploring the ways it changes the body, for better and for worse.”

To learn more, click the image.

Inflammation Can Affect Overall Health
Illustration: Kieran Blakey  

 
 

Getting Your Health Care Provider to Be More Responsive

A resource for getting your medical records.

Have you ever had trouble getting a health care provider to give you the information you asked for? In fact, many people have.

That is why Ciitizen.com created the patient record scorecard.

According to FierceHealthcare,

“As the former head of healthcare privacy policy at the Department of Health and Human Services, Deven McGraw led efforts to issue guidance on the right of individuals to access and obtain a copy of their health information. When McGraw joined technology startup Ciitizen two years ago, she realized the efforts by the Office for Civil Rights to educate patients and industry stakeholders about the “Right of Access” had done little to reduce friction for patients, McGraw wrote in a Ciitizen blog post.”

“But as Ciitizen — which helps patients collect and share their medical records digitally — started helping its initial beta users gather their medical records, the company encountered countless roadblocks from providers refusing to accept requests by fax or email to others imposing fees that are not compliant with HIPAA, McGraw wrote.”

Click the image to read more.

Getting Your Health Care Provider to Be More Responsive
(Getty/anyaberkut)

 

New Information on Health Trends

Global research from Euromonitor International.

Earlier this year, we reported on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It was a United States study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). 

Now, we look at new information on health trends from Euromonitor International.

Digestive Health

Click here for the full article.

“Digestive health is one of consumers’ top health concerns. According to Euromonitor International, foods with digestive health as their prime positioning accrued sales of $70.5 billion in 2018 globally, making it the second-largest positioning platform behind general wellbeing.”

“The free-from movement is strongly related to digestive health. As the number of allergies and intolerances to gluten, dairy and lactose rise globally, consumers looking for relief from chronic digestive complaints are fueling the boom in free-from products. There is also a growing perception of gluten, lactose and dairy-free products as healthier, more natural and easier to digest, expanding the consumer base beyond those who are intolerant and allergic to the masses with further growth expected over the coming years.”

New Information on Health Trends

Vitamins and Supplements 

Click here for the full article.

“Constantly changing health trends and large amounts of easily available information on health and nutrition is blurring the lines of what types of products consumers are using to maintain their health. For example, consumers who previously relied on traditional beauty products to maintain their appearance are now looking at vitamins and supplements to enhance their appearance as part of their overall well-being.”

“As consumers are shifting focus to a more holistic approach to healthcare, brands and companies need to ensure that they are looking at their products and services with the same view. Therefore, it is important that brands and companies look beyond their immediate competitors and product categories as disruption within health and nutrition industries continues.”

New Information on Health Trends
Source: Euromonitor International’s 2019 Health and Nutrition Survey

 

How Effective Are Sleep Trackers?

Their accuracy is questioned.

I am one of tens of millions of people who wear fitness trackers. Last year, we wrote about wearables and health care.  For me, monitoring the quality of my sleep in a key reason why I wear it. But, in reality, how effective are sleep trackers? Not very, it seems.

Last month, Brian X. Chen wrote an article for  the NY Times entitled The Sad Truth About Sleep-Tracking Devices and Apps.” Here’s what he concluded:

“I wore an Apple Watch, since it is one of the most popular health-tracking devices. I also downloaded a top-rated app called AutoSleep, which uses the Apple Watch’s sensors to follow my movements and determine when I fell asleep and woke up. (The Apple Watch lacks a built-in sleep tracker.) Here’s what AutoSleep gathered on my sleep habits.”

How Effective Are Sleep Trackers?

“But the excitement ended there. Ultimately, the technology did not help me sleep more. It didn’t reveal anything that I didn’t already know, which is that I average about five and a half hours of slumber a night. And the data did not help me answer what I should do about my particular sleep problems. In fact, I’ve felt grumpier since I started these tests.”

“That mirrored conclusions of a recent study from Rush University Medical College and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Researchers noticed patients complaining about sleep data collected by apps and devices from Nike, Apple, Fitbit and others. In their study, they warned that sleep-tracking tech could provide inaccurate data and worsen insomnia by making people obsessed with achieving perfect slumber, a condition they called orthosomnia. It was one of the latest pieces of research supporting the idea that health apps don’t necessarily make people healthier.”

Click the image below to read more from Chen. Happy sleeping. 🙂

How Effective Are Sleep Trackers?
Image by Glenn Harvey

 

Do We Really Want Patient Portals?

Do you use patient portals. If no, why not?

A patient portal is a secure Web site where people can see test results, health trends, and more about themselves. Due to HIPAA laws, online medical information must require a login. To protect privacy. 

I personally am a big fan of patient portals. They provide me with a lot of medical data and easy appointment setting. And I know it’s private. How about YOU, do you want and use patient portals?

According to recent research for the EY US NextWave Health Survey:

“In the past, health businesses built small bits of an experience to ease particular points of frustration. These point solutions, however, haven’t radically changed the consumer or physician experience, and aren’t highly utilized. Take patient portals  as an example. Patients say they want them, and many provider groups have built them. But the vast majority of people (about 70%) haven’t used them either to make an appointment or to pay a bill. Consumers want to be at the center of their care journey, supported by tools that help them manage their health and their relationship with providers. The point solutions of today clearly aren’t delivering that or improving patient engagement.”

Click the image for a larger view.

Do We Really Want Patient Portals?
 

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care

Fresh research to help us live longer.

Earlier this month, we posted about Be Careful with Supplements. Nonetheless, some supplements may be valuable in cancer care. One of them seems to be Vitamin D.

A recent study by researchers at Michigan State found that:

“Vitamin D, if taken for at least three years, could help cancer patients live longer, say researchers. New findings suggest that the vitamin carries significant benefits other than just contributing to healthy bones. A paper on the work was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.”

“‘Vitamin D had a significant effect on lowering the risk of death among those with cancer, but unfortunately it didn’t show any proof that it could protect against getting cancer,’ says Tarek Haykal, a lead author of the study and an internal medicine resident physician at Michigan State University and Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.”

“Researchers looked at data related to disease prevention from more than 79,000 patients in multiple studies that randomly compared the use of vitamin D to a placebo over at least a three-year period. Haykal and his team zeroed in on any information that involved cancer incidence and mortality. ‘The difference in the mortality rate between the vitamin D and placebo groups was statistically significant enough that it showed just how important it might be among the cancer population,’ Haykal says. While these findings show promise, Haykal cautions that the exact amount of the vitamin to take and what levels are needed in the blood are still unknown. He also says that it’s unclear how much longer vitamin D extends lifespan and why it has this result.”

Click on the image to read the full paper.

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care
 

Understanding Cognitive Aging

Further research on how we age.

Last week, we had a post on How Old Do YOU feel? “The study considered 92 diseases and conditions in 195 countries and territories.”

Let’s continue with that topic. In new research by Lee Ryan, et al., the authors discussed “Applying Precision Medicine to the Field of Cognitive Aging” in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience:

“The current ‘one size fits all’ approach to our cognitive aging population is not adequate to close the gap between cognitive health span and lifespan. In this review article, we present a novel model for understanding, preventing, and treating age-related cognitive impairment (ARCI) based on concepts borrowed from precision medicine. We will discuss how multiple risk factors can be classified into risk categories because of their interrelatedness in real life, the genetic variants that increase sensitivity to, or ameliorate, risk for ARCI, and the brain drivers or common mechanisms mediating brain aging. Rather than providing a definitive model of risk for ARCI and cognitive decline, the Precision Aging model is meant as a starting point to guide future research. To that end, after briefly discussing key risk categories, genetic risks, and brain drivers, we conclude with a discussion of steps that must be taken to move the field forward.”

Click the image to access the full article.

Understanding Cognitive Aging