Medical Awareness

Since the club’s members are principally mature travelers: some medical conditions are more common.   One fourth of people over 65 years have diabetes or (pre-diabetes) which results in higher risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.  Diabetes is contributory to many causes of death.

As we encounter articles of particular interest, we will post them here.

Reduction of Medical risks:  Live a “Healthy” life style –  Get one hour of exercise  at least three times a week include: flexibility, endurance, strength building, and cardio.  Avoid sugars and simple carbohydrates.  Avoid fatty meats trans-fats and saturated fats.  Some “good fats” are good for you.  Consume at least 35 grams of fiber (soluble and insoluble ) per day.  Fast at least 12 continuous hours per day.  Have precautionary annual medical exams.  Avoid taking physical risks.

Leading causes of Deaths in the United States

Heart attacks kill 660,000/yr.  Strokes take another 180,000.  Lung Cancer is responsible for 135,000.  Respiratory infections – 120,000 deaths.  Alzheimer’s  – 97,000.  If you want to extend your life: treat your cholesterol problems,  monitor and manage your blood sugar and pressure, and quit smoking.  For women: doing a monthly breast self exam, and having a yearly mammogram, will help.

Heart Attacks  (660,000 US deaths/yr.)

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death for people over 45, in the United States.  Link to the statistics: click here.  Because most victims do not receive the necessary emergency treatment, 50% die due to their first heart attack.  Recognize when a person is having heart problems and get them immediate emergency treatment.  Link to the NIH recommendations : click here

Strokes (180,000 US deaths/yr.)

The principal risk factor for strokes is high blood pressure.  Monitor and control your blood pressure by proper eating habits and (if necessary) by medications . Here is a link   Click here    Link to WebMD  Click here

Lung Cancer  (135,000 US deaths/yr.)

Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. –  Quit smoking as soon as possible.

Respiratory infections – (120,000 US deaths/yr).

(This includes pneumonia, flu, and related illnesses).  Adults should get a flu shot every year.  Link to CDC article.  Click here

 Pneumonia Vaccines  Pneumonia is a serious for older people. The CDC recommended people 65 and older get both PPSV23 and PCV13 vaccines.  Get the PCV13 vaccine first, followed by PPSV23 eight weeks later. If you have already have received  PPSV23, you should get PCV13  next year.
Complete WebMD article at:  http://www.webmd.com/vaccines/pneumococcal-vaccine-schedule

Alzheimer’s  – (97,000 US deaths/yr).

Alzheimers is on the rise, but hopeful research and some medications may lengthen the survival time.  WebMD articles Click here

Breast Cancer (39,000 US deaths/yr.)

During their lifetime, 12% of US women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  For US women, breast cancer is the sixth leading cause of death. About 186,000 diagnoses/yr.   Early detection is important.  Link to Breast cancer.org click here

Prostate cancer  (19,600 US deaths/yr)

Like breast cancer, early detection results in the best outcomes.  Men over 45 should have their PSA tested regularly.  NIH Link:  click here

 Shingles

99.5% people over 50 years of age have been exposed to Chickenpox and therefore, have the potential to develop shingles.  25% of non-vaccinated seniors will contract shingles.  Shingles is very painful and can have lasting negative affects on the quality of life.  Getting  the (Zostavax) vaccine will reduce risk to less that 5%.   Mayo Clinic article on shingles  click here 

Bee Stings 

About 50 people/yr. in the US die from anaphylactic shock caused by “bee” stings.  There are 27 varieties of “bees” in the US.  All incidences are reported as bees stings, since most victims can not identify what kind of bee stung them the data includes:  bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets.  Cover you food and other sweet things.  Put lids on open pop or beer cans.

Anaphylactic shock is an over-reaction of the immune system.  The basic treatment is immune system blockers.  The most commonly used is Benadryl, which is an antihistamine.   It costs less than $.10/pill and can be bought over the counter without a script.  Epinephrine is much stronger and is the drug in EpiPens.  EpiPens and requires a prescription and is over $100.  The shelf life is only 18 months.  Epinephrine has potentially serious side effects. Read label before use.

Different bees produce different venom and your reaction may change over time.   That means: just because you have not had a severe reaction to bee stings in the past, it does not mean you are completely safe.  Within 10 minutes after a sting , you may collapsed to the ground, immobile, and incapable of even completing a 911 cell phone call. Immediate action is called for.  Get to someone to monitor your condition.   If you do not have access to an Epipen, take Benadryl immediately.  If reactions start to occur: have someone drive you to a hospital immediately. (This is what happened to me 8 years ago.)

Be prepared:  Everyone should have Benadryl in your car or camper. The liquid form is the fastest acting, but you can also chew the tablets or the liquid capsules.  Do not wait until you feel the effects, as that may be too late.  For adults, doctors recommend taking at least 50 milligrams of Benadryl immediately after a sting.  Try to prevent getting stung more than once.  (Do not drive after taking Benadryl, it can make you drowsy or you might lose consciousness from the reaction to the sting.)   If your breathing becomes constricted, the tongue or lips swell, or you become cold or start to shiver, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital. Do not wait for 911.   WebMD link: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/bee-and-wasp-stings

 

 

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