Posted in Health

Half of Americans at Risk for a Heart Attack

A report published in the American Heart Association’s Heart and Stroke Statistics annual report cite 48% of US adults have some type of cardiovascular disease.

The uptick could be due to rising obesity, and lowering thresholds for diagnosing guidelines such as high blood pressure (now considered high if over 130/80).

Although smoking rates have declined over the years, many still use tobacco and recent research has found E-cigs to increase risk of heart attack and stroke by 70%.

 

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when an area of the brain does not get the proper oxygen and blood flow it needs. There are two major types of stroke:  ischemic and hemorrhagic.

Ischemic strokes are more common than the latter and occur when a clot prevents blood flow to part of the brain.  80% of all strokes fall under ischemic.  It is a likened to a heart attack, except the brain tissue is being deprived of blood and nutrients.  Plaques commonly arise from arteriosclerosis that break off travel to the smaller vessels of the brain.

Hemorrhagic strokes are less common and occur when there is a bleed of one of the brain vessels.  The bleed prevents blood flow into the brain since it is seeping outside the brain tissue, causing damage to nearby cells.  The bleeds could occur from high blood pressure or aneurysms that rupture.

 

What are the signs of a stroke?

Since a clot or bleed usually affect one area of the brain, we see symptoms on one side of the body, many times its contralateral (opposite) side.  We can also see central effects.  The symptoms of stroke include the following:

  • Weakness of one side of the body
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision issues
  • Headache
  • Facial droop

and more…..

 

How are strokes treated?

If the stroke was caused by a clot (ischemic) immediate treatment includes dissolving/removing the clot.   Aspirin is used initially and if within the proper time frame, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).  These clots can also be surgically removed and arteries widened to bring blood flow to the brain.

With a hemorrhagic  stroke, we need to stop the bleed and improve flow to the brain.  Controlling the bleed, bypassing the vessel, “clogging” the aneurysm with techniques such as “coiling” (endovascular embolization) are sometimes utilized.

Time is of the essence, so its crucial to identify the warning signs and call 911 immediately.  The American Stroke Association uses the acronym “FAST” (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911).  The sooner a stroke victim receives medical attention the better the prognosis.

 

fast

COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN STROKE ASSOCIATION

 

What are the risk factors for stroke?

The following put us at risk of having a stroke.

  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease (artery clogging, such as the heart and carotid arteries)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation
  • Smoking
  • Drugs
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Clotting disorder
  • Sleep apnea
  • Being older (greater than 55)
  • African-Americans appear to be more at risk than Caucasians and Hispanics
  • Men seem to be more affected than women

 

How do we prevent strokes?

Avoid the following:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Drug use
  • Tobacco products
  • Control blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol
  • Get evaluated by a medical provider if at risk for heart disease or stroke.

 

Preventing Heart Disease

Firstly, we must know our risk factors. These include:

Family history of heart disease

Personal history of heart disease

High Blood Pressure

High Cholesterol

Diabetes

Smoking

Obesity

Inactivity

Males over 40

Females who are post menopausal

High stress

and even short stature has been cited as a potential risk factor.

As you can see, many of us can be at risk for heart disease.  Therefore secondly, we should be evaluated with an EKG, echocardiogram and any other exams our medical provider and/or cardiologist deem necessary.

Thirdly, reduce your risk by the following:

Maintain a normal blood pressure

Maintain normal blood sugar

Maintain normal cholesterol and lipid levels

Reduce stress

Maintain a balanced diet, rich in potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables

Quit smoking

Stay active

Maintain a healthy weight.

 

 

spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in Health, news

Roaches Laugh as Bug Bombs Hurt Humans Instead

A study out of North Carolina University has found bug bombs to not only be ineffective at killing roaches, but actually put humans at risk of unnecessary pesticide exposure.

The critters appeared to be resilient to total release foggers (TRF’s) while residue from these bug bombs were found coating kitchen surfaces.

 

bomb.jpg

 

Of the 20 homes tested, none of the cockroaches,  Blattella germanica, known as the German cockroach, were affected by the foggers.

Swabs taken of the floor and countertops, however, found 600 fold increases of the insecticide within hours of the foggers’ detonations.   And one month later, levels of the pesticide were still 34% higher than baseline levels prior to detonation.

In the University’s news release, it states:

“All the fogger products contained pyrethroids, a class of fast-acting insecticides, and some contained piperonyl butoxide, a chemical that prevents roaches from metabolizing, or breaking down, the insecticide,” said Coby Schal, Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professor of Entomology at NC State and senior author of the paper.

Pyrethroids have been found to, in animal studies, affect reproduction and cause cancer.  In small amounts they pose little human risk, but at moderate amounts could cause dizziness, headache, nausea and at high amounts could cause muscle twitching, convulsions and loss of consciousness, per the CDC.

They further report:

“Bug bombs are not killing cockroaches; they’re putting pesticides in places where the cockroaches aren’t; they’re not putting pesticides in places where cockroaches are and they’re increasing pesticide levels in the home,” DeVries said. “In a cost-benefit analysis, you’re getting all costs and no benefits.”

Some safer alternatives to killing roaches may include using lemon juice, soapy water spray, or a mixture of baking soda and sugar.

Keeping them at bay could be done by diligent cleaning, sealing up cracks and holes, fixing leaks and using bay leaves at entry points.

 

spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

Posted in food, Health, news

Death Reported After Eating Five Day Leftover Pasta

The death of a 20 year-old Belgium student who ate leftover pasta has gotten attention this week from a report published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

“A.J” had eaten spaghetti and tomato sauce that was prepared 5 days earlier and left at room temperature. Within 30 minutes he began feeling ill with abdominal pain, headache and nausea and vomiting.  Later that evening he had diarrhea and when his parents went to check on him the following morning he was found dead.

A post-mortem exam suspected he passed away within hours at approximately 4 am as a result of Bacillus cereus poisoning.

Dr. Bernard on a YouTube video highlighting the case report states he went into acute liver failure.

B. cereus bacteria reproduce quickly at room temperature and can produce an emetic toxin that causes illness within 30 minutes.

food-safety-illness-bacillus-cereus

Leftover food safety

To help avoid food poisoning, the USDA recommends the following:

  • Be aware of the “Danger Zone” in which bacteria can grow on food between the temperatures of 40 – 140 degrees F.
  • Refrigerate food within 2 hours, one hour if outside temperature is above 90 degrees.
  • Perishables should be kept refrigerated at 40 degrees F or colder
  • Wrap leftovers thoroughly to retain moisture and keep other bacteria out.
  • Throw out leftovers after 3-4 days. Food can be safely frozen for 3-4 months.
  • Cook food thoroughly. Red meat to 145 degree F, Ground meat to 160 degree F and poultry to 165 degree F.
  • Reheat food to 165 degrees.
  • Cool food quickly so food doesn’t stay hot in the refrigerator cultivating more bacteria. Divide food up into smaller containers to allow a speedier cool.
  • When in doubt throw it out.

 

spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

Posted in Health, news, pets

Avoid Kissing Your Pet Hedgehog

Having high-maintenance cats and dogs my whole life, I find how a pet hedgehog can be appealing. However, the CDC has issued a warning to those with the cuddly critters to not kiss them as 11 people from 8 states have come down with Salmonella.

On their website the CDC reports the following:

  • Eleven people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella have been reported from eight states (CO, ME, MN, MS, MO, NE, TX, WY).

  • One person has been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

  • Fifty-five percent of the ill people are children under 12.

  • Ten of the 11 ill people reported contact with a pet hedgehog.

  • The outbreak strain making people sick was found in samples collected from three hedgehogs in two ill patients’ homes.

  • A common supplier of hedgehogs in this outbreak has not been identified. Ill people reported buying hedgehogs from various sources, including pet stores, breeders, or online.

  • Illnesses started from October 22, 2018 to December 25, 2018.

  • CDC continues to monitor PulseNet to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak.

  • This investigation is ongoing, and CDC will provide updates when more information becomes available.

 

hedgehog.jpg

Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include fever, chills, rash, diarrhea and stomach cramps within 12-72 hours after exposure. The illness can last 4-7 days, although most people will recover without treatment.

If you are of the silent majority of pet owners who worship their hedgehog, keep them away from the kitchen, avoid in households with immunocompromised family members and wash your hands thoroughly after handling them.

 

spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

Posted in flu, Health, news

Buying “Used” Tissues is a Bad Idea

A company out of Los Angeles is selling used tissues to for people who want to get themselves sick, “choosing” when they get their illness.

Vaevtissue.com reports the following on their website:

We believe that when flu season comes around, you should be able to get sick on your terms. We’re not about chemicals or prescription drugs here at Væv. We believe using a tissue that carries a human sneeze is safer than needles or pills. This isn’t like any tissue you’ve used before, but we love using them, and you will too.

vaev+tissue+wide+

How much for this treasure??? $79.99

The logic behind the trend is people want to build up a natural immunity to diseases and not wait for the cold or flu but plan ahead of time when they can allow for sick leave and rest.

The problem?  You don’t know what you’re getting.  Used tissue could have a variety of contaminants that transmit in bodily fluids including Staph. bacteria, TB and Ebola.

Vaccines are the safest way to introduce a killed or attenuated version of an infectious agent.

 

spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

Posted in Health, news

Pigeon Poop Can Kill

Two people have died in Scotland after contracting a fungal infection linked to pigeon droppings.

One was an elderly patient at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and another was a child. The actual cause of death or mode of exposure has not been revealed but the hospital has taken precautions, running “smoke tests” to find where pigeons are “getting in.”

Cryptoccous infections may be linked to a fatal meningitis in which the brain and spinal cord succumb to the fungus.

The CDC reports:

An estimated 220,000 cases of cryptococcal meningitis occur among people with HIV/AIDS worldwide each year, resulting in nearly 181,000 deaths.1 Most cryptococcal meningitis cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa (Figure 1). Throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, Cryptococcus is now the most common cause of meningitis in adults. Cryptococcal meningitis is therefore one of the leading causes of death in HIV/AIDS patients in sub-Saharan Africa, where it may kill more people each year than tuberculosis.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Photophobia
  • Severe Headache
  • Neck Pain
  • Photophobia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Delirium
  • Coma
  • and even death.

 

Strong immune systems can usually deter a Cryptococcus infection, but those who are immunocompromised or suppressed can be at risk.

________________________________________________

Cryptococcus may be in marijuana

Last Year 48-year-old California woman reportedly acquired life-threatening meningitis from marijuana contaminated with fungus.

Dr. Bryan Shapiro explained in a case study published in the British Medical Journal that she contracted Cryptococcus neoformans from her 3-6 joint-a-day smoking habit.

Crytococcus infections can commonly affect those who are immunosuppressed, but this patient was believed to be relatively healthy.

Her symptoms included feeling fatigued and dizzy but began getting combative, reportedly assaulting a coworker.  She eventually was seen at Cedars of Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where they tested the cerebral spinal fluid surrounding the brain, revealing the life threatening fungus.

 

cryptococcus-2.jpg

 

After she was successfully treated, Dr. Shapiro investigated the dispensary in Bakersfield from where she purchased her marijuana.  Nine samples tested positive for the fungus.

It’s been established that marijuana leaves are contaminated with pesticides, chemicals and mold.

 

spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

Posted in Health, news

Antonio Mendez, Portrayed in “Argo”, Passes at Age 78

The ex-CIA officer credited for rescuing six US diplomats from Iran in 1980 has passed from complications of Parkinson’s.

Antonio “Tony” Mendez had joined the CIA in 1965 and became master at disguises and rescues.

During the Iranian Revolution in the late 70’s, protestors stormed the US Embassy holding 66 embassy staffers hostage.  6 had escaped to the homes of two Canadian diplomats but were unable to leave the country.  Mendez was able to disguise them as a film crew and smuggle them out in 1980, portrayed in the Academy Award winning film starring Ben Affleck, Argo.

After 444 days the other hostages were released on President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration.

He retired from the CIA in 1990 and wrote memoirs of his experiences.  He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s ten years ago.  A statement from his agent and family reported he passed this week in an assisted-living facility in Maryland.

The Hollywood Reporter reports:

“Early this morning, Antonio (Tony) J. Mendez finally succumbed to the Parkinson’s Disease that he had been diagnosed with ten+ years ago. He was surrounded with love from his family and will be sorely missed,” the statement read. “The last thing he and his wife Jonna Mendez did was get their new book to the publisher and he died feeling he had completed writing the stories that he wanted to be told.”

Ben Affleck, in response to the news, tweeted the following:

 

8751402-6611817-Affleck_paid_tribute_to_Mendez_in_a_tweet_calling_him_a_true_Ame-m-100_1547964229152.jpg

 

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, next to Alzheimer’s, and the most common movement disorder that affects 1% of the world’s population over 60 years old. In the US, 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.  It affects several areas of the brain, primarily the substantia nigra, altering balance and movement by affecting dopamine producing cells.

 

substantia nigra

IMAGE FROM THE SCIENCE OF PARKINSON’S DISEASE

 

It was first described in 1817 by James Parkinson as a “shaking palsy.”

 

What are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s?

Common symptoms of Parkinson’s include:

  • Stiffness and rigidity
  • Poor balance
  • Tremor at rest, especially a pill-rolling tremor
  • Slow movement
  • Inability to move
  • Shuffling steps, gait

and patients may later develop…

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Constipation
  • Decrease ability to smell
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pneumonia
  • Fractures from falling
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Dementia

 

Who is at Risk for Parkinson’s?

Most cases are idiopathic, meaning the disease arises with no specific cause.  However some cases are genetic and multiple genes have been identified that are associated with the disease.

The average age of onset is 60, but some cases may occur as “early onset”, before the age of 50, and if before the age of 20, it is known as juvenile-onset Parkinson’s.

Men appear to be more affected than women at twice the rate.

Risk may be enhanced with a history of head trauma.

Exposure to herbicides and pesticides has been linked to an increase risk of Parkinson’s as well.

 

How Quickly do Parkinson’s Symptoms Progress?

Average progression rates can last years to decades, however, earlier onset disease may manifest much quicker.

The stages of Parkinson’s are illustrated below:

 

What-Are-the-Stages-of-Parkinson_s-Disease

 

How is Parkinson’s treated?

Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s, symptoms can be treated by a variety of measures.

  • Levadopa – converts to dopamine in the brain, helping replace the deficient hormone.
  • Carbidopa (Sinemet) – if given with levadopa prevents the latter from being broken down before it reaches the brain.
  • Dopamine agonists – mimic dopamine
  • MAO-B inhibitors – helps block the enzyme MAO-B, which breaks down natural dopamine
  • Other medications including COMT inhibitors, amantadine and anticholinergics
  • Medications to treat anxiety and depression
  • Deep brain stimulation – a surgeon implants electrodes into the brain, allowing stimulation of parts that help regulate movement.
  • Stem cell therapy – being investigated as a means to create dopamine-producing cells
  • Physical and occupational therapy

 

Famous People Diagnosed with Parkinson’s

  • Alan Alda
  • Michael J. Fox
  • Janet Reno
  • Robin Williams
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Casey Kasem
  • Johnny Cash
  • Linda Ronstadt
  • Pope John Paul II
  • Peanut’s creator Charles Schulz
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson
  • Neil Diamond

It’s been postulated Adolf Hitler suffered from Parkinson’s as well.

 

 

 

spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.