November 28, 2016
About 2.7 million Americans have atrial fibrillation and are at a risk for having a stroke. Being over age 65, having a family history or past occurrence of diabetes, stroke, heart failure, heart attack, poor kidney function and high blood pressure, and being female are all factors that increase the chances of you having a stroke. However, the risk of having a stroke can be greatly reduced (by 50-60%) with the help of an anticoagulant (more popularly known as a blood thinner).
When blood flow is obstructed by a blood clot, cells in the brain can’t get enough oxygen, which causes a stroke. The top chambers of the heart of people with atrial fibrillation create a sluggish blood flow that often forms blood clots. If a part of these clots reaches the brain, a stroke can occur. Blood thinners are an ideal solution for this problem because they can reduce the formation of blood clots in the heart, which will decrease the risk for having a stroke.
Despite the success of blood thinners in reducing strokes, almost 50% of patients with atrial fibrillation fail to take blood thinners because of the potential for anticoagulants to cause bleeding and because they don’t feel noticeably better when taking the medication.
New Blood Thinners on the Market
In the past few years, the FDA has approved four new blood thinners called edoxaban (Savaysa) dabigatran (Pradaxa), apixiban (Eliquis) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto). Like the popular blood thinner warfarin, these new medications are also used to decrease the odds of stroke in atrial fibrillation patients. One difference in these new drugs compared to warfarin is the lack of need to do blood monitoring.
Even though blood thinners prevent strokes by reducing the occurrence of blood clots from the heart, they increase the risk of strokes caused by brain bleeds (also known as a hemorrhagic stroke). Warfarin has been known to cause bleeding when it’s weakened by certain foods and medications that interact with its effectiveness. The newer medications cause fewer strokes from bleeding incidents compared to the older medication Warfarin and tend to fare better overall for reducing strokes from either bleeds or blood clots.
Doing Your Part
Consult with your doctor to ensure the treatment of your atrial fibrillation includes stroke prevention. Just because you have a mild case of atrial fibrillation does not eliminate the need to use a blood thinner as a precautionary measure. The other factors already mentioned can increase your odds of stroke even with mild atrial fibrillation, so make sure you are honest about your health history with your doctor so you can discuss better treatment alternatives.
November 23, 2016
Do you want to reach your fitness goals without spending a ton of money on supplements? Supplements can have wonderful benefits and help you reach your goals, but they won’t just do it for you. It is possible to get stronger without supplements. You have to train, eat, and rest correctly in order to do this.
The problem with supplements is that they do such a good job of convincing everyone that they won’t be able to reach any kind of fitness goal without them. In reality, they are just supplements. They are supposed to SUPPLEMENT your training, diet, and rest. You can take all the supplements in the world, but if you don’t do anything else, you will be pretty unhappy with the results.
When you are looking to boost strength and build lean muscle mass, you need supplements that have supporting science and a long history of gains. These supplements have all been used by body builders, fitness models, and fitness enthusiasts for over a decade, and are time tested.
You do not need the newest and most “hip” supplement to build lean muscle mass and boost your strength. Stick with the supplements that are proven muscle builders or which effectiveness were proved by science studies.
November 16, 2016
If your child has problems paying attention, is always on the go and is always talking, then it is possible your child may have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that most symptoms of childhood ADHD begin between the ages of 3 and 6. However, ADHD can go on throughout the child’s teenage years and adult years. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), 11% of childhood cases of ADHD were diagnosed between the ages of 4 and 17 in 2011.
There are three types of ADHD:
- hyperactive-impulsive (constant talking, always interrupting others in conversation, and always on the go)
- inattentive (problems finishing tasks, following directions, and focusing)
- combination of both hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention
The ADHD Diagnosis
The CDC estimates that the number of children diagnosed with ADHD has increased steadily from 2003 to 2011 (from 7.8% to 11%). FDA representative and child psychiatrist Dr. Tiffany R. Farchione says the increase in ADHD diagnoses is due to more knowledge available about psychiatric conditions.
Dr. Farchione also adds that ADHD diagnoses are more prominent among males (13.2%) than females (5.6%). This discrepancy also may be due in part to boys typically having the more active type of ADHD–the hyperactive-impulsivity type—than the quieter type (inattention) that is harder to identify.
Get your child evaluated by the family physician if you believe your child has ADHD. That way, you can eliminate other culprits of inattention (i.e., hearing and vision problems). Some pediatricians opt to give a referral to a mental health professional if they do not do the evaluation themselves.
Stimulants and non-stimulant drugs for children as young as 6 years old are approved by the FDA as suitable medications for relieving ADHD symptoms and for promoting optimum functioning.
When most people hear the name stimulant, they often think that’s the wrong type of medication to give an already overactive child, but these type of medications actually have the opposite effect on children with ADHD. Stimulants contain amphetamine and methylphenidate, which increases dopamine levels in the brain. The increased dopamine has a calming effect on children because dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for human attention, motivation and movement.
Children sensitive to stimulants are still able to get medical treatment for their ADHD symptoms. Strattera (atomoxetine), Intuniv (guanfacine), and Kapvay (clonidine) are approved by the FDA as non-stimulants that effectively treat ADHD symptoms. So discuss with your child’s physician the available options for your child concerning stimulant and non-stimulant medications.
ADHD: Adults Can Have it, Too
Research has shown that adults can also be diagnosed with ADHD if it can be proven some symptoms of the disorder were present when the adult was a child (as early as age 7). The 4% of the adult population diagnosed with ADHD exhibit a lot of the same symptoms children exhibit with ADHD. However, adults have slightly different ways of exhibiting inattention and hyperactivity, such as having difficulty with activities required a lot of focused attention, difficulty resting during times of rest, difficulty multi-tasking, and difficulty managing time.
November 5, 2016
The beginning of the school year marks a time period when parents and other caregivers are swamped with paperwork to complete from their children’s school, and many of them have concerns about their children’s vaccine schedule.
Dr. Marion Gruber, director of the office of Vaccines Research and Review for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), states that, “Parents should know that vaccines protect children from many serious illnesses from infectious diseases. The risk of being harmed by vaccines is much smaller than the risk of serious illness from infectious diseases,” she says.
The biggest complaint most children experience from vaccination is soreness around the site where they were injected. Other than that, there are no serious effects; and if they are, the instances are very rare.
Benefit of Vaccination
Childhood diseases like measles, Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) and diphtheria have become rare occurrences thanks to vaccines. Vaccines have worked wonders to make childhood diseases like smallpox and polio nonexistent in United States. Thus, the use of vaccines has prevented many children in the United States from having to suffer and die from various diseases that were once commonplace in childhood.
According to Gruber, just because vaccination has made childhood diseases of the past a very rare phenomenon, parents cannot dismiss the possibility these diseases can still occur—especially if people elect not to have their children vaccinated.
Guidelines to Follow When Having Your Child Vaccinated
Review the vaccine information sheets
The following material contains information required by law that healthcare professionals have to provide on the pros and cons of using vaccines.
Discuss the pros and cons of having your child vaccinated with your child’s physician.
It’s important to know the risks taken when parents decide not to let their children have vaccines. For example, diseases that are preventable because of vaccines (i.e. pertussis, diphtheria and measles) are known to be fatal or cause lasting harm for some children.
Notify the doctor about your child’s medical history prior to getting them vaccines.
If your child has a medical history of previous illnesses or has had an allergic reaction to vaccines in the past, then your child’s healthcare provider needs to know that. Also, tell the doctor of any known allergies your child has. If your child is allergic to eggs, then a flu vaccine could prove to be harmful or fatal to your child since eggs are used to produce flu vaccines.
People sensitive to latex may have a problem taking vaccines that are packaged in latex material. Also, you should let your child’s doctor know about vaccines your child should avoid because of a weak immune system.
Report adverse reactions
The FDA and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend all parents report any adverse reactions or other problems from taking a vaccine to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.